Irish Goddess of Midsummer Ainé
Number 2 in my Goddesses in the Morgan le Fay series. . . the Irish goddess of summer Ainé.
Ainé, an Irish goddess, whose name means “brightness” or “splendour”. There are several figures with this name in Irish legend, the most prominent of them being a fairy queen who was originally a goddess. She lived inside a hill near the magical lake of Lough Gur in County Limerick and was a sun goddess, the sister or twin of Grían (name meaning “Sun”), another sun goddess – though other legends make her the twin sister of Finnen (name meaning “white” or “brilliant”), who was also a fairy queen of Lough Gur.
Of the three sun goddesses, Ainé of Knockainy is the best known. Aynia, a powerful Ulster goddess, could well be another aspect of the same character. While Ainé was a solar deity and Aynia a lunar deity, it is possible that they were originally two sides of a single goddess: the light and the dark. Ainé’s feast day was Midsummer; she was the goddess of summer rituals and the bright summer sun, while it is thought that her sister Grían was associated with the pale winter sun. At Midsummer or on the great Celtic harvest festival of Lughnasa on August 1st, people would light straw torches and drive their herds up the slopes of Knockainy to ask for Ainé’s protection. Ainé was also the goddess of wealth, sovereignty and the land, and she had many lovers among gods, fairies and mortals alike. She was a shape-shifter, being able to assume the form of an unbeatable horse, Lair Derg, “Red Mare.”
Appears in Fata Morgana Books I and IV