An adult and a child hold hands on the beach at sunset or sunrise. They are walking away from the camera.

30 Days of Hymns, the Sacred Triad, Manannan #4: family

Honor & Love upon You, highest Father of my Heart
How shall my actions serve You?
For You gave me a blanket
when I was cold.
A home
when I had none.
A shoulder to cry on.
A place to feel safe.

Hail to You, most beloved Parent!
You have kept my soul safe
in Your strong arms
You have honored and embraced
all my sides
the loving
and hateful
the conventional
and the spat-upon

You do not look at me with
eyes full of betrayal
for living my truth
for embracing all of myself
dirt-stained and blood-covered
You do not even reject me
when I am deep in the throes
of adolescent obstinancy
throwing tantrums and screaming obscenities
because my brain has betrayed me
again

You accept all facets
of who I am
for You know my queerness
my fluidity
does not shame you, does not reflect upon You
except as a beacon of love
for You know my rages
my anger
all my darkness–
You know it is not personal.

All my love to you, most graceful Dad!
With flowers in Your hair
and paint on Your nails
and a tool belt round Your waist
All my honor to You
as You dance the rigid binary into dust

As I stumble and fall in
mortal folly, hunting after a piece of grace
I search for how to do You honor
how to live my truth as an offering
I search for ways to make
You proud
of your daughterson witchling

And when I have children of my own, oh Lord
I will try to walk in Your footsteps,
though my feet may not fill your shoes
I will love and accept all facets of my children
even if they are broken like me
even if they defy the categories I have put upon the world
for I know I am not immune
to rigidness

I will give them a safe haven
I will make my home a sanctuary

I will tell them
their Grandfather is in the
sea and mist and rain
and that they only need to find joy
splashing in puddles
or finding shells at the beach
to know He loves them.

Oh Father,
let me open my heart in loving embrace
Let me expand my notions of family
to all who need
my compassion and caring.
Let me build a safe zone
within my walls
for my children,
and for anyone who needs it.

The broken, the lost
the queer.
The abandoned, the hated,
the alone.
Let me have enough love for them all.

Teach me to fill Your footsteps,
Holy Dad; let me walk in Your shoes
Open my heart
to the true meaning
of family.


30 Days of Hymns: The Sacred Triad

Ode to Father Ocean, 1 (for Summer Solstice 2016)

In the quiet breath of midnight
I shall tiptoe softly
upon sand and rock and scrub
to stand at the edge of You
until the soft sighing of Your waves
match the cadence of my heartbeat.

In the bright sun of morning
I will gather reeds close to me
my hands, deft and clumsy both
shall work upon them long
and when they are proper braids and ropes
I shall offer them to Your depths.

On the day the sun stands still
while we celebrate summer and light and heat
I do not forget this is the beginning of Your time.
Every night You stretch longer, each day You squeeze tighter
drawing us closer ever to Your embrace in winter.
I will offer to you, I will pray: let it remain steady, a slow decline into icier times
Let it stay gentle and soft; do not plunge us in the deep end
without letting us get our feet wet.

And tho I offer to You and pray for Your gentleness
I do not reject Your harsher sides.
The storm, the tempest, the tsunami
the chilly ice water that freezes heart and bone
the depths that house nightmare creatures
and a graveyard for the foolish.

You are my Father, and You are all of these things
multicolored, shining like abalone in the sunlight.
I do not box You into good or bad or gentle or harsh
for You contain multitudes
and it is Your many colors that have taught me
the depth of my own emotions is not something to fear.

So I do not fear You, Father Ocean.
I raise my voice and hands in praise of You.

Praise be to the deep saltiness
from which life arises
and where it will go to end.

Praise be to the sandy shallows
where we might splash and play
and worship in joyfulness.

Praise be to the tidepools,
and the infinitely colorful
variety of the life therein.

Praise be to the water cycle,
to the rains and the mists
to the clouds that bring ocean water to our crops.

Praise be to Thee, Father Ocean
to the movements that shape rock and erode doubt
to the slow and gentle change
that is nonetheless more powerful
than any mortal can fathom.

Praise be to Thee, Father Ocean, Uncle Sea
Let us learn to love You well.

30 Days of Deity Devotion, Day 1: A brief introduction

There’s a lot to be said about Manannan mac Lir, both from a historical perspective and from the perspective of personal experience. I’m going to speak from personal experience, because that’s best what I can write about.

