Morrighan Goddess of Irish Mythology

The Morrighan is a very famous goddess in Celtic mythology. She is considered to be the Goddess of war and battle. She determines whether one will walk off the battlefield alive or dead or will he be carried upon your shield.

Morrighan (Morrigu or Mugain) is called “The Washer at the Ford” because if any warrior sees her washing the armor in the stream, then his death was inevitable on that particular day.

In the Irish folklore, this particular role has also been delegated to the Bain Sidhe, who predicted the future and saw the death of the members of a specific clan or a family.

History and Folklore

The Morrigu or Mugain Goddess is mainly associated with the war and fate but she is also sometimes associated with the foretelling doom along with victory or death in a battle.

History of Morrighan
History and Folklore

She often appears in the role of a crow which is famous by the name of Badb. She has been known for her ability for helping out the warriors on the battlefield for winning over their enemies.

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She encourages the warriors for performing brave deeds and also helps them by invoking fear into the minds of the enemies. She is often described as a trio of individuals known as the Three Morrigna.

These Three Sisters are also named as the three land Goddesses. She is also described as the envious wife of the Dagda, who is known for his shapeshifting abilities and is also associated with the Banshee of later folklore.

Trivia About Goddess Morrighan

Many interesting facts and trivia are famous about the Celtic goddess Morrigu or Mugain.

Trivia About Morrighan
Trivia About Celtic Goddess of War and Sovereignty

Some of the most common trivia are listed below:

  1. She is believed to be a Celtic goddess in the Irish mythology who is associated with the battle and the wars. She is also associated with the sovereignty of the land and the rightful kingship of the land.
  2. She has often appeared in the form of a raven or a crow or is also seen accompanied by a group of them in the various texts and mythological sources.
  3. She has been portrayed in the form of a destroyer in some of the neo-pagan traditions and has also been represented as the crone aspect of the mother/ Maiden/Crone cycle. But all this is considered to be a departure from the original history of the Irish mythology.

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Modern Depictions of Morrighan

The Morrigu or Mugain is depicted in many ways in the present world scenarios.

Modern Depictions of Morrighan
Modern Depictions of Phantom Queen in Irish Mythology

The various depictions and references are mentioned below in the form of a table.

S No.Modern Depictions
1One of the gods in The Wicked + The Divine, a comic series by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, is The Morrighan
2The Hounds of the Morrigu or Mugain by Pat O’Shea
3The Weird stone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath by Alan Garner, in which the Morrighan appears as the leader of the Northbrook.
4A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. The Morrigu or Mugain, in her triple form, plays a major role in this macabre comic novel. They also appear in the sequel, Secondhand Souls.
5Black Aria, a classical album by Glenn Danzig, features a song titled “The Morrigu”.
6The Morrigu or Mugain features briefly amongst other deities in Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods as three women comprising one collective goddess of war. Only Macha is named directly.
7Celtic metal band Primordial have a song called “Sons of the Morrighan”.
8In the video game series Dark stalkers, a character who is fused to a succubus named Morrighan is playable.
9In the video game Mabinogi, Morrighan (though spelt Morrighan) appears as a goddess who turned into stone. She also has an important role in the hack and slash prequel, Vindictus.
10The Morrigu or Mugain is featured in “Split the Atom”, an episode of the BBC radio series Weird Tales.
11The Morrigu or Mugain is a character who appears in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott.
12She is the leader of the Dark Fae in the TV show Lost Girl, though the name is a title passed down between leaders and not the character’s actual name.
13The Morrigu or Mugain depicted as three sisters, appear in Sanctuary, as part of Fata Morgana.
14The pagan folk band Omnia has a song called “Morrighan, Crone of War”.
15The Morrigu or Mugain (without the definite article) appeared as a Goa’uld System Lord in Stargate SG
16Morrígan (as Morrigu) appears in David Gemmell’s Rigante series, in the books Sword in the Storm and Midnight Falcon.
17She is a character who appears in The Iron Druid Chronicles, written by Kevin Hearne.
18In the Italian comic book Zagor, Morrighan helps the titular hero to defeat Donn the Dark One, his wife Macha, and her sister Nemain.
Modern Depictions

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It is also said by Mary Jones from the Celtic Literature Collection about Morrighan Goddess:

“Morrigu or Mugain is one of the most complex figures in Irish mythology, not the least due to her genealogy. In the earliest copies of the Lebor Gabála Érenn, there are listed three sisters, named BadbMacha, and Anann.

