Manannán: god of endless bacon

This week we are talking about another one of my fave gods.

Manannán Mac Lir is the Irish god of rain, mist, the sea, and the Otherworld.

He first came into my life several years ago, and he’s been a huge part of it since. I’m going to try to talk about him a bit more neutrally in this post than I usually do at my religious blogs, but it’ll be hard, because I really love this dude.

Ok, so. Manannán.

Manannán is a psychopomp god — that means he’s a guardian deity between the realms of life and death. A word that can be used to describe this type of deity is “liminal” — it means “of or pertaining to a threshold,” from the Latin limen.

You can see this liminality in the things associated with him. Mist, of course, is very much associated with the idea of things being “in-between” — but so is rain, being a common weather pattern with both fall and spring, the seasons in between the extremes of winter and summer. (Mind you, depending on where you live, your rainy times of year might last a loooooot longer than seems normal. *Glances at both Ireland and BC*)

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The Dagda: the good god with a killer harp

Welcome to another instalment of Mythology Mondays!

The winner of our poll was The Dagda, a member of the Tuatha De Danann. (Runner-up was Manannan Mac Lir.)

I actually put him on the poll because I saw a post about him on Folklore Thursday a while back, and the picture shared of him made him look a lot like my husband. Or my husband looks like him. Anyway, it inspired me to read up more on him. (I’ve since discovered the picture is from Heroes of Camelot.)

Anyway, the Dagda — High King of the Tuatha De Danann for about 80 years.

The Tuatha De Danann is, in short form, the main family of gods from pre-Christian Ireland. They’re somewhat analogous to the Olympians of Greece — not the only supernatural beings there, of course, but some of the heavy-hitters, with a massive family tree that takes years to understand.

The Dagda is one of the “big guys” within the Tuatha De. He’s a chieftain, a druid, and a father-figure. (One of his epithets is “all-father,” though that might have more to do with his prolificness than a fatherly attitude — he sired a lot of kids.) He’s considered a very powerful god, especially as he’s said to have control over the weather, the seasons, and life and death itself.

The Dagda is well-versed in Druidic magic, and he has several magical items in his possession. One is his cauldron, which is so big it’s said the ladle can hold two grown people in it. This cauldron is known as the “cauldron of plenty” — it’s bottomless and apparently leaves no one unsatisfied (except cowards and oath-breakers).

Another item is his massive club, so big he apparently had to drag it in a wagon behind him, or across the ground. The hammer/head end of his club can kill many people at once (probably because of its massive size; I don’t know, just spitballing here), but the handle can bring people back to life. See: power over life and death.

Dagda also possesses a magic harp made from oak wood. This harp could change the seasons or the emotions of people. It also straight-up murdered some folks. Yes, the harp did. A harp.

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