Etain, whose name literally means “shining one,” was a Celtic moon goddess, the second wife of Midir, king of the underworld. Midir’s first wife, Fuanmach, was jealous of Etain and turned her into a fly. Falling into a glass of wine, Etain drowned. She was reborn and married Eochaid, a fertility god. Midir challenged Eochaid to a game of chess; the result was that Etain must spend half her year underground and half on earth.
Etain is especially a symbol of fertility, of the vitality and life of all growing things. A goddess familiar with both life and death, she teaches that wherever we are, on earth or in the depths of the underworld, we too can be shining.