Morrigan is one of those goddesses truly appreciated and worshipped in the witch community but also one of those deities whose origins and main features got a bit fuzzy and lost in history. Let’s find out all we need to know about Morrigan.
- Who is Morrigan?
- Morrigan’s Figures
- Best books about Morrigan
- Best ways to connect with Morrigan
- Prayer for Morrigan
- What are Morrigan’s favorite offerings?
- What are Morrigan’s symbols?
- My favorite Morrigan ritual
- Morrigan artwork
Who is Morrigan?
Morrigan, also known as the lady of darkness, is present in all Celtic wars and instills violence, strength, and anger in soldiers, though she is also known as a synonym for love and sexual desire in Celtic mythology. Morrigan is a powerful deity with warlike vigor from the extraordinary Celtic tradition. The name (in ancient Irish “Mórrígan” and in classic Irish “Móirríoghan”) has been interpreted as a great queen, deriving from the prefix Mór- which means “great, important”.
Many meanings are attributed to her name, such as “queen of ghosts” (from the Germanic mahr = nightmare) or “queen of the waters” (water in relation to female entities is present in all religions: female divinities are those that purify and give life, just like water that fertilizes and heals the earth).
What is Morrigan a goddess of?
Morrigan is the Celtic goddess of war, death, and destruction.
Myths and origins
The origins of the goddess Morrigan are not yet clear: the meanings and versions that are recognized are many and even scholars have not yet found a concordant definition.
It is said of her that she kidnapped small children to keep them with her until they became brave knights. Her warlike vigor is the same that invests her exuberant and insatiable sexuality; it seems that the goddess seduced the knights before the start of the battle and then lead them to victory.
Morrigan is a combative goddess, a symbol of violence and carnal love. There is not just one single description of her appearance; she can be seen as a woman with long black hair, dressed only in black feathers, or as a sensual girl with red hair like blood.
Although linked to destruction, this goddess also represents initiation; she destroys, yes, but in order to be able to rebuild, to give rise, from that same rubble, to a new cycle, a new beginning. Strong oppositions such as the one just described are peculiar to the Morrigan goddess since, at the base, it is one’s personality, one’s soul that is rich in facets. We have known her together as a singular goddess, but the name of this divinity leads back to other female faces, other characteristics, other stories that are intertwined with each other.
Morrigan (Anu), Badb, Macha, and Némain are included.
The triskele, a Celtic symbol, is a three-rayed vortex and is the representation of the triad that the goddess Morrigan embodies, a triad formed by the three figures of Badb, Macha, and Némain. The three female images represent birth, growth, and death, therefore the three aspects that the goddess can assume: Virgin, Mother, and Old Woman.
In a warlike context, Macha, covered in black feathers, expresses the more combative aspect of Morrigan and this is the name by which the goddess was invoked in battle or during bloodshed. Badb, on the other hand, is the giantess who appeared to the soldiers the day before the battle, near a stream, intent on rubbing the clothing of the warriors who would have died in combat. Finally, Némain is the frenzied spirit of the chaos of war, whose voice guided the soldiers into battle. The three deities never appeared at the same time.
At the end of the battle, the goddess Morrigan assumed the appearance of a crow; all the corpses of her proteges who died in the war were collected near her and the cry of the animal was the voice of the divinity that spread in a mournful and desperate funeral song. The crow ate the corpses, but destroying them meant transforming them to regenerate them.
The Morrigan goddess is not only a symbol of destruction but also of fertility.
Her personality is in fact twofold: it is death and birth, good and bad, positive and negative. This is why it is also associated with Anu. In this sense, the Morrigan goddess would represent a divine triplicity different from the warrior one where Anu is the mistress of fertility, Badb is the mother, and finally Macha is the one who presides over death. This is the triad that would represent the three phases of the goddess.
The figure of Badb, just like that of Morrigan, is associated with war. Her appearances, in the guise of a crow, were an omen of doom. Some sources describe her as a very strong woman, usually doing laundry near a river. The garments she holds in her hands and carefully washes are the garments of the soldiers who will die in battle. This is also why Badb represents foresight and knowledge.
Macha is the presiding goddess of war and death and is connected to horses and sovereignty. Nemed’s wife, she was a prophetess. In the Cath Maige Tuired, her death is described at the hands of Balor during the second battle of Mag Tuired.
Subsequently, after the defeat of Macha, alongside the Morrigan and Badb sisters, Némain appears. She, with the sound of her voice, led the soldiers into battle. But not only that, her songs also accompanied the fallen towards the kingdom of the dead. Often, Némain and Badb were seen as the same deity. In general, these charming Irish goddesses, thanks to their similar characteristics, have often been confused with each other; this made it difficult to be able to delineate their distinct and mysterious figures.
The Fairy Morgan
Morrigan, thanks to the late medieval culture, has become the great Fairy Morgan in the Arthurian or Breton cycle. Morgana, Arthur’s half-sister and rival of Guinevere and the Wizard of Merlin, is the priestess of Avalon, endowed with superhuman abilities, including that of being able to change her appearance.
A bit of myth
A famous myth, handed down from the Ulster cycle, is the myth of Cù Chulainn. This is the name of the hero with whom the goddess falls in love and to whom, in the form of a beautiful girl, she reveals her love.
The knight, however, rejects her and suffers the wrath of Morrigan, who assaults him several times, changing her appearance each time. The moment Cù Chulainn manages to defeat her, the goddess will appear to him as an old lady milking a cow. Only when the hero accepts the milk offered to him by the old woman, blessing her, will the goddess Morrigan be finally healed from the wound of love.
