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The Celtic God Manannan Mac Lir

Manannan is the god-king-leader of a group of the Fair Folk whose values and ideals are associated with the water element and the deep blue-green light of the ocean.

Manannan speaks:

I am lord of the ocean, the ocean of mind and heart. It is not physical water - it is a metaphor for the depth and the power of my world. You have seen its colors, - royal blue, bright cerulean, deep green, shining gold and white, These are the brilliant colors of the world of the Fair Ones, not muddied by matter.

In my court, there are artists, musicians, and dancers. They reflect the changes of the universe, and they are wind and waves, seasons changing, fair weather and storms. There are craftsman and sculptors and weavers, and the objects of our world are ever new. There are also mages who tell the future, sense dangers, and protects us with their visions.

Of the roles we have, the mage is the most rare and most difficult. A mage must have concentration, dedication, and clear spiritual sight. He or she must know the working of the worlds, of both those above us and those below. For most of us, living in one or two worlds is sufficient. A mage must live in many at once in order to act as an early warning system. The mage must also deal with education about travel to other worlds, information about the life-styles and values of other cultures, and he must act as an orientation person or guide for visitors to our worlds. Thus, they must know more about our world than most of the inhabitants.

Among our people, a god is in a position of defense and responsibility. It is much like kingship, except that our worlds are spiritual, and we can create their structures [through the process of visualization].

I have made the world of our people, the People of Lir, according to the ideals of beauty, harmony, drama, and grace. We seek light, we dance beauty, we move in drama and harmony.

Some of us live here permanently, and some of us live here part time and part-time in other worlds. We all get together for holidays, processions and dances.

It is important for modern people to learn of the ancient races. The past is the source of the present, and the mythic past is important because it influences the ideals and lifestyles of the present. Without noble kings and warriors, who do the young respect? Criminals and boors. They wear rags as fashion, live in dark ugly houses with physical light but no spiritual light. Beauty itself is out of fashion, and its substitutes are novelty and destruction.

The Fair Folk and the people of the earth are neighbors, though our fences separate us. We have much to teach each other. It would be interesting to see if any of our skills could be shared over the walls that divide us.

My image was stabilized under Roman rule, so there are many Roman influences in fashion and architecture here. Those of that era who worshiped me visualized many aspects of my paradise, and added to its beauty and complexity. However there were also oriental influences in ceramics, textiles, and food. I combine the best of the world's extremes.

The Holidays of the People of Lir

As for our traditions, we move according to the seasons. In this, your Wiccans echo our concerns. I instituted holidays which are both official and unofficial, to sanctify the course of our lives.

Your Halloween, or Samhain, is our holiday of Union. It is the Wave of Beginning, when our world splashed into being. We rose as other worlds fell - thus the paradox of the beginning of the year being the death of the old rather than the birth of the new. We begin with what came before, our ancestors, our teachers, our older races. At the Holiday of Union, we reunite with them, and remember our origins.

Thus we call them forth on the mists of our oceans, within the shining rainbows, to declare our loyalty. We salute the spirit as we descend into matter, and we have ritual processions representing the descent. It is our time of openness to two worlds, and the easiest time to transit between one world and another. It is also the time of transformation, of worlds and identities, when people tire of the old and desire the new.

For you, ancestors are ghosts or perhaps devils, but for us they are respected elders. Thus, Union is a time for respect for our elders.

The Celtic holiday Candlemas is our Feast of Light, to remember our spiritual goals. Though we exist in the darkness of a semi-material world, it is part of the cycle of spirit. We worship the flame within the darkness, the sun shining at midnight, the birth of spiritual awareness in a life of matter and instinct. We glorify the light, fill the place or room with light and say, "from this we have come, and to this we go".

Your Beltane is the Feast of Flowers, which celebrates the grace and beauty of the world of form. We fill the place or room with beauty, with flowers, perfumes, brocades, jewelry, masks, dolls, and robes of silk, satin, and gauze. It is a time for wearing hats and cloaks, for dressing up pets and plants, for redecorating and doing art work. As the feast of beauty, people might eat well, make love, and dance and sing. We seek beauty and grace in all things.

The Celt's Lammas holiday is our feast of fruits, the result of our manifestation in physical form. We celebrate accomplishments, and things of value that we have done. It may be new ideas, or new arrangements of older ideas. It might be helping others or teaching. It might be building or making things - houses, furniture, sculpture, or labyrinths. We discuss needs we have seen, and how we have fulfilled those needs. We are craftsman, and this is a time for showing the work we have done during the year. That is what makes living in a semi-material world worthwhile - what we have accomplished while there.

When we do not exist in the physical or semi-material worlds, and live instead in a more spiritual or ethereal one, these holidays are spiritualized. We look at beautiful thoughts and emotions rather than beautiful objects, at manifestation in visual or musical forms rather than physical ones.

In between the major Holidays, we have the Theater of the Moon. Each month, at new and full moon, we have dramas of our history and travels. We remember the actions of the greatest gods, in power or in exile, and beautiful women who saved or betrayed them. We act out battles, and dangers, and heroism. We glorify past and future.

Introduction | History | Manannan Mac Lir | Merlin | Taliesin | Building the Realms of the Fair Folk | Lir and Danu | Lugh and the Morrigan | Anya, Daughter of Manannan | Manannan's Ocean Kingdom | Aengus, The Poet God of Love and Romance | The Ancient Roads to the Fair Folk | Manannan's Horses | The Society of the Fair Folk | The Place of Transformation | Traveling Between the Worlds | Research Methodology | Conclusion


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