 In the Book of Leinster version, Anann is identified with Morrigu, while in the Book of Fermoy version, Macha is identified with Morrigan.

What is most evident is that from the texts, “Morrigan” or “Morrigu” is a title applied to different women who for the most part seem to be sisters or related in some manner, or sometimes it is the same woman with slightly different names in different manuscripts and redaction.

We see that Morrigan is identified with Badb Macha, Anann, and Danann.

The first is usually identified with the raven and battle, the second usually identified with the archetypical Celtic horse goddess, the third with the land goddess, and the fo[u]rth with a mother goddess.”

Arthurian Legend Morrigu or Mugain

Many modern types of research and authors of fiction books have attempted for linking the Morgan Le Fay with the Morrigu or Mugain.

Arthurian Legend Morrighan
Arthurian Legend Morrighan

The Morgan first appeared in the Joffrey of Mon Mouths Vita Merlini, somewhere around the 12th century.

In some of the North Korean Legends like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

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It is mentioned that Morgan has portrayed a hag whose actions were set into the motion of a bloody trail of events that finally lead the hero into numerous instances which were full of danger.

Morgan is also depicted in the form of a seductress just like the other legends of the Morrighan and also has numerous lovers whom she might be abducting for solving her purpose.

This particular character is frequently depicted in the form of a leading power over the others for achieving & fulfilling her purpose while allowing those actions for overcoming the others & also reaping the benefits or determinant characteristics of others.

Some of the creators of the literary character of Morgan have also been inspired by many older tales of the Goddess which show the relationship with many people.

Rosalind Clark has written that the names are unrelated and have been derived from the root words associated with the sea while the name of Morrighan has its roots coming from the word terror or a word which is the synonym of greatness.

Etymology of Morrighan

The etymology of the Morrigu or Mugain Goddess has received some disagreement over the meaning of her name.

Etymology of Morrighan
Etymology of the Phantom Queen in Irish Mythology

It is believed that the world mor is derived from the Indo European root meaning terror and is cognate with the old English maere and also the Scandinavian Mara.

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The later part of the name which is Rigan is translated into the meaning of Queen. This particular etymology sequence can be reconstructed in various languages like the proto Celtic language as Mori-rigani-s.

Thus, the term Morrigan is often translated as Phantom queen.

During the period of the middle Irish, the name was often spelt as Morrigan by giving a lengthening diacritic over the o.

Whitely stocks believe that the letter part of the spelling was because of the false etymology which was popular at that particular time.

Many attempts have also been made by the modern writers for linking the Morrigan with the Welch literary figure Morgan le fay from the matter of Britain.

They believe that the world mor is derived from the word Welsh which means sea but the names are derived from different cultures and some branches of the Celtic linguistic tree.


The Morrighan Goddess has a lot of significance as in today’s scenario many pagans work with the Morrigu or Mugain. Although the majority of them have described their relationship with the Goddess as being reluctant in the first place.

Significance of Morrighan
Significance of the Phantom Queen in Irish Mythology

John Beckett at the pathos has described a ritual with the help of which the Morrighan goddess was invoked. The lines from the same are given below:

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“She wasn’t threatening but She was very clear in command – I think She knew the respect we have for Her and that She didn’t have to convince anybody who She is.

She seemed pleased that we were honoring her and attempting to answer Her call… I want to encourage Pagans to listen for the call of Morrigan.

She’s a complex goddess. She can be blunt, rough, and violent. She is the Battle Raven and is not to be trifled with.

But she has a message I believe is critical for our future as Pagans, as humans, and as creatures of the Earth. A storm is coming. Gather your tribe. Reclaim your sovereignty.”


The Morrighan goddess from the Irish mythology is the envious wife of the Dagda God who was known for her powers and the ability to take and giving the life to her devotees and worshippers.

She was believed to be the one who had the supernatural forces in her which were capable of manipulating the enemy in the battlefields & also bending them towards her or the opponents for the good of their side.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

From which religion or mythology does the Morrigu or Mugain belong?

The goddess belongs to the Celtic mythology. She is worshipped by the people of Ireland or Irish mythology.

What is Morrigu or Mugain the goddess of?

She is considered to be the goddess of fear and death. Apart from this, she is also considered to be the patroness of magic, revenge, prophecy and witches.

What does the Morrigu or Mugain want?

The goddess is believed to be washing the blood-stained clothes of those warriors who are fated to die in the war or the battlefields. She is also believed to invoke fear in the minds of the enemies and also encouraging the warriors for performing brave deeds.