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The Morrígan

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The Morrigan
The Morrígan
("phantom queen") or Mórrígan ("great queen"), also written as Morrígu or in the plural as Morrígna, and spelt Morríghan or Mór-ríoghain in Modern Irish, is a figure from Irish mythology who appears to have been considered a goddess, although she is not explicitly referred to as such in the texts. The Morrígan is a goddess of battle, strife, and sovereignty. She is one of the triple Goddesses, her different aspects are represented by Anu (the fertility maiden), Badb (the boiling mother cauldron) and either Macha (the death crone) or Nemain.


There is some disagreement over the meaning of the Morrígan's name. Mor may derive from an Indo-European root connoting terror or monstrousness, cognate with the Old English maere (which survives in the modern English word "nightmare") and the Scandinavian mara and the Old Russian "mara" ("nightmare"); while rígan translates as 'queen'. This can be reconstructed in Proto-Celtic as *Moro-rīganī-s. Accordingly, Morrígan is often translated as "Phantom Queen". This is the derivation generally favoured in current scholarship.

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