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The Dagda - The Dark Man of the Ancestors and the Green Man of the Forest

The Dagda speaks,

Manannan is symbolized by the white horses of the sea, and Danu by the red bull. My symbol is the black serpent. I am the lord of the Black Cauldron that was later adopted by the Dark Goddess. But it was mine first and I told her of its powers. The cauldron has nothing to do with the womb or female symbolism. It is the place of calling-forth, and those who are called first are my serpents. They represent the magical forces which rise.

I lead the Band of the Dark Ones, the gnomes and cave-dwellers, the nightbirds, and the hordes of the dead. As Lord of Death, I am the Dark Man and I hold the ancestors in my world. The cauldron is the symbol of that world, with its different viscosities and layers representing the different layers of souls who exist there. Manannan has the creative and artistic ones, Danu has the heroic and warlike ones, and I and the Morrigan have the dead ones. But we of the ancestors have all of history, and these other gods have only the present.

As Lord of History, all events of past and future are played out before my eyes. I am the dark one, the frightening one, but my eyes are all seeing, and I know the fate of worlds.

As Lord of the Ancestors, I am lord of the holiday Samhain. Different kingdoms of the Fair Folk celebrate it in different ways. Manannan's people turn it into a masked ball - a time of fantastic costumes and processions,and the night when the fairies ride. Danu's people turn it into a battle, of Fair Folk against other groups, and of raids against them. My people treat it as it should be treated, as a time for honoring the dead and the underworld, for the ancestors of that place are ever hungry and have not been satisfied in their lives. There is always one more bet, one more kiss, one more meal that they should have had.

I rule the world below with rocky cliffs and powerful waves which contain the ghosts from long ago, whose housing and clothing comes from the times in which they lived. By our understanding, reincarnation is not automatic - it comes to those who have made spiritual effort. For those that have not done this, their souls become thick and heavy like taffy, full of desires and dissatisfaction, and they sink like stones into the swamp. As they never grew spiritually during life, so they never grow spiritually after death, and they go through death as a set of repeating patterns, retracing the cravings and frustrations of their lives.

However, beyond my role as lord of the afterlife, of the travel of souls, and of the cauldron of transmutation, I have another identity. I am also the Green Man - the lord of life of the forest. In this role, I represent both plants and animals. I am the forest floor pulsing with life, and the instinct to feed, to grow, to reproduce, and to conquer. Many lords of death are also lords of life - look at Osiris [from ancient Egypt]. As Lord of Life, I possess the heroes and shamans, giving them intuitive knowledge of their prey, both human and animal. I can be protective if requested, and save the group that worships me. I can also be proactive and get rid of threats before they threaten. I bring swiftness to the spear and arrow, and let the drums inspire fear. But I am also the god of lust and love, and I keep species going from generation to generation. I am the tribal lord of the forest, and my people are the warriors and trance dancers, the hunters and the healers. My cauldron holds life and death, water and poison, and the knowledge of many worlds.

I teach survival in the woods and wastelands, and the knowledge of the language of animals, and the yearning of plants. I can be present in ancient oaks and fertile fields, in the moss of rocky crags and the dark draperies of tree branches. My trees are hard and strong, and the weapons made from them fly true.

I am a god for men but women have worshiped me to be leaders and warriors, and to learn possession and the flight of soul. I teach those who come to me who are brave and honest, and whose will is strong and does not tolerate deceit. Men who follow my path as the Green Man are fearless and love life and the women who do not tolerate prejudice and condescension. I give them the abilities to succeed in the world.

To the women who worship me as the Dark Man, I give spiritual sight, the ability to discern truth from illusion, and the insight to know if souls have participated in their own bondage. I am the high magician for those that follow the night path, and I transmute the power of the ancestors to those who are initiated and educated. For those who follow the bright path, I am the Lord of the Forest who brings all nature into the hunter's snare of unity and the hawk's flight of liberation. For them, I am sacred to the watchers and singers of the tribes. I ask no payment for my services. Our people and humankind were once neighbors, and indeed we are still neighbors but over longer distances. We learned from each other.

In the modern world death is the enemy, and life only a problem to be solved. The gods of the Fair Folk are the depths of mystery, and we hold the beauty that machines, and entertainment, and simulations of reality lack. We are your shadows.

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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