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Author Topic: Unexpected Dreams of a Sea God  (Read 5919 times)
Morag
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« Reply #15: February 23, 2011, 05:04:13 am »

(a) [snippage] but I've also read on here some very strongly stated opinions that this deity is actually two deities who are not at all related to each other, and this surety in others makes me very hesitant to step into potentially murky waters since I don't have any surety at all that this sea god I encountered can't be one or both (or maybe someone else entirely). Other than the obvious (asking the god, doing more research), any advice or suggestions about how to go about finding out his identity or handling this ambiguity?

Not sure if you found my post on Manannan, so I'll link it for you. There are follow-up posts on my blog, here and here.

Anyway, the answer I got from Manannan when I asked if He was Manawyddan or Manannan was "Yes." Or, Yes sometimes, no sometimes, whatever the occasion calls for, We're kind of separate and not. Which fried my brain at first, but I think I managed to fit it into my epistemic system.

It's like how I view Brighid and the Lady of the Stars. They're the same, and They're not. The Lady of the Stars was there first, and then individuated into different Beings, like Brighid and Nut and the Others we've talked about (or haven't talked about). But She's still the Lady of the Stars AND those Beings, and Brighid is the Lady of the Stars AND Brighid. Sometimes She's the Irish Brighid and sometimes She's much more vast than that; it's a very fluid identity.

Perhaps there is something similar with the Lord of the Deeps idea (at least in my head). Lord of the Deeps was there first, and then the various individuations occurred, and now Manannan is the Lord of the Deeps and Manawyddan, but is also just Manannan, and the same for Manawyddan and so on and so forth.

Hmmm. *ponders*

(And yeah, this is all UPG, straight up.)

(b) I was cool with an intense relationship with one deity, and a respectful but less intimate "professional" relationship with others, particularly in Celtic traditions. I am not sure I'm up for handling two such intense relationships, and not sure how they might affect each other. I don't feel content to just leave each deity to their own separate sphere and leave it at that - especially since both seem very much involved with thresholds and liminal spaces, as well as primordial sources/energies of some kind. If I were to try to work with both, I feel like I would need to understand how they work together. But as far as I know, there's not much information in scholarship or lore about the connection between Brigid and Manannan/Manawyddah. Does anyone work with two deities as a kind of synthesis or partnership, and if so, how does that work for you? Does anyone work in particular with Brigid and Manannan/Manawyddan?

I work with both Brighid and Manannan/Manawyddan, though I've never seen Them as a partnership. (This thread has stirred some ideas about it, however, and that may change.) The two deities I work with as a synthesis are Brighid and Morrigan. Specifically: Brighid is the Smith at the Soul Forge, and when I am broken, She re-forges me so I am usable again. Morrigan chooses how I am to be used -- She directs me on the warrior's path, tells me what battles to fight and how because I am Her weapon. My re-forges -- my original forging -- were commissioned by Morrigan to Brighid. But Brighid also had Her own designs with me. They are equal, in my mind, and neither one came first in the working creation story about Brighid that's in my head (which I'll write up someday, when that shipment of spoons comes in).

I can't tell you how that works for me because I can't imagine it not working for me, if that makes sense.

When I try to think of Brighid and Manannan working together, the only thing I can come up with is the story of Pele and Kamapua'a from Hawaiian mythology. I don't know if it will hold anything for you, but I figured I'd share it.
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« Reply #16: February 23, 2011, 12:28:48 pm »

Don't think so much of Brighid and Manannan in the lore. Think of the Lady of the Stars and the Lord of the Deeps in the now.

See, I have a really hard time with this idea. To me, the lore is the first place to go when looking for information on a deity one is getting to know. One's character is revealed through actions and through interactions with others, and that's as true with deities as it is with humans. If I haven't done a reasonable amount of reading in the lore to get an understanding of who a god is, I count myself as not knowing that god.

