The Mórrígan - A Beginners Guide to Irish Celtic Mythology

The Morrigan or Mórrígan, also known as Morrígu, is an Irish (Celtic) Goddess associated with battle and destiny, fate, or change. She is seen in the ancient Irish lore and stories to get involved very early on with bringing about major changes, and then with foretelling defeat, death, or victory in battles and wars. 

Her name is Mór-Ríoghain in Modern Irish, or Mórrígan, and this can be translated as 'Great Queen'. Another possibility is that her name means 'Phantom Queen'. She has strong connection to the Irish Otherworld, especially through her primary sacred site - Uaimh na gCait (the Cave of the Cats), at Cruachán (Rathcroghan) in modern day County Roscommon, the heart of Connacht in the West of Ireland.

In her war aspect, she may appear as a crow, and is known as the Badbh, or as Nemhain, screaming across the battlefield. She incites warriors to fight, and can help bring them victory over their enemies, as she does for the Tuatha Dé Danann in Cath Magh Tuireadh (the Battle of Moytura). 

The Mórrígan can be seen to represent Sovereignty, particularly as a guardian of Ireland and her people, as well as the Otherworld and its denizens. 

Sometimes, this Irish Goddess is given as a Triad of connected deities, called the three Morrígna; though membership of the grouping varies from manuscript to manuscript. Sometimes the trio is said to be the Badbh, Macha and Nemhain (MacKillop,1998), and other times we see it as the Badbh, Macha and Anand, which is given as another name for the Mórrígan (Lebor Gabála Érenn).

She is said to be the wife/partner of the Dagda. Please note, this does not make her a sex goddess, a fertility goddess, or your mother. 

2 comments

  • Thanks! Also to the site owner, for spreading The Culture/Lore and taking up some precious, invaluable time
    Ilaria Ivancich
  • She chose me right around 35 years ago. I have a large knotwork raven across my left tricep and shoulder and across my back.

    Jim Davis

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