Welcome back to Morgan le Fay Week at White Rose of Avalon! For day three of Morgan le Fay Week, as well as this week’s Femme Fatale Friday, I have decided to discuss Morgan as Queen of the Shadows. This is Morgan as her most deep and shadowy Death Goddess aspect. It is this aspect of Morgana that feels the most linked to the Morrigan, who is controversially associated with her. It is also the Queen of the Shadows that is the most Banshee-related aspect of Morgana!
We feel this Dark and Death Goddess part of Morgana most potently around Samhain. This is unsurprising as All Hallow’s Eve has long been associated as a time of the Veil Between the Worlds of the Living and Dead being at its thinnest. The time surrounding Samhain is the time when ghosts can most easily walk free and communicate with their living loved ones. Horror films and seances in the modern day, really since the nineteenth century, have embraced the creepy dark depths of the shadows in association with death and Halloween!
Morgana’s Shadow Queen archetype is one of the most iconic of all of her faces. She is the classic Halloween Witch and Sorceress using her magic to cast spells on those who angered her. In the medieval tales Morgan was said to have been sent to a nunnery for her education, but instead of learning to be a proper wife of a nobleman or king, she was taught the art of necromancy. In the medieval period necromancy simply referred to any form of dark magical arts. Today the term is synonymous with practicing magic to raise the dead! This shows a centuries-old link with the idea of Morgan le Fay being associated with death.
The Shadow Queen can help us dig into our own shadow selves. When we look deeply within the darkest depths of our wounded psyches we can begin to see patterns of trauma. It is by learning about our traumas and innate wounds that we can begin to learn how to heal. When we begin this healing process, it will be painful, but it will also help us become our most self-actualized selves. It should not be underestimated how powerful shadow exploration is. By doing this painful work, we can lift a weight off of our shoulders, releasing the tension we may not realize is impacting our daily lives! Morgan is often referred to as a midwife of the soul, this is in reference to the Shadow Queen aspect of this Great Goddess.
In acting as a psychopomp, she helps us cross over from one state of being into another. This can mean physical death, but more often it is simply a way of helping us transform into a new version of ourselves. Similar to the Death card in the Tarot is about transformation and change more than it is about physical demise, psychopomps are there to help us dig into the depths and learn truths that we would not be able to figure out otherwise! Morgan as a psychopomp is featured in basically all of her appearances in the Arthuraid, as she always comes to bring Arthur to Avalon when he is dying after Camlann. Even in her earliest Geoffrey of Monmouth appearance, Merlin brings Arthur to her in Avalon to be healed. She is literally taking Arthur from the human world to Avalon, which as well as being Faeryland is also an Isle of the Dead, making her his guide through the Veil! I hope that you have enjoyed this analysis of Morgan le Fay in her death aspect. It is the version of Morgan that is truly a femme fatale, making it the perfect choice for Femme Fatale Friday. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post I feel embodies Morgan as Queen of the Shadows. I found the image on https://www.ebay.com/itm/310794957040.
- Vita Merlini by Geoffrey of Monmouth
- Arthurian Romances by Chretien de Troyes
- Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory