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Manannan's Ocean Kingdom

These entries describe various visits to Manannan's Kingdom beneath the waters.

Riding the Waters

My guide arrives in a long blue robe, and his hood is down so I can see his bright eyes, white hair and beard. He has two white horses with green manes and tails, and golden hoofs. Their eyes are green and gold.

We mount them and ride them downwards, through fields and wildflowers, and past a lake. We go further to the rocky shores of the ocean, and they dance and rear at the seashore. From beneath the waves, a messenger of Manannan comes, also on one of the white horses of the sea god. He is tall and blond, and though he rides out from the depths of the water, his emerald cape is dry as it billows in the wind. It is fastened by a golden brooch, and he wears thick gold bracelets.

He welcomes us, and there is a shining path of golden pebbles going down into the waters. It sparkles with precious stones. The horses know the way and bound into the waves, galloping deeper and deeper below the surface.

The waters are deep blue-green, and land is far away. Because this is not a physical body, I can breathe even though I am far below the waters. We go down through seaweed that is taller than trees, coral that flowers in bright colors, and strange creatures that swim and walk along the ocean bottom.

We see the great white walls that mark off Manannan's land, and enter through a gate of golden intertwining plants. We ride down great hallways of mother-of-pearl, and enter a contemplation garden. There are beautiful flowers and giant shells, and the chairs are great conches and murex shells. The messenger leads the horses away after we dismount.

At the center of the garden is a statue of a great sun. It is Lir, the originator of this world. The statue is translucent with a dazzling light in its center. Its rays are white, but as they spread out, they turn to turquoise and royal blue.

Manannan and Fand walk in and they are dressed in silvery robes like the skins of bright fish. Manannan's crown is woven gold with stars, while Fand wears silver moons linked by a jeweled net. They are noble and gracious, and I bow before them and thank them for the invitation.

Manannan says,

Welcome to our world. This palace was created as the outer layer of our world. In the deeper layer is Manannan, the voice of the ocean vortex. Beneath that is Lir, the brilliant light beyond the darkness and mystery. Manannan's vortex is deep and impenetrable. It is the voice of the great ocean. Lir's radiance is diamonds upon molten gold, like volcanic lava which has not yet hardened into form. It is the mingling of intense light and darkness that allows for the creation of intermediate worlds which are visible to the Fair Folk, and certain people on earth.

The religion of my people does not worship a goddess - it worships couples as unions of opposites. Sometimes these may be focused in a single deity, but that deity is generally a lower manifestation.

Some believe the culture of the Fair Folk focuses too much on aesthetics, but the other main focus of religion, ethics, has corrupted a whole range of cultures. Emphasizing ethics creates a realm which is fascinating because it is forbidden. This motivates behaviors that would never have occurred otherwise to the people who perform the forbidden acts.

We have seen religions of love create as much pain as possible for those who would not join. We saw them conquer the weak willed, bribe the poor, and favor wealthy kings and warriors. We saw the ethics of love allow killing in the name of God.

We do not demand love. We evoke it. We show beauty and encourage creativity. We try to channel destructive energy into the arts by sculpting wood and metal, turning crystalline caverns into palaces, and making armor and weapons for when we must defend ourselves.

It is true that not all the Fair Folk are peaceful. Many of the Travelers have become warriors, for travel tends to demand self defense, and people practice until it becomes a career. There are also groups who have descended from famous warriors who try to keep up their skill with swords and war-horses as a tradition. However, it is not our tradition. Our tradition is beauty.

Rest, and be at peace. We will resume our discussions later.

The Feast

My guide and I approach a castle of gray stone, with a great door. There is a short bridge over a moat that surrounds it. The landscape is quite beautiful, with distant mountains, contemplation gardens, and a river leading to a forest with large rocks and a small waterfall.

Behind the castle is a path of white pebbles that leads to gardens. They are terraced, with several levels, with caves and grottoes far beneath. The gardens bloom with roses, peonies, and lilies, in bright and fantastic colors. In one section, it becomes more of a Zen garden, with a large central pool, and rocks of different sizes. There are pine trees and ancient cedars, and ferny areas with moss and lichens growing on the stones. There are sheltered areas in which to meditate, and we enter one.

We pass a garden of archetypal forms as we go. There are ancient, broken fountains and wind chimes and sundials, with moonlight and deep shadows. We go to the niche of meditation sheltered by tree branches, with rock seats.

