An Elven Story – Chapter Sixteen – Manannan mac Lir

Manannan mac Lir

It is said that the elves , Tuatha Dé Danann appeared on Erin one day, on 1st May (Beltane) out of nowhere.

They had no vessels . No one really knows whether it was over heavens , or out of the heavenes , or out of the earth they came . 

The Tuatha Dé Danann came from the skies and they brought a darkness over the sun for three days and three nights. The Tuatha Dé Danann landed in a dense cloud on the top of Sliev-an-lerin, the Iron Mountain in the County Leitrim. There are many stories of the gods descending from a mountain.

In the Book of Enoch it is written:

Altogether, they were two hundred who descended in the days of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon.

The Anunnaki, the Sumerian gods descended also on a mountain. In the Sumerian Epics of Kharsag we read: At Kharsag , where Heaven and Earth met, the Heavenly assembly , the great sons of Anu arrived – the many wise ones. 

Later, the name Kharsag became synonym for mountain

The watchers on Mount Hermon

The Anunnaki at Kharsag

The Tuatha Dé Danann on the Iron Mountain

Zeus had his abode on Mount Olympus

Indra, known as the Lord of Heaven, the Rider of the Clouds resided on Mount Meru.

Upon their arrival, the Tuatha Dé Danann had to fight two major battles, before they could take control over Ireland. In the first battle, they encountered the Firbolgs , who they defeated at Magh-Tuireadh. The Firbolgs were said to have come from Iberia , after fleeing imprisonment and slavery . They were just one of the many tribes to visit Erin . The Tuatha Dé Danann cloaked themselves in a magical mist, which enabled them to appear and vanish out of sight ,as they wished. After a bloody battle they made a truce and divided the land of Erin between the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Firbolgs. In the famed battle the Firbolgs King, Eochaid was slain, but the Tuatha Dé Danann King, Nuada, had his hand cut off by a great warrior of the Firbolgs named Sreng. The battle raged for four days. So bravely had the Firbolgs fought, and so sorely exhausted were the Tuatha Dé Danann, that they gladly left to the Firbolgs, a quarter of the Island.

Peace reigned until the Tuatha Dé Danann faced the Fomore, evil giants, who launched raids on Ireland from Tory Island . One of the leaders of the Fomore was the giant Balor. He used to send a powerful beam across the channel between Tory Island and Ireland, to blast his enemies. He was a frightening giant, a Cyclops whose eye cast out a beam that turned his enemies into ashes. Moreover, his only eye could blast a whole army when he opened the seven eyelids protecting it.

FomoriansBalor was the son of Net, and lord of the Formorians, the grotesque race that inhabited Ireland before the Tuatha Dé Danann. He became known as ‘Balor of the Evil Eye’ , after spying on druids preparing a draught of wisdom; some of the potion splashed on to his eye, which made his stare baleful to all those he looked upon. He kept his evil eye closed when not in battle, and his lid was so heavy that he needed four attendants to lift it. According to a prophecy Balor would be killed by his own grandson. He locked his daughter Ethlinn in a crystal tower, to prevent her from getting pregnant. With the help of the druidess Birog, Cian of the Tuatha Dé Danann managed to enter the tower and slept with Ethlinn. She gave birth to a son, but when Balor learned of his existence he threw him in the ocean.

Birog saved the boy and gave him to the sea god Manannan mac Lir, where he was raised. The boy, named Lugh Lamhfada (Lugh of the Long Arm), became a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann and led them in the second battle at Mag Tuireadh. In this second and final battle, Balor killed King Nuada of the Tuatha Dé Danann with a glance from his eye. However, when he opened his eye to kill his grandson Lugh, Lugh managed to smash out Balor’s eye with a sling and Balor fell dead to the ground. ( This is obviously the original story of David and Goliath.)

After the Fomore were defeated the Tuatha Dé Danann reigned on Ireland for a long time, until they were defeated by the Milesians .The Irish of today are the descendants of the Milesian Race, because the dark haired Irish (Celtic) people were descended from Milesius of Spain, whose sons, say the legendary accounts, invaded and possessed Ireland a thousand years BC. The Tuatha Dé Danann were immortals and the only thing that could harm them was iron. It is possible that the Tuatha Dé Danann were a Bronze Age race that was defeated by an Iron Age race, the Milesians. Legend has it that the weapons of the Tuatha Dé Danann were made of bronze and that when they met the Milesians in battle they were defeated because the Milesian weapons were made of iron.

