Queen Medb: 9 Ways to Honor the Celtic Goddess of Sovereignty
Queen Medb. Her name evokes complex emotions in those who know her. Vilified in Irish myth, yet today a goddess of strength and women’s sovereignty. Who exactly is Queen Medb and is she a deity of whom will benefit modern practitioners? In this article, we look at this complex Celtic Goddess’ origins, history, and share 9 ways in which to honor her in your pagan or witchcraft practice.
Who is Queen Medb, a.k.a. Maeve the Goddess?
In the Irish mythical Ulster Cycle, Queen Medb makes a ravaging appearance. And unfortunately, she is not portrayed in a necessarily “good” light. In the Ulster Cycle, Queen Medb is a promiscuous queen of of the Irish kingdom Connacht. And in the Cattle Raid of Cooley, she desires a magical stud bull of the Ulster kingdom. So much so that she ignites a war in attempts to acquire said bull. Her name, Medb (pronounced meadh), translates to She Who Intoxicates and is directly linked to the word mead (a wine made from honey). Yet Medb is much more than her name and the tales indicate. In looking at her personality at surface level, we miss her greatest aspects: Maeve the Goddess of War, Sovereignty, Female Strength, Sexual Freedom, Independence and Power.
Maeve Goddess’ Magical Associations and Qualities
- Country/Region: Connacht (Western Ireland)
- Domain: Earth
- Powers: War, Death, Fertility, Sex, Ecstasy, Strength, Sovereignty, Empowerment, Shapeshifting
- Animals: Crows, Birds, Wolves, Cows, Pigs, Squirrels and small woodland animals
- Allies: Ailil
- Other Goddesses: She may be an aspect of The Morrigan
- Enemies: Cu Chulainn, Forbaide, Conchobar Mac Nessa
- Colors: Red
- Offerings: Mead, Water, Cake, Cream, Ale, Alcohol, Irish foods
- NOTE: NEVER offer her cheese!
- Burial place: Knocknarea in Sligo OR Knockma Hill in Galway
9 Ways to Honor Queen Medb, Maeve the Goddess
Queen Medb seems to be calling to more and more modern witches and pagans. Particularly if you are a woman learning to claim your personal power. Maeve the Goddess is also drawing her children near, for she is an ancestral deity of the (Irish) Gaelic-Celtic peoples. If you have Irish ancestors from Western Ireland, specifically Connacht province, you may claim Queen Medb as a divine ancestor. But whether your family tree descends from Maeve or not, she is willing to work with those who are worthy of her intense lessons and fierce energy. Here’s 9 ways to work with or honor Queen Medb.
1. Research and Study Queen Medb
First and foremost, I always recommend reading and researching your gods thoroughly. Read the Ulster Cycle and Cattle Raid of Cooley, as they are the traditional texts that feature Maeve as Queen of Connacht. Research her lore online and in libraries. Read The Irish Queen Medb: History, Tradition and Modern Pagan Practice by Lora O’Brien. Don’t just stop at what you find online. Ask people who might know more about Irish lore and paganism what they’ve read and how to further research this Celtic goddess of war.
2. Set Up An Altar
I always tell people, you don’t have to set up an altar for every deity. But if you plan to honor a god for a significant period of time, you should. Provide sacred space for Queen Medb somewhere in your home. A small altar on a nightstand, kitchen counter, or bookshelf is perfect. Decorate with her sacred colors red and black and add animal figurines like the crow or bull. Add an image or statue that represents Maeve. Include candles, incense, bowls and cups for offerings.
3. Regular Offerings
Give regular appropriate offerings to Queen Maeve. She particularly loved honey mead and wine. Basically any alcohol (since her name means to intoxicate). Other traditional offerings might include water, cream, cake, tea (specifically with entheogenic herbs like mugwort or damiana), bread, and Irish foods. By no means should you ever offer CHEESE to Queen Medb. More on that later. Actions like learning weaponry, crafting items for her, poetry and song are also appropriate.
4. Brewing Mead for Queen Medb
If you’re feeling extra creative and crafty, try your hand at brewing mead at home. Purchase an entire mead-making kit online and start out small. Choose honey that’s been collected locally OR ship it in from Ireland (Medb’s homeland). Throughout the brewing process, pray over the mead in Queen Maeve’s name and dedicate the action and result in her name. When you’ve made your first batch, offer the first glass to her. You could even name the brew after her.
5. Faery Magick
Sadly, over time, Maeve the Goddess became an “evil” mythical figure, then was demoted (so to speak) to a Fairy Queen following Christianity. And while she should be exalted as a true deity, honoring her fae nature isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. Learning how to work with the Sidhe (the faeries) of Celtic lore also means learning how to work with Maeve herself. Since she is also considered a Queen in the Fairy Realm.
6. Claim YOUR Sovereignty
Sovereignty means independence, rulership of one’s OWN kingdom. And when we work with Queen Maeve’s intense independent energy, we learn to claim our own personal sovereignty. This means the right to make decisions for ourselves. Not to allow others in our lives to control us or our decisions in life. Medb is an empowering goddess for those who seek to claim their power. For those who have been suppressed by others in any form. So claim YOUR sovereignty over your life and invoke this goddess’ energy.
7. Visit Her Sacred Sites
There are more than a few sites in Ireland that are associated with the Intoxicating One. Research these sites and if you can travel to Ireland, visit her sacred places. Queen Maeve’s grave on the summit of Knocknarea is perhaps the most famous supposed burial place. There’s also a slab in County Roscommon believed to be the Queen’s grave. Or visit Cruachan in Connacht, as this was Maeve’s kingdom. As well as the Hill of Tara. Photos of my time at Knocma Hill in Gallway are shown here. I felt the fae’s presence particularly strong at the top of the hill, where Queen Medb’s cairn is supposedly located (one of her supposed resting places).
8. Cheese Fasting
Say what? Fasting from cheese? How does this have to do with the Maeve goddess? Legend has it that Maeve was killed by a piece of cheese. Her nephew, Furbaide, sought revenge for his mother’s death and hurled a piece of cheese at Medb’s head while she bathed. Killing her instantly. So, seeing as how cheese was the weapon of her death, it’s wise to refrain from eating cheese before invoking Maeve. And NEVER offer cheese to this Queen of Connacht.
9. Work With Her Sacred Animals
When Queen Medb manifests to her devotees, she often arrives with birds and small woodland animals on her shoulders and all around her. Crows are one of her favorites, as are squirrels. Learn to work with her sacred animals by working with them as spirit guides. OR volunteer at a bird or animal rescue and dedicate your work in her name.
Grab a signed paperback copy of Kitty Fields’ Compendium of Fairies, Volume 2 in The Otherworldly Oracle Collection with detailed info. on how to work with the ancient elementals, fairy queens, and more.
Read About MORE Celtic Goddesses:
- Morgan Le Fay: 9 Ways to Work With the Avalonian Fairy Goddess
- Brigid: How to Work With the Irish Triple Goddess
- Celtic Goddess of War: 8 Ways to Work With The Morrigan
- Cliodhna: The Celtic Fairy Goddess 10 Ways to Work With Her