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The Guises of the Morrigan - The Irish Goddess of Sex & Battle [Paperback]

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Item description for The Guises of the Morrigan - The Irish Goddess of Sex & Battle by David Rankine...

The Morrgan is the pre-eminent and most powerful of the Celtic Goddesses. She is the Bestower of Sovereignty, and it is she who shapes the land and rules the faery as Queen. She is a Goddess of both sex and battle, and she uses her potent magic and sorcery to shapeshift, assuming the forms of numerous wild animals. In this book the many parallels between The Morrgan and other Goddesses and figures from both British and Gallic folklore, including Morgan Le Fay, the Banshee, Black Annis, Danu, Epona, Grian, Modron, Nantosuelta and Rhiannon are explored.

Her manifold roles, titles and guises weave a rich and colourful tapestry showing the continued dominion of The Morrgan in mythology, folklore and literature. She was the tutelary Goddess to the ill-fated hero Cu Chulainn; she was the Faery Queen and the Washer at the Ford. She was also the wise crone the Cailleach, and the battle crow Badb, the frenzied Nemain and the Warrior Queen Macha.

Her roles and guises which are brought together for the first time in this carefully researched volume, the work of many years of study, demonstrate clearly the significant status that she held in the ancient Celtic world and continues to enjoy today.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   212
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.4" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 13, 2005
Publisher   Avalonia
ISBN  1905297009  
ISBN13  9781905297009  

Availability  92 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 21, 2016 06:01.
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More About David Rankine

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! David Rankine (Wales) has been practicing magic for twenty-five years. He gives regular talks and workshops around Europe. For more information, visit

David Rankine currently resides in London. David Rankine was born in 1965.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Fairy Tales
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > Mythology > Folklore
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > Mythology > General
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > General
5Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical

Reviews - What do customers think about The Guises of the Morrigan - The Irish Goddess of Sex & Battle?

Morrigan! Faery Queen! Macha! Nemain!   Jul 20, 2006
Let me start by saying that I bought this book after reading the excellent book Artemis Virgin Goddess of the Sun & Moon by Sorita D'Este. I was so impressed I wanted to see what else this author has written. And this book, surpassed the Artemis one by some. Maybe it is because David and Sorita are a couple who work together and teach together, maybe their passion for ancient Celtic Goddesses is greater. Artemis is a great book and one I recommend highly, but this book is even better!

Firstly I wish to comment on some of the other reviewers' comments that this book somehow implies that the Morrigan was the same as pretty much every other deity of the time. It simply does not do that. Many of the Goddesses and figures mentioned are from a later period, some from the same period and some were known as being manifestations of the Morrigan in the ancient myths themselves.

The authors also never imply that they are the same. I quote "To put all the material into a clear perspective that covers the whole spectrum of her guises and disguises, this chapter covers all the different goddesses and beings that are associated with the Morrigan, as aspects or derivatives of her." (from the introduction to Chapter 15 which looks at the different Goddesses). This section provides valuable information for anyone who is serious about understanding the development of Celtic mythology and in particular, of course, the Morrigan.

For example : Aine (the first entry) the authors describe that she is a Faery Queen who occurs in several tales. As is the case with most faeries from mythology, it is likely that she was derived from an earlier Goddess. They go on to give translations for her name and show that the translations relate to descriptions given of the Morrigan. Then they give an example from Lady Gregory showing that at least in 1904 there were associations made between the Morrigan and Aine. They then go on to compare the Morrigan with Aine - they both had associations with poetry, war, music. The Morrigan was a Faery Queen, as was Aine. Giving examples from the 17th century they then show that Aine was associated with the Banshee by Maurice Fitzgerald in 1642, the Banshee is often seen to be associated with the Morrigan in literature. So the way I see it, they are showing that for the last few hundred years (at least) other people associated Aine with the Morrigan. A study of the Morrigan would be, in my opinion, incomplete without this section!

What I really like about this book is that it does not go into long retellings of the stories, it instead encourages the readers (if they have not done so already) to go and read the original tales for themselves. In other words, although the relevant passages are recounted, the reader is assumed to be intelligent and is encouraged to go back to source. Numerous footnotes and a huge bibiography gives plenty of reading material for those who are serious about wishing to learn more.

The other benefit of this approach is that all the information in the book is relevant. There is no bulking out to make the book seem thicker and more important. The authors have done their research. They did it throroughly and well. They know their topic and as such there is no need for the needless fluffing, which is so often the case in modern pagan books.

I have now bought quite a few books by these authors, all published by Avalonia. The books are well produced and presented (sometimes with the small errors that you would expect from a new and small publishing house) but what has become obvious to me is that they are here to stay and that their work continues to impress not just me, but also a number of my friends, who are tired of reading rehashed material by authors who only work from secondary sources.

