So in my last post I talked about going down to the beach to see if the God Who’d been nudging me really was Manannan Mac Lir. (I probably didn’t say that in so many words; at any rate that’s why I was going down to the beach.)
The beach by my house is at a bay park — there’s a playground, a boat launch, a swimming area, and a forest trail that leads to someone’s property. Dogs aren’t allowed there between May 1st and September 15th, which means the city thinks that either dog owners suddenly become considerate human beings in the winter and pick up their dogs’ crap, or that the city doesn’t give a crap about dog poop on the beach when no one important is going to be there.
It’s a bit of a hike to the beach, and all downhill — meaning I have to walk uphill on the way back home (uphill and my back don’t get along — after walking uphill for a while I start getting spasms in my spine). Well, that’s fine — nothing is going to deter me today. I’ve been putting this off for two days already.
Before walking down there I shower and get dressed in some fairly sensible clothing; I pull a poncho over my hoody to keep the rain off. I pack my purse with my notebook and pen in case I want to do some writing, and shove in a plastic bag so I can sit down outside without getting my butt soaked. I cut some long grass from the backyard and braid it as an offering; I read somewhere that in midsummer rituals people would offer grass and reeds to Manannan.
It’s raining, and as I walk down there I can see mist moving through the trees in the mountains. The sky looks like someone painted a huge bowl all white and slapped it down over the world. It’s mostly quiet as I walk — occasionally a car goes by, but by and large all I hear are birds chirping and the rain falling. It’s a peaceful sound.
As I get closer to the beach the rain intensifies, falling a bit harder. Either I’m crazy, or Manannan is welcoming me. Or both. That’s also very likely.
I make my way down across the grass, and opt for the forest, where I can get closer to the water but stay out of sight. I see a lot of litter as I walk by and remind myself to pick it up on the way back.
I hit the part of the woods that has a “PRIVATE PROPERTY — NO TRESPASSING” sign, and think, rather sourly, If you cared about your property you’d pick up some of this fracking garbage, right before I trespass to get to the water. I put my plastic bag down on a log and sit, staring out into the water. I calm myself. Become peaceful. Say hi.
Communicating with this God is not like communicating with Morrigan. When She speaks, She speaks loudly. Manannan…I could barely hear Him. It was like listening to the waves, or the rain falling. I had to really concentrate to hear what He was saying. But the answers were all clear.
I offered Him the grass, and that went over well; He seemed to like it. I told him I was surprised that a God of the sea would call to me, as I’m terrified of water and drowning…and then I realized that since sitting there all I wanted to do was dive under the surface of the water, because I felt absolutely safe. I was still feeling surprised, however. I’m a creature of earth of fire — water and air have never been strong elements with me. Certainly not water. I am quite emotional and passionate — I lack clarity and control. I suspect that’s what I need to learn next, and that there’s a very good reason for Him coming into my life now, when I’m on the verge of spiraling out of what little control I have.
And then I ask Him if He’s Manannan Mac Lir, the Irish God of the sea, or Manawyddan fab Llyr, the Welsh God of the Isle of Man — the two are very close, culturally and mythologically, and I wanted to make sure I knew Whom I was talking to. And that’s where things get muddy.
I’m a hard polytheist. To me, Morrigan is Morrigan is Morrigan is NOT Badb or Nemain. That got a little blurred when I met Brighid, Whose mythology is so tied up with that of Saint Brighid that it’s really hard to get to know Her without blurring those lines a little bit.
Now those lines are squiggles.
I asked if He was Manannan. I got a yes. I asked if He was Manawyddan. I got a yes.
I said “I’m sorry if this is offensive, but I’m trying to wrap my head around this and the closest I can come is that You’re a God with Multiple Personality Disorder.” I got a chuckle, and a sort of, but…sort of not.
It’s like…They’re separate gods — that much is obvious from the mythology — but They’re not. Like They join and separate at different times. I got the distinct impression that for the most part, I’ll be dealing with Manannan, but sometimes He’ll be both Manannan and Manawyddan.
I told Him/Them that the idea would take a bit of time for me to get used to, but that I was going to try.
Then I asked if He knew if Major had moved onto the afterlife or not. The answer wasn’t very clear, but I think part of Major’s consciousness has begun the process of reincarnation, and the other part is staying with his body and this property. So long as he’s happy, I’m okay with that.
And I realized that it made sense, for Manannan to call me, because of His connection with death. And the water thing doesn’t bug me so much anymore.
Then I felt a sadness so deep, for what we’ve done to the oceans. The oil spills. The islands of garbage. It’s amazing the Gods will have anything to do with us at all.
I thanked Him and told Him I was going home to get warm and eat, because I was starving, and then I left. My leg had gotten soaked despite the plastic bag I’d put down. I used the bag to carry the garbage I picked up on my way out of the park.
I’m still feeling a little confused, but I’m glad I got the answers I did. I’m hoping I’ll be able to make sense of this the more I get to know Him/Them.