- Share any Art that reminds you of this deity
There aren’t any pieces of art that stand out for me but any photograph that has the moon dripping a bright gold in the sky will often do it for me. Any images of the moon of course bring Him to mind. And of course there are all the Mani prayer cards. 🙂 I like them a lot, each one.
- Share any Music that makes you think of this deity
ARGH. I’ve never been able to put together play lists. I would love it if any of you have Mani play lists that you are willing to share. Please feel free to post. Music is a very, very special thing for me tied up with my experiences as a dancer and I just don’t relate to it in a way that makes it particularly easy to associate with Him. I wish I did have a Mani play list.
- Share A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with
I think of the quotes that I’ve collected that remind me of Mani – and they are many—my favorite is this one:
“There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.”
— George Carlin
24 Share Your own composition – a piece of writing about or for this deity
I’ve written two books about Him: “Day Star and Whirling Wheel” and “Dancing in the House of the Moon.” The first is about Mani and His family, and is a devotional anthology and the second a pocket devotional all about Mani.
25 Share A time when this deity has helped you.
He comforted me after my mother’s death. I won’t speak more of that here, but Mani comforted me after she was gone and showed me her afterlife.
26 Share A time when this deity has refused to help (i really like this question).
I can’t think of any actually. I try very very hard not to ask for help from the Gods. I know that there’s nothing wrong with doing so once in awhile (and Odin once chided me that I don’t do so enough) but I really don’t like my prayers to be full of requests rather than thank yous. I’m sure He’s refused, but nothing specific sticks out in my mind. If something comes to mind later, I’ll come back and post it here.
- How has your relationship with this deity changed over time?
I think over time I’ve been allowed to see more facets of His nature. I mean, I was utterly infatuated with Him after my initial encounters and I continue to love Him deeply but as with any relationship, the more time you spend engaging, the more each party learns about the other. I think I have a much more nuanced view of Mani now, than I did ten years ago and certainly my devotion has deepened and become more consistent.
- what are the Worst misconception about this deity that you have encountered?
Heh. That He’s female. You’d be surprised how many people assume our moon GOD is female.
- What is Something you wish you knew about this deity but don’t currently?
I really wish that we knew Who Mani’s mother is.
- How do you think this deity represents the values of their pantheon and cultural origins?
I …find the question confusing. I think that the Gods ARE. We should be worrying more about making ourselves significant to Them than worrying about what They might represent of us.
17, How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
A good friend of mine has this theory. He talks about all Deities who deal with one specific thing as working in a particular ‘Building.’. Thus he’ll say all the love Goddesses like Aphrodite and Freya (Who are more than just love Goddesses, but for Whom that is a primary area of interest) work in the “pink building,” and all the Gods Who govern Death work in the “black building.” It’s cute, but also an effective way of conceptualizing the relationships between the Gods of various pantheons. So if I had to answer the question of how Mani relates to say Tehuti or Selene or Luna, I’d say They all ‘work in the same building’ so to speak.
Beyond that, my impression of Mani is that He’s relatively easy going when other Gods are on the scene.
18 How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality? (historical and/or UPG) (again, a question about which I could not possibly care less, but I suspect the answers might be interesting).
Mani is male but seems to present in a rather androgynous way. He’s definitely male and actually quite sensual in His masculinity but there’s at the same time a certain androgynous quality to Him, a blending and crossing of boundaries, sort of the same thing I’ve seen with Dionysos (though the Two Deities feel quite different in Presence).
- What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire?
I love Him for all that He is. I love the gentleness that hides something that was once, I suspect, quite fierce. I love the longing He inspires in …almost everyone who has had interactions with Him. I love the wisdom and knowledge of the workings of the universe that He so obviously knows and conceals. I love how interested He seems to be in humanity and I love His remoteness too. It is not a matter of ‘admiring’ Him…we do not venerate Gods out of something as small as human admiration (I would never reduce Them to our level like that), but of raw adoration.
- What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?
Again, to answer this I’d have to drag the Gods down to my human level and I can’t comprehend even wanting to do that. The only thing that troubles me with Mani is the thing that troubles me with every God I love: I wish I could love Them more.
- What modern cultural issues — if any—are closest to this deity’s heart? (this is a question that I’m not overly thrilled with. It presupposes that the Gods give a rat’s ass about our “cultural issues” but maybe some of Them do and if They don’t, we can talk about that too, always with the caveat that it is insofar as we as individual devotees have sussed out).
