- May 31, 2020 at 3:49 pm #10886
This was one of the first maybe the first book that I have ever bought which focuses on a specific deity, in this case a well known Irish goddess who I have heard referred to as the Crow of War. She is actually a threefold or triple goddess. Her three main names are Morrigu, the goddess of battle; Macha, the goddess of sovereignty; and Badb, the goddess of prophecy. From the second of those names, you might guess that there could be a connection with Rigantona or possibly with Rhiannon. The name Morrigan is taken to mean nightmare queen or phantom queen. Looking at the second part of her name, Rigan, we get queen or noble lady, but the interpretations of her name lead to darker and murkier interpretations that go beyond the role of being a leader. Bear in mind that the ancient Irish might well have had a different interpretation of what war meant than we would do today. Cattle raids were extremely significant at that time. The Morrigan is significant within the context of the Tuatha De Danann. She is often known to take the shape of a crow or a raven but can also take on several other forms. Ravens and crows both belong to the same family, corvids. Ravens are connected to both battle and prophecy and are a powerful omen, sometimes for good sometimes for ill; likewise with crows. Wolves were important to both the Celts and the Neolithic people. They are connected to warriors, outlaws and shapeshifting. Some Celtic tribes believed that they were descended from wolves. They were also associated with night time and the underworld. Eels are a native species in Ireland whereas snakes are not. Possibly the two different species have become somewhat confused within the context of Irish mythology. The Morrigan offered success in battle to both the Dagda and Cu Chulain. While the Dagda readily agreed to sleep with the Morrigan Cu Chulain turned her down; there then followed a very long and complicated series of encounters. Macha is connected to crows, cattle, pastures and fields. Badb has a number of connections with the crow. She can appear as a withered hag or a seductive young woman. The appearance as a crow is a significant and repeating theme, as is the importance of cows. This seems to signal a distinction between two very different roles, that of a provider with that of a warrior. Reading the descriptions of the Morrigan, I also learned much about Irish mythology, such as the Book of Invasions, and about the Tuatha De and various deities within that pantheon or group. I think that that has helped me to understand this particular strand of lore far better than I had done before, without the need to read through all of the stories or attempt to track down different books I was provided with what I needed to know all in one place. I think that this book was really the start of my serious investigation into the Tuatha De; I have since become aware of a number of other deities from this source.May 31, 2020 at 5:28 pm #10889DowrgiParticipant
Hi David, that is very interesting and informative. I’ve found a reference, Morgan Daimler, Pagan Portals – The Morrigan: Meeting the Great Queens (2014). I think that you should add this – along with your review – to the Bookshelf in the Bard’s forum.
As for the interpretations of Morrigan’s name, you’re quite right to see the inclusion of the word for “queen” in there. In Modern Irish her name would Mór-Ríoghain and although the first element is still debated, the second element, ríoghain seems quite clearly to be queen. One of the derivations generally given is, as you say, “Phantom Queen”, and I think this is interesting because of her connection with kings and kingship. Guenevere in Arthurian legend, comes from
Gwynnever (Cornish)/Gwenivar (Breton)/Gwenhwyfar (Welsh) meaning “White Ghost/Spirit” and she was also a queen. It’s tempting to see something else going on here, especially in terms of sacred kingship, the goddesses of the land and so forth. This in turn makes me think that Geoffrey of Monmouth may not have made everything up and indeed included some authentic indigenous lore in his works, as I think he claimed.
The Badb aspect is also intriguing and opens up numerous avenues to explore, also potential links with British and Gaulish equivalents. Just as an aside, there is also Bodb Derg, the son of the Dagda, who is elected king or leader of the Tuatha Dé and whose name may be linked to the word badb meaning crow, in which case Bodb Derg would be the “Red Crow”. This association of crows with kings, battles and the divine also has echoes in Norse mythology too.
/|\May 31, 2020 at 5:34 pm #10890
I will do that straight away Dowrgi. Morgan Daimler does go into the linguistic basis for certain ideas and beliefs, maybe that is worth some further investigation. Her book is certainly a good primer for Irish lore in general, not just the Morrigan herself. She certainly seems to have done her research.May 31, 2020 at 5:56 pm #10892DowrgiParticipant
I’ve just seen that you’ve added it. I’ve got a couple of new books on the go at the moment and when I’ve finished and digested them I’ll be adding some more stuff. I also added something I noticed in the Tree Lore thread the other day, I don’t know if you noticed, but I came across three potential correspondences in terms of Ogham lore. I’m still working on the calendar materials.
