31 Days of Devotion – Day 4 for Mani
4 .Share a favorite myth or myths of this deity
Well, we don’t really have many surviving myths about Mani, which I think is a shame. Given that our ancestors lived an agrarian lifestyle, we can surmise that the moon and sun Deities were of tremendous importance and it’s a shame that our surviving lore doesn’t reflect that. It’s not surprising however, given that the Eddas were recorded by an educated politician and poet, not a farmer. Just as different regions have significantly different variations in which Deities are predominant, I think the same can be said of different classes.
One thing we do know is that Mani has a soft spot for children that are ill-treated or neglected. In the surviving lore, we are told that Mani watched the girl Bil and her brother Hjuki carrying water and snatched them up into the heavens to become part of His household (there’s evidence that Bil at least became a minor harvest Goddess or was perhaps a powerful tribal Dis, and both names may have something to do with the phases of the moon). Modern devotees, independently of each other (through what some of us call peer corroborated personal gnosis) have come to interpret this story a little more deeply: it is believed that these two children were neglected by their parents and the moon, moved by compassion, rescued them.
Certainly for those of us involved in the restoration of Mani’s cultus today, His care for those marginalized by society seems evident: for neglected children, for the mentally ill, for the broken and wounded among us. He seems not only to care about humanity but to be moved by our suffering. He brings comfort and I have seen Him bring comfort to those hurting. That is a powerful thing, particularly from a God Whom I suspect was not always quite so tender and charming. There is a thinly veiled ferocity in Him that I suspect was once quite gleefully savage.
So since we are talking about known stories of Him, and since there are so very few, I think it is the story of Bil and Hjuki that points to key aspects of His nature and therefore this is the story that most stands out for me.