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Author Topic: Manx Polytheism?  (Read 3239 times)
YoungSoulRebel
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« Topic Start: May 03, 2011, 02:43:33 am »

OK, a little background here:

I write fiction, and I'm writing several continuing stories spun off from this one.  Two of the new characters I'm introducing are explicitly pagan (I've only made vague polytheist allusions in the first book); the first new character is Dubh?n Congalaig, who's actually a Fetch, and I've always intended his religious practises to be polytheistic but "non-denominational" in appearances.  The other is Paaie Quirk, from Mann.  She was born on Mann and lived there for a time, until relocating with her family after her mother took ill.  Inside the home, she and her family speak Manx Gaelic exclusively, and their English tends to be peppered with Manx.  It also just makes sense for this character that her family would be pagan.

I've pretty much established that the world of these stories is a bit different from our own, and what I'm looking for is a little more information than I have right now.  There seems to be plenty of information on Irish and Scottish traditions, but not so much on Mann's.  I've got a lot of historical information, and I've already found some info (The CR FAQ site, found a little bit of info on surviving "de-paganed" fests like Hop-tu-naa and Mhelliah, the Manx Runes, also found this site with a listing of Celtic deities, but I'm not 100% sure how good it is).  The idea that I have is that, since Mann was never under Roman rule, and under BritisH law, Mann is technically not a part of the United Kingdom, I like the idea of a fictional Mann where a form of paganism survived openly, even if it's now (in the fictional reality) a strong minority religion, after Christianity.  She's a character that I intend on developing more as I continue to write about her, and I'd like to portray her family's religion as close to historical as possible -- but then that may just the the HR in me coming out. :-)

If anybody has any information to pass along that's specific to Mann, I'm all ears.

Also:  I'm not sure I'm pronouncing "Paaie" properly, if anybody can help with that, I'll be grateful.
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Seren
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« Reply #1: May 03, 2011, 04:31:29 am »

There seems to be plenty of information on Irish and Scottish traditions, but not so much on Mann's.

Man's history is heavily tied in with Scotland and Ireland - especially Scotland in more recent history. Much of the folklore and surviving traditions you'll find on Man are similar, or the same, as in Scotland. The religious expressions you'll find will mainly deal with the likes of Manannán and the Cailleach, who are both found in Scotland and Ireland as well (but that's not to say that Man doesn't have its own native traditions that survive).

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also found this site with a listing of Celtic deities, but I'm not 100% sure how good it is).
 

If you're looking for specifically historical information, then it's not so good. It's not bad, it's just written for a neopagan audience that accepts ideas like the Triple Goddess (MMC) and archetypes that aren't found in Gaelic traditions/beliefs. If that's the audience you're writing for then that's probably a good thing. Otherwise I'd stick to the folklore books. You can find loads at archive.org if you do a search.

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« Reply #2: May 03, 2011, 04:44:55 pm »

If you're looking for specifically historical information, then it's not so good. It's not bad, it's just written for a neopagan audience that accepts ideas like the Triple Goddess (MMC) and archetypes that aren't found in Gaelic traditions/beliefs. If that's the audience you're writing for then that's probably a good thing. Otherwise I'd stick to the folklore books. You can find loads at archive.org if you do a search.

Yes, I noticed that -- and I know to check pages with other sources, but what I meant to ask beyond that was how good it was on deity names, at the least.  I'm really not writing for any sort of specific audience -- the connection the characters have are as musicians or other music business-related vocations, and this just happens to be her family's background (and I like to map out a fair amount of background on the character to better find the character's voice as I write for them); authenticity would be nice, but obviously the "universe" of these stories differs considerably from our own (I've eliminated a need for a "Manx language revival", for example); plausibility to those who know their stuff is what I'm hoping for, even if I don't stick to history exactly.  It's also hard to find good information unless I know exactly what i'm looking for, and unfortunately, I can't say I know Gaelic mythology and folklore very well at all.  What are some good ones titles or authors to start with?

I also know that Mann has a strong Norse and viking history, and some cultural influences of that survive, even though the Manx language itself displays sparse Norse influence.
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« Reply #3: May 03, 2011, 11:15:33 pm »

Yes, I noticed that -- and I know to check pages with other sources, but what I meant to ask beyond that was how good it was on deity names, at the least.
<twitch> I suppose if all you want from it is names, which you can then put into Google and other search engines, its comprehensiveness (read, "any entity who could possibly be considered a deity, and who has any sort of connection to any of the cultures identified as Celtic") could outweigh other considerations - though it looks like, the way it's set up, you'll have to look at every single entry to find which ones are noted as having a connection to Man.  Or, don't look at the entries, but instead do a search on every single name to find which are noted by more reliable authorities to have a Manx connection.  The latter, though far more laborious, might be preferable; I don't have a great deal of faith in the reliability of the notes on which Celtic culture(s) each is associated with on that site.  Just a very quick look, and I find the Morrigan listed as being "pan-Celtic" (huh?); and Manannan listed as being "Irish, Manx, and Welsh" but with no mention that the Welsh figure is not called Manannan but the linguistic cognate Manawyddan, and has different stories/associations.

Encyclopedia Mythica appears to have a similarly extensive list, and requires considerably less salt.  Better yet, if you were to find a Manx history/language/folklore/etc site (I've some Irish ones bookmarked, and some for other Celtic and Germanic countries/geographic centres, but none for the Isle of Man; I'd expect that there is at least one, though), especially one based in the Isle of Man, while the info might not all be academically historically accurate, it'd be likely to be genuinely Manx.

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« Reply #4: May 06, 2011, 06:10:15 pm »

If anybody has any information to pass along that's specific to Mann, I'm all ears.
As Seren mentioned, Mann is tied in with the other Gaelic(Irish&Scottish) traditions. Irish speakers can actually understand Manx Gaelg (we call it Manainnis) better than Scots Gàidhlig. There's an English girl in my Gaelic society (Cumann Cluain Ard) whose father is from Mann, and was involved with the language revival(being the first Celtic nation to take it to parliament) Not only is she fluent in Manx, but also Irish&Scottish Gaelic. I could possibly ask her if there's anything, but I'm takiing a bet the pre-Christian aspects are the common Goidelic ones. You never know though? I just found out there a few weeks ago that the Insular Celts always described travel as going "down" somewhere. Always with the equator, even if the actual direction isn't.
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« Reply #5: May 08, 2011, 08:27:11 am »

I just found out there a few weeks ago that the Insular Celts always described travel as going "down" somewhere. Always with the equator, even if the actual direction isn't.

That's amusing, as it's something my mother's family always said. And that's where the Irish genes are, though you have to go a few generations back from me to start seeing them. I'm wondering if that isn't a more common phrase/concept across cultures...

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