Welcome to a more or less Celtic Reconstructionist blog, where love of the Old Gods is still strong

Montag, 9. Juli 2012

Manannán Mac Lír – Son of the Sea

After a longer, work-related hiatus, Mists of Manannán is now back and running! With today's post, I'm catching up with Rowan Pendragon's wonderful Pagan Blog Project (the other letters I've missed will follow in the next couple days, hopefully).

Today, I'd like to introduce you to my patron deity after whom my blog is named – Manannán Mac Lír, Son of the Sea.
As a sea deity, He rules the Celtic Land Under Wave and is especially associated with Mona, the Arran Isles and the Isle of Man. Mara Freeman (2001: 213) lists a prayer spoken to Him by fisherman during Midsummer celebrations on the latter isle:

Manannan Beg Max y Leirr –
Little Manannán Son of the Sea,
Who blessed our Island,
Bless us and our boat, going out well.
Coming in better, with living and dead in our boat.

The prayer thus shows us that He is not solely a sea deity, but also associated with the struggle between life and death. It is in this function that the ADF solidary Celtic ritual format calls Him as a Gatekeeper (since the Norse template calls Heimdallr in the same function, it would be interesting to explore Their potential similarities as Gatekeepers; hopefully I shall come back to this question in another post). I shall quote the ADF invocation in full, since it lists most of Manannán's well-known attributes and possessions:

Oh Manannan, powerful son of the sea, holder of the magics of the crane bag, I ask that you hear my call. Oh Lord of the Otherworld, bearer of the silvered apple branch, join with me this day, so that you may guide me in my workings. Mist-shrouded rider of the maned waves, accept my offering and open the gates between my realm and yours.“

So we find in this invocation reference to Manannán riding His chariot Ocean Sweeper and His horses, the waves, of which Enbarr (Waterfoam) is His favourite. Manannán also owns a silver apple branch, a tale of which can be found retold in Freeman (2001: 90-96), and a crane bag. He also possesses a great shining cloak that changes colour like the sea itself.
When the Tuatha Dé Danann were driven underground by the Milesians, Manannán took the function of the gods’s advisor and appointed each one a sidhe mound. He also gave three gifts: the féth fiada, which is a cloak of invisibility, the Feast of Goibniu, which lets you stay young eternally, as well as magical pigs which come alive again after having been eaten (Freeman 2001: 213). It might be in this context of the sidhe mounds that the Faerie queen Aíne is said to be Manannán's daughter (Rakine/D’Este 2005: 136).

There are many more legends and facts that one could cite about Manannán; if you're interested to learn more about His history, you will find a wealth of information here.
So instead of retelling His myths, I shall conclude my post with personal experiences of Him.
To quote the introductory page of http://www.manannan.net/, He is “the God of Oceans, lord of storms and weather, master of magical arts, and a friend to all dreamers,” who has “a personality full of mirth and humor, as well as wisdom.” This coincides with my own experience of Him – He is a very approachable deity, who has a great sense of humour. Be sure not to petition him not to let it rain now – you can be sure that it will most certainly rain the next time you leave the house... To me, Manannán is a fatherly figure who is always there to listen to my troubles and who is willing to keep me safe.

Two songs by the wonderful artist Vienna Teng quite nicely express the mood of Manannán: her “Lullaby for a Stormy Night,” whose lyrics reference a scared little child who is comforted by a “gentle someone” - this is my impression of what defines Manannán as my patron deity. Her second song, “Harbor,” with its connection to water also strongly reminds me of Manannán.

Another wonderful song by Ken Therion, called “Son of the Sea,” recounts a lot of His legends and symbolisms from Manannán's perspective and is thus a great source of information when you want to connect to Him.

And finally, Skeeal's “Manannán,” sung in Manx, is a beautiful song about Him and His connection to Manx fishermen (you can find the lyrics and a rough translation of it here).

Finally, if you are intrigued to get to know Manannán, I find that the Ritual of the Mists found here is a very nice ritual when you work as a solitary and want to connect with Him further; best done at the waterfront. I find that offerings of apples are generally very well accepted.

If you already know Manannán, what are your experiences with Him?

Blessed be,

Freeman, Mara. 2001. Kindling the Celtic Spirit. New York: HarperCollins.
Rankine, David and Sorita D’Este. 2005. The Guises of the Morrighan. Irish Goddess of Sex and Battle: Her Myths, Powers & Mysteries. London: Avalonia.

online sources:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZd2kgLZtfA Vienna Teng - Lullaby For A Stormy Night

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKDXe0FP2wc Vienna Teng - Harbor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrTXYsaVd9I Ken Theriot – Son of the Sea

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