Manannan is…a trickster. He loves to joke, to laugh; laughter is huge with Him. Reverence comes packaged with mirth when you adore Manannan. He finds it hilarious and appropriate that my playlist for Him has the Mahna Mahna song from the Muppets on it (to which I sing “Manannanan!”).

He is a lord of storms, the ocean, the rain, the weather, and I feel His presence often because I live in a place where rain is exceedingly common, as well as being on the coast. I’ve always adored thunderstorms, even when I was little. I think that’s not coincidence.

Manannan is a very loving god, and He’s described by various people as sort of wanting to be everyone’s foster-uncle. That’s not the relationship He has with everyone, of course, but He definitely is a god who will want to comfort you when you’re down; who wants to be there for you. For me, He’s a father; for others, He’s an uncle; for some, a brother; for others still He is a lover. But regardless the relationship, what I often hear from other followers/devotees/mortal-relatives of Manannan is that He is a god who really does care about you, who really does love you. And He desires the same sort of love that humans desire, which makes Him pretty relatable to me.

But He’s scary, too. He feels anger, He feels disappointment (which I honestly think is worse to be on the receiving end of), and He’s (in my mind) the god of death. He comforts those grieving, yes, but He also takes the dead away. He’s a guardian between the realm of the living and the realm of the dead. Logically, I don’t feel any fear of death, but emotionally…there are mysteries I’m not ready for.

He’s like the ocean, in that way. In the shallows you can play and have fun and enjoy yourself and feel comforted. The deeper you get out, the scarier it gets, the more dangerous, the more unknown. I’ve come to understand the ocean as a chthonic realm through my relationship with Manannan. There’s a sense of understanding when it comes to underground spaces — they may be scary, but for the most part, we understand them. There’s so much about the ocean we’ve yet to discover. It’s much more an Underworld, in my view.

And He’s more than just Manannan; while I interact with Him mostly as that side, I get the sense that He slides into other roles easily, or sometimes is both at once: Manannan mac Lir, Manannan beg mac y Lir, Manawydan fab Llyr. Deity individuation isn’t the same as mortal individuation, and sometimes He’s all of these, or one, or two, or something else entirely. And I can’t really articulate it beyond that. (For the most part, though, I’m talking about Manannan mac Lir. I think.)

He is the ocean and the storm and the transition between life and death. And He’s warmth and love and comfort.

He’s my father, and I love Him.

-Morag

Pluviophilia, as befits a Pluvisylva-dweller.

It’s raining today. It rained yesterday, and presumably all night (I was sleeping the sleep of the dead).

Vancouverites complain about the rain, because the most common mark of a true local is someone who can complain facilely about one of the most common features of their current place of residence. Of course Vancouver is rainy. It’s in a temperate rainforest. (Pluvisylva, if you want a fancy word for rainforest.)

I love the rain. I’m a pluviophile. I’m not always happy when I get stuck in it and get soaked, but often I’m the person running outside, barefoot, to dance in the storm.

It wasn’t always this way. I think, growing up in a place where most people hate the rain, you learn to hate it too — even if that’s not what’s natural to you. I hated on the rain like a true Vancouverite.

Then He arrived in my life, and I realized the rain was how He showed me He loved me. (It was pouring when I first met Him.) I realized I was loved by the rain, embraced by the mist, cradled by the sea. And I was able to shed the learned dislike of the rain, and embrace my natural state of being a pluviophile.

His Ink

Back when I formalized Manannan’s adoption of me, I made a decision that I would get ink for Him. Not an oath, but a promise, definitely. I had a design in mind several months ago, but no money — as it happens, it’s a blessing, because now I am redesigning in my head. (And I think I needed to wait. I had to give myself a year, to really understand the enormity of what it is — to give up one’s mortal father and to be adopted by a god.)

I think He needs the entire left forearm, if not the entire arm itself, which means I now have to decide where else to put my Tara tattoo.

I’ve got some nebulous ideas in my head. I’m thinking I want something incorporating Celtic knotwork, rain/mist, possibly the ocean, and the words “God is in the Rain”. Definitely those words. I don’t know how to design it, however, or if I want it on the inside of my arm or the outside. I’m leaning towards the inside, so His ink is closer to my heart (and to keep the backs of my arms possibly free for some other ink ideas I have).

(This is when I wish I had more talent in the visual arts. Writing is all well and good but I have no idea how to describe the images I have in my head.)

I have many tattoo ideas, but His ink is next.