The Great Mystery Of Macha  

Posted by Stella Clark

The Great Mystery Of Macha Image
MACHA, OR A SERIES OF HEROINES BEARING THE SAME NAME, IS A FREQUENTLY RECURRING FIGURE IN IRISH LORE. THE NAME "MACHA" MEANS "PASTURE, FIELD, "OR "FIELD "WHICH SUGGESTS HER ROLE AS AN EARTH GODDESS. SHE WAS ALSO THE WAR GODDESS OF IRELAND AND A CHAMPION OF WOMEN; SOME SAY SHE IS ONE ASPECT OF THE TRIPLE DEATH GODDESS, THE MORIGAN. MACHA IS A SEER, ONE WHO FORETELLS THE DEATHS OF WARRIORS IN BATTLE AS WELL AS THE OUTCOMES OF WAR. SHE IS ASSOCIATED WITH BOTH HORSES AND CROWS; THE HOODED CROW IS SAID TO BE ONE OF HER TRANSFORMATIONS. SHE IS COMMONLY SHOWN WASHING BLOODY CLOTHES AT THE RIVER, AND WHEN SHE IS APPROACHED, SHE TELLS THE INQUIRER THAT THE CLOTHES ARE THEIRS. SHE APPEARS AS SEVERAL VERY DISTINCT CHARACTERS IN IRISH MYTH.

WHEN SHE FIRST MAKES HER APPEARANCE ON IRISH SOIL, IT IS AS THE WIFE OF THE HERO, NEMEDH, LEADER OF THE NEMEDIANS. IN THIS, THE FIRST OF HER INCARNATIONS, SHE IS BOTH A PROPHETESS AND A GODDESS OF SOVEREIGNTY. SHE EMBODIES THE SPIRIT OF THE LAND AND FERTILITY, AND IS ASSOCIATED WITH THE PASTURES AND THE FIELDS. IT IS SAID THAT HER VISIONS OF THE DEATH AND DESTRUCTION OF HER PEOPLES AND THE COUNTRY WERE SO TERRIFYING THAT SHE DIES OF A BROKEN HEART. HER BURIAL PLACE BEAME KNOWN AS "MACHA'S HEIGHTS..."THE ORIGINAL NAME OF THE CITY WHICH IS NOW CALLED ARMAGH.

Macha reappears as the wife of Nuada of the Silver Hand, one of the great kings of the Tuatha de Danann. The Tuatha Macha was identified as a Goddess of Fertility, War, and of Horses. This is perhaps Her best known incarnation when She is said to be one of the three dark sisters of the Morrigan. She was portrayed as "the red Goddess" for She was always portrayed as being dressed in red or that She had flaming red hair.

Her next appearance is as a beautiful Goddess who was married to a mortal man named Crunnchu, a wealthy farmer in Ulster. One of the first things he noticed about his divine wife was Her amazing speed. She could run a mile to fetch something for him in be back in a mere minute. Even when She became pregnant, and Her belly had swelled, Her speed was unimpeded. Well, one day Crunnchu wanted to go to a festival, and Macha gave him permission to attend, but only if he does not mention Her name. Well, Crunnchu went to the festival and had a bit too much to drink. At this point he began boasting about his wife and how fast She was, that She could probably outrun the king's fastest steed.

AT THIS, THE KING HAD MACHA BROUGHT BEFORE THE FETIVAL AND DEMANDED THAT SHE RACE AGAINST HIS HORSES. SHE PLEADED THAT SHE WAS PREGNANT AND IN NO CONDITION TO RUN, BUT HER PLEAS FELL ON DEAF EARS. THE KING THREATENED TO KILL HER HUSBAND. IT WAS THEN THAT SHE REVEALED HER NAME AND RACED AGAINST THE HORSES. SHE EASILY CROSSED THE FINISH BEFORE THE HORSES AND THEN FELL TO THE GROUND, DELIVERING HER TWIN BABIES RIGHT THERE ON THE DIRT. SH STRUGGLED TO HER FEET WITH A CHILD IN EACH ARM, THEN LAY A CURSE ON THE KING AND ALL OF THE MEN OF ULSTER. THEY WOULD FROM HENCEFORTH ON, FOR A PERIOD OF NINE TIMES NINE GENERATIONS, SUFFER BIRTH PANGS AND MENSTRAL CRAMPS WITH THEIR WOMEN EACH MONTH. AND THEN, SHE VANISHED WITH HER BABIES AND WAS NEVER SEEN AGAIN IN THIS TALE. THE PLACE OF THE RACE WAS NAMED AFTER HER "AS EMAIN MACHA".

THEN IN THE 4TH CENTURY BCE, THERE WAS A GREAT QUEEN KNOWN AS "MACHA OF THE RED HAIR. "IN THIS TALE, SHE WAS THE DAUGHTER OF AED, ONE OF THE THREE KINGS WHO TOOK TURNS RULING. SHE WAS A WARRIOR, A FEARLESS QUEEN CAPABLE OF SUBDUING MULTIPLE RIVALS AND STRIKING TERROR INTO THE HEARS OF MEN. AS THE TALE GOES, WHEN HER FATHER DIED, MACHA TRIED TO TAKE HIS PLACE ON THE THRONE. HER STORY THEN BECOMES ONE OF BOTH INTRIGUE AND FIERCE COMBAT AS SHE HAD TO DEFEAT SEVERAL RIVALS BEFORE SHE COULD COMMAND THE THRONE. AFTERWARDS, THE SONS OF HER RIVALS BUILT THE FORT TEMPLE OF "EMAIN MACHA" WHERE THEY REMAINED IN THE SERVICE OF THE "MIGHTY GODDESS "FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.

AND TODAY I AM LEAVING YOU ALL WITH A QUESTION TO PONDER. ARE THESE ALL DIFFERENT GODDESSES OR PERHAPS ONE POWERFUL FIGURE WHO APPEARS IN DIFFERENT FORMS AT DIFFERENT TIMES? THIS IS THE GREAT MYSTERY OF MACHA. WHAT DO YOU THINK? I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR OPINIONS.

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This entry was posted on 23 June 2010 at Wednesday, June 23, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .

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