We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Legend of the Swan-Woman

I have always enjoyed Celtic mythology, most especially when it involves a little romance. This is one of the reasons why I chose the name of the Celtic goddess “Caer” (Ky-air) as my craft name. Not only is it a beautiful name, but her story is one of love and desire.  Her name is Caer Imbormeich which means, “yew berry.” She was the daughter of Ethal Anubail, a faery king from Connacht. She is considered to be the Celtic Goddess of  prophetic dreams,  love and music.

According to an old Celtic myth, an enchantment was placed upon her which caused her to change into a swan every other year at the festival of Samhain. Only the love of a god could break the magickal spell. Aenghus MacOg (“Aenghus the Young Son”) was a god who presided over love and youth. He aided many star-crossed lovers. After Caers’ beautiful face appeared to him in a dream, he became quite smitten with her, falling into what can only be described as a deep lovesickness. He learned that she, in her swan form, lived on a lake called Dragon’s Mouth among a troop of 150 female swan companions. If he could distinguish her from the others, she would be free to leave with him if she so chose to do so. However, the only way he could gain entry into Caers’ world to rescue her from the spell was to join her in transformation.

After using his divine powers to change himself into a swam at Samhain, Aenghus searched for his bewitched love at Dragon’s Mouth lake where each pair of swans was linked by a chain of silver. Because Caer was a goddess, a golden chain decorated her neck and this is how Aenghus was able to correctly identify her. He called out to her, asking her if she would have him as her lover and flee the lake to spend forever together. She happily agreed and the two circled the lake three times.

The romantic tale of Caer Imbormeich and Aenghus MacOg concludes when they escape as swan lovers to Aenghus’ sidh (faery mound) at Brugh na Boinne after their song-filled flight cast an enchantment of sleep over all who heard it for three days and three nights. It is said that every year on Samhain eve, their song of enchantment can still be heard by all those who live near the lake.

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