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Oh Morgana! What have they done to you?

A short missive on the changes of a goddess, by: Professor Roland Rotherham.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! How many times have I had to sit and suffer as I watch yet another retelling of the "Arthur" story by yet another second rate Hollywood producer tell me of the purity of Galahad, the courage of Arthur and the villainy of Morgan Le Fay !

I swear by all I hold dear that one day my size 10 hiking boot will impale itself in the diminishing remnants of my TV screen as it is finally propelled by force from my hand to finally stop this incessant torture to my senses.

One day, perhaps, we will see the truth told! We have come close with the final screening of the (almost) excellent film "Mists of Avalon", but then with such a superb written work to use it would take a very special kind of Hollywood 'Twonk' to screw that story up!!!

It takes only a little research on the part of the writers to come to the real Morgan and yet they still seem to resist the effort of putting the record straight. A shame, as I am sure that it is long overdue to place this particular lady in the correct picture frame so that all can see the reality, strength and beauty that make up the original character.

In reality we can start by delving into the ancient Celtic word that was so rich and redolent in its use of fabulous deities and heroes to explain the message of the world as they saw it and who is to say they were wrong?

We first find the character of Morgan appearing in the Arthurian tales in her more familiar form only at the height of the romantic period and culminating in the perverted form that most know in Mallory's "Le Morte D'Arthur", how come that this transformation can take place ? Well there you have a transformation indeed and one that literature has created to the detriment of the original persona.

The original Morgan, if we can call her that, for it is NOT her name is to be found in many early tales from the lands of the Welsh and Irish. Look for her as a divinity with the powers of the winds, the care of children, and the propagation of gods and, of course, shape shifting.

Let us call by her real name of "The Morrigan", that strange denizen of the world of shadows whose appearance in tales is a presage that something remarkable is about to happen. She is one of the oldest pantheon of deities and is known with the same or similar powers by other cultures as she has evolved into other myth cycles over the passage of time.

Does she sound familiar? Well, let's have a closer look, how about her affinity with love and children and the propagation of gods! Well? Oh come on think!! Yes, that's it! We could be looking at a later incarnation of Lilith, the first woman of creation who in turn shares so much with the Earth Mother herself and then again with Demeter and countless other female entities who have graced our thoughts.

And what about this marvellous shape-shifting? Yet another form of showing the divine in creation to mortals. But it is this that will one day prove her downfall to modern stories, that and, of course, the fact that she is a WOMAN !!!!!!

The shape-shifting gives us clues as to the form of worship that our ancestors used to become one with their world. This could have been induced by trance or narcotic, the result was the same, the ability to identify with the totem creature and as such to take on its environment and thus to understand your own. Don't forget that in the delightful "Once and Future King", Wart changes into creatures to learn his world prior to taking on kingship, all this and more is the province of the Morrigan.

As to her "Demonization", blame, as always, A MAN!! And in particular the effect of the European Catholic tradition and its endeavour to stamp out anything that does not fit in to the scheme as seen by the Bishop of Rome. All of the old greats suffered in the same way and all of them were morphed into dark and unwholesome images. And let us not forget, the fact that being a woman the Morrigan could never have been shown as powerful and in a position of equal authority to a man. Again the same fate will be suffered by Lilith, Erda and countless others as the misogynistic wave of enforcement swept across the world, lets not forget about Mary Magdalene and her subsequent dismissal as a person of integrity in the eyes of many.

Any way, I am going to close here as if I go on too long you will not be tempted to listen my lectures (oh heinous crime). And so may I leave you with a brief thought: "God may be a magician and reality may be his trick and if so it's all done with mirrors"!

Professor Roland Rotherham
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