Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...

Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]

Views: 18,983,995

May 2nd. 2016 ...

Faery Guided Journey

Wiccan Spirituality

How to Bond with the Elements through Magick

Magical Household Cleaning

Working with the Elements

April 2nd. 2016 ...

An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity

Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected

Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele

The Fear of Witchcraft

Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess

The Evolution of Thought Forms

Magic in Sentences

March 28th. 2016 ...

Still Practicing

Revisiting The Spiral

Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion

Spring Has Sprung!

January 22nd. 2016 ...

Coming Out of the Broom Closet

Energy and Karma

Community and Perception

December 20th. 2015 ...

Introduction to Tarot For the Novice

Magia y Wicca

October 24th. 2015 ...

Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self

Native American Spirituality Myopia

The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans

A Dream Message

Feeling the Pulse of Autumn

October 16th. 2015 ...

Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts

September 30th. 2015 ...

The Other-Side

September 16th. 2015 ...

Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents

Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate

August 6th. 2015 ...

Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale

July 9th. 2015 ...

Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Magic of Weather

June 7th. 2015 ...

A Pagan Altar

A Minority of a Minority of a Minority

The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?

Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism

May 6th. 2015 ...

Sex, Lies, and Witches: Love in a Time of Wiccans and Atheists

Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism

I Claim Cronehood

13 Keys: The Crown of Kether

March 29th. 2015 ...

A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft

March 28th. 2015 ...

On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations

March 1st. 2015 ...

Choosing to Write a Shadow Book

Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story

My Concept Of Grey

February 1st. 2015 ...

Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader

The Three Centers of Paganism

Magick is No Illusion

The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames

The Gods of My Heart

January 1st. 2015 ...

The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch

Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft

Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs

Pagans All Around Us

Broomstick to the Emerald City

October 20th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits

A Microcosmic View of Ma'at

October 5th. 2014 ...

The History of the Sacred Circle

Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots

September 28th. 2014 ...

Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials

Creating a Healing Temple

September 20th. 2014 ...

GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)

September 7th. 2014 ...

Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery

The All

August 31st. 2014 ...

Coven vs. Solitary

A Strange Waking Dream


August 24th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation

The Pagan Cleric

A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)

August 17th. 2014 ...

To Know, to Will, to Dare...

On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows

The Darkness

August 10th. 2014 ...

As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?

The Power of the Gorgon

August 3rd. 2014 ...

Are You a Natural Witch?

You Have to Believe We Are Magic...

July 27th. 2014 ...

Did I Just Draw Down the Moon?

Astrological Ages and the Great Astrological End-Time Cycle

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Article Specs

Article ID: 14790

VoxAcct: 231881

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 1,683

Times Read: 2,687

RSS Views: 17,619
Macha: One Face of the Morrigan

Author: Morgan
Posted: October 16th. 2011
Times Viewed: 2,687

Macha is a Goddess who appears in several different places in Irish mythology. She is a daughter of Ernmas, sister to Badbh and Anand/Nemain; in mythology these three sisters are the triple Morrighan. O’Mulconry’s glossary calls her “machæ .i. badb no asi an tres morrigan”, meaning Macha, a scald-crow, or the third Morrigan, which clearly identifies her as one of the Morrigan (Stokes, 1898) .

Macha appears in different guises in Irish mythology: as one of the Nemedians, as a Tuatha de Danann, as a "fairy woman" and as a queen. This last one may or may not represent an actual historic queen or a story about the Goddess; the tale itself has many mythic overtones but is not explicitly mythic so it could be taken either way. I tend to favor the view that all the appearances of Macha relate to the Goddess, but that is just my own opinion.

In the first story she appears as the wife of Nemed, of the third race to settle Ireland, and in this tale she "dies" clearing the plains of Ireland for farming. In alternate versions her husband cleared the land and she died there so he named it for her. In either case she is linked to the earth and its produce, through her death in exchange for clearing the land for farming. It is also possible that her name "Macha" may mean plain or field (Sjoedstedt, 2000) .

She appears in the Lebor Gabala Erenn where she is called a daughter of Ernmas. In volume IV of the Lebor translation by R. A. S. Macalister, the translator says "Delbaeth...has three daughters, the famous war-furies Badb, Macha, and Mórrígu, the latter sometimes called Anand or Danand." (Macalister, 1941) . In this appearance she is killed in the second battle of Mag Tuired but Macalister in his introduction to Section VII of the Lebor Gabala Erenn, volume IV says that it is logical to believe that this Macha and the Macha of Ard-Macha who curses the men of Ulster are in fact the same deity.

