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Celtic birds reflected the indigenous birds of Western Europe, where the main carrion-eating species was the crow or raven. There were three Raven goddess sisters, Morrigan, Macha or Nass, and Badbh or Nemhain, who appear primarily in old Irish myth. They were called the Morrigu.
Machaflew over battlefields as a huge crow or raven, accompanied by a flock of ravens, protecting the tribes she favored, warning them of the enemy’s approach, and encouraging them to victory.
Badbh, the Crone goddess, carried the souls of the slain to the otherworld for healing and rebirth. She had the power to choose who should live and who should die. Sister and prophetess of fate, Badbh, it was foretold, would herald the end of time when her otherworld cauldron overflowed. Ravens, like vultures, pick the flesh off corpses; this carrion-eating aspect had magical significance in the matriarchal Celtic world, with the Death Mother being Badbh’s alter ego, the mother who birthed new life.
Nemhain, whose name means frenzy, was the wildest of the sisters. She was called the confounder of armies. Nemhain was the trickster of battle who could set armies fighting against allies by sending down a storm or mists, or who could appear out of the mist, luring warriors onto marshy or unsafe land.
- Fabulous Creatures, Mythical Monsters, and Animal Power Symbols: A Handbook by Cassandra Eason
"I lived in Poland, so we were persecuted from the first day of the war. First they took us from our home, then they put us in a ghetto, then they made us march, then they sent us to the camps. I was separated from everyone, but my brother later told me that my father froze to death. But I have children now, and grandchildren, and great grandchildren— a great big family, all of them educated. Look at everything that came from just one person who escaped. Just goes to show that you can never kill a people with hate. There will always be someone left to carry on.”