Aoife (2)

Aoife (2)



Two women loved the same man, son of Manannan and grandson of Lir, Lord of the Sea. Iuchra decided to eliminate her competition, transforming her rival, Aoife, into a crane in which form she must remain for two hundred years. During that time, Aoife can never reach land.

Aoife, the enchanted crane, lived in Manannan’s Otherworld realm. The full impact of the curse is that she can’t live either a woman’s life or that of a true crane, flying free. Instead she is a liminal being, neither here nor there. When she dies, Manannan skins the crane, using her skin to fabricate his magical crane bag, the treasure in which he places his other precious treasures (and gods of the sea inevitably possess wonderful treasures). Although not explicitly stated in the myth, clearly Manannan recognizes that this crane is no ordinary crane and may even be complicit in Aoife’s transformation.

In Celtic lore, cranes, traditionally associated with shape-shifting women, are considered aggressive, protective birds of sea, land, and sky. Was Aoife forcibly transformed into a crane, or was she exposed for the ancient crane spirit that she already was?

• Appeal to her to assist with shape-shifting, whether magical or metaphoric.

• Those requiring new identities in which to lay low may request her assistance.

• Ask her to protect you from jealous rivals.


Many crane species are severely endangered; efforts on their behalf are an appropriate offering.

See Also:

Aoife (1); Manannan


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by :Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

Irish Mythology

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Irish Mythology