Dissertation Title:

Dreaming the Mórrigan: An Arts-Based Study of the Mórrígan and Women’s Sexual Sovereignty


Kerry Manley

Date, Time & Place:

April 20, 2023 at 10:00 am


This Jungian Arts-Based Research (ABR) dissertation explores women’s sexual sovereignty through the creation of artistic work that enters into creative conversation with the mythology of the Mórrígan, an Irish sovereignty goddess. The creative work produced includes an experiential workshop format exploring the story of Macha (a figure of the Mórrígan), example images and interpretations from this workshop, and a seven-part dance film titled Dreaming the Mórrígan (Manley, 2022). The workshop revealed archetypal themes pertaining to the experience of abortion, treating one’s body as a “thing,” and finding meaning in sexual suffering. The film offers imaginal insight into experiences including: famine of body and soul, rage and vengeance, violent possession, weaponized sexuality and the “maneater,” the selling of the female body, ancestral connection, warriorship in service to life, boundary setting, grounded embodiment, the downfall and re-integration of imbalanced power models, dissolving, cleansing, rebirthing, and returning to the human layers of sexual experience. Conclusions are drawn from this work that women’s sexual sovereignty is innately interconnected with the sovereignty of all beings, human and nonhuman, and also that sovereignty must be relational in nature if it is going to serve life.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology with Specialization in Jungian and Archetypal Studies, N, 2017
  • Chair: Dr. Susan Rowland
  • Reader: Dr. Safron Rossi
  • External Reader: Dr. Amanda Williamson
  • Keywords: The Mórrígan, Women, Sexuality, Sexual Sovereignty, Sovereignty, Irish Mythology, Dance, Arts-based Research