There are tales that link Morgan to being a title rather than simply a specific character. Modern Avalonian witchcraft traditions even sometimes refer to their priestesses as Morgens! It is an interesting way of looking at the figure of Morgan Le Fay. When we go back and look at the original reference to her in the Arthurian tradition in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Vita Merlini we see her as the leader of a group of nine sisters on the Isle of Avalon.
When we see Morgana in Monmouth’s poem, it is only briefly, but we learn she is a great healer and the first and most beautiful amongst nine sisters. She is a practitioner of white magic who is trying to heal Arthur after he has been wounded at the battle of Camlann. In this version of her there is not even a whiff of negativity, and she emanates powerful goodness. It is later that we begin to see her as a practitioner of darker arts, and as an antagonist seeking to kill Arthur and Guinevere.
The knowledge of herblore, lunar magic, water magic, and healing arts links Monmouth’s Morgan with ancient traditions of white witches and wise women who took it as their job to heal the ill. It is an important link to looking at Morgan as being a title. In the modern day we see women taking on a similar path, desiring to use magic to help those who need it, and they are descendants of this aspect of Morgan. It makes sense that they would like to refer to themselves as Morgans!
We can even say that priestesses who are working magic for personal power, and to grant themselves sovereignty from difficult situations, are also the descendants of Morgana Le Fay! Anyone who wants to learn deeply about themselves, and to delve into the shadow aspects of their personalities will find a perfect companion in Morgana. She is a figure that can help with integration of the shadow self because her character was degraded from role of wise woman and healer, a goddess-like figure, to a simple antagonist. Anyone who delves into the shadows and desires to learn the deep held truths in themselves would likely also proudly take on the title of Morgan!
We do see ancient tradition linking Morgan as a title. There are some variations of the legends that state that Morgan was the name of any leader of the Avalonian nine fold sisterhood. That would mean that even in variations on early traditions there was not one Morgan but many! There is the supreme figure of Morgana, the one that inspired others to follow the path. She is the ultimate priestess of the Goddess (no matter the name, it may be Rhiannon, or others) and she is a living embodiment of her divinity. This is Monmouth’s Morgan, the faerie healer and Queen of Avalon, this is the sister of Arthur who helped protect him and his knights. It is she that spiraled into a villainess of modern thought, and it is she that many of us feel a connection with. This is why we look to understand the reasoning of her actions. Even in older lore she often had good reason to dislike Arthur, as his father was the downfall of hers!
I hope you have enjoyed learning a bit about Morgan as a title. Would you take the title of Morgan if you could? Would you walk the twilight path of Avalon serving the Goddess by Morgana’s side? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is Morgana from the BBC series Merlin as played by Katie McGrath. I found the image on pinterest.com.
- Vita Merlini by Geoffrey of Monmouth
- The Vulgate Cycle
- The Arthurian Romances by Chretien de Troyes
- Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory