After a battle, Macha, the goddess of war
and one of the forms of the Morrigan
, cloaked in the feathers of a carrion
bird, looked on as the bodies of the slain
were heaped up before her. Those of her chosen side were interred
, with all due obsequies, under the great stones of their clans
. But the foemen
who had fallen were dismembered. Their freshly severed - some with battle cries still frozen on their lips, others with mouths fixed in the rictus
of a fearful grin - were impaled
on stakes and raised up in a ring to do her honor.
No tribute pleased her better. A warning to all her enemies, these henges, which were known as the wastes of Macha, stood in the open countryside for all to see, while the birds and the elements worked their own transformations on them.