The contemporary stories of Morgan le Fay are based on Christianized versions found in the Medieval writings of the Vulgate and Malory. She is depicted as an evil and lusty enchantress who tricks her brother, good King Arthur, into an incestuous relationship with her, resulting in the unnatural birth of their son, Mordred. She tricks Arthur’s wizard, Merlin, into divulging his magical secrets to her, then disposes of him inside the trunk of a tree, or a crystal cave. She sows the seeds of discontent with gossip against Lancelot and Queen Guinevere, steals the magical sword, Excalibur with it’s healing scabbard, plots the death of Arthur with her various lovers, and ultimately contributes to the dissolution of the Round Table. Yet, even in this version, Morgan was one of the three queens that retrieved Arthur’s fatally wounded body from the Battle of Camlan on Salisbury Plain, and returned with him to the holy Isle of Avalon to heal him, for he is the Once and Future King, destined to return from the timeless fairy island when Britain is in need of him. Marian Zimmer Bradley rescues Morgan le Fay from the Medieval sources, and tells the story from Morgan’s own point of view, as recently seen in the excellent movie, The Mists of Avalon, based on her novel. Celtic Story
Morgan was a Celtic Queen. One of the definitions of the name Morgan is “Great Queen” (Mohr Righan), which may have been an ancient royal title. The early Celts were matriarchal, and during the transition from matriarch to patriarchy, they went by Druidic tanist law, meaning the kingship was inherited by the King’s eldest sister’s son (according to Evangeline Walton’s version of the Mabinogian). Mordred was the true heir to the throne by ancient law, not because he was Arthur’s son, but because he was Arthur’s nephew. (After all, if Guenevere had given birth, whose child would it have been - Arthur’s or Lancelot’s?) The Christian clerics, who supported the patriarchal law of primogenitor (direct inheritance from father to eldest son within the bonds of marriage), changed the facts of the story, making Mordred the product of an unholy, incestuous union between brother and sister in order to invalidate Mordred’s legitimacy and destroy the remnants of the once powerful matriarchal system. Celtic Triple Goddess
But Morgan is far older than the Medieval Arthurian legends. Her name appears in all Celtic lands - Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Mann, Cornwall, and Brittany. As far away as Italy, She is called Fata Morgana which describes the mirages seen near the Straights of Messina. Morgan’s castle is said to be located under the water. I believe She is the one of the oldest Celtic Goddesses, who traveled with the Celtic people across the continent of Europe. There is even a vampire character in Polish folklore called “Morgano” which may be a distant remnant of Her. Morgan is the third aspect of the sacred triad of the Triple Goddess, the essence of the powerful Crone, Warrioress, Seductress. Although She is an elder Goddess, she is still magnificent in appearance - often beautiful but frightening. In many of the tales, such as Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight, she can change her appearance from an ancient hag to a beautiful maiden. Irish Goddess of War and Death
In Ireland, She is called Morrighan (or Morrigu), the Goddess of Battles and Death. She is a Queen among the Tuatha de Danaan. She is a shapeshifter who can take the shape of a raven or crow at battle sites, where She is Chooser of the Slain. In legend, She trained and armed some of Ireland’s greatest warriors, including Chuchulain. She is said to have mated with the Irish God Dagda while straddling a river. The sensuous Battle Goddess seduced many Irish heroes and Gods. The Morrigan is also known as the Washer at the Ford or the Washer of Shrouds. She is seen washing the armor of warriors in a stream, wailing and prophesying their deaths. (Many of Her legends take place...