Saturday, December 24, 2011

Manannán mac Lir

Manannan mac Lir'Manannan, Son of Lir', was an Irish sea-god (OI leir, ler, 'sea, ocean')and eponymous hero-god of the Manxmen, whose island was named after him. He also is directly related to the Welsh sea-god Manawydan fab Llyr. Like many of the primal IE ocean gods, Manannan was older than the Danann sky gods, yet was considered one of them. This suggests a primordial origin similar to the Norse's Aegir. After all, the great gods of all IE mythologies were mostly sky gods. The Greeks, who lost their sky god triumvirate, reconstructed a triad with Poseidon and Hades possibly under pre-Greek indigenous influence. However, to the Norse the ocean god Aegir was not part of the Aesir even though he had close and friendly relations with them.

Manannan rode his horse or chariot across the tops of the waves as did both Poseidon and Aegir. He also had a mantle and helmet of invisibility (or flames), and an unfailing sword. He was usually depicted with a green cloak fastened with a silver brooch, a satin shirt, a gold fillet, and golden sandals. In Celtic fashion he was also a shape-changer.

His abode was, like Aegir's, vaguely defined. He was said to live in a sea palace like his Greek and Norse equivalents. Yet according to some accounts there seems also to have been his mythical island called Tir Tairnigiri ‘land of promise’. This was apparently one of the Blessed Isles of the Otherworld where he was said to rule Mag Mell ('Field of Joy'). However, the Isle of Manx was also his, called by the Irish Mana and the Welsh Manaw. The Roman name for the Isle of Anglesy, which they called Mona, was probably a confused idienitification with Manx, which they called Monapia. In any case this parallels Aegir's possession of the Isle of Hlesey in Scandinavia.

Manannan was a major character in Irish myth. The Celts seem to have not feared him in the way the Norse feared Aegir and the Greeks feared Poseidon. Like his counterparts, Manannan could whip up the ocean's waters or make them calm, although he was not as closely identified with wrecking ships and drowning sailors. The Manxmen celebrated their eponymous god at festivals. He was also seen as a god who could bring fertility and prosperity. This function is expressed most vividly during the journey of Bran to Tir inna mban, the otherworldly 'land of women'. Driving his chariot across the waves, he left in his wake a field of flowers. The white caps of the waves became flowering shrubs and the seaweed turned to fruit trees. He was also accompanied by salmon that appeared as calves and lambs.

As with other ocean gods, Manannan was associated with the IE 'cauldron of regeneration'. This notion was mostly closely found in his tale with Cormac mac Airt. Here, he appeared at Cormac's ramparts in the guise of a warrior who told him he came from a land where old age, sickness, death, decay, and falsehood were unknown (the Otherworld was also known as the 'Land of Youth' or the 'Land of the Living'). Having had his wife and children abducted, Cormac followed the disguised Manannan back to what equated to his paradisal palace at Mag Mell. By the end of the story Cormac had not only retrieved his family but was the owner of a bough with three apples and a golden cup (a precursor to the Holy Grail). Both symbolized and had the powers of healing and regeneration.

He and his wife Fand fostered several characters, including the great god Lugh. In one tale Fand (pearl of beauty) was loved by the mortal hero Cuchulainn after she quarreled with Manannan and he left her. Finally, however, Cuchulainn's wife Emer found him and took him home. Cuchulainn's pining for the love of Fand was finally broken by Manannan, who cast a spell that caused the mortal hero to forget his beloved goddess (compare with the Norse's Sigurd and Brunhild).

Elsewhere in Irish myth he banished his son Gaiar’s lover Becuma from Tir Tairnigiri to the human world, where she caused infertility and misery. Manannan also had a mortal son named Mongan who was born out of wedlock (to an Ulster queen) and reared by a wizard (compare with Arthur). Mongan, who in Irish legend is identified as a reincarnation of Finn mac Cumhail (and hence also of Lugh, the foster son of Manannan), became a king and hero of Ulster, inheriting his father’s shape-changing powers.

In Wales he was known as Manawyddan or Morgan Mywnoaur, where he owned a marvelous chariot similar to Manannan’s amphibious vehicle. His other accoutrements were a sword, cauldron, suit of clothes, hounds, a drinking horn, whetstone, destiny stone, knife, harp, bottle and platter -- all with magical powers. He was also called Barinthus.

FROM: The Temple of Manannan Mac Lir
(There is other info avaliabe as well)


Manannan mac Lir
by Micha F. Lindemans

The Irish god of the sea and fertility, who forecasts the weather. He is older than the Tuatha Dé Danann, yet was considered to be one of them. He is the son of Lir and his name means "Manannan Son of the Sea". His wife is Fand and he is the foster-father of many gods, including Lugh. He is the guardian of the Blessed Isles, and the ruler of Mag Mell. Manannan has a ship that follows his command without sails; his cloak makes him invisible; his helmet is made of flames and his sword cannot be turned from its mark. He is described as riding over the sea in a chariot.
His Welsh equivalent is Manawydan ap Llyr. He is also called Barinthus.
FROM: Manannan mac Lir


In Irish mythology, Manannán mac Lir was a sea and weather god. He is usually counted as one of the Tuatha Dé Danann, although he was sometimes considered as older than them.

His given name was Orbsen or Oirbsen. The name Manannán derives from an earlier name for the Isle of Man, and his patronymic mac Lir may have been metaphorical and meant "son of the sea (Ler)": his father is given in early genealogies as Allód. Consequently, he may be unrelated to the character Lir of the well known story of the Children of Lir. His Welsh equivalent is Manawyddan ap Llyr.

His wife was Fand. He ruled over the Blessed Isles as well as Mag Mell, the underworld.

Manannán had many magical items. He gave Cormac mac Airt his magic goblet of truth; he had a ship that did not need sails named "Wave Sweeper"; he owned a cloak that granted him invisibility, a flaming helmet, and a sword named Fragarach ("Answerer" or "Retaliator") that could never miss its target. He also owned a horse called "Enbarr of the Flowing Mane" which could travel over water as easily as land.

Manannán left his wife, Fand, and she fell in love with Cúchulainn. Since a mortal and fairy (Fand was Queen of the fairies) could not stay together without destroying the fairy, Manannan erased their memories of each other.
He raised two foster children:
  • Egobail
  • Lugh
He also prophesied to Bran, in the Voyage of Bran, that a great warrior would be descended from him. The 8th century saga Compert Mongáin recounts the deeds of a legendary son, Mongán mac Fiachnai, fathered by Manannán on the wife of Fiachnae mac Báetáin.

In the Isle of Man, Manannán mac Lir was known as Mannan. On Midsummer Eve, people offered green grass to Mannan-beg-mac-y-Leir (beg=small) and prayed for blessings in seafaring and fishing. He was believed to be a magician who could make an illusory fleet from pea shells in order to discourage would-be invaders.

Medieval traditions claimed there were a number of historical characters known as Manannán, who lived at different times. One was supposed to have been an Irish prince named Orbsenius who was hailed for his abilities at navigating the Irish sea as a merchant.
An alternative name was Barinthus.
FROM: Manannán mac Lir - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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