Anu (goddess)

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Anu [ 'anu ], also Ana , Anna , Anann , Anand or Anind , is a figure of the Celtic mythology of Ireland and also a pre-Christian Irish goddess .


Anu is referred to in the glossary Sanas Cormaic ("Cormac's whisper") as the "mother of the Irish gods" ( mater deorum Hibernensium ). According to the etymological directory Cóir Anmann ("The right thing about names"), she is a fertility goddess ( bandía in tṡónusa ), responsible for the prosperity of Munster. In the Lebor Gabala Eirenn ("The Book of the Landings of Ireland") she is identical to the Morrigan and as the daughter of the Ernmas and the Aed . According to the Trioedd Ynys Prydein ("The Triads of the Isle of Britain") she is the wife of Beli Mawr and mother of Afallach .

View from the west to the east Pap of Ana

Ireland is often referred to in poetry as the "Land of Anann" ( íath nAnann ). The hill couple Dá chích nAnann , also Dá chích Annaine , ( "Paps of Ana" , "Breasts of Ana") is named after her near Cloonken, about 11 km southeast of Killarney in County Kerry ( Munster ). Midsummer fires are lit near her hills in honor of the goddess .

A variant of the name, but possibly also an independent goddess, is Danu or Danann. Whether there is something in common with the Cymrian Black Annis is not entirely clear. The Scottish "Gentle Annie" may also be one of these goddesses and legendary figures. Possibly all of these names go back to an inscribed Celtic goddess named Annea .

Anu and the fairy Áine

Legends and folklore in County Limerick , Ireland know a fairy named Áine Clí , whose name is believed by many commentators to be a variant of Anu. According to legend, Áine is said to be a daughter of the god Manannan or his foster son Eogabail or the blacksmith Caulann (see Compert Con Chulainn , "Cú Chulainn's conception"). Various legends are told about her. For example, she is said to have bitten off the ears of the Irish King Ailill Aulom ("Ailill without ears") after he had raped her (see Cath Maige Mucrama , "The Battle of Mag Mucrama"). Then again an unhappy love affair with Fionn mac Cumhaill is reported. A late story tells how the Earl of Desmond kidnapped her and fathered a son with her, who is reported to still appear as a ghost at Lough Gur every seven years . A folk custom existed well into the 19th century that called on the fairy Áine on the mountain Cnoc Áine (now Knockainey Hill in County Limerick ) named after her on midsummer night for fertility and health.

See also


Individual evidence

  1. a b c Helmut Birkhan: Celts. Attempt at a complete representation of their culture. P. 546.
  2. ^ A b Peter Berresford-Ellis: A Dictionary of Irish Mythology. , Pp. 78 & 27.
  3. James MacKillop: A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. , P. 10.