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Caer Ibormeith The Swan Maiden

This is an entry for :iconavaloncommunity: contest. The deadline is May 15th.

Stray feather brushes under the wings, the central waves, and the beaded strings on the chain are from :iconredheadstock:

The rest I did with Photoshop and Poser 7

Caer Ibormeith is the Irish goddess of sleep and dreams; and perhaps a less violent version of Mare; daughter of Ethal Anubail, a faery king of Connacht. Caer Ibormeith is a shape shifter and transforms every Samhain eve. She often took the form of a swan who lived on a lake called Dragon's Mouth, and wore a copious chain with 150 silver balls about her slender neck. She was loved by Aongus MacOg, god of youth and young love.


Aonghus Og held splendid court at Newgrange. But one night he was visited in a dream by a beautiful maiden, who vanished when he put out his arms to embrace her. All the next day, Aonghus took no food. Upon the following night, the fair apparition came again, and played and sang to him. That following day he also fasted. So things went on like that for a year, while Aonghus pined and wasted away for love of this fair maid.

Eventually the physicians of the Tuatha prevailed upon him to act, his mother the goddess Bóinn was sent for, and she persuaded the Dagdha, his father, to send to all the lesser deities of Ireland, charging them to search for her. After a year, she was found by Aonghus's brother, Bodbh the Red, who brought him to see her.

Her name was Caer Ibormeith , meaning Yew Berry; and when Aonghus saw her, she was standing by a lake surrounded by thrice fifty maidens linked together by a silver chain. But when Aonghus asked her father for her hand in marriage he revealed that there was nothing he could do, as his daughter was a swan-maiden, and every year as soon as summer was over, she went with her companions to a lake called Lough Bel Dragan (The Dragon‘s Mouth), and all of them became swans. The white swans seem to be the teeth of the dragon that float upon the placid waters of the lake.

On the advice of the Dagdha, Aonghus went to the shore of the lake and waited in patience until Samhain Eve, the day of the magical change, and called to her. Caer appeared along with thrice fifty swans, herself a swan surpassing all the rest in beauty and whiteness .Upon calling her name, she magically transformed into her human shape and learned the meaning of her name (yew berry). A year passed and they were very happy together and Aonghus very much wished to make her his bride. She promised to be his wife, if he could pick her out of a flock of 150 of her ladies in waiting. Aonghus successfully passed the test and with a word she changed him into a swan. Together they flew three times around the lake, and took off side by side for Aonghus palace in Brugh na Boinne where the magic of their singing put the whole of Ireland to sleep for three days and three nights.

Many of our contemporary works are based upon the mythical story of Aongus Og and Caer Ibormeith. The most famous of them being the ballet Swan Lake. It is known that Tchaikovsky was commissioned by Vladimir Petrovich Begichev, the intendant of the Russian Imperial Theatres in Moscow and a friend of Tchaikovsky, to write a score for Swan Lake in May 1875 for the sum of 800 roubles.
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