The goddess of battle and procreation. She is a triple goddess, one of the myriad of triad deities that clutter Celtic and other pagan cultures. Her individual aspects were Nemain, Babdh and Macha. The Morrighan combines the energies of life and death, sexuality and conflict all in one powerful and terrifying deity.
As separate entities, Nemain, Babdh and Macha each had their individual powers. Little is known of Nemain except that she is a crone goddess of battle and strife.
Babdh is well recorded, in common with her sisters she could shape-change at will, sometimes appearing as a foul hag, sometimes as an alluring maiden but most often as a bird. She was often to be seen on the battlefield in the guise of a wolf, close to those she had selected to die. She could often be seen flying above the fray in the form of a crow or raven. Prior to battle she would usually be encountered beside a stream in which she was washing the armor and weapons of those who were about to die. Babdh could alter the course and outcome of battles by use of powerful magic, a trait she shared with her sisters. Other shared traits were an affinity with water, an ability to change her shape at will and an insatiable lust for both men and gods.
Macha was a daughter of Midhir, an Irish fertility goddess and a formidable warrior, who built the fortress named after her Emain Macha. It was the stronghold of the Red Branch Warriors and also the ancient capital city of Ulster, a prehistoric and probably ritual site, which is today known as Navan Fort. She is also associated with the city of Armargh, or Ard Macha, which became the centre of Celtic Christianity during the reign of England’s James the first. At this site she had an eternal flame dedicated to her which was attended by temple maidens. This task was later taken over by nuns who created a shrine to a local saint at her holy site.
The combination of these three spirits created a potent force worthy of the name Morrighan, a title which means ‘Phantom Queen’.