Lately as one of my daily practices, I’ve been pulling a card from The Goddess Knowledge Cards both for inspiration and to learn about goddess symbolism from cultures around the world. When I turned the light on in my office this morning, I noticed a fly on the ceiling above my desk, as if watching me (and it stayed there for hours). Not long after I pulled a goddess card, and much to my surprise I pull a card about a fly goddess, named Etain:
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 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.
Etain’s story is very reminiscent of that of Persephone from Greek mythology, who also spent half the year in the underworld, when the crops and plants died for the winter, and half the year on earth, when the ground had become ripe with fertility and creative abundance flowed forth. Both goddesses are symbolic of the cycle of life and death, as is the animal spirit, the fly.
Though the fly may not at first seem like an animal spirit to get excited about, it is through the fly’s “dirty work” of eating feces, dead creatures and plants, and decaying food, breaking it down to create fertile earth, that enables life to continue on earth. Flies are an important part of the continuous cycle of life -> death -> life… They create abundance from waste, new life from death.
The Fly Symbolizes:
- Rebirth & Resurrection
- Fertility, Creativity, & Abundance
- Resourcefulness & Recycling