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Áine: The Irish Sun and Moon Goddess

Merry Summer Solstice to ye all! 
Let us honor this Irish Goddess between the light of the sun and the darkness of the night . Celebrate  with fire and water and find the balance in your own life!.....

Áine (Irish for "brightness, glow, joy, radiance; splendour, glory, fame") (Irish pronunciation: [ˈaːnʲə] ) is an Irish goddess of summer, wealth and sovereignty.)She is associated with midsummer and the sun and the moon, and is sometimes represented by a red mare, which lead us to associate her with the belief in the Goddess Epona and Rigantona, regarding her Moon Goddess aspect She is the Mother Goddess associated to fertily and is the Maiden aspect of a Triple Goddess.

Her solar associations, refer to her mainly with the morning light and the dawn of the year, quite evident in traditional beliefs, that depicts her as the wife or daughter of of the sea god Manannán mac Lir.,  noticing that at each and every dawn “she rises up from bed” (the Sea).
She is the daughter of Egobail, the sister of Aillen and/or Fennen, and is claimed as an ancestor by multiple Irish families. As the goddess of love and fertility, she had command over crops and animals and is also associated with agriculture. 

About seven miles from Áine’s hill, Cnoc Áine (Knockainy) in County Limerick, is the hill of the goddess Grian, Cnoc Gréine. Grian (literally, "sun") is believed to be either the sister of Áine, In County Limerick, this pre-Christian belief on the Goddess was transmogrified ad she is now remembered as Queen of the fairies. It is said that she even sometimes took animal form, as a red mare, in order to walk among her people.

Many stories sprung up around the belief that Aine often turned herself into a fairy in order to mate with mortal men. This was oftentimes done by enchantment rather than by mutual consent. Spellbound by the goddess, these men were said to do whatever she commanded.

In any case, Aine was quite popular with the Irish people. In fact, her fame spread so far that it eventually reached the Western Isles of Scotland.  During summer time people lit torches of hay upon her hill of Cnoc Aine, carried them around the hill in a counterclockwise direction, and conveyed them home, bearing them aloft through their fields, while they waved the blessed fire over livestock and crops. 

Another of Áine's manifestations, or possibly "Macha in disguise".Due to Áine's connection with midsummer rites, involving fire and the blessing of the land, recorded as recently as 1879. it is possible that Áine and Grian may share a dual-goddess, seasonal function (such as seen in the Gaelic myths of the Cailleach and Brighid) with the two sisters representing the "two suns" of the year: Áine representing the light half of the year and the bright summer sun (an ghrian mhór), and Grian the dark half of the year and the pale winter sun (an ghrian bheag).

She is also associated with sites such as Toberanna (Irish: Tobar Áine), County Tyrone; Dunany (Irish: Dun Áine), County Louth; Lissan (Irish: Lios Áine), County Londonderry; and Cnoc Áine near Teelin, County Donegal.

In early tales she is associated with the semi-mythological King of Munster, Ailill Aulom, who is said to have "ravished" her, an affair ending in Áine biting off his ear - hence "Aulom", meaning "one-eared". By maiming him this way, Áine rendered him unfit to be King, thereby taking away the power of sovereignty.The descendants of Aulom, the Eóganachta, claim Áine as an ancestor.

In other tales Áine is the wife of Gearoid Iarla. Rather than having a consensual marriage, he rapes her (thought to be based on the story of Ailill Aulom), and she exacts her revenge by either changing him into a goose, killing him, or both. Thus the FitzGeralds also claim an association with Áine; despite the French-Norman origins of the clan, the FitzGeralds would become known for being "More Irish than the Irish themselves."

Áine is sometimes mistakenly equated with Danu as her name bears a superficial resemblance to Anu. "Aynia", reputedly the most powerful fairy in Ulster, may be a variant of the same figure.

Lough Gur is strongly associated with fertility. According to local legend, every seven years the lake decreases revealing a wonderful tree of Another World that has the power to rejuvenate the whole earth.

She was worshiped at the Summer Solstice, Not surprisingly, Aine is also linked with the fertility of the land. Because of her associations with fire and water, she was also associated with healing. It was believed that she regulated the vital spark of life's fire, which, like the sun's daily traversal of the sky, circulated through the body every 24 hours. If bloodletting occurred on her sacred days, which were the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday prior to Lughnasadh, it was thought the sacred life spark would flow from the body and the patient would die.

Aine is therefore associated with both the life-giving sun itself, and the sun's power in the human body, through which the spark was thought to travel by means of the blood. These folkloric remains point to the fact that in days past there must have been a full, rich tradition of healing in which Aine - as the spark of life, the sun-spark within the blood - played a significant part. 

Find out more related information on my E-book "The Celtic Moon Goddess" [Kindle Edition]
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Bright blessings to you all ☼

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