The Morrígan

the-morrigan-celtic-mythology The Morrígan (“phantom queen”) in Irish mythology she is a goddess of battle, strife, and sovereignty. She sometimes appears in the form of a crow, flying above the warriors, she also takes the forms of an eel, a wolf and a cow. She is generally considered a war deity comparable with the Germanic Valkyries. She is often depicted as a trio of goddesses, all sisters, although the triad varies; the most common combinations are Badb, Macha and Nemain. or Badb, Macha and Anand.

There is some disagreement over the meaning of the Morrígan’s name. Mor may derive from an Indo-European root connoting terror or monstrousness, cognate with the Old English maere (which survives in the modern English word “nightmare”) and the Scandinavian mara and the Old Russian “mara” (“nightmare”); while rígan translates as ‘queen’. This can be reconstructed in Proto-Celtic as *Moro-rīganī-s.Accordingly, Morrígan is often translated as “Phantom Queen”. This is the derivation generally favoured in current scholarship.

In the Middle Irish period the name is often spelled Mórrígan with a lengthening diacritic over the ‘o’, seemingly intended to mean “Great Queen” (Old Irish mór, ‘great’; this would derive from a hypothetical Proto-Celtic *Māra Rīganī-s). Whitley Stokes believed this latter spelling was due to a false etymology popular at the time. There have also been attempts by modern writers to link the Morrígan with the Welsh literaryfigure Morgan le Fay from Arthurian romance, in whose name ‘mor’ may derive from a Welsh word for ‘sea’, but the names are derived from different cultures and branches of the Celtic linguistic tree

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About Mrs Poetry

Always in love with music, art and the beauty of this world..
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