The Tuatha Dé Danann were defeated in two battles by the Milesians. Not only were the Tuatha Dé Danann defeated by military might, but by cunning too. It was agreed that the new invaders and the Tuatha Dé Danann would each rule half of Ireland, and so it was that Amergin of the Milesians chose that half of Ireland which lay above ground, leaving the Tuatha Dé Danann to retreat below. They were led away to their new domain via the Sidhe mounds by Manannán, God of the sea, who then shielded them from mortal eyes by raising an enchanted mist known as the Faeth Fiadha , or ‘Cloak of Concealment’. As time passed, they became known as the Sidhe (Shee), Ireland’s fairy-folk.

Lugh of the Long Arm, was also known as Chief Doctor of the Sciences. Lugh was the God of Light and the God of the Underworld. He was young, handsome, extremely intelligent. He was described as having a shining appearance. His face was radiant that no mortals could bear to look at him. Enoch describes the Watchers in the same way.

Enoch’s account of the Watchers, who appear to him as he rests in his bed:”And there appear to me two men very tall,
such as I have never seen on earth.
And their faces shone like the Sun, and their
eyes were like burning lamps; and fire came forth from their lips. “

The Tuatha Dé Danann were described, as the shining ones, and some of them were opalescent and seemed to be lit up by a light within themselves. They walked in ethereal , luminous bodies of light. The Tuatha Dé Danann were legendary magicians and were excellent experts of medicine. They could heal any wound and cure every disease by giving the person a magical brew. They knew the names of all the herbs and their medicinal properties and preparation. They were very artistic and highly intelligent. The saying “Wise as the Tuatha Dé Danann” can still be heard sometimes in the southern parts of Ireland.

Not all the Tuatha Dé Danann left Ireland, they sought refuge in subterranean palaces. They exist underground in a world, which is accessible through specific hollow mounds. These hollow hills are known as “sid” and their inhabitants as the Shee. There are certain mounds, near the Boyne and New Grange, which are regarded to be portals to the spiritual regions of the Elves.

Manaan mac lirG. W. Atkinson – ” they must be the highly intellectual race that imported into Ireland our Oghams, round towers, architecture, metal work, and, above all, the exquisite art which has come down to us in our wonderful illuminated Irish MSS.”

By the Milesians and their descendants they were regarded as gods, and ultimately, in the imagination of the people, they became what are now in Ireland called Fairies.

The earliest recorded form of their name was Tuatha Dé Danann which translates as the “People of the Gods”, or “People of the Goddess”. Aos Sí or “ People of the Other-world Residences” refers to a race of magically-gifted Elves in the literature and folklore of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man . Aos Sí was originally the abode of the gods , it was reached through ancient burial mounds and caves, lakes and springs, or more supernaturally via sudden mists or visions . The Tuatha Dé Danann and Aos Sí originally represented different levels or classes of Atlanteans. “Gods and Un-Gods” amongst the Tuatha Dé Danann and Aos Sí. They were divided into two classes: those which are shining and those which are opalescent and seem lit up by a light within themselves. They divided into two social classes: “gods” as teachers of medicine, smithing, communication or druidry, and “non-gods” as farmers or shepherds. The Tuatha Dé Danann ruled over Ireland at least 4,000 years ago they appeared before the great Sumerian Nation appeared. The Sumerians called them Anunnaki ( literally NUN, ‘fish’, of AKI, ‘light’), which explains why the Irish called them the ‘Lords of Light’ or Illi. Tara in Ireland was considered the Mountain of God, as well as the Illi’s gateway or Ish-Tar Gate to the etheric Other-world. They were the Shining Ones who adored Ana, the Great Mother of All Living.

