The Mórrigan, usually referred to with the definite article, was a great warrior-queen goddess in Irish-Celtic mythology. She was most associated with inciting war, then stirring up the fury and frenzy of battle, and finally, as the bringer of death. The goddess was able to take any form of living creature she wished and she helped bring about the demise of the hero-warrior Cú Chulainn after he spurned her many attempts to seduce him as different animals. Her coupling with the Dagda, another major warrior-god, was an important part of the Samhain festival which the Celts celebrated to mark the beginning of a new year.
The name Mórrigan, which may have several variations of spelling, means 'great queen', 'phantom queen', 'queen of nightmares' or, more literally, 'mare-queen'. She may have evolved from the ancient territorial goddess Mór Muman who was associated with the sun and kingship in southern Ireland. She is a war-goddess, and she is particularly associated with the fury of war, hence her 'demonic' nature and another name by which she is sometimes known, the 'queen of demons'.
Mórrigan is closely associated with two other war-goddesses: Badb and Macha (or alternatively Nemain). This trio is collectively known as the Mórrigna. Some scholars suggest that the trio of goddesses are simply different aspects of the Mórrigan as the triple aspect of gods is a common theme in Celtic religion which emphasises the potency of deities. The goddess has certain powers such as being able to predict the future and to cast spells. Even more impressive, she can change her form at will and become a beautiful young girl, the wind, or any animal, fish or bird. The creature she is most connected with is the crow or raven, which the Celts associated with war, death, and inciting conflict. Continue reading from World History Encyclopedia