Who is the Morrigan?
The spiritual world is, of course, home to scores of deities, Gods and Goddesses among them – and while the deities you subscribe to may well depend upon your faith or religious pursuits, there are plenty which go beyond the simple status of ‘legend’. We’ve named our site after one of the most intriguing and inspiring Goddesses of ancient Celtic mythology – The Morrigan, or Morrighan – and it’s high time we paid tribute to her in a little bit of detail!
The Morrigan’s roots lie deep within Irish mythology – centuries have passed since people first talked of her presence – and as a Goddess of war – and of battle – she has been regarded as a bringer of omens wherever she may tread. Books and tomes of old have told of her image appearing to offer premonitions for the outcome of war or battle – or for the pending fall of a particular warrior. It certainly seems that her appearance, if at all, is linked to the fate of specific fighters on the battlefield – and for many, she has made appearances in visions to those who may be set to lose their fight. The history of Morrigan’s travels in spiritual encounters makes for truly fascinating reading – her story is one which is perhaps not so commonly retold in this day and age!
Morrigan is sometimes referred to as a Bird Goddess – she has appeared as a raven in her many visions – though she has also appeared in singular form and as part of a trio. This triple-pronged approach is thought to be related to Celtic numerology (where the number three is considered particularly important) – however, many sources seem to be fairly hazy on whether or not Morrigan’s form is in triune (triple Goddess) or not. Regardless of this, archaeological finds as well as ancient writings suggest that she has been with us – predicting the outcomes of war and battle – for centuries.
She has also been referred to as the Washer at The Ford – this name comes from certain appearances she has made to warriors awaiting battle in the near future. Legend states that if a fighter was to spot Morrigan cleaning or washing their own armour by waterside, their hours were numbered. Certainly, it seems that seeing her washing anything on the day of your impending battle was hardly good news! However, she continues to inspire many followers to this day.
Followers of Morrigan – who believe in her connection to nature, life-giving and renewal as in her ability to foretell certain future events – make pilgrimage to the land where her legend first took flight. It’s in Newgrange, in Ireland, where you can bear witness to the Megalithic Passage Tomb, which is thought to have roots dating back all the way to 3200 BC. Colossal inner tombs abound here, where it is thought that ancient peoples once paid tribute to our favourite Goddess – and where those who are invested in her history and her culture can wallow in craftsmanship which are estimated to have taken decades to bring to life.
Morrigan can have connections to the legend of the banshee, though her role in Celtic mythology runs far deeper and longer than that of the wailing spirit. Morrigan’s appearance, through vision – and whether in the form of a raven or in her role as armour-washer – has been interpreted and created great inspiration over the centuries, both negatively and positively. Those warriors brave and confident enough to continue to the battlefield having seen Morrigan do so with renewed vigour – after all, she is both seen as a deity of premonition and one which is associated with the gift of life as well as the finality of death. Therefore, a warrior could rightfully anticipate the sight of Morrigan in vision one of two ways – in fear, and fearful for their impending death, or with gusto – inspiring them to face what could well be their most important fight of their lives.
Morrigan is a curious deity with multiple different accounts and stories attributed to her name, associating her with the most important of ancient Irish mythology. Whether appearing singularly, as part of a trio or with a flock of raven beside her in animal form (she has also been interpreted as a wolf on a few occasions), The Morrigan is a hugely important Goddess to witness in a vision – and the future she can bestow upon you depended entirely upon how confidently you viewed your future. Would you thrive in battle and emerge a true warrior – or would the raven’s appearance strike enough fear into your heart that you daren’t fight your best? She is a curious character – and one with enough of a following and a solid, documented history behind her to make her one of the most fascinating deities of ancient times.
There are deeper readings to the true nature of The Morrigan – and how she can be interpreted. To some end, she can be seen as a manifestation of the lunar cycles – once again referring to the power of three – while many believe in her importance in regeneration and the giving of life as much as she can be seen to foretell a warrior’s death. Seeing Morrigan is never necessarily a death sentence – as ancient Celtic texts will tell you, her tale runs very deep indeed – and long, of course, may it continue! While our days of wearing armour on the battlefield may be behind us – have we truly seen the last of The Morrigan?