Morgan Le Fay: 9 Ways to Work With the Fairy Goddess of Avalon
The first time I ever heard the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, I was hooked. As a young girl, I voraciously consumed any movie, book, or show on the Arthurian legends. The magic, the heroism, the adventure. But it wasn’t just the men in the stories that intrigued me and kept me coming back. It was the women. And more specifically, that illusive priestess slash fairy goddess, Morgan le Fay. As I grew older and began practicing paganism, I realized she is much more than what the Arthurian legends give her credit for. Let’s meet the real Morgan Le Fay and learn how to work with her in our practice.
Who is Morgan Le Fay? Her Mysterious Origins
Answering the question, who is Morgan le Fay, is going to be a difficult one. But we plan to do our best for this illusive fairy queen goddess. First, let’s examine her name. Because therein lies some of her origins and powers. Her first name, Morgan, is likely of Celtic origin and means sea or sea-born. Interestingly, mermaids are called morgens in some Celtic regions. Next, le Fay is actually French and means the fairy. So, we can gather that her name literally means fairy born from the sea. If you’ve never heard of Morgan le Fay, you’ve likely at least heard of King Arthur, Lancelot and Camelot.
Morgan is a character in the Arthurian legends. Sometimes she’s Arthur’s half-sister and sometimes she’s his lover. But her origins go back long before the Medieval Era and are much more important than a side role in a story. She was likely a water goddess or spirit of formidable power in ancient Celtic Britain.
Morgan Le Fay’s Mixed Portrayal in the Arthurian Legends
We first learn of Morgan le Fay in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s work Vita Merlini from twelfth century Wales. In this early Medieval version of the King Arthur legend, Morgan Le Fay is portrayed as an ally of the King’s in more than one way. She guides him to her magical land called Avalon in order to heal his fatal wound. And keep him there until his time to return to England has come. The enchantress called Morgan Le Fay is not only a ruler of an Otherworld, but a psychopomp who guides Arthur to the afterlife safely. And a healer.
From Higginson’s Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic, “he was rowed away by weeping queens, and one of them was his sister Morgan le Fay.” This late nineteenth century version of the tale supports Geoffrey of Monmouth’s original in which Morgan is an ally to the King. Rather than an enemy. He goes on to describe Morgan’s abilities including that she “knows the virtues of all the herbs in the meadow.” A skill she uses to treat Arthur’s fatal wound.
From Beloved Healer to Feared Heathen Witch…
Sadly, as the centuries went on, Morgan Le Fay quickly became the main antagonist in the Arthurian legends. A character who demonstrated all of the “evil” in the world at the time including malefic witchcraft, incest, greed and wrath. This opposite depiction of her we owe to the Cistercian monks in the thirteenth century who composed the Prose Lancelot. The Prose Lancelot told the story from the perspective of Sir Lancelot, a knight of the round table, and paints a despicable picture of Morgan.
From Andrew Lang’s King Arthur: Tales of the Round Table, “Meanwhile King Arthur had rested himself at the Abbey, and afterward he rode to Camelot, and was welcomed by his Queen and his knights. And when he told his adventures and how Morgan Le Fay sought his death, they longed to burn her for treason.” Here we see the “evil witch queen” aspect being perpetuated alongside the other in the same century – the 1800’s. The monks who changed Morgan’s role from heroine to enemy changed much of the legend to circle around the themes of male vs. female, good vs. evil, Christianity vs. Paganism, etc. So obviously a strong, female role with magical healing abilities had to be demonized.
Morgan Le Fay and the Morrigan
There’s some conjecture as to whether Morgan Le Fay might be another aspect of the Celtic war goddess The Morrigan. First, we see that their names are close enough. Second, The Morrigan is linked to shapeshifting, war, death, sovereignty and fertility…as well as to the fae. As is Morgan Le Fay. In fact, The Morrigan is one of the Tuatha de Danann, or a divine race of beings who are also believed to be of faery origin. Obviously Morgan Le Fay is connected to the fairies, as well, and is considered one of the fay herself. In addition, they both hold the crow as their sacred animal.
Morgan Le Fay is also connected to Fata Morgana, which is an optical illusion that can happen at sea. Being that Morgan Le Fay is sea-born, and was likely first a sea goddess or water fairy, this makes sense. Especially too because her Isle of Avalon is shrouded by mist, floating somewhere in a magical lake. In some tales, her kingdom is actually under the water and may be located somewhere close to Brittany, France.
How Does Morgan Le Fay Manifest?
