Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-2020

Faculty Advisor(s)

Eileen Jankowski


High above the glorious battle, a treachery of ravens await. As silent as the depth of night, they circle the battlefield, anticipating the moment to swoop down and carry away the dead. This was the Morrígan. Commonly known as the "Phantom Queen", the Morrígan was a feared Celtic deity and the goddess of both death and war. As one of Ireland's most powerful goddesses, she appears as both a single being and a triple goddess, forming a trio of sisters who protect both destiny and prophecy. Legend states that she was named as the sisters Badb, Macha, and Neiman, but is also associated with the land goddesses, Ériu, Banba, and Fódla. As the goddess of fate, the Morrígan is also one of the most mysterious figures of Celtic mythology and a formidable shapeshifter. She took many forms and would often appear in different forms in one story. Her most common included a warrior queen and a raven, the latter associated with her due to the bird's constant presence on a battlefield. In the popular mythology of the Greeks, both Thanatos and Athena share attributes with the Morrígan, yet are different all the same. As the Greek and Roman god of death, Thanatos appeared to humans, along with his twin brother Hypnos, to carry them off to the underworld when their time on earth had ended. And as the goddess of war and wisdom, Athena was a respected deity who turned violent when necessary but remained gracious and kind unlike the savage Ares. In comparison to these figures, the Morrígan is not only the embodiment of what both of these deities represent, but also encompasses the ideas of fate and prophecy among the concepts of war and death.


Presented at the Spring 2020 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.