One of the things I have loved learning about in my studies of Celtic mythology is the mystical, magical nature of the Celtic worldview as reflected in their stories. The most ancient of their stories, those of the Tuatha de Danaan, belong to eternity whereas the heroic cycles belongs more to the earth but all of their tales are imbued with magic.
I find the magic of the shapeshifting goddesses to be compelling in many ways. They show the relationship between the human and animal world and the need to understand our animal nature. Horses, seabirds, swans, deer, reindeer, butterflies are a few of the creatures you could meet which might actually be a Celtic Goddess.
Read more about the shapeshifting Goddesses in my most recent post on the Feminism and Religion blog.
Fand is a Celtic Sea Goddess whom some scholars believe originated as a Manx sea deity (the original inhabitants of the Isle of Man). With time She became the most loved of Ireland’s fairy queens, called “Queen of the Fairies. Fand, meaning “Pearl of Beauty” or “Tear” was stunningly beautiful. Though she was married to the Celtic Irish Sea God, Manannan Mac Lir, She, like other faery queens, fell in love with and then enchanted a mortal man, linking our world with Her Otherworld. Being the Goddess/Faery Queen she was, Fand fell in love not with any common man but with Cuchulainn, the greatest Irish hero.
As these two worlds don’t meld together well, their love started and ended in a stormy fashion. We first meet Fand, Shapeshifter, as a sea bird from the Otherworld in the Ulster Cycle tale, Serglige Con Culainn (The Sickbed of Cuchulainn). Fand and Her sister, Li Ban are seabirds flying with a flock of enchanted birds. Each pair of birds is joined together by a silver chain but Fand and Li Ban’s magnificence is seen by the gold chain which joins them.
(To read the rest of my post on Fand, published on October 31, 2013 on the Feminism and Religion blog, click here)