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Author Topic: The Morrighan--again  (Read 15723 times)
UlsterYank
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« Reply #45: January 04, 2010, 02:47:33 pm »

I can't speak for "everyone" in general, but I think the majority of TC members who have any interest in the Celts recognize that their pantheons are not equatable with, say, the Greek pantheon.
That's a comforting assertion. I'd hope anyone with a genuine interest in the Celts would know so, but you'd be surprised at how many people in the pagan community don't recognise the fact that the Celts didn't have a codified religion, and seem to think that the Tuatha Dé Dannan are the "Celtic Olympians", with An Mhór-Ríoghain being the Dé Dannan war goddess sent out to rain blood showers down on everyone say for ex. I didn't mean for that to sound like it was directed at TC members. I've heard it in person, as well as other forums. I actually used to be  a MODD at Mind-n-Magick. They have a very intelligent base as well, but it's just something I've encountered on the net before.

Do you have any proof that nothing of the Book of Invasions predates Christianity?
Oh it contains elements of antiquity, but the story itself is a Christian composition. Dáithí Ó hÓgáin said that it's a medieval pseudo-historic tract composed in or about the 11th century. (Assembled in the 8th, and expanded in the 12) J.P Mallory also stated that it was a literacy creation composed by the monks to create a pseudo history for Ireland, in order to put it on the map with the rest of the major players in Europe.  It contains pre-Christian elements, but isn't a pre-Christian oral tale.  

I concur that tM is much more than a simple war goddess, but her involvement in battle does imply an association; I don't think that the label is inherently inappropriate for her simply because it was later watered down to the only label.
I concur as well. It's not an inappropriate label, but IMO limiting to the extent we see pagans frightened out of their wits thinking that she's a "goddess of death and destruction."
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 02:51:01 pm by UlsterYank » Logged

"Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains" AL II:9

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alleyesonazarath
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« Reply #46: January 23, 2010, 07:57:45 pm »

 
I concur as well. It's not an inappropriate label, but IMO limiting to the extent we see pagans frightened out of their wits thinking that she's a "goddess of death and destruction."


Sorry to revive the thread with a different twist, but I have to ask. What are some ways to possibly pay worship and respect to her? I've prayed to her a couple times, and I want to show proper respect for the future.
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« Reply #47: January 24, 2010, 09:03:15 am »


Sorry to revive the thread with a different twist, but I have to ask. What are some ways to possibly pay worship and respect to her? I've prayed to her a couple times, and I want to show proper respect for the future.
Well it could be any number of things, IMO relationship with deity is something personal, so any adoration, prayer, or offering of your own creation should suffice. Traditionally there were many offerings deposited in lakes, and "left out," so you can probably draw inspirations from that and the legends to create something symbolic. Poetry of adoration is another good idea....but again what someone else values may not be the same for yourself. To get a better feel about her, I've made so many references to a certain book with a passage to her on the net, I think I'll just include it here.  Grin
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UlsterYank
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« Reply #48: January 24, 2010, 09:11:33 am »

. To get a better feel about her, I've made so many references to a certain book with a passage to her on the net, I think I'll just include it here.  Grin
Amidst all the information available on the internet about this Goddess, I've made references to her so many times from this book, that I decided to just include the whole passage on her from it here. Dáithí Ó hÓgáin is a professor at Dublin's Trinity College, who was awarded the accolade of Árd Ollamh for lifelong service to Irish traditions. Here's a passage on An Mhór-Ríoghain from his book The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopaedia of Myth, Legend and Romance.

