Main Page
Woodcuts
Tour Guide
Sacred Island
The Falcon
The Squirrel
The Deer
The Salmon
The Hobbit
Email me

Etain - The Butterfly - Air Clan

The Butterfly is the Totem of the Air Clan and is a perfect symbol, for the butterfly spends most of its life in the air, moving from place to place with the currents of the wind, alighting occasionally to visit the flowers. The butterfly is a great symbol of transformation, as it evolves from egg, to larva, to caterpillar and chrysalis, before it fulfils its life and purpose as the butterfly. The unfolding stages of its development have been used by many great teachers to illustrate the possibilities of conscious growth in man. As an elemental Totem the Butterfly covers the lunar totems Deer, Crow and Otter.

Etain, wife of Midir was a princess of the Túatha Dé Danann. She was transformed into a butterfly and driven from the Sidhe of Ardagh by the jealousy of her husband's other wife. After 1,200 years in butterfly form, Etain fell into a drinking cup during a feast and was reborn as mortal daughter to the wife of an Ulster chieftain. The tale continues to tell of Midir's efforts to win Etain back from the human world and her earthly husband Eochaid. When Etain finally consented to return with him, Midir rescued her from the High King's palace in Tara and they flew back to Ardagh in the form of a pair of swans bound together by a golden chain.