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.

The ocean on a cloudy day. In the distance you can see a ferry and the Statue of Liberty.

30 Days of Hymns, the Sacred Triad, Manannan #3: travel/passage

Greetings to you, Lord upon the Water
How shall I pay my fare?
For I seek passage
across your territory
that I might speak with those I love
Shall I pay you in shells and woven reeds
collected and given with all the devotion of my heart?
Shall I place sand dollars upon my closed eyes
that you may take payment when I finally join you?
What shall I pay to travel safely, O Lord?
Tell me what it is your heart desires
and I will do whatever is within my mortal range of power
to grant your wish.

Greetings to you, Lord of Ferries
As I embark on this journey
a common one for one who lives where I do
I pray to you to keep me safe
in offering I drop holy water
and part of a cinnamon roll
off the edge of the boat
dodging being seen by ferry workers
modern humans who do not understand
my devotion to the water we travel across.

Greetings to you, God of Transitions
to you I offer thanks
for wrapping me in your cloak
when I needed to not be seen
by those who could not handle the changes
I was going through
for carrying me when I could not hold myself up
when my transition rendered useless all the ways of being
I had come to know
for showing me where to put my feet
when I regrew them and could move again
for showing me the next step
as I moved from one stage of life to the next
You have always been there, O Lord, and you will remain there still
helping me from stage to stage
until I breathe my last
and need you to carry me one last time

O Lord of Change
Deep and steady as the ocean itself
Let me sing my gratitude to you
in payment for my safe passage
Let my devotion
pay my fare
Let me breathe for you
love for you
live for you
until the day comes
that I might die
and meet you

Lord Upon the Water
King of the Ferries
let my love bear me
to your side
let my love sing your praises
that others may know you
let my love carry you, O Lord
as you have always carried me
through all my harshest
transitions.


30 Days of Hymns: The Sacred Triad

30 Days of Hymns, the Sacred Triad, Manannan #2: The Land of the Dead

Hail to the Deep One
the Lord of the Land Beyond
Guardian of the Final Passage
hail to you, in your many forms
When my eyes close, o Lord, let me see a new world in the darkness
When my breath slows, o Lord, let your breath carry me across the waters
When again my eyes open, o Lord, and I look from the vision of one no longer living
let me see your land
an island in the sea
dappled by golden light
that comes from your very heart
When my feet touch the ground, o Lord, let them feel springy loam
bright green moss between my toes
let the peace of the land
flow upwards through my soles
let it let me know I am finally home
When I breathe again, o Lord, let me breathe in the scent of apples
an orchard of knowledge
before me
let my breath never hitch on the knife in my lungs
let my breath be as smooth as the ocean that envelops us
And when I open my arms again, o Lord, let them be filled with all the ones I loved the most
let me be comforted and never alone
When I come to your home, o Lord, when I arrive at the land of the dead
let me not miss the land of the living
take from me my sorrow and my struggle
let me be at peace
in a land filled with apples
and all my loves
And when it is time for me to leave again, o Lord, let my leaving be quiet
a small blip in an otherwise calm existence
let my journey be swift
and let me awaken in a life
that lets me know your glory and your grace
Guardian of the Land Beyond
Lord of the Final Passage
Hail to you, Deep One
in all your many forms
may my life be long
so I may make myself ready
for our journey
across the waves.


30 Days of Hymns: The Sacred Triad

 

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

mysteries you’re not meant for

On Winter Solstice, I attempted to do trance to get closer to my Lord.

Normally when I trance I go to my inner landscape: a cottage in the woods. From there I travel to where I need to go, be it the beach, a campfire, a waterfall….

I had trouble connecting; images were shaky and messed up. My head hurt and my throat was dry. I decided to try to go straight for the ocean.

I was wrapped in love and held, and started sinking deep into the water, into the Deep. Usually this would make me feel loved, warm, happy, but this was directly following a conversation with a friend about the death mysteries of Manannan.

I couldn’t breathe. I started panicking, like I was drowning, and had to wrench myself out of trance to not have a full blown panic attack.

I sat up, shaking, and asked Him what on earth had just happened. I got a very clear answer:

There are Mysteries you’re not meant for yet. 

Obviously I have more Work to do.