Wild Irish Roses: Tales of Brigits, Kathleens, and Warrior Queens
As did so many human women in those days, the Morrigan found herself attracted to the hero, Cuchulain, who preferred war to love and rebuffed her. Of course, it's bad luck to spurn a goddess, as Cuchulain learned. The angry goddess came against him in battle, and when the dust settled, both of them were the worse for wear. Eventually the two became friends.
Guide Wild Irish Roses: Tales of Brigits, Kathleens, and Warrior Queens
Before Cuchulain's last battle, the Morrigan even tried to keep him from getting himself killed by breaking the shaft of his chariot. Cuchulain, too proud to pay attention, and also a little dim, ignored the warning and went to his death. And when he died, the Morrigan, in the shape of a crow, flew down and perched on his shoulder. Being a natural troublemaker, maybe because she loved fighting so much, the Morrigan was also a cattle rustler.
The ancient Irish held cattle to be so important that they counted their wealth in cows, and were forever stealing each others' herds. Once the Morrigan stole a cow belonging to a mortal woman named Odras, and tried to take it into her fairy hill. When Odras tried to get her cow back, the goddess turned the unfortunate woman into a pool of water.
The Morrigan outdid herself when she stole a magical cow of the Sidhe to mate with the great brown bull of Cooley. With this act, she put into motion the events that caused the great war between Ulster and Connaught known as the Cattle Raid of Cooley. After mating the two animals, the Morrigan returned the cow to its fairy hill, and in due time the cow gave birth to a magical, talking calf.
Shortly after that, the Sidhe went to war against the king and queen of Connaught, Ailill and Maeve.
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In the heat of battle, the fairy calf met and fought with Ailill's prize bull, the white bull of Connaught. Young upstart that he was, the calf lost the battle with the bull, and cried out, "If my father, the great brown bull of Cooley, was here, he'd beat you from Connaught to Ulster!
When Maeve heard those words from the mouth of the remarkable calf, she exclaimed, "By the Goddess, I will neither eat, nor drink, nor will I sleep, until I see the great white bull fight the great brown bull! All of this was the fault of the Morrigan, who, being a goddess, could foresee the future and knew darn well that she would cause a war.
For the Morrigan, love and war went together like a horse and carriage.
One Samhain eve, before a great battle, the Dagda, king of the Tuatha De Danaan, strolled by the banks of the river Unius and ran into the Morrigan, who was bathing in the river. Naked and magnificent, with the nine locks of her hair unloosed, she stood with her right leg on one side of the river and her left leg on the other side they were giants in those days. The sight of her inflamed the Dagda, and as for the Morrigan, she never needed to be asked twice. The two of them went at it, then and there, on the grassy banks of the river, beneath the starry sky of Ireland.
The Dagda must have been really good in bed, because the Morrigan was so delighted by his performance that she promised him victory in the next day's battle—and she had the power to do that.
Sure enough, the Tuatha De Danaan won the war. Then the Morrigan committed a gruesome act that reminds us just how long ago these tales were first told, and how savage were the people who told them.
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She scooped up two handsful of blood from the enemy dead and gave it to her tribe to drink! No matter how much she lusted after some guy, the Morrigan was never nice. Her sister Macha, on the other hand, who was so nasty that the heads of warriors cut off in battle were called "Macha's acorn crop," made the mistake of sacrificing her fierce nature when she fell in love with the mortal, Crunden.
Crunden was a poor but handsome widower, who lived in a lonely cottage in the Ulster hills. In her attempt to become the kind of woman he might go for, Macha gentled herself into a mortal woman.
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In the form of a beautiful woman, she marched through the astonished man's door one day, and commenced to make up the fire. She then swept the dust bunnies off the messy floor Crunden, no house-keeper, had let his home go to seed , milked the cow, and whipped up some tasty oat cakes, all without saying a word.
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A thousand years earlier, the Celts limed their hair.
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