Also, Brighid and Manannan are what I consider to be more or less my patrons. My UPG is that they seem to get along well, but would like to be honored individually, unless in ritual where each has a role to play.
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« Reply #17: February 23, 2011, 11:53:33 pm »

See, I have a really hard time with this idea. To me, the lore is the first place to go when looking for information on a deity one is getting to know. One's character is revealed through actions and through interactions with others, and that's as true with deities as it is with humans. If I haven't done a reasonable amount of reading in the lore to get an understanding of who a god is, I count myself as not knowing that god.

Also, Brighid and Manannan are what I consider to be more or less my patrons. My UPG is that they seem to get along well, but would like to be honored individually, unless in ritual where each has a role to play.

I think perspective and the needs of the individual doing the worshipping influence this. In my worldview, stories are important. Very very important. But a story is a story. Lore is a story. I cannot let my whole worship ride on myths because of varying reasons, some of them extremely personal. Lore is a useful and important guideline for me, but it is still a guideline. That point of view tends to leak into my advice, which can be very different from what the poster believed. If my advice changed their mind, great. If it cemented their belief in their pre-existing position, great. If it made them think, then I did my job.
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« Reply #18: February 24, 2011, 08:31:29 pm »

Hey, guys, I've been meaning to get back on here with an update for a few days, but you know how things can be! Anyway, first I just wanted to say thanks again for all the advice, it was incredibly helpful and I've been mulling things over and doing some heavy pondering.

The other night (the night after I posted), I did end up doing a ritual for Manannan (which is, I'm pretty sure now, who this dreamy sea god is) to see if I could get in touch with him in a more formal way, and also in a way that was more comfortable and less overwhelming for me. It was fairly short and simple, spending some time in meditation after setting up my altar. I had already been planning a ritual for that night to focus on my Saturn Return work (regular meditation to work through issues of authority, power and destiny, which I have scheduled on a roughly monthly basis when the moon conjuncts Saturn), and I was wondering if perhaps this was one of the reasons he was reaching out to me at this time, if perhaps he had some wisdom or guidance in that respect - or at least, that was one of the things I wanted to ask him about.

My meditations with Brigid - which have been the only ones where I've worked specifically with a deity instead of more general trance work - have always been very clear and visually oriented, sometimes with auditory impressions that seem almost as though my imagination is taking dictation. I was expecting something similar when reaching out to Manannan, especially after the intensity of the dream which totally blew out of the water (no pun intended) any vision experience I've had with Brigid. But what ended up happening was very different from what I was expecting, and so at first I felt like the ritual had been a failure.

Instead of having any clear visual/auditory experience during my meditation, I felt like it was a constant struggle to stay in trance and I could only seem to get half-glimpses of things, snips and pieces that left me feeling confused. On the other hand, I had some definite palpable or... somatic experiences, sensations not directly visual or auditory, but more seeming to be centered in my sense of touch and motion. While entering into and then coming out of trance, the act of breathing itself seemed to feel, to me, like a swaying of a great ocean or tide, ebb and flow, so that breath and blood felt like an intense connection or sensation of his presence... if I'm making any sense. I got the impression - though, again, it was just an impression, a sense without being articulated in any visual or auditory way - that this would be more characteristic of my relationship with Manannan. My relationship with Brigid has been more cerebral, a kind of "fire in the head" thing, but the sense I got from this ritual was that my relationship with Manannan would be much more bodily, not so much a head thing as a heart thing. (What's funny was, I hadn't really ever thought that my relationship with Brigid was a "head thing" because I didn't really have anything to compare it to, but this ritual with Manannan seemed to hold up in stark contrast an alternate way of connecting and communing/communicating with deity.)

Since that ritual, what bits and pieces I did manage to glimpse in trance (beyond the warm-fuzzy tingling of feeling his presence in my blood and breath) have started to fall into place over the past few days. Like I said, first I thought the ritual was a failure and I hadn't been able to connect with him in any way that made sense to me or answered my questions... but after letting my subconscious turn things over, and exploring some ideas through journaling, I'm realizing that some of what I "got" from him in ritual actually confirms something Brigid was also sharing with me during my Imbolc meditation with her. The message was presented in a very different form, but suddenly the connection is jumping out at me. And while I hadn't really taken her advice or followed her promptings before - though it seemed so wise coming from her - now I have a better feel for what that advice might mean, even though the way Manannan presented it was just.... well, silly.