As Laurence Gardner notes, “ Irish mythology of the Anunnaki predates Sumerian civilization by a thousand years or more. Like E.A.’s Sumeria, Ireland comes into history as a full-fledged kingdom, and its sudden origin has perplexed many an historian. Sumerian culture coincides with, the early Irish. It’s as if one culture is the continuation of the other. Both Irish and Iraqi mythology revolve around the secret teachings of the blue stones of E.A. In ancient Irish religion and mythology Tara was the sacred home for the Ari (later the Ari-ishor Irish) who ranked below the Illi gods, yet above the people. Ireland (Ari-Land) takes its name from the Aris or Arians. Ireland is considered the Great Motherland of the Aryan race, otherwise known as Atlantis, Thule or Tula. Aryan or Ari-an is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘noble’. The concept of the Aryan race has been wildly misinterpreted. The root of the misunderstanding is in the Sumerian claim that E.A. and the Pure Lady Ninhursag (Mari) cloned the first model of human as a slave race. Into the blood of a second ‘advanced’ human, the Ari or Illi, they put sacred knowledge. He then separated this new human from the others, taking them to an island home, Poseidon/Atlantis, of which he was the Pa-Tara (father) and founder, the Potei-don or ‘Lord of Wisdom’. His half-brother Enlil, who sought to keep humanity at the level of dim-bulb, Earth-bound slaves, opposed him. Tara is, conceivably, one of E.A.’s laboratories of enlightenment and the place where he brought ‘the Children of Atlantis’, the lost tribe of Enki, after their banishment by Enlil. Irish mythology insists the secrets of E.A. and his lost tribe remain hidden beneath the soil of Tara.”

The Tuatha Dé Danann ,their homeland was called “Tir Nan Og” (the land of Og) which sank under the waves during a catastrophic flood. When Tir Nan Og went under the waves the Tuatha Dé Danann dispersed in fleets of ships, eventually settling in Ireland. The patron god of the Tuatha Dé Danann was the sea god called Manannán mac Lir (the son of Lir) and the Island they came from (Og) was known as Manannan’s Island. When we read the description of the sea god Manannan, it becomes obvious he is the same god known to Plato and the Greeks as Poseidon. Manannan owns a golden spear “Ctann Buide” which means Yellow Tree i.e. a branched tip or trident. He also owns a golden chariot drawn by magical horses which can ride over the sea or land. Atlantis was Poseidon’s island and that in the centre of the city of Atlantis was a temple to Poseidon. Manannan in the tales, he is said to own a boat named Scuabtuinne (“Wave Sweeper”), a sea-borne chariot drawn by the horse Enbarr, a powerful sword named Fragarach (“The Answerer”), and a cloak of invisibility ( feth fiada).

Mananan Mac Lir,The Isle of Man , Manavia Insula, is named after Manannan who set up a mystery school on the island. He was famous for his powers to transport huge blocks miles through the air. He was the best sailor that was in the west of Europe. He used to know, by studying the heavens, the period which would be the fine weather and the bad weather, and when each of these two times would change.

Cormac’s account, “He was the son of Allot, one of the Tuatha Dé Danann chieftains. He was otherwise called Orbsen, whence Loch Orbsen, now Lough Corrib. He is still vividly remembered in the mountainous district of Derry and Donegal, and is said to have an enchanted castle in Lough Foyle. According to the traditions in the Isle of Man and the Eastern counties of Leinster, this first man of Man rolled on three legs like a wheel through the mist.” He was a necromancer who possessed the power to envelope himself and others in a mist, so that they could not be seen by their enemies.”

O’Flaherty speaks of him in his Ogygia as follows: “The merchant Orbsen was remarkable for carrying on a commercial intercourse between Ireland and Britain. He was commonly called Mananan Mac Lir, that, is, Manannan, on account of his intercourse with the Isle of Man; and Mac Lir, .e., sprung from the sea, because he was an expert diver; besides, he understood the dangerous parts of harbours; and, from his prescience of the change of weather, always avoided tempests.”

He is the king of the Fairies in the Land of Promise , a mysterious country in the lochs or the sea. At his court no one’s food would be cooked if while it was on the fire , anyone told an untrue story.

