The Morrigans Prize. Picture

This work is intended for entry into lockstock's occult competition.

Stock taken from the following sources:

Morrigan; Lockstock [link]

Cuchullain; mjp-m [link]

Mountains and sky from private stock

standing stone; BlissStock [link]

brushes by :
Wings and feathers;
Gothica-brush [link]
and glass_prism [link]

Trees branches and leaves
AzurylipfesStock [link]

The Tain cycle of irish mythology is well known for its greatest hero, Cuchullain <Ku-Kull-in>. This scene is the time of his death as described in the translation in Lady Gregory's Irish Mythology. The full text can be found at [link]

the Morrigan. She is variously known as the Morrigan, the Morrigu, Mor Rioghain, and others. The proper spelling is, as given by Dr. Dáithí OhOgáin, 'Mor Rioghain'. While this directly translates to 'Great Queen', OhOgain points out that this is not an accurate translation.. He also states that the term more likely meant 'Phantom-Queen', which agrees with the findings of other scholars (1). Besides being the Phanton-Queen, she has also been given the title of 'lamia', a Latin word denoting a vampire who takes children (2).
There is substantial evidence to establish the Mor Rioghain as having been a Goddess of Soveranty (Land Goddess) at one time. The lore, however, tells of Her taking on the ways of blood lust as a result of the death of Her son. She was thereafter cast into the position of a Goddess of War associated with Badb (Rage) and >Nemain (Frenzy).(3)
The Mor Rioghain, shows up in the lore as a crow (4). Crow is another meaning of the word Badh (bav) and of particular significance is Her title 'an badb catha' or 'Battle Crow'(5). The crow is a harbinger of death (6). In popular tradition, the Mor Rioghain is associated with the Banshee through the type of crow being depicted with the word Badh (7). The Banshee is a woman of the Sidhe, connected to families, whose keening portends a death (8). These are two different types of crows, but both are associated with the Mor Rioghain. Metaphorically speaking, one is a Crow of Battle that feeds on the fallen, the other is the announcer of impending death (9). Both are found at the scenes of battles in the lore.
According to the lore, those who sought Her out had to engage in sexual relations with Her. In fact, Her appetites for sex and violence has had Her portrayed as a Celtic Kali (10). In one piece of lore She is described as being colored red; in some places She is described as having silver hair.
She fills a place in the Gaelic pantheon that is similar in many respects to positions in other Northern European cultures. Two examples are the Germanic Indisi and Valkyries, though in many ways She appears very similar to Freya. In each of these there is the use of magic in casting fetters on warriors, and it is their domain to choose who will die (11).
Of particular interest are examples of Her choosing who would die. The Rees brothers showed how during the Second Battle of Moytirra, the Mor Rioghain "said she would go and destroy Indech son of De Domnann and 'deprive him of the blood of his heart and the kidneys of his valor', and she gave two handfuls of that blood to the hosts. When Indech later appeared in the battle, he was already doomed."(12)
The Mor Rioghain is well known in lore, in Her guise as the 'Washer at the Ford'. As this apparition, as the soon to die sees Her washing their bloody clothes. It was as the 'Washer at the Ford' that the Mor Rioghain made one of Her appearances to CuChullain, this being the point at which She informed him that she would be working against him.
The Mor Rioghain is one of the few Goddesses of the Gaelic pantheon who also appears in the pantheons of other Celtic cultures (13). In Brythonic lore, as typified by Her interaction with Arthur, as Morgan Le Fey, as well as in Gaelic lore, She is shown to be malicious. This at least until after Arthur's death when She appears as one of the Queens who bear him away to Avalon. It is perhaps a similar situation, in respect to being taken to OtherWorld, that occurs when Bran first meets the OtherWorld woman and received the gift of the silver branch from Her (14). This type of gift is, in the lore, a necessary passport from the Queen of the OtherWorld for mortals who have not yet reached their appointed time of death to journey to the land of the dead (15). When Bran and his troop approach the 'Isle of Women' it is the Queen who draws them into Her realm with a magical clew. Throughout we see the Mor Rioghain or Phantom-Queen as the one who chooses who will die or otherwise make the journey to the Land of the Dead. She is then the Great Queen of the Dead.
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