Woden's Wandering Witch: Living Liminally: Morrigu
“Badb and Macha, greatness of wealth, Morrigu
springs of craftiness,
sources of bitter fighting
were the three daughters of Ernmas.” ( Macalister, 1941).
The meaning of the name Morrigan is somewhat disputed, but the current leading theory is that it means, roughly, nightmare queen - often given as phantom queen - although others still prefer the great queen interpretation (eDIL, n.d.). The name is a title, and also appears as Morrigu, Morrigna, and Morrighan; it is applied not only to a specific singular goddess but also to that deity’s sisters, Badb and Macha, and later to the goddesses Fea and Nemain. In the Lebor Gabala Erenn we are told “Delbaeth…has three daughters, the famous war-furies Badb, Macha, and Mórrígu, the latter sometimes called Anand or Danand.” (Macalister, 1941). She is the daughter of Ernmas according to the Lebor Gabala Erenn: “Ernmas had other daughters, Badb, and Macha, and Morrigu, whose name was Anand” (MacAlister, 1941). This reinforces that Morrigan’s name could actually be Anand or Danand, or Anu or Danu, and indeed both are given as her name in various portions of the Lebor Gabala Erenn (Gray, 1983). For example, in verse 62, she is listed as one of the sisters with Badb and Macha: “Badb and Macha and Anand, of whom are the Paps of Anu in Luachar, were the three daughters of Ernmas the she-farmer.” (Macalister, 1941). When the Anu connection is accepted some people further relate her to Aine (Berresford Ellis, 1987; Jones, 2009). The connection to Danu is based on the idea that Anu and Danu are the same goddess; This would make her the ultimate progenitor or matriarch of the Tuatha de Danann. A single portion of the Lebor Gabala Erenn says “The Morrigu, daughter of Delbaeth, was the mother of the other sons of Delbaeth, Brian, Iucharba, and Iuchair: and it is from her addtional name “Danann” the Paps of Ana in Luachair are called, as well as the Tuatha De Danann.” (Macalister, 1941). Anu herself is an obscure goddess; the Sanas Cormaic says that she, Anand, is the mother of the Irish gods (Jones, 2009).