"Mór-Ríoghain A frequent designation of the mother-GODDESS in early Irish literature. It was taken to mean ‘great queen’, but in it’s original form, Morrígu, it may have meant ‘phantom-queen’. In modern form, the appellation ‘great queen’ would be Mór-Ríon. Reference to a goddess as a queen was a long established tradition among the Celts- on the Continent, Rigana was used in that sense, and the Welsh parallel Rhiannon derives from Celtic Riganona (revered queen.)
     The Mór-Ríoghain in Irish tradition had come to be imagined most frequently in the role of a war-godddess, and she was identified with similar personages such as BADHBH and Neamhain. Her function as a land-goddess had not entirely disappeared, however. The literature expressly states that MACHA was an alternative name for her, and her warlike imagery reflects conquests for land. Several sources give her proper name as Anu, an alternative of the basic goddess-name DANU. Just as there were hills called the Paps of Anu at Killarney, County Kerry, so the Mór-Ríoghain was also identified with the landscape by having two hillocks as her Paps (dá chích na Morrígna) near Newgrange, County Meath. Her name occurs in several other toponymics, and further association of her with the landscape is evidenced by the terms fulacht na Mór-Ríoghna (i.e. her ‘hearth’) for some ancient cooking-sites. As often with Irish divinities, she is represented as one of a triad of sisters. This triad are the active spirits of war, as in the account of the first Battle of Moytirra, fought between the FIR BOLG and the TUATHA DÉ DANNAN-where they, of course, take the side of the latter ‘the people of the goddess Danu’. Named as ‘Badhbh and Macha and Morrígu’, they stand on the Hill of Tara and fling blood onto the Fir Bolg. The triad thus have the function not specifically of encouraging war, but of encouraging their own people to victory.
     This is clear in the tradition that the Mór-Ríoghain was in fact the wife of the father-god called the DAGHDHA. One account in the MYTHOLOGICAL CYCLE has her sharing his exalted status, and that in a very significant context. We read that, before the second Battle of Moytirra, The Daghdha had a tryst with her at the River Unshin (in County Sligo). She was washing there, with foot on either side of the river, and he copulated with her in that position. She informed him where the enemy host of the FOMHÓIRE would land, and promised that she would terrify the Fomhóire king Inneach by draining away his valour and ‘the blood from his heart.’ She also told the Daghdha to summon the POETS of Ireland to her, and she directed these to sing spells against the foe. In the later text describing this battle, we are told that the Mór-Ríoghain, along with Badhbh and Macha, undertook to bring ‘hailstones and fierce showers’ down upon the Fomhóire, and to fling javelins and flails against them. These are clear illustrations of her combined functions as goddess of fertility and of war, protectress of her people’s general interest.
     When specifically cast in the role of war-goddess, she was encountered often by riverside, portending slaughter. One eighth-century text has the mythical warrior FOTHADH CANAINNE say of the Mór-Ríoghain that ‘it is she who has egged us on” and that ‘horrible is her hateful laughing’ that strikes terror into the hearts of men. The true warrior was one who was not overcome by fear and who was therefore on good terms with her. It was for this reason that she became attached to the developing lore of the hero CÚ CHULAINN in early medieval Ireland. We read that as a boy, he went to rescue king CONCHOBHAR MAC NEASA from a battlefield, and that he heard ‘the war-goddess crying from among the corpses’ and encouraging him to do great deeds. Here she is called the Badhbh, but Cú Chulainn encountered her under her own name when he was single-handedly contending with the forces of Meadhbh. She approached him in the form of a beautiful young woman and stated that she had fallen in love with him on hearing his fame. She offered him her help, but he answered that he was not seeking a woman’s torso, and she then threatened to encumber him when he was fighting. Accordingly, when he was locked in combat with a great warrior called Lóch, she came in the form of an eel and coiled herself around his feet. He fell, but arose again and struck the eel, breaking it’s ribs. Then she took the form of a grey wolf, and drove a herd of cattle against him, but he knocked an eye out of her head with a slingshot. Finally, she became a red horn-less heifer and lead the cattle in a stampede towards him, but he cast a stone at her and broke her leg. He succeeded in slaying Lóch, but when he was exhausted from fighting, she came to him again-this time in the guise of an old crone milking a cow with three teats. He asked her for a drink. And she