Manannan and the Isle of Mann
Much has been published and posted online about the Tuatha De Danann god Manannan Mac Lir, the son of the sea. He is the Ruler of his Namesake Isle, Lord of the Waters, and He who commands the Mists of Elphame. He is both Divine King and Magician, known best for wrapping the island in mists to confound any who tried to attack it. He particularly loves to shroud the Isle from the British and many a Tinwald ceremony has begun under cover of his cloak, with a protective sprig of St. Johnswort in every lapel. He walks on three legs to travel earth, sea and sky.
According to one legend, Manannan first set foot on the Isle at the Calf of Mann.
South Barrule is his sacred seat on the Isle, and at midsummer the Manx who followed the old ways would carry a tribute of rushes to its summit.
He has always had a special relationship with the witches of Mann, above all other folk of the Isle; even before the days of the Christian priests. There are stories of conversations between the god and the witches in Manx folklore, mainly complaining about the Christians and talking about the good old days before they showed up and spoiled things.
When I first came to Ellan Vannin, I had as guides, a witch and her Elder who had spent much of his life wandering the Isle, and who knew the sacred places like the back of his hand. He was bound by love and time and blood to the spirit of the island, and took me to as many places as he was able. In hopes of being accepted by the Puissant Spirits of the sacred sites, I made offerings of blood and silver, seed and stone, to plant and nurture eidolic roots there. (Plus an extra one for the Buggane at the ruin of St. Trinian’s. Any supernatural being who tears the roof off a church enough times that the builders give up and walk away is a being I want as a friend!)
I was taken to the hearts of Mona’s Isle, the heart of the waters and the heart of the land. I visited the dancing-sites and gravesites of the Elders of my line, ones I had met in life and ones who crossed the veil before I was born.
My Elder told me of pilgrimages and vigils he had made at the old sites for dreaming, communing with the spirits and imbibing the power of the Isle. I saw tools, lovingly and skillfully made before anyone had heard the term ‘Wicca’ and I was gifted with stories of places and witches from all parts of the island, now bequeathed as part of my legacy to those who follow in my line.