Sunday, February 23, 2014

Aine, Celtic Goddess of Love

Aine is the Celtic Goddess of love, the sun, fertility, water, summer and sovereignty. She is honored for her ability to grant abundance and fertility over the land. Being a Goddess of the sun Aine is said to have been given the nickname "bright". Aine is also known as a Faery Queen and was honored as such in the province of Munster, Ireland. It is said in myth that Aine made love to many humans which created a magical race of faery people. Some people today are said to be related to this race. Daughter to Egobail, a member of the Tuatha De Danann, and sister to Aillen and Fennen, Aine is also honored as a lunar deity. She is said to have been able to shape-shift into "The Red Mare", the horse who could never be outrun.

In Celctic myth Aine was almost raped by King Ailill Aulom of Munster. This ended with Aine biting off the king's ear which gave the him the name "Aulom" which means "one-eared". Because of this Aine saw the king unfit to rule and took away his sovereignty over the land. There is another tale in which Aine did not get out so lucky. While bathing, Aine was approached by Gerald, Earl of Desmond. She was not able to protect herself from being raped this time. Aine became pregnant and gave birth to a son, the second Earl of Desmond. It is said that she did indeed make Gerald pay for what he did by turning him into a goose.

ine is honored at Mid-Summer when the land and animals are at their peak of abundance and fertility. She is also celebrated at Lughnasadh. Aine is a nature Goddess and is associated with all the animals, flowers and the land. Aine was worshiped in the province of Munster and in county Limerick there is a hill that is sacred to her called Knockainey Hill. She is also associated with lakes and rivers.

Call on Aine to invoke your passions, manifest your dreams and follow your heart. She teaches us to take risks and to pursue our true desires. She represents the burning fire of the sun and the burning fire of our passions. Aine teaches us that life is something to be experienced and lived. She tells us to not worry about making the wrong decision, but about making no decision at all.

Art courtesy of Caroline Evans

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Brigid, Celtic Goddess of Fire

Today is Imbolc the Celtic holiday marking the coming of Spring in which the Goddess Brigid is honored. Brigid is a crucial deity on this sacred day as she is the representation of fire and the coming sun. She is also a Goddess of poetry, healing, smith craft and creative energy. Daughter to the Dagda, Celtic God of wisdom, Brigid is seen as a triple Goddess. Referred to as "Exalted One" Brigid is sometimes associated with the Roman Goddess Minerva. Brigid's name is often spelled in many different ways such as Brighid, Bridget, and Bride to name a few.

During Imbolc Brigid is honored as a Goddess of the sun and fire as she gives hope for the suns quick return at Spring. As a Goddess of fire she represents life and creative energy. Her role as a healing Goddess is represented all over Ireland in the form of sacred wells. One of these is located in Kildare and another is in Liscannore. People have made pilgrimages here to make offerings and ask for wishes to be granted. It is said that people wash their hands in the well and then tie a piece of cloth or ribbon to a tree. These are known as "clootie trees" or "clootie wells". I had the pleasure of visiting the sacred well in Liscannore and the picture below is of the well and its enclosure which is covered in ribbons, prayers, statuettes, coins and more.

Brigid was such an important and powerful figure to the ancient Celts and Druids that in order for Christians to attain converts they made Brigid into a saint. She is still honored today in the churches of Ireland. At her sanctuary in Kildare her fire burns year round and is tended by the nuns there. This sacred fire burned brightly until about the 16th century when it was extinguished by radical Christians. It was then re-lit in 1993 and is now housed in a protective sculpture. It is said that the nuns still tend the flame and they refer to themselves as "The Brigidine Sisters"

Brigid as a Goddess of creative energy represents igniting the creative fire within each of us. She can help to guide you along whichever creative path you choose. She is also associated with writing poetry as well as divination and prophecy. Honor Brigid on her sacred day of Imbolc or when you are working on something creative. She can also be called on for personal healing.

Wishing everyone many Imbolc blessings! 

Painting courtesy of Emily Balivet
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