Best books about Morrigan
The Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might by Courtney Weber
This is the perfect read for you to learn more about Morrigan, her story, and her magic. This is specifically designed for people who are into her and who wants to honor her and connect with her from a new, educated, and informative perspective.
Celtic Lore & Spellcraft of the Dark Goddess: Invoking the Morrigan by Stephanie Woodfield
If you want to truly connect with Morrigan with magic, this spellbook is what you need! You are going to learn how to invoke her, how to practice your craft in her name, and how to let this goddess enhance the energy around you to attract what you want, following Celtic tradition too.
Pagan Portals – Raven Goddess: Going Deeper with the Morrigan by Morgan Daimler
To establish a devotional connection with Morrigan, this is the book you need to know more about her but also to debunk some wrong beliefs and start a wonderful devotional relationship, honoring her from a place of awareness and true respect for her roots and her magic.
Best ways to connect with Morrigan
Light a red candle and invoke her
The red candle is the color used by the Mother Goddess and it is also the color of power. This is a very simple way to work with the Morrigan Goddess to have protection and remove obstacles. There is no need to be formal but, if you wish, you can do it.
I believe that being honest by clarifying what is needed works in the same way as a ritual or a more formal spell. The goddess knows what you really need, and what you need to do is ask for help and thank her.
Choose a crow as a totem or spirit guide
The crow is not just a bird that warns you when danger is near but guides you on your path. The Morrigan Goddess is often depicted with the raven being a sacred animal to her and the raven often works cooperatively with others, making a cry of alarm to other birds.
It will help you overcome your fears so that you can move forward and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves to you.
Ask her for guidance when using divinatory tools
She is the goddess of prophecy, too; if you need some guidance while using a pendulum, runes, tarot, and more, ask her for guidance and she will help you unveil the truth and the future all in one.
How do you know that Morrigan is calling you?
- If you feel the need to win your fights
- If you feel strong and empowered right after having evoked her
- If you dream of a crow
- If you see the number three showing up over and over again
How do you honor Morrigan?
- Create an altar for her
- Use a crow image to honor her
- Try to win your fights
- Try to defeat your inner demons and be successful
- Cast protection spells
- Place a statue of Morrigan on your altar
Prayer for Morrigan
“Morrigan goddess, I need you,
support me, guide me,
let your strength and your power show me the way to succeed.
I am ready for it, I am ready for you.
What are Morrigan’s favorite offerings?
- Crow’s feathers (as the crow is her symbol and one of her representations)
- An athame (as a symbol of your will to fight)
- Red wine (as it represents blood)
- Raw meat (representing the dead body of the enemies)
What are Morrigan’s symbols?
The number 3
There are three versions that characterize the Morrigan goddess: the virgin Ana, goddess of fertility; the mother Badb, the one who boils matter in the cauldron that perpetually produces life; and the goddess of time, Macha the Elder, the great goddess of ghosts or mother of death.
The Morrigan goddess has the power to shape-shift and transforms into animals of different species. The main one is the crow. The crow, contrary to what is often thought, is not an animal that brings death in Celtic tradition. It eats and transforms the bodies of corpses.
My favorite Morrigan ritual
This ritual, which we find in the practices of the Wicca religion, is a famous protection ritual that uses the intercession of the Irish goddess Morrigan.
The threefold Irish goddess Morrigan was made up of three entities: the virgin Ana, goddess of fertility; the mother Badb, the one who boils matter in the cauldron that perpetually produces life; and the goddess of time, Macha the Elder, the great goddess of ghosts or mother of death.
So don’t be surprised if Morrigan appears first as a fighting warrior woman and then as a sweet fairy, mother, and counselor.
It is a simple work of magic to perform but very effective.
It can be done in the period and time that suits you best but it would be preferable to take advantage of the energy of the growing moon.
It rejects everything negative that is ‘transmitted’ to us by those who wish us harm, by gossips or by envious people, and it is excellent against evil and evil eye.
- A red candle
- Dry or fresh chopped rue
- Coarse unrefined sea salt
- Almond oil
- An aluminum foil
- A wide flat plate
How it’s done:
Grease the candle with almond oil using both hands, starting from the bottom and going upwards.
Put the salt and rue on the plate and roll the candle over it so that it becomes soaked in the salt and rue.
Now place the candle on one side, wash the plate, and line it with aluminum foil.
Take the candle and place it in the center of the plate by lighting it with wooden matches.
Make the candle stand up simply by using its wax.
When the candle is well positioned and it burns well, you can pronounce the spell of the Goddess Morrigan, who in this case represents the goddess of strength.
“Goddess of Strength and Struggle, you are the wall to defend me from the evil and magic of my enemy. Above all (say here the name of whoever is thought to attack you), make it impossible to reach me.
And against this wall the evil that is sent to me breaks and moves away from me.
I remain safe under your protection, my Goddess, at the same time that this candle is consumed, the symbols of all evils are consumed.”
Remain in meditation on your desire for protection and repeat the spell at frequent intervals (almost like a mantra) until the candle is completely consumed. At the end, take the aluminum foil that lines the plate and close all the remaining wax inside.
Make the gesture of taking everything (and with it symbolically the negativity) away from your home by burying it in a garden or in a wood.
With long black hair or thick and vermillion, the goddess is represented as a woman dressed only in feathers or even as a young and sensual girl. In fact, the Morrigan goddess has the power to change her appearance and she can transform into an eel, a wolf, or even a Junoesque washerwoman who washes the bloody clothes near the battlefields. Her favorite form is that of the crow, often represented in artworks.