The fairy queen Morgan Le Fay may manifest out of a mirage, since her kingdom lies somewhere beyond the mists in the Celtic Otherworld. We don’t know exactly how Morgan Le Fay looks, but from the later illustrations we can glean she is a beautiful woman. In the prime of her life. She carries a youthfulness about her, but also the confidence, ferocity and wisdom of a mother and high priestess. She’s often depicted and seen with incredibly long hair and wearing traditional robes or Medieval garb.
When she’s in her shapeshifted form, she’ll take on the appearance of a blackbird or crow and sometimes that of a mermaid or siren. In some tales, Morgan Le Fay takes the shape of an ugly old woman so as to teach lessons and/or with malevolent intentions in mind. She may come to you over or under the water, as in her earliest form from Breton folklore.
How to Know She’s Calling You
Every deity, god or goddess, will come to you differently. They all have their own vibe and will summon their allies and devotees in whatever way they prefer. Morgan Le Fay will do the same. But, just in case you need some guidance, here’s a few ways to know she’s calling you:
- You’re drawn to the Arthurian legends
- Her name keeps popping up in books, movies, etc.
- You’re interested in learning fairy magic
- You are drawn to Glastonbury Tor
- Crows keep visiting you in the physical and in meditations
- Your zodiac sign is linked to the water element
- She visits you in dreams and in trance
Morgan Le Fay’s Magical Correspondences
|Black feathers||Death||Dea Matrona||Flowers|
Ways to Work With Morgan Le Fay
Everyone’s relationship with deity will be different. But we typically recommend starting with some of the following ways to work with Morgan Le Fay:
1. Read the Legends and Lore
While the sources are confusing, we can still acquire a lot of information about Morgan Le Fay by reading them. We recommend reading any Arthurian legend version you can get your hands on. There are many for free right on sacred-texts.com. In addition, research the Italian Fata Morgana, as well as the possible connection with Modron and The Morrigan. Take notes and add these to your Book of Shadows.
2. Watch the Movies
What? Am I seriously telling you to watch movies to connect with a goddess? Yes, I am. You’ll get an understanding as to the many aspects of Morgan Le Fay, as well as how she’s been portrayed since the Medieval Ages. In both a good and a bad light. The Mists of Avalon is a great made-for-TV film, as is Excalibur, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Merlin.
3. Set Up An Altar for Morgan Le Fay
If you want to continue a relationship with this deity, consider setting up an altar for her. Place her image there, along with a cup of water along with representations of water like seashells and coral. Since she lives in Avalon, perhaps an apple decoration or picture of an orchard. Candles and incense are traditional for any pagan altar. As is an offering bowl and/or a flower vase.
4. Healing Magic and Herbalism
Learning the art of healing, particularly with herbs, is encouraged when working with Morgan Le Fay. She is a healer and herbalist herself and will teach you her ways if you are worthy and only ask. Keep a grimoire dedicated to your herbal studies. Go for nature walks and learn of the wild herbs all around you. Make various herbal remedies like teas, salves, creams, ointments, liniments, etc.
5. Sea Witchcraft
Morgan was born from the sea and lives somewhere over or under it. Incorporate sea witchery into your practice, specifically when working with her energy. Collect seashore items like shells, driftwood, seaglass, and sand. Purify yourself by bathing in the ocean or lake. Work with sea water and spirits of the sea to make changes in your life.
6. Fairy Magick
Morgan Le Fay is one of the fairy people, and so working with the fairies is encouraged. There are plenty of books out there teaching this method of magick, how to contact the fairies and interact with them safely. And how to harness their wisdom and magick to aid your own. Ask Morgan for her assistance and blessings.
7. Regular Offerings
Every deity and every spirit enjoys gifts. We call these offerings. The Avalonian goddess is no different. Offer her fresh water as often as you can. And in addition, candlelight and prayer. Wild herbs and flowers. Wine and tea are all acceptable offerings. I’ve also heard she likes jewelry, coins, and shiny things. Similar to how blackbirds like shiny items. You can also leave blackbird feathers on her altar, as well as a mirror dedicated to her.
8. Visit Glastonbury Tor
Sometime in the past centuries, a king claimed to have found the graves of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere near Glastonbury Tor in England. From that point forward, the local belief was that the Tor was once the center of the mystical Isle of Avalon. Many people take sacred pilgrimages to the Tor today to connect with King Arthur, but more importantly, with the powerful goddess energy you can feel there. With Morgan’s energy! If you can, visit the Tor one day yourself.
9. Astronomy and Mathematics
Think I sound crazy? Well, Morgan le Fay was said to be a brilliant astronomer and mathematician. Two skills that she taught to her 8 sisters and those who were worthy. Consider taking a course in astronomy or mathematics, if you aren’t currently. Ask the fairy goddess to guide you and open your mind to learning. You might see how magical these topics truly are.