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Honoring Mani Part 2: More Q&A
So since I will be honoring Mani this weekend, it seemed good impetus and good timing for posting part two of my Q&A for Him. I've gotten lots of questions from my readers and as with the questions I receive on devotion and polytheism, I'll be answering them weekly in the order in which I receive them (more or less. I copied them all into a file so it's really more like the order in which I slapped them into a Word doc!).
Today, Rede Seeker asks: "Can you give more insight to Mani's relationship with Unn, the Tide-Maiden? I feel their relationship as a dance - Her surge and ebb, His wax and wane. They fit together like the Yin-Yang icon."
I'll preface my response by noting upfront that everything I'm about to say is my own personal UPG, or unverified personal gnosis…except that it has been verified independently by many others who honor both Unn and Mani. We call that PCPG: peer confirmed personal gnosis. I personally detest both terms -- all religious experience is at its heart personal gnosis and the public expressions of those religions form in those spaces where the majority of peoples' experiences overlap. Still, for those who all but piss themselves when someone starts talking from the authority of experience instead of the authority of lore, I disclaim: UPG warning, folks. There. Now I shall begin.
Unn is one of the nine daughters of the Norse sea Goddess Ran. She is "about the relationship of sea to sky, and the rhythm of the tides." (1) In many ways, She is the most esoterically inclined of Ran's daughters. I have a particular affection for Unn, and She was the first of Ran's daughters that I encountered when I joined Their cultus. I love Mani dearly so it made sense to me that I would reach out to One that He loved, and many of us who honor Them do get the sense that there is a deep connection between the Two of Them. Whether it's affection, love or something else entirely we don't know. Personally I think it's all of the above and more.
This pairing certainly makes good cosmological sense. The moon governs the tides and Unn orders their rhythms. I sometimes think They work magic in the rippling eddies. All the things many of HIs devotees associate with Mani: rhythm, music, counting and numbers, the flow of time, beads upon which to count by jangling rhythms, astronomy and the passage of the constellation, calculations and abstract math, the keeping of calendars, many of us also associate with Unn. Perhaps the most prosaic way of answering your question is to say that 'They have a lot in common."
S. Lafor, one of the contributors to my Mani and Sunna devotional wrote a lovely prayer-poem for the Both of Them. I find it makes a very nice song for ritual purposes:
"Travel-warders of all journeymen
Rhythm-makers of the wild and hostile sea
Tamers of the ever-changing sky and tides
Together You create and magic weave.
In the low-tides of still waters Unn sings softly.
In the high-rolling waves at moon-rise Mani unfolds the sky.
Mani and Unn, singing sweetly
Together creating the dance of time." (2)
I think that in restoring cultus for Mani (or conversely for Ran, Aegir, and the Nine) many of us just started noticing that there seemed to be a strong affinity between Unn and Mani. The moon sings to the sea and she returns the favor. I personally believe that They are lovers and great friends as well as "colleagues" and the way this has impacted my own devotion is simple: I keep my shrine to the Nine Daughters of Ran, including Unn right next to my Mani altar and when I honor Him, I quite often will then honor Her as well (and vice versa). As with any other relationship, I don't personally like to pry farther. I stay open for devotional clues and to make sure I'm fulfilling whatever requests and desires They might have as I pay cultus. But for me it is enough right now to know that They are connected in some deeply affectionate way.
I received another series of questions from reader Sparrow who asks:
1. How can a person connect to Mani? I presume moon gazing and performing full moon rituals are good ways to get to know Him.
I think that those are certainly useful and potentially beneficial ways. I always start with altars though. i find that having a visual focus for one's devotional work, and a visual representation of the welcome you are making to this Deity in your life is very, very useful. Pray to Him, talk to Him go out and take note of what phase the moon is in, bow your head and greet Him when you first see Him rising in the night sky, pour out the occasional libation (we've found He likes marshmallow vodka or sambuca the best), bring Him sweets. Volunteer with children or with the mentally ill (He loves children and is a particular patron of those suffering from emotional or mental illness). Talk to Him. Talk to Him. Talk to Him. Adore the moon and let that adoration be your guide.
2. Is it ok for non-Heathens, and non-warriors to worship Mani?"
Absolutely. Mani's light shines down on everyone. (3)
Next week, I'll post another Q&A in my ongoing series "Honoring Mani.' If folks have questions, please post them here or send them. I'll add them to the list to be answered.
1. quoted from "Wyrdwalkers: Techniques of Northern Tradition Shamanism" by Raven Kaldera, published through Asphodel Press.
2. "A Song for Mani and Unn" by S. Lafor. Quoted from p. 32 of "Day Star and Whirling Wheel," by Galina Krasskova, published through Asphodel Press
3. The photo used here is one of the Mani prayer cards that I offer at my site. The image is by artist Grace Palmer.
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