Éis Énchenn

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[Ir. éis, band, troop; Énchenn, bird-headed].

Grotesque female adversary of Cúchulainn. The hero encounters her while trying to depart from Scáthach and the land of shadow along a narrow ridge. She is a one-eyed hag who first commands and then begs him to get out of her way. When he complies, clinging only by his toes, she strikes him, trying to knock him down the cliff. But he sees her in time and gives his salmon leap upward, striking off the hag's head. She is revealed to be Éis Énchenn, mother of the last three warriors to die at Cúchulainn's hands: Ciri, Bir, and Blicne. Several commentators have discerned a parallel between Éis Énchenn and Kāli, the destructive mother-goddess of Hindu tradition.

Subjects: Religion.

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