I know I'm being kind of cryptic, but it's a long boring story about dealing with personal issues that would probably put everyone to sleep, anyway. Wink Suffice it to say, I think I'm excited to pursue this relationship and see where it leads! I wanted to post this update first about the ritual.... but now I want to go back and actually respond to some things people wrote. I guess I'll make that a different post, though!

--Ali
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« Reply #19: February 24, 2011, 10:30:52 pm »

Hey, guys, I've been meaning to get back on here with an update for a few days, but you know how things can be! Anyway, first I just wanted to say thanks again for all the advice, it was incredibly helpful and I've been mulling things over and doing some heavy pondering.

cropped

What you described here matches pretty closely with what I experienced with Yemaya and what I have heard from other people with oceanic deity connections. Some things I think are important to consider is that oceanic deities can be pretty different from other such entities. Consider the massive depths and reaches of the sea, how most of it is incredibly dark, mysterious, and unknown; the incredible pressures it holds, the massive wealth it holds; it's a whole lot to manifest into one representation and for our small, human minds to even attempt to interpret it; it can come off as pretty esoteric.

When I connected with Yemaya, it was an experience that was hard to explain. I was everywhere and nowhere; I was one drop of water and all the water in the world at one time; at times being lost in the dark depths was incredibly terrifying; at one point I had to fight against my urges to drown myself in her waters to forever be with her (a common problem for her followers, actually and some of us do end up drowning ourselves during possession; and yet through it all was a feeling of unending power, and serene calmness as if I was pressed against her bosom. I'm only grasping some of the experience now as I read your account and think back on mine.

Another account from someone speaking to Eleggua as he possessed one of his followers is quite revealing. She asked him why in so many of his depictions did he have a bottle of rum in his hands and he readily replied that for him and his brothers and sisters communication is difficult to us humans because we are on such a base and lower mental level compared to them. He commented that he has to drink heavily to bring himself down so that even a tiny portion of his power can fit in our heads without essentially blowing our heads up "Scanners" style. Something else to consider while to trying to interpret what our deities communicate to us.

Again, these are my experiences which I only state because I think that it might provide some assistance. No one person's path should be made to be someone else's in my opinion (The Buddha being a close, but not complete exception) .
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« Reply #20: February 24, 2011, 11:43:00 pm »

What you described here matches pretty closely with what I experienced with Yemaya and what I have heard from other people with oceanic deity connections. Some things I think are important to consider is that oceanic deities can be pretty different from other such entities. Consider the massive depths and reaches of the sea, how most of it is incredibly dark, mysterious, and unknown; the incredible pressures it holds, the massive wealth it holds; it's a whole lot to manifest into one representation and for our small, human minds to even attempt to interpret it; it can come off as pretty esoteric.

This. This makes a lot of sense to me. In many ways, Brigid has felt similarly Huge and Primordial, but in a different, kind of energetic/ecstatic kind of way... Like the top of my head being opened up and ideas and inspiration pouring in like a fountain of flame. The sense I had from Manannan was deeper, in my chest and torso (and pelvis, even), and slower, gentler, but... Vast. Not so much Huge as Vast and Deep.... I hope I'm making sense. It's past my bedtime, and I'm still processing a lot of this. Smiley But this conversation here with everyone has been so very helpful!