“he was the first man that had Mann, or ever was ruler of Mann, and the land was named after him,” and that “he reigned many years, and was a Paynim, and kept, by necromancy, the Land of Man under mists, and if he dreaded any enemies, he would make of one man to seem an hundred by his art magick, and he never had any form of the commons; but each one to bring a certain quantity of green rushes on Midsummer Eve – some to a place called Warfield (now South Barrule), and some to a place called Man,and yet is so called. And long after St. Patrick disturbed him, the said Manannan, and put Christian folks into the said land.”

He was a giant compared to modern man ,it is said that he used to transport himself with great ease across the gorge between Peel Castle and Contrary Head. On one occasion, either for amusement or in a fit of rage, he lifted a large block of granite from the Castle rock, and though it was several tons in weight, he hurled it with the greatest ease against the slope of the opposite hill, about three miles distant, where it is seen to this day, having, as an evidence of the truth of the story, the print of his hand on it. When the Tuatha Dé Danann were defeated at the hands of the Milesians , they fled to the Isle of Man and Mananan became their leader.

Manannan appears in many of the old legends. It is said that he travelled around Ireland in many different shapes and guises. As a master of tricks and illusions (which he enjoyed acting out on mortals) he was known as Gille Decair, the Bad Servant, an apparently foolish clown who could disappear at will. Despite his trickery, however, he never brought harm to any mortal. Manannan himself is said to have undergone many different incarnations, including as Culain the Smith, Fionn MacCumhal and Mongan, who was taken away to Manannan’s Land of Promise when he was just three nights old.

The Isle of Man takes its name from this ancient Elven King ,he was guardian of the Blessed Isles Emhain Abhlach, the Isle of Apple Trees, where the magical silver apple branch lies. The Blessed Isles that lie beyond the sea are the gateways to the Other-worlds, where the soul journeys to after death. Manannan is the guardian of these gateways between the worlds. He is the Ferryman, who comes to transport the souls of the dead through the veils.

“I bring a branch of the apple tree from Emhain, from the far island around which are the shining horses of the son of Lir…To be without grief, without sorrow, without death, without any sickness, without weakness; that is the sign of Emhain…There are riches, there are treasures of every colour in the Gentle Land, the Bountiful Land…”

Lugh was taken in by Manannan. Lugh was famous for his mighty blows, and his spear became one of the treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danann. When he fought against the sons of Turenn and imposed upon them the impossible eric-fine of procuring certain fabulous weapons, he rode Enbarr of the flowing mane, Manannan’s steed, who was “as swift as the clear, cold wind of spring,” and travelled with equal ease on land and sea. He wore Manannan’s coat of mail, through, or above and below which no one could be wounded; also his breast-plate, which no weapon could pierce. His helmet had two glittering precious stones set in front, and one behind, and Manannan’s sword, called The Answerer, hung at his side. From the wound of this sword no one ever recovered, and those who were opposed to it in the battle-field were so terrified by looking at it, that their strength left them. He was accompanied by his foster brothers, and by the Fairy Host. The sons of Turenn were told that they could not obtain the eric-fine without the help either of Lug or Manannan, and they were advised to ask Lug for the loan of Manannan’s steed, the Wave Sweeper.

The Sidhe woman describes in vivid detail the wonders of this isle, and so Bran sets sail to find it. On the third day he sees Manannan coming towards him in a chariot drawn by a white mare that is riding over the waves as swiftly as if it were on dry land. This is the Ocean Sweeper, the magical boat of Manannan that would obey the wishes of whoever sailed in it, and had neither oars nor sails. Manannan tells Bran that he will reach Emhain before the setting of the sun. When Bran and his companions finally return to the shores of Ireland, they discover that many years have since passed and their voyage is recounted in stories.

Another mortal who goes to the Land of Promise is King Cormac. He was given a silver branch with three golden apples on it by a grey-haired warrior. When shaken, the branch would play music that lulled mortals to sleep. Cormac journeys to the Land of Promise where he gains from Manannan a magical golden cup of Truth. Any false statements uttered beneath this cup would cause it to break. He is also shown the Well of Knowledge from which five streams flow, and over which there are nine purple hazel trees and five salmon in the streams eating the hazelnuts. It is Manannan who reveals to Cormac the meanings of all these wonders.

*Stay tuned more chapters to come* 

 NB * This is an ongoing project , these are the first chapters more to come

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