In Irish mythology, Óengus (Old Irish), Áengus (Middle Irish), Aengus or Aonghus (Modern Irish) is a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann and probably a god of love, youth and poetic inspiration. He was said to have four birds symbolizing kisses flying about his head (whence, it is believed, the xxxx's symbolizing kisses at the end of lovers' letters come from).
He is also called Aengus Óg ("Aengus the young"), Mac ind Óg ("son of the young"), Mac Óg ("young son") or Maccan.
Life of Aengus
His parents were the Dagda and Boann. He was said to have lived at Newgrange by the river Boyne.
The Dagda had an affair with Boann, wife of Nechtan. In order to hide their affair, the Dagda made the sun stand still for nine months; therefore, Aengus was conceived, gestated and born in one day. Midir was his foster-father.
When he came of age Aengus dispossessed the Dagda of his home, the Brú na Bóinne (an area of the Boyne River Valley that contains the Passage tombs Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth). He arrived after the Dagda had shared out his land among his children, and there was nothing left for Aengus, so Aengus asked his father if he could live in the Brú for a day and a night, and the Dagda agreed. But Irish has no indefinite article, so "a day and a night" is the same as "day and night", which covers all time, and so Aengus took possession of the Brú permanently. In a different version of this story, appearing in "The Wooing of Étaín", Aengus uses the same ploy to trick Elcmar out of Brú na Bóinne, with the Dagda's connivance. In this version, Midir is Aengus's foster-father, while Elcmar is the husband of Boann cuckolded by the Dagda.
According to the Death Tales of the Tuatha de Danaan, Aengus killed his step father Elcmar for killing Midir.
Aengus also slew the poet of Lugh Lamfada for lying about his brother Ogma an Cermait. The poet claimed that Ogma was having an affair with one of Lugh's wives. Aenghus killed the poet in front of Midir.
In the Wooing of Etain, Aengus was able to partially lift Fuamnach's spell against Etain, the horse goddess he had won for his brother Midir. Fuamnach in a jealous rage had turned the girl into a butterfly. Turning her into a woman at night, Aengus made her his lover until Fuamnach found out about it and drove her away. Aengus killed his foster mother for her treachery.
In the Tale of the Two Pails, a sidhe woman and foster daughter of Aengus gets lost and winds up in the company of St. Patrick. The girl converts to Christianity, and Aengus can not win her back. He leaves, and she dies of grief a few weeks later.
In the Battle of Ventry Aengus helped defend the battle weary men of Finn mac Cumaill against Roman invaders.
Aengus fell in love with a girl he had seen in his dreams. His mother, Boann, searched Ireland for an entire year. Then his father, the Dagda, did the same. Finally, King Bodb Dearg of Munster found her after a year.
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