Well, the only thing that I”ve sussed out in venerating Mani is that He watches out for neglected and/or abused children, and has a particular protectiveness over those who have emotional wounds, trauma, or those who are mentally ill. So I would extrapolate that taking better care of the weakest and most vulnerable in our communities would be something that He might care about deeply. I mean, we shouldn’t have to be told: ‘don’t abuse your children’ or ‘treat those who are wounded inside or out with dignity and compassion’ but sadly, we have a long way to go before that ‘shouldn’t’ is actual reality. If I had to pinpoint any issues that were especially dear to Mani, (and with the caveat that this is speculation. I’d precede any action with divination and prayer), I would say that preventing child abuse, caring for those who have been abused, caring for those emotionally wounded, and caring for the mentally ill would top His list. Again, this is speculation and extrapolation drawn partly on what little we know of Him in the lore, and partly on my own experience of Him both in devotion and in group engagement.
- Has worship of this deity changed in modern times?
Well, we don’t really know how He was worshipped in pre-Christian times so I guess the easy answer here is that now, He is gaining an active and devoted cultus. He may have had this in the past, but we don’t know. Now, He has a following and a slowly growing cultus and that is wonderful.
- Are there any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
I …have no idea how to answer this. I know people who have associated sailing, beading, knot making, gardening (one offering to Mani – a possible offering for people with green thumbs—is keeping a garden of night blooming flowers), baking but I wouldn’t associate any of these things specifically with Him as a rule. I’d love to hear from other people who honor Mani regularly to see what y’all come up with. I’m at a loss here. My first answer was ‘huh? None that I can think of.’
(I’d also like to give another shout out to luxettenebris, who came up with all of these questions. I stumbled across her (?) blog by accident and thought the questions made for good contemplation. Thank you, thank you for getting the ball rolling. That site may be found here).
11 Talk about Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity
While we have nothing noted in lore, I generally consider the two equinoxes as festival days for Mani (and Sunna). Likewise I make special offerings to Him on each full and new moon. Of course I like to venerate Him especially when the moon is visible in the sky and His shrine is positioned in my house below a large window on the landing between stair cases. The moon can quite often be seen through this window shining on the shrine. This was one of the reasons I chose this particular site. Beyond that, any lunar eclipse or blood moon I also consider His feastdays.
- What are some Places associated with this deity and their worship
You know, I’ve never really thought of this: the moon shines everywhere after all. It’s one of the beautiful things about His veneration: no matter where you are, the same moon shines on us all.
I did recently visit the moon tree in Oregon. It’s a tree that was grown from seeds that were sent into orbit around the moon. That I found particularly significant solely because of the journey the seeds took, but beyond that, I haven’t found any particular places to be His. I would like to find these places. It would be nice to do a pilgrimage especially for Him.
9. what are some Common mistakes about this deity
I think perhaps the most common mistake is that our moon God is female. Seriously, I’ve seen this come up (when a simple wiki search would show otherwise) quite frequently. I think Pagans are so used to the typical IE model of a moon goddess and sun god that when they get to the Norse it’s confusing at first. There are other traditions that also have a moon God/sun goddess, Romuva –Lithuanian polytheism—for instance. And there is a moon god in Kemeticism, and in Sumerian polytheism to name but a few but for those of us most familiar with classical pantheons (Greek and Roman), it can be a bit of a surprise and perhaps even seem like an anomaly.
I think perhaps second to that is simply lack of knowledge that He is a God with a working cultus. Odin, Thor, Frigga, et Al get all the attention and while Sunna is honored more frequently than Her brother ( perhaps because She is mentioned in the Merseburg charm and we have some evidence of sun veneration amongst our ancestors), we don’t really have a whole lot of evidence for Mani’s cultus in the past. I find it incomprehensible though that an agricultural community – and our ancestors were largely agricultural in the northlands—wouldn’t have venerated both the sun and the moon.
10 .what are common Offerings – historical and UPG
Well, I don’t know about historical offerings as we simply don’t have surviving records, but modern offerings are many. Off the top of my head: beads and jewelry, cookies and sweets (particularly anything with marshmallows), cheese cake, other pastries, Sambuca, marshmallow and other flavored vodkas.
Here’s something I wrote in “Dancing in the House of the Moon” about proper offerings:
Some of these suggestions are fairly obvious; others are drawn from my own personal experience both as a priest and ritual worker, and as a devotee of Mani. This list should in no way limit your own explorations and devotional work. Use it as a jumping-off point. I offer it to help, not to hinder. They are not based on lore, but on personal experience.
Symbols: obviously anything shaped like the moon or with the moon on it, hour glasses, old watch parts, knots, time pieces, calendars, mathematical equations, musical scores, beaded necklaces, mirrors, abacuses, beads, a flute.