gave him a drink from each teat, with the result that the three wounds he had inflicted on her were healed Other female war spirits in the ULSTER CYCLE are called Neamhain, and Bé Néit, as well as Badhbh. These three shrieked over the enemy army, leading to great confusion and causing many of the soldiers to die of fright, and thus their portrayal is as protectresses of Ulster. Indeed, the Badhbh appeared to the great brown bull (see DONN CUAILGNE) and told him that he must move with his heifers to new pastures in order to avoid capture by foe. She was in the form of a BIRD perching on a pillar-stone when she thus addressed the bull. The war-goddess in the Ulster Cycle is several times brought into association with cattle, no doubt because of high profile of cattle-raiding in the practice of war. She is said, for instance, to have stolen a cow from Connacht and driven it to Cooley to be mated to the great brown bull there. As she brought it back, Cú Chulainn intercepted her. She was coloured red and was riding in a one-horse chariot, with a huge man walking alongside and driving the cow. Thinking that she was stealing a cow from Ulster, Cú Chulainn challenged her, but she and her retinue disappeared. All that reained was a dark bird on a branch near him. In this shape the Mór-Ríoghain spoke to him and explained that the calf born of the cow would be coeval with himself and would give rise to the war of Táin Bó Cuailnge.
     Although the theme of this calf and it’s connection to Cú Chulainn is inconsistent with the ordinary sequence of the Ulster Cycle, it is clear that the narrative has as it’s theme the stirring up of a war by the Mór-Ríoghain. When Cú Chulainn boasted to her of the feats he would perform, she threatened to discommode him in the manner described above. There is some ambiguity in her image here, for she and the hero are quite hostile to eachother, even though she does promises him that she will be ‘a shelter at your death’. No doubt due to the influence of such accounts, she occurs in the context of cattle in a rather confused and simplistic medieval story that tells of how she stole away a fierce bull from the heard of a cattle-drover of Tara called Buchat. The later’s wife Odhras followed her to the barrow of Cruachain (in County Roscommon), but fell asleep there-whereupon the Mór-Ríoghain came and chanted powerful spells over the woman, turning her into a river, which thus was called by the name Odhras.
     Some sources identify Neamhain with Bé Néit, literally ‘the wife of the warrior’(see NET), and it is clear that both of these were, like Macha and Fea, mere pseudonyms for the Mór-Ríoghain. Most frequent of all alternatives was the Badhbh, the scaldcrow form taken by the war-goddess as she hovered over the clash of contending armies. In her human form, she can be equally horrific-one late medieval text describes the ‘grey haired Mórrígu’ as shrieking triumphantly over fighting soldiers, and appearing as ‘a lean HAG, speedily leaping over the points of their weapons and shields’. The more comfortable image of protectress of the tribe had not entirely disappeared, however, as is evident from the death-tale of Cú Chulainn. Here, as the hero sets fourth on his doomed journey, he finds that the Mór-Ríoghain has disconnected his chariot on the night before in order to discourage him from his venture. See also MONGHIONN."       
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« Reply #49: January 25, 2010, 07:06:56 pm »

Here's a passage on An Mhór-Ríoghain from his book The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopaedia of Myth, Legend and Romance.

UlsterYank,

In the future, please refrain from posting long sections from published works.  Although what you posted might fall within U.S. "Fair Use" parameters, it is very difficult to know for sure whether you are infringing on a copyright, and thereby causing The Cauldron to be violating the law.  We prefer a citation, summary of the information, and -- if possible -- a link to it online.

If you have any questions about this, please PM me.

Thanks.

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UlsterYank
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« Reply #50: February 01, 2010, 01:28:10 am »

UlsterYank,

In the future, please refrain from posting long sections from published works.  Although what you posted might fall within U.S. "Fair Use" parameters, it is very difficult to know for sure whether you are infringing on a copyright, and thereby causing The Cauldron to be violating the law.  We prefer a citation, summary of the information, and -- if possible -- a link to it online.

If you have any questions about this, please PM me.

Thanks.

Moon Ivy
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No worries, sorry about that.
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