/|\June 6, 2020 at 1:55 am #10982Anonymous
Dear David, I just wanted to tell you about the book Sacred Animals by Gordon Maclellan, also known as the toad. It is a really mighty book, and I think you would like it. This is the Book that Chief Graywolf recomended and said it was a really good book. I will check out the Morrigan. She calls to a lot of druids. I have had her contact me with her ravens, and I need to find out more about her. I don’t fear her, and think that she has some good lessons to teach us druids. Again, I love it when druids follow the Celtic Gods and Goddesses. I don’t worship them, but I do look on them as teachers and friends. And I have great respect for them. I am sure I have gotten there help many times and feel like I need to spend more time developing a relationship with them. To me Celtic druidry is an involvement with the Celtic Gods and goddesses and I really don’t think people are druids who are not involved with the Celtic Gods and goddesses, but that is just my view, and it is only the way I look at things, but I am not all alone, and there are many other druids who think the way I do. I mean anyone can call themselves a druid, and that is fine with me. But druids also affect and travel into the Celtic otherworld, and what happens in the Celtic otherworld affects this everyday world. Just to let you know, I met you on the astral planes once, we were standing overlooking the ocean and standing on some high cliffs, probably in Scotland or Ireland. Time is not always linear on the Astral, and this could have taken place in the past or the future. Best WilliamJune 6, 2020 at 9:48 am #10984
Thank you William, I may just look into that. Bran and Branwen are the Welsh ravens, one black one white, who might call to those who favour the Welsh lore; the Morrigan is distinctly Irish as you may know. Interestingly this is the time when Eimar Burke has been appointed as the new head of OBOD, there was an announcement last night and I believe that the online ceremony will be coming soon. Certainly an omen of some kind and Eimar is of Irish descent, so maybe she will become a form of war leader for OBOD and for the future. Irish Gods Irish Godesses by Morgan Daimler is well worth a look, this was a very informative book indeed but then I expected that to happen. Irish Paganism in the same series might be worth looking at too. The book on Welsh lore was interesting but seemed far less substantial to my eyes, I don’t know why. There was some explanation of the Mabinogion but I didn’t feel that it went into the subject in great depth. Sometimes you read a book just to pick up one scrap of knowledge which you did not have before, one key insight. I too feel as if we have some meaningful connection.June 6, 2020 at 4:54 pm #10992Anonymous
Dear David, I am really glad to hear that Eimar Burke will be the new OBOD chieftess. Her love of the Irish gods is a grand sign for the druids, and of course she must also know of the Tuatha de Dannan, the faery race of good folk that I have so much contact with, and who have helped me to stop smoking. They are a beautiful race of the faeries, and I hope you get to meet them in person. I feel that the Neo pagans are all looking for otherworld connections and many of them learn a great deal about the otherworld from being in the OBOD. And the OBOD has brought a great many people to awareness of the Celtic Druids. I find that a lot of books on magic may have only one or two pieces of information that makes sense when put together with other books that have one or two pieces of information, and I also find that groups like the BDO are helpful because these online groups help us to find out what the good books are, and where the groups of Celtic Druids are. I am finding out that in order to have contact with the Celtic Gods and Goddesses, that I have to reach out to them, like honoring them in a ceremony, or giving them gifts like music or flowers. I was able to contact the goddess Rhiannon by playing harp music. She likes the song, Saddle the Pony. But that makes sense because she is the horse goddess. And the book I am reading now, Sacred Animals by Gordon Maclellan, The Toad, also talks about reaching out to a power animal. I feel like we have to put some effort into contacting the Celtic Gods and Goddess, and nature spirits, and trees, but at the same time the trick is to not force it, and just kind of let it happen. Many times these things happen when we least expect them to. I am playing my harp more now, and have set it up with some good mics and some great little Mesa Boggie acoustic amps. I try to make things fun to play, and that way I find I spend more time playing them. I certainly will check out the book by Daimler, and I have a lot of Irish blood in me, and love the Tuatha de Dannan , and had been calling on them for years before I actually met them. They are small, no more than 3 to 5 feet high, and most people would mistake them for children, which they are not. They also dress in beautiful adult faery clothes, and that is what gives them away. The Tuatha are of a higher consciousness than humans and you will feel your consciousness and spirit uplifted by their presence. For now, taking it one day at a time, and really enjoying my life, a life of more stillness. Best WilliamJune 6, 2020 at 5:10 pm #10993
Rhiannon is a beautiful goddess William, I agree. There is certainly something special about her. I think that the Morrigan is very special too, in a completely different way. The Welsh gods book is written by someone called Halo Quin. Quin’s approach to deity is completely different from Morgan Daimler. With Daimler you get a lot more background, which some people may find grounding. In Quin’s book, the Welsh heroes like Llew Llaw Gyffes and Gwydion are compared to gods. With Rhiannon I feel this much more strongly, as I have not yet encountered the other forces so much, well maybe Gwydion to some extent.
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