Colors: blues, silver, black, purple/lavender, pale white.
Rune: Dagaz (I also happen to see Ehwaz with Him)
Stones: moonstone (obviously), labradorite, selenite, quartz, amethyst.
Food and drink: Sambuca, cookies (especially ones with marshmallows or odd shapes), angel food cake, peppermint flavored sweets, and I have found that He adores marshmallow flavored vodka.
Other Offerings: jasmine, carnations, night-blooming flowers, highly aromatic flowers, white flowers, mugwort, blue sea glass, any volunteer work or donations that benefit abused children or the mentally ill.
Things not to do: harm or abuse a child in any way; mock the mentally ill.
(see now, I’m all caught up 🙂 )
8 Discuss Variations on this deity (aspects, regional forms, etc.)
This isn’t a question that I can really answer. There’s just not enough surviving lore and His cultus is still small. I do know that it’s likely Mani influenced later folkloric accounts of the Man in the Moon, and the Jack and Jill rhyme comes directly from the story of Hjuki and Bil. That’s as far as I can go though.
So instead, I’m going to share two pieces, one something my adopted mom wrote for Him, and one something that I wrote, and that I hope will give readers a bit of a way into this magnificent but oh so mysterious God.
First, my mom Fuensanta’s comments:
Then my own prayer-poem for Mani (first published in “Dancing in the House of the Moon“):
The Moon Wears Many Masks
by G. Krasskova
Graceful, courtly, and gallant,
He is a dancer,
keeping time with a thousand jangling strands of beads.
He trips gaily, impeccably, wearing the mask of the fool
but His eyes are sardonic
to those who know enough to look
beneath the gaiety of His expression.
He hides His face,
moaning His anguish
His eyes are dark then,
but His people wait
and so He dons a placid mask
to walk among them.
They do not need to see
how feral He once was.
and sometimes still is.
He was a warrior once, the moon.
He danced with two gleaming scimitars
moving in lethal beauty
amongst a thousand tribes
the names of which
not even He recalls.
i have seen Him dancing still
and I know He was not always
He moves amongst the Svartalfar
and they adore Him.
He comes with music
and they bring Him camellias
and break things for Him.
it is their way.
Sometimes they get
to hear Him laugh.
His hands are those of a magus
and He orders the heavens
the flow of time.
of what House He was born.
and Who His kinsfolk are.
Sometimes He feasts
with the wolf that chases Him.
other times He laughs
and the two take up their game again.
it is a diversion. for now,
lest eternity become a bore.
He has chosen His masks carefully
out of a keen sense of duty.
But the moon was wanton once.
To see this alabaster God cast those masks aside
is to see a beauty for which ancient kingdoms
bartered themselves into slavery.
I will say no more on this thing,
nor on the other masks He wears
Suffice it to say,
were I not already owned,
I would be the most desperate supplicant
at His feet.
Hail the Moon,
and every mask He wears,
especially when He walks amongst us.
(oops, I’m a day behind, folks. I’ll catch up soon).
7. Discuss this Deity’s Names and epithets
This was actually a difficult challenge since not very many of them have survived, so I’m going to break this into two parts: a brief discussion of what is in the lore, and then a prayer of adoration to Mani that gives modern epithets for Him. We are, after all, at the point of restoring His cultus and that is a beautiful thing.
A list of Mani’s surviving epithets (or heiti) can be found here. Most of them refer to the moon itself, I suspect, rather than the God Mani but there is still merit here and it is equally likely that they were used as kennings for both the moon and the God. The Skaldskaparmal tells us that:
“The lunar planet is called Moon, Waxer, Waner, Year-Teller, Mock-Sun, Fengari (from a Byzantine term for moon], Glamour, Haster, Crescent, Glare.”
The original Norse for that is: “Tungl: máni, ný, nið, ártali, mulinn, fengari, glámr, skyndir, skjálgr, skrámr”
Elsewhere, (chapter 81) the Skaldskaparmal notes that one who is mad (mentally impaired not angry) is called “moon struck.” That’s about it. The lore really doesn’t tell us much here, which in a way, gives us tremendous freedom to go right to the Source in prayer, in devotion, and to build His cultus anew.
Here’s a prayer that I wrote for “Dancing in the House of the Moon,” one of my devotionals for Mani. It encapsulates modern heiti for Him, to give you a sense of this God.
28 Adorations to Mani
I adore You, Sweet Incantation of Night.
I adore You, Hati’s Fetter.
I adore You, Son of the Keeper of Time.
I adore You, Delight of Mundilfari’s House.
I adore You, Brother of Sunna.