As we sit, in the center of the niche, white fire rises. It swirls in spirals, and in its midst is a white murex. It is a doorway to Manannan's land.

As we observe the fire, it opens into a spiral path of stars, which passes shimmering veils of rainbows, down to Manannan's undersea castle. The pathway is made of snails, starfish, and scallop shells, all composed of white light.

We encounter a doorway guarded by mermen and tritons, blowing conches to announce us. These also purify the air of hostile forces. As the doors open, at first, the white light is too bright to see anything.

Inside they are feasting and celebrating a new sport which has been recently invented - it is a kind of wave dancing which uses underwater horses and chariots.

The décor is unusual. The chandeliers are made of living branching coral with shining flowers, and the tables are made of living plants with their branches interlaced and arched. Chairs are benches of white shell, and great abalone shells, and there are giant clamshells, which hold food piled high. There are goblets of tortoiseshell.

We are greeted by Queen Fand, who is dressed in a gown of shimmering sea-silk that looks like cobwebs. Her crown is gold and pearls, with gracefully drooping leaves made of emeralds, and her jewelry is golden vines with pearl berries.

We go to the thrones at the front, and the gods and goddesses are like great pearls upon thrones, which are shells, lined with silver mother-of-pearl. Manannan waves his hand, and the room sparkles with multi-colored stars. My guide and I bow before him.

Manannan says,

I am pleased that you are here. What gift do you bring?

My guide smiles and takes out from his robes a necklace of white fur sewn with diamonds and chiming bells, which he offers to Fand. She smiles as she puts it on and there are bells ringing reverberating throughout the room.

Manannan approves, and tells my guide it is an excellent gift. He says, "Come in and join the feasting."

I cannot eat the food as a visitor, but I can watch the nobles. My guide notes that their manners are much better than those of the medieval European nobles at feasts.

There are bards, and one begins to sing a song. He has a stick that he stamps for time, and an assistant who accompanies him on a small lyre. He sings of friendship between the races of the many worlds, and of common purpose and shared ideals, and of loyalty towards the Good, and appreciation of beauty and truth. He does not sing of the gods, but rather of friends meeting from far away.

When he finishes, I go to the bard and bow, telling him I appreciate his song, and the spirit that goes with it. Apparently bowing to a bard is significant, and a way of showing that you accept his authority. Manannan says that it is an appropriate response, and just what he would want. I offer my respects to those at the feast, and bid goodbye.

Manannan's Island Kingdom

My guide and I walk to a castle, whose pendants and banners wave in the wind. They are Manannan's crests - the white murex shell against blue waves, and the horses of the sea with their green manes and tales, and golden hooves. It is a small castle of a noble true to Manannan, the lord of the land.

We pass by the castle and go down past a lake and gardens, along the edge of a forest, and still further down to the cliffs that overlook the sea. My guide says, "the castle appears to be alone, but it is not. It is a connected to the wider community of the Land of Dreams by water. Let us travel and explore its boundaries."

We walk down below the cliffs, which resemble the cliffs of Moher in Ireland (though they are smaller). There is a boat on the rocky shore, and at first it looks like an old wooden boat with sails in rows, like an old pirate ship. But as I examine it more closely, the old cracked wood is transformed and the canvas sails become like mother-of-pearl. The wood is like white birch, new and living. It is a boat that is steered by the force of mind.

We board the boat and the colored winds come up, and carry the ship. The air is full of swirls and baroque designs, and these are echoed on the surface of the water. The waves are deep blue-green, but the winds are opalescent. We ride the wind and waves out into the sea.

In the distance are islands, some small, and some very large. The smaller ones have cliffs and caves, and some of the Fair Folk have homes on them in the hills, or at the water line, where they have ocean, as we on earth have lawn. Some islands are piled high with shells, which form gates and walls.

The bigger islands have nobility, and those who serve and follow them. The palaces and houses are more elaborate there, and the Fair Folk have both privacy and access to community on these islands. They travel on wind and waves, even as far as the palaces of Manannan. His palace and lands dwarfs all others.

We continue sailing on our boat to the island palace of Manannan and Fand. It is actually above the water, and is a diplomatic place for meeting representatives of other cultures, and especially those Fair Folk closer to fire than water.

We land, and leave the boat at the shore. This is the official pathway to the palace, composed of scattered and broken shells - the more informal pathway is under water. Now we have taken both paths.

