a goddess in Celtic mythology whose name means the "shining
one," was a legendary beauty. She was much loved by the god,
Midhir. Midhir's wife Faumnach was jealous of Etain and cast a spell
on her, turning her into a butterfly. Yet, even transformed into
such a small and seemingly insignificant creature, Etain continued
to express her love to Midhir, often humming him to sleep at night.
Infuriated, Faumnach caused a magical wind to carry Etain across
the sea; she was blown into a great castle and landed in a cup of
wine where she drowned. Swallowed when the wife of Edar, an Ulster
hero, drank the wine, Etain was again transformed and reborn as
a human child. All the while, Midhir continued to search for Etain.
He found her, a grown woman, as beautiful as ever,and married to
Eochaidh, the King of Ireland. Tricking Eochaidh, Midhir flew away
with Etain, having turned her and himself into swans.
is at once human and divine, royal and "common," beautiful
always; never losing her shining nature in the face of impossible
odds. Metaphorically, her story speaks to all of us, as we are all
Etain. We all endure many transformations in our lives that we may
view as hardships, but even so, our inner core remains shining.
Accessing that inner core, I believe, is the key to regaining and
retaining a sense of our true self.