I adore You, Nephew of Nott.
I adore You, Kin to Sinthgunt.
I adore You, Lustrous Illuminator.
I adore You, Beloved of Unn.
I adore You, Singer of Odd little Rhymes.
I adore You, Intoxicator.
I adore You, of the thirteen turnings.
I adore You, Bearer of the gleaming scimitar.
I adore You, Who sometimes shields his face.
I adore You, Ancient Splendor.
I adore You, Protector of Children.
I adore You, Solitary Singer.
I adore You, Keeper of Cycles.
I adore You, Master of Tides.
I adore You, Friend of Alfar dark and light.
I adore You, Who inspires longing.
I adore You, God of Camellias.
I adore You, Who makes the heart ache.
I adore You, Protector of the Mad.
I adore You, Beautiful as Alabaster.
I adore You, Gleaming Pearl in the body of Night.
I adore You, Master of the Abacus.
I adore You, Golden One and Beautiful.
My Adoration, I hail You. Sweetest God, ancient and beautiful. Be ever praised, Mani.
- What are some Other related deities and entities associated with this deity
Well, aside from the relationships noted in yesterday’s post, which point to connections between Mani and Jord, as well as Mani and Thor, I think the most significant relationship is one that is not hinted at in the surviving lore at all, but that many people who venerate one or the other of the Holy Powers involved have sensed: Ran and Aegir’s daughter Unn.
Unn ‘s name means “frothing wave.” There is an online shrine to Her here. We don’t know very much about Her, but many of those who honor Mani have gotten a strong sense that the Two are connected, at the very least friends if not more. There is a connection between the tides and the moon after all, so it shouldn’t be too surprising to find that the Gods associated with these things might also share a connection. Unn sings to Mani and He gives Her music back. Again, devotional experience has shown that Unn is a mathematician and the two of Them work equations back and forth, keeping time, cosmic time, seasonal time, cyclical time in tandem.
Mani also has a brother-in-law: the God Glenr, about Whom we know even less than about Unn! Glenr, Whose name means “Opening in the Clouds,” is the husband of Mani’s sister Sunna.
Finally, there are the two wolves that chase our moon and sun Gods, keeping Them on course (or trying to catch Them in order to bring on Ragnarok, depending on your perspective): Hati Moonchaser, and Skoll Sunchaser. Their surname is Hróðvitnisson, which marks Them as sons of Fenris (one of Fenris’ heiti is Hróðvitnir, or ‘famous wolf.’). Hati’s name means “one who hates his enemy” and Skoll’s name means ‘treachery.’ Their mother was a giantess from the Ironwood. Hati has a heiti: Mánagarm, or ‘moon hound’…and, that is all we know.
- Who are Members of the family – genealogical connections of this Deity.
We actually do know quite a bit of Mani’s family, at least we know who They are and to some degree, what Their spheres of influence are too. We know that His father is Mundilfari, the God of time. Aside from that, we don’t actually know very much about Mundilfari, though contemporary northern traditionalists have come up with a number of theories. I personally think that as a God of time, He can ride the threads of wyrd and the flow of time to whenever and wherever He wishes. It makes Him remarkably difficult to pin down, I’d imagine. I haven’t had any direct experiences with Him, save that I’ve always gotten the sense that Mani loves His family very deeply. I have participated in raising a God-pole to Him, and I likewise keep an image on my Mani shrine for Him (I have a card of the astronomical clock in Prague…seems like it’s the perfect image for Mundilfari!).
Mani has a sister Sunna or Sol, the personification of the Sun, our Sun Goddess. She is likewise a bringer of health and healing (She is referenced in the Second Merseburg Charm in a healing context) and tends the cycles of the day. I’ve often called Sunna our pace-setter because we work on a solar calendar and from Her we can learn how to best organize the working hours of the day.
We also know that there is another sister Sinthgunt, also mentioned in the second Merseburg Charm. Almost nothing is known about Her beyond that one mention. I have done quite a bit of devotional work with Sinthgunt and my own experience of Her is of a powerful Goddess of cosmic cycles, of the movement of stars, alchemy, and the birthing of galaxies.
Mani’s aunt (?) and herald is the Goddess of night, Nott. She is a wandering Power, grandmother of Thor, and may be the mother of Dagr, the God of Day, and the herald of Sunna. She may also be the mother of Jord, and a God Audr, perhaps a minor Deity of wealth. There are discrepancies with respect to Nott and Jord, but I think this may actually be a matter of differing regional cultus.
Unfortunately, we don’t know who Mani’s mother might be. That information has not come down to us in any surviving lore.
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.