The palace is made in the shape of a mandala, with four gates based on the various forms of transportation - boat, airship, psychic entrance, or spiritual/intuitive entrance. In the center is Manannan's throne room, but in the center of that is the whirlpool of Lir, the origin god of Manannan and his people. Lir is brilliant shining light but is also infinite darkness. Looking at his whirlpool is fascinating and mysterious, and it can draw the observer inwards towards the great mystery. Manannan and Fand are not present but they will return.

We walk down the central area, which is the reception room for the palace. The walls and floors are shining white marble and there are golden filigree designs on the walls, describing the histories of the gods. There are great statues through the halls, and complex Arabian carpets as runners on the floor. We approach the thrones, which are giant shells. Manannan's is a murex, and Fand's is a kind of scallop. There are servants who bow to us, for they know my guide, and they offer us food and drink. I refuse because it is not my time to live here. We sit down in the choral chairs along the wall to await the god.

There is the sound of horns being blown with tritons shells as trumpets, and outside there are horses and artisticly designed carriages. There are people coming to Manannan with a large collections of gifts, and my guide and I find we are in their midst.

The throne section of the room, which was temporarily closed off from view, opens, and Manannan and Fand are there. He wears a long flowing green cape, and a crown of golden twigs of coral with emeralds. Fand is dressed in a rainbow cloak that shines like mother-of-pearl, and a silvery crown with sapphires. They sit on their thrones made of shells, and welcome their guests.

Many pass by with offerings and get blessings in return. These are neighboring nobles of the Fair Folk and gods - sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. All are dressed elaborately, with jewels and brocades and their gifts tend to be jeweled or magical objects. There are embroidered cloaks of invisibility for travel on earth, boats of spun glass, bowls ever full of food and drink, and dancers who visit for months as entertainers. There are craftsman who come to turn the ideas of the royal couple into artwork, and fruits, which give the eater eternal joy and youth. There is cloth spun from underwater silks, and treasure chests from the ocean floor full of golden coins.

We watch the procession of visitors, nobles, dancers, and musicians until it winds down, and I ask if we should have a gift. My guide says it is unnecessary since we are not asking for anything.

We go before the thrones, and admire the beauty and grace of the gods. They are happy with this and require no further offerings. The halls are already filled with offerings anyway.

Manannan says,

I am glad you have returned. I wanted to tell you something more of our people.

I am lord of a bright, creative, imaginative race. The Fair Folk are not gods in the sense of controlling human destiny. Nor are we jealous, demanding, and full of commandments as to how they should live their lives. For us, godhood is creativity. We can create worlds of beauty, not in matter but in spirit. We can create worlds from light and travel through the universe without limitation. We are able to help and inspire others, and bless them so that they can be aware of our presence.

As a race, we are artists. If you seek a deity in the more traditional sense, then you should meditate on Lir who is our creator and ancestor. If I am a god, then he is the Godhead, the origin of the spirit through which we create. Though I may be called a god-king, I have no desire for power or war. Our wealth is in peace and beauty, the harmony between many worlds. Fand is my queen, and we rule together, the unity of male and female, sun and moon, which is united in Lir.

Not to disappoint the Wiccans interested in Celtic lore, but most of the Fair Folk worship both a king and a queen. Very few have either a male of female deity alone - it is imbalanced. Our energies work together.

We welcome people as visitors. Though we have not been always welcomed by the human race in the past, we do not hold that against serious seekers today. I believe that people of times past were more narrow and prejudiced, more suspicious of anything foreign, and more fearful of the unknown than people are today. It used to be that most people sought the Fair Folk to steal things from them, or control them as slaves. But I think that there are people today that are actually interested in sharing ideas, and mutual understanding, and these are welcome.

To visit, they may call upon me, or visualize a bright underwater light, and ask for a guide. If they are sincere, I will send one with my white horses, who can carry them through the waves for a visit.

We have been misunderstood by hostile writers who deliberately portrayed us in a negative manner. Ignorant villagers have accused us of theft and malice. Folklorists have collected ancient gossip and called it religion. More recently, Wiccans and Celtic neo-pagans have claimed that we are bound to the earth, and that we worship only goddesses.

It is important to be represented properly. This is why I am talking to you now. Our people have suffered from human prejudice for a long time. We are not interested in recompense, affirmative action, or financial redress. We simply wish to have our voices heard.

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


Copyright © 2005,   J. Denosky,   All Rights Reserved