The information on Morrigan is vast, and at times contradictory. It would take many, many webpages to tell all of her stories and it was very difficult to narrow this down! From maiden to mother to crone, from the destruction of war and death, to the beauty of the river of rebirth, Morrigan shows us the full circle of life. As with many Divine Feminine images, time can distort, and different cultures take on different attributes. What I have found that is close to the truth in my experience with her follows.
Morrigan is an Irish and Celtic Goddess. She can shapeshift into a crow or raven. It is said that she would take this form and fly over battlefields "calling upon the spirits of slain warriors." (p. 252, McCoy) She is a triple goddess, with the aspects of the "virgin Ana, flowering fertility- goddess; the mother Babd, "Boiling" the cauldron perpetually producing life; and the crone Macha, "great Queen of the Phantoms" or Mother Death." (p. 675, Walker). I believe she was also originally connected to the Great Irish Mother Goddess, Anu (later called Danu). In her aspect of Macha she was so powerful her name was the ancient capital of Ireland (p. 186, Kimball).
In the tales of the first people of Ireland, the Tuatha De Danann (literally the people of the Goddess Danu, pg. 189 Kimball), Morrigan was said to have blown a protective fog over all of the land, so that they would not be invaded. This shows the strength of Morrigan, and the protection the people received from her. Morrigan is also connected with death and destruction and battles. One story tells that Macha was forced to race while pregnant with twins, and when she (easily) won she gave birth to the twins. She was so angry at her tormentors for giving birth in public that way, she cursed them with the pain of childbirth before enemies were closing in. For nine generations when Ulster came under attack the men would experience the pains of childbirth (p. 192 Kimball).
Morrigan is a "Goddess of rivers, lakes and freshwaters", and she was seen by Cu Chulain before his death, washing the clothes and arms (http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Arc/3860/goddess/morrigan.html). It is said that if one sees Morrigan by the river washing their clothes or body, is is a prediction of death before going into battle. Looking at this story, one can see the river or water as a place of rebirth, that Morrigan as the Goddess washing, anointing the body before being reborn. I have included photo of a local river in honor of Her.
A CALL FROM THE GODDESS
There are many women who have connected with Morrigan in ritual, and have had personal experiences with her. There is even a yahoo group of women dedicated to her (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thegoddessmorrigan). There are also many women who have been called by Morrigan, some who have never even heard of such a name or Goddess before being called. These women share a different experience with her, and feel she has contacted them to help them, but also wants Her truth to be told. One of these women agreed for me to share her story, I will call her Megan to keep her anonymity.
Intent: Finding inner strength, intuitive wisdom, remembering the great cycle and changes you are a part of.
Time: Do this ritual at night, on a new moon, or near the new moon phase.
Items Needed: 3 candles, red, white and black. Bowl of water. Stone (ideally from a river or lake).
Ritual preparation: Place bowl of water outside under the darkness (or near window). If you want to write on your stone, do it ahead of time so it can dry.
Light white, red, black candles on a new moon. Cast a protective circle with the intent written above.
Stand near your altar holding a stance of strength (this could be a warrior pose from yoga, or maybe you feel the stance of strength for you is to show your relaxing side, to let down your guard, follow your heart here). If there isn't a position that comes to you, try this triangle. Spread the feet shoulder width apart. Stand tall, and imagine your feet grounding down with roots into the Earth. Allow your spine to lengthen as your crown rises up to the Heavens. Breath in deeply. Raise your arms over head, and place the palms to each other, in a prayer position above your head. Let the shoulders come down the back. Now stand in this great triangle, a symbol of Woman and Goddess. Imagine the lifeblood of Goddess coming through your veins. That the power is within you. It is not something dark to be feared- but a real strength from love and life. Yes, you can take that strength out and defend yourself if need be, but you can also take that strength to heal and spread love here and now. You feel within you the strength and courage to face yourself, from your own birth through adolecense, adulthood, old age and death, to rebirth again. You are ever changing life. As you stand, sense Morrigan's presence, see if she speaks to you. Thank her for her wisdom. If you feel inspired to stretch and move at this time feel free to go with it, it may make you more comfortable for the next part while sitting!
Come to a comfortable sitting position. Take a shawl or blanket and wrap it around your shoulders and back. To represent the ever changing life, gaze into your bowl of water. Allow the mind to relax, and the thoughts to come. What do you see back at you. What do you feel? Take the time to see and hear the messages. When you intuitively know this period of illumination has come to an end take your river stone and place it into the water. This is the cauldron of rebirth. What did you write on your stone that needs to be strengthened, or transformed in your life? Or is the stone simply you, jumping into the mystery of life? Imagine what you need coming into that stone and into you. When the time is right, take the stone and place it in your hand. If you like, recite the following poem, or another chant that calls to you.
You are the Woman that so many fear,
But You are inside me.
You are the birth and life and death
that creates rebirth and renewal.
You are the healer, the giver at the strongest time of need,
You anoint the dead,
You bless the land and create the harvest.
Protect me and Guide me on my travels,
As I know only you can stand so strong.
A true warrior shows strength in their own vulnerability,
and I stand with you.
Join a School
5. Celtic Women's Spirituality, accessing the cauldron of life. Edain McCoy. LLewellyn Publications. St. Paul, Minnesota USA, 1998.
6. Warrior Women, An Archaeologist's Search for History's Hidden Heroines. Jeannine Davis Kimball with Mona Behan. Warner Books, Inc. NY, NY. 2002.
7.Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. Barbara G. Walker. HarperSanFrancisco. NY, NY. 1983.