Fantastic work and a "must read" for all ye olde Pagans and students of the Celtic myths alike.
The Morrigan Revealed  Jun 11, 2006
While searching for information on The Morrigan, I found that there aren't a lot of books on this powerful goddess of the ancient Celts. This book came up first and foremost as being wholly about her.

The authors do a wonderful job in setting the stage and giving the reader the basics about this apparently elusive goddess. They delve into her myths, though not too deeply because of their length, and explain why she wasn't only seen as a Battle Goddess, but also as an Earth Goddess, a Liminal Goddess (one who rules over "changes of state, transformation, and boundries"), and a Bestower of Sovereignty; as well as a Faery Queen and even a Banshee after Ireland became Christianized.

The book is well laid out with specific chapters and sub-chapters dedicated to her different guises. It is a very easy read for beginners in ancient goddess studies and makes a great reference book for those more advanced. The sketch drawings throughout the book add to it's charm.

The one thing I found a bit "off" (and the reason for 4 stars) is that it seems the authors go out of their way to try to link The Morrigan with most other goddesses of the time. Many goddesses and gods had some of the same attributes, but that doesn't neccessarily mean they were all one Being. Other than that, I found it quite enjoyable.
Fantastic Piece of Research & the Only Book on the Topic To Date  Apr 19, 2006
There has been a view unfair reviews of this book, which to me seems to be based on who the authors are, rather than what the book says. Yes, the couple who wrote this are well known in Britian and Europe as Wiccans and yes they have written books on topics from Wicca through to Qabalah and on other Gods and Goddesses, but what has that got to do with anything? Surely we need to judge the book by what it actually contains and how it is presented?

If judged on the latter, this book presents a great body of well researched material from a huge body of source material (a glance at the bibliography will show you that they were not just making it all up!). The material is presented without biased opinions, as some reviewers claim. They never claim that the Morrigan is all the goddesses who ever walked on these lands (or any other for that matter) but do present arguments, based on factual research, on how the Morrigan may be connected to other Goddesses. They leave you to reach your own conclusions.

For many years I wished for more information on the Morrigan than that which I was able to find in publications available to me. For years I hoped that someone someday would create a book just like this, except I never thought someone would.

The authors should be commended for the work they are doing. There is nothing wrong with their research, but unfortunately it does challenge some established views on who the Morrigan is and what her role was within the Celtic myths. It greatly expands the information previously available and frankly I can't imagine that anyone is likely to better it anytime in the near future.

So, in brief: If you are interested in Irish mythology, Celtic myths and stories and if you have an interest in the Morrigan - buy this book - new, secondhand whatever. Its a great book.
A Great Resource - Reference, Myths & more  Apr 15, 2006
This was the first book I bought by David Rankine, co-written with his partner, Sorita D'Este, this book is a great resource for those interested in Celtic mysteries and in particular those of the Morrigan. Since then my library of books by these authors have grown quite a bit and I still have a few more to acquire (when my ship comes in!)

This is not a "pagan" book as is claimed by some of the reviewers, this book does not display personal bias and when personal opinions are given it is clearly stated that a conclusion may be reached and the reasons are clearly stated. It is Pagan / Wiccan only as much as the authors have written books on other subjects such as Wicca, Western Mysteries and Qabalah - that however does not make this book invalid, check their credentials rather than jumping to conclusions!

So much is covered in this book, I agree that a pron. guide would have been useful - some of the words are truly strange to my tongue and I spent some of the my childhood years in Ireland. There is no other book available on the Morrigan that I know of, so this book is groundbreaking, like much of the other books being published by Avalonia at the moment.

The pen & ink illustrations by Brian Andrews add an interesting dimension to the book and I love the cover illustration by the same artist. I wonder if there are prints available? (But that is off topic in regards to this review!)

Love Her, Fear Her, Intrigued by Her - the Morrigan certainly is an interesting Goddess. Whether you are interested (like me) just in the stories and myths or - if like some others you are a present day Priestess, Priest or Magickian seeking to learn more about this powerful and enigmatic Goddess - this book is a great reference work indeed.
The best overview on the subject  Nov 27, 2005
An excellent book. Going to any chapter will give you all the relevant quotes and links from the original sources about that aspect of The Morrigan. I disagree with the reviewer who said the authors go too far with their premise that she was the primary Goddess. For example, I was shocked to find how sources such as 'the book of Lecan' and 'the book of Leinster' describe Danu as (if not the very same deity as The Morrigan) definitely in the group of 3 or 4 individuals who were referred to by that title (Badb, Nemain, etc). They provide good evidence that The Morrigan is a much more far-reaching deity than currently thought.

This is the most user-friendly book I've found for pagans who want to know about her in more detail to enhance their practice, or for academics who want a list of primary sources for a particular lesser-known aspect.

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