Wednesday, 26 October 2011
The Morrigan - Kelley Heckart
Thanks, Elizabeth, for inviting me to your Spookalicious Halloween event. I love Halloween, especially because the doorway between the earthly realm and the faerie realm opens and anything can happen. I decided to introduce my favorite faerie, one that appears often in my stories, and a faerie that is linked with darkness.
Most people don’t think of faeries as frightening beings like vampires or werewolves, but there are many different types of faeries, some good and some evil. One of these more frightening faeries is the Irish faerie The Morrigan, also called Morrigu. Her name means Phantom Queen and she isn’t the typical faerie like the better-known Tinkerbell, gossamer-winged, tiny, benevolent faeries that most people know.
The Morrigan is a battle goddess associated with the Irish Tuatha de Danaan, one of the mythical races of ancient Ireland. These are the faeries that J.R.R. Tolkien based his elves on, and they are human size fae. W.B. Yeats writes about them in Celtic Twilight, ‘Tribes of the goddess Danu are indeed tall and noble, and they can take shapes and sizes that are not their true shapes and sizes.’
As a battle goddess, the Morrigan holds the fate of warriors and is sometimes seen as the washerwoman at the ford, a gruesome hag washing the bloody clothes of a warrior about to die in battle. She is also a fertility goddess—a goddess of death as well as renewal. She is often viewed as the destructive aspect of the Triple Goddess, her other forms are Badb and Nemhain. The Morrigan may have been part of a megalithic triad—three goddesses called The Mothers that were similar to the Greek Fates. She is neither good nor evil, but an unpredictable force that is best approached with caution. The Morrigan is associated with the crow and raven, and often appears in those shapes.
In my stories, she is Morrigan, a capricious, shape-shifting deity comparable in temperament to the Norse god Loki. She appears in the aspect of Badb in Winter’s Requiem, the third book in my Dark Goddess trilogy. The Morrigan is my favorite Irish faerie and appears in various forms in four of my books. I think what I like best about her is her unpredictability and how she straddles the line between good and evil.
The Morrigan is a fae/goddess to be wary of, especially since her appearance could foreshadow death.
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