For today’s post, I have decided to take a look at three of the most important Irish Faery Queens. Maeve, the Morrigan, and Aine are all powerful figures in the Irish pantheon of Gods.
Maeve’s name means “she who intoxicates” which is a reference to both her association with mead and her ability to intoxicate people with her presence. The Morrigan’s name means “Great Queen” or “Phantom Queen” which is a reference to her prominence as a Goddess and Faery Queen. Aine’s name means “radiance” which is a reference to her early association with the sun.
Maeve’s most famous tale is The Cattle Raid of Cooley about the war that was waged by Maeve’s men against the men of Ulster. This war was waged, as the title suggests, over the bull that Maeve had sent her men to steal. Her reason for stealing a bull was that her husband and she had competed to see who had brought more into the marriage. They were evenly matched, except that her husband had a beautiful magical bull. So the entire reason for this war was that Maeve wanted to prove she was just as valuable as her husband!
The Morrigan’s most famous tale takes place in the Ulster Cycle, which is also where we find Maeve’s tale discussed above. The story of the death of Cu Chulainn occurred when The Morrigan propositioned him before a battle, wanting to bless him with sexual congress. Upon his rejection, she sought to make sure that he would lose the war. Being the Goddess of War, this was an easy feat to arrange! She tricked Cu Chulainn into blessing her, which healed her of the wounds he was said to have inflicted with his rejection. Then she made sure that Cu Chulainn not only lost the battle but also his life. She even perched on his dead body in her form as a crow! A second important story about the Morrigan is the tale of her having sex with the Dagda to bless his upcoming battle. This can be seen as the antithesis of her punishment of Cu Chulainn! Modern Pagans associate this event with Samhain, often honoring the Morrigan and the Dagda as part of their celebrations.
Aine’s famous tales include the one where she literally gave birth to grain. She is said to have birthed a stalk of wheat like she would a baby. This tale is the story to explain her prominence as a Goddess of Fertility, especially that of the land! She also had a story of being sexually abused, this one I will not go into detail on. What I will say is that she is often said to be a protector of abused women for this reason! I will also mention that she famously was a triple Goddess (as was the Morrigan). In her maiden form, she was most often depicted as a mermaid, further linking her with the Fae as a Faery Queen!
Each of these Faery Queens has a deep and interesting history all its own. I adore reading and writing about these powerfully feminine figures! I hope you have enjoyed this short overview. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is a Faery Queen. I found the image on https://www.dailyedge.ie/aine-problems-2698756-Apr2016/.
Author’s Note: Today marks the 365th day in a row posting here on White Rose of Avalon! I am so happy to have gained as large of a following as I have in the last nineteen or so months. I cannot wait to continue to grow my blog and my YouTube channel! I am also proud to have been able to get this long of a streak on my blog. I only took breaks for my wedding and honeymoon, as I did not go away for vacation this year I did not need a break! Additionally, this is also my 600th blog post overall, what a feat!
- The Irish Queen Medb: History, Tradition, and Modern Pagan Practice by Lora O’Brien
- By Blood, Bone, and Blade: A Tribute to the Morrigan by Bibliotheca Alexandrina
- Your Goddess Year by Skye Alexander