At a later point in the text Macalister also posits that Macha was a later addition to the Badb/Anand (Nemain) pairing, saying, "Macha, one of the Badb sisterhood, has a certain individuality of her own, and enjoyed a special cult, probably centered at Armagh (Ard Macha) , to which she bequeathed her name. Her intrusion into the Badb sisterhood may be a subsequent development, for the genealogies before us seem to suggest an earlier tradition in which Badb and the variously named third member of the group formed a dyad." (Macalister, 1941) . This provides us a variety of interesting information about Macha. We learn that she is the daughter of Delbaeth and Ernmas, and sister to Badb and Anand, one of the three Morrigan. And we learn - according to the Lebor Gabala Erenn anyway - that Macha falls in battle with Nuada at the hand of Balar of the evil eye. This seems to tell us that she was actually fighting in the battle along side the other warriors.

All of this information is supported in the "index to persons" of the Cath Maige Tuired, which references her as one of the Tuatha de Danann, and agrees with the Lebor Gabala Erenn's parentage. This index also mentions that in the Banshenchus she is listed as one of the Tuatha de Danann's magic workers, and that in the first battle of Mag Tuired she acts with the other two Morrigan to use magic against the enemy, specifically by sending rain, fog, and showers of blood and fire upon the opposing army. The second battle of Mag Tuired lists the three Morrigan as ban-draoithe, or Druids (Gray, 1983) . This tells us that not only is she a warrior but also a magic user, especially of battle magic.

Next she appears as a fairy woman who marries a peasant named Crunnchu, and becomes pregnant with twins. He goes to a festival held by the king who is bragging of the speed of his horses. Crunnchu, despite being warned by Macha not to speak of her to anyone else, brags that his wife could outrace any horse, and the furious king demands that Crunnchu bring her immediately to race or forfeit his life. Macha begs for a delay as she is in labor, but is denied and forced to race anyway. She wins, collapsing and birthing her twins just past the finish line and curses the men of Ulster with nine days of labor pain in their greatest hour of need for "nine times nine" generations before dying.

To this day the spot carries her name, Emain Macha, where for a long time festivals and assemblies were held, especially at Lunasa. It is from this story that her associations with horses, childbirth, pregnancy, justice and, again, the produce of the earth - by marrying a peasant - are seen. As already mentioned, there seems to be a clear connection between this Macha and the Macha of the Tuatha de Danann.

In the final story, we see her connection to sexuality, sovereignty, and battle. She is Macha Mog Ruadh, Macha Red-Hair, daughter of one of three kings who share the rulership of Ireland, each ruling for seven years in turn. When her father dies, Macha steps up to rule but is challenged by the other two kings who do not want to co-rule with a woman. She battles them and wins, and when her seven years are up she refuses to turn leadership over to the others since she is Queen not by blood but through victory in battle. One of the two kings dies, leaving five sons who would challenge her, so she goes to them in the appearance of a crone or leper and seduces them one by one, tying them up afterwards and thereby defeating them and enslaving them. Finally she marries the last of the original three kings, Cimbaeth.

This story has the most tenuous link to the Goddess on the surface, but I have always seen a lot of mythic symbolism in the story. The number of kings and years, as well as Macha going to the five sons disguised as either a crone or leper, and then her marrying the final king to give him full sovereignty have always struck me more as echoes of the older tales about the goddess of the land choosing the king through trials.

Traditionally the severed heads of enemy warriors were called "Macha's acorn crop" another sign that she was a warrior goddess (Sjoedstedt, 2000) . My unverified gnosis is that in each story when she "dies" she is actually just returning to the Otherworld from whence she came, having accomplished what she intended in our world.

From a purely personal perspective, I have found her to be fiercely loving and protective of those she calls her own, with a strong "mother" energy to her, but she can be very no-nonsense and unbending as well. She always appears to me as a red haired warrior woman wearing a cloak of black feathers and riding or walking next to a black or white horse, sometimes both. To me she is a goddess of the sovereignty of the land, a protector of the weak, and goddess of women and women's issues, especially pregnancy and childbirth - which is definitely a form of battle.

Gray, E. (1983) Cath Maige Tuired. Published by the Irish texts Society.
Macalister, R. (1941) . Lebor Gabala Erenn, volume IV. Published by the Irish Texts Society.
Sjoestedt, M. (2000) Celtic Gods and Heroes. Dover Publications
Stokes, W. (1898 ) O’Mulconry’s Glossary
Personal experience

Copyright: Portions of this article were previously published in the quartelry magazine Eolas in 2011; this version has been revised and expanded from the original.



Location: Ledyard, Connecticut

Author's Profile: To learn more about Morgan - Click HERE

Other Articles: Morgan has posted 8 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE

Email Morgan... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)

To send a private message to Morgan ...

Pagan Essays

Pagan Web
8,000 Links

Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.

80,000 Profiles

Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops

Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2016 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World

Search Articles

 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide

NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).