--Ali
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« Reply #21: February 24, 2011, 11:46:14 pm »

(So, I started this post in response to a bunch of interesting things people have already posted in this thread.... but then my mom called. So... consider this a first half, and I'll be back tomorrow! Smiley)

I have to admit, I do live by the sea (2 minutes walk away in fact!), but I don't really think it would be an issue if I didn't. To an extent, being so near the sea actually has a negative side in terms of how I worship. Because he is the sea, God of the sea, etc, I tend to just gravitate towards it for both physical worship/offerings and mental focus. At this point, however, I am ignoring all his other aspects, the other realms that he inhabits. He isn't just God of the sea and waves. He is the mists, the clouds and the rain and storms. The rivers - they flow, ever-progressing on their course until they reach the sea. We are the same. We start, and we flow along our own courses, meander in places, run past and over our obstacles, until we reach our end. Until we reach the sea, and Manannan. He is also God of the Otherworld, of death, and renewal. So, in my practice, I try to focus on these other aspects too, just as much, and at that point the sea is still an indirect connection, yet not a necessity to be near. By being brave and strong, and tackling things head on, I also connect to him as a 'warrior'. Not a 'warrior' in the violent, physical sense, but a 'warrior' of emotions and fears - battling away at life's challenges and my own personal fears in order to reveal true, earnest hope and optimism.

I don't know how far away you actually are from the sea, but when you next find yourself there you could always go rock/shell collecting, and these trinkets could act as conduits through which you could connect to it, and to him. Actually, nothing's to say that you couldn't get such things online if this is difficult.

Taliesin, Your advice here kind of knocked me upside the head and reminded me that I already have an embarrassingly large collection of shells and rocks from my various trips to the ocean over the years. Just last September, in fact, when my fiancé and I were visiting the beach where we'll be getting married next year and petitioning the local spirits of the land for their permission and blessings on holding our ceremony there... after ending our ritual and going for a sunset walk along the shore, the largest shell I have ever seen - an intact blue-green-gray whelk shell half the length of my forearm - washed up right at my feet after I jokingly asked the sea to give us a sign that our petition had been heard. I've always had a habit of collecting small treasures from the beaches I've been able to visit, so for my ritual the other night I gathered a bunch of them together and incorporated them into my altar. During my meditative work, I held the whelk shell between my hands as a palpable connection to the ocean... I think this worked really well.

I also really like your advice and omoyemaya's about how to connect with a sea deity when you're landlocked:

As a son of Yemaya, the time that I lived in icy-ass Syracuse was a bitch, but I did what I could to let her know she was in my heart even though I wasn't physically in hers. I painted and drew the ocean, had photos and posters up, integrated water and sand into a number of my ritualistic workings, took a lot of baths to symbolically connect myself to her, and used other symbols, objects, offerings that she liked when I couldn't be at the sea with her. She really enjoyed me keeping a fish tank in her honor and cooking octopus and shrimp dishes for her even if they were freeze-dried or came in a can.

There are a lot of really good ideas here and, considering the physicality and "embodied-ness" of my recent ritual, I'm thinking that trying more creative, direct ways of reaching out to Manannan through art and activity of this kind (I'm thinking particularly of the baths, for instance) sounds like it could be potentially a really fruitful way of remembering and honoring the oceanic aspects even while away from the shore. It also puts my yearly vacation to the ocean in a whole new perspective for me: not just rest and relaxation, but a kind of sacred pilgrimage (which in many ways it was already).


Ack! I'm only partway done with responding to everyone's awesome insights, and my mother just called to talk about wedding plans and we were on the phone for the past three hours! (When did I become Bridezilla over here? ::faceplam:: )

Okay, I have to go to bed, but I promise to come back to this tomorrow! Smiley

--Ali
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« Reply #22: February 26, 2011, 10:56:16 am »

now I have a better feel for what that advice might mean, even though the way Manannan presented it was just.... well, silly.
Cheesy Grin I really like that and I find it sounds a lot like a god of the wild and chaotic sea.

Don't know if others feel the same way, but the body-thing you mention sounded very familiar with me. It's a bit like every deity shows us different aspects of life, different mysteries.

The huge wave you mentioned - that's powerful stuff in my book. One can get drowned by waves or ride on them. Some say water is about emotions and the unconscious. I found there's some truth there, but the ocean is way too wide to reduce it to psychological stuff... It's a place of beginnings and endings, a pool of power, chaos and nurture, wildness and freedom, brute force and fluid streaming.
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