The Myth of Aengus

Otherworld god of the Tuatha De Danaan. Also = Aengus Mac Ind Og or Mac in Da Oc [= ‘the son of the two young ones’]. Father = Dagda, mother = Boand [Boyne river named]. Harper to the gods/friend of the poets. Probably conceived at fertility rituals during Samain at Bruid na Boinne.

Aisling Aengusa = Dream of Aengus.  Falls in love – girl seen in dream. Ill with longing – eventually discovers in Loch Bel Dracon (County Tipperary). Learns that there – during Samain (girl = Caer Ibormeith or yew berry) + 150 others = will change into swans.

Aengus changes into a swan – flies back to Bruig na Bainne and acts as protector to lovers. Appears – Diarmuid and Grainne – protects with a mantle of invisibility over Grainne. Therefore she escapes the Fiana (Fenians).

Belittled by later Christian scribes + medieval romances. Thus – later he appears as a worrier of cattle. “…the plough teams of the world and every sort of cattle that is used by men would make a way in terror before him.” [Lady Gregory. Collected Works, III. London, 1970].  NB – mother – Boand = white cow goddess.

Death – in some stories > in battle near Boyne.  Caitlean – killed with stone thrown at his head. Died in the river, buried – Sid an Broga in Bruig na Boinne. Sid an Broga = the mound in the field.  [see also Gantz, J.  Early Irish Myths and Sagas.  Penguin, 1982].



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