The Morrigan – Tides of War

The raven ravenousAmong corpses of menAffliction and outcryAnd war everlastingRaging over CúailgneDeath of sonsDeath of kinsmenDeath! Death!

The Morrígan goes by many names from Irish myth and is often translated as “great queen” or “phantom queen”.

The Morrígan is mainly associated with war and fate, especially with foretelling doom, death, or victory upon the battlefield where she is often depicted as a crow. She incites warriors to battle and can help bring about victory over their enemies. The Morrígan encourages warriors to do brave deeds, strikes fear into their enemies, and is portrayed washing the bloodstained clothes of those fated to die. She is most frequently seen as a goddess of battle and war and has also been seen as a manifestation of the earth- and sovereignty-goddess chiefly representing the goddess’s role as guardian of the territory and its people.

The Morrígan is often described as a trio of individuals, all sisters, called “the three Morrígna” Membership of the triad varies; sometimes it is given as Badb, Macha, and Nemain while elsewhere it is given as Badb, Macha, and Anand (the latter is given as another name for the Morrígan). It is believed that these were all names for the same goddess. The three Morrígna are also named as sisters of the three land goddesses Ériu, Banba, and Fódla. The Morrígan is described as the envious wife of The Dagda and a shape-shifting goddess, while Badb and Nemain are said to be the wives of Neit. She is associated with the banshee of later folklore.

The Morrigan in the Tides of War

The above paragraphs are the opening lines from the wikipedia page for the Morrigan (often a great source of getting to the deeper story of my characters).

By and large her role is that of the harbinger of war but she is also the inciter, she is motivating the Fae Courts to rise up following their return to the world that we know.

She is representing all of her forms in this painting, that of the crow and of transformation (the crows wings appearing from her arms) She has three sets of arms, the embodiment of the three sisters that she is both singularly and individually. Her triple goddess nature forms the Triskele upon her torso, a physical part of her body not adornment on her clothing.

She is rising here from a sea of the dead, a foretelling of what will be… what has to be if she is to save our world and by extension humanity. This sense of life, death and rebirth can be seen in the scythe that she carries, swinging from its haft an hourglass, white ‘inncocent’ flowers growing from her hair, she is not misguided in her judgement – the band that covers her eyes. All of these, for me were important symbols to capture in the piece.

The Morrigan and the world War Fae saga

At this point in the story development, though several paintings of her have now been completed – this being the most recent, there is no physical narrative story. That said, she is the first of the Fae Court to return to our world, she walks it for a very long time, weighing up the actions of humanity before she engages the Mabinogian Court to incite them to war!

Paintings of the Morrigan

Morrigan – Tides of War (Drawing)
Morrigan – Trail of Tears