Áine of Knockainy, Ain Cliach, Ain of the Light, Áine N’Chliar, Ain Cliar the Bright
- Áine (ON-ya) is an Irish Goddess of summer, love, protection, fertility, wealth and sovereignty.
- In her role of Moon Goddess, she guards livestock, crops, and cattle.
- In her role as Sun Goddess, she could take the form of ‘Lair Derg’, a red mare that no one could outrun, in order to walk among her people.
- Also known as a Faery Queen and Love Goddess, she has been known by other names such as the Lady of the Lake, the Goddess of the Earth and Nature, the Goddess of Luck and Magick, and Leanan Sidhe (“Sweetheart of the Sidhe”).
- Áine is thought to mean “brightness, glow, joy, radiance, splendour, glory, fame”.
- She is associated with Midsummer (Litha, Summer Solstice), however also has sacred days following Lughnasadh.
- She is associated with the Sun and Moon, the element Air, the direction South West, and one of the sacred herbs of Druids, Meadowsweet.
- Her sacred animals are the red mare, rabbit, and swan.
- She is associated with the Irish Province of Munster, specifically County Limerick, where the hill of Knockainy (Cnoc Áine) is found.
- Áine is thought to be the daughter of King Eógabail/Eoghanach, a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann and the foster son of the sea god Manannan Mac Lir. However, other legends claim that she was married to Manannan Mac Lir. Other sources state that she is the daughter of the Dagda and sister to Brigid.
- Áine is thought to be the sister of Aillen and/or Fennen (Finnen/Fenne/Fennel).
- She is also thought to be the sister of Grian (Grainne), with Áine ruling over the light half of the year and Grian ruling over the dark. However, Grian could also be another aspect of Áine.
- Áine is sometimes mistaken for the Mother Goddess Danu, who is known regionally as Anu.
- Áine was also known as a Love Goddess, and people would worship her in the hope that she might bestow sexuality, fertility, abundance and prosperity upon them.
- Through her many relationships with human men, she is thought that she gave birth to a magical Faerie-Human race, which is how she gained her name as Queen of the Faeries.
- One of the myths surrounding Áine describes how she sat in her birthing chair on Lughnasadh and gave birth to a sheave of grain. It is believed that by performing that act, Áine gave the gift of grain to the people of Ireland.
- Many stories exist regarding Áine and her mortal lovers. It is said that Gerald, Earl of Desmond, once stole Áine’s cloak while she swam in a river, and would not return it to her until she agreed to marry him.
- Their son was Geroid Iarla, known as The Magician. Áine made a deal with the Earl that he would never be surprised by anything her son did, however after performing a superhuman deed, the Earl was surprised, and Áine was free to return to the fairies (sidhe).
- In other stories, Áine is the unwilling wife of Geroid Iarla, and ends up turning him into a goose or killing him (or both).
- Another myth describes how Áine was raped by the King of Munster, Ailill Aulom, which led to Áine biting off his ear. By biting off his ear, Áine deemed Ailill unfit to be king due to his disfigurement.
- From all her aspects it is shown that Áine was not a deity to offend, if crossed she could have coined the phrase “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.
- Invoke Áine for love, fertility, faery magick, abundance, prosperity, and the protection of women and animals.
© A Year And A Day (2013)