I feel like we’re getting into a nice rhythm with our Sunwait rituals. I’m really loving this gentle and ritualized progression toward Yule, and as I said the other night to a friend, I’m really, really glad that we decided to incorporate Sunwait into our hearth cultus this year. Since we decided to do our rites on Fridays, it’s also a lovely way to cap off the week (a particularly significant transition since we tend to immerse ourselves in ritual and devotional work over the weekends).
So, last night, as is our norm, we began by bearing fire around our space, chanting the fire cleansing song that I learned more than twenty years ago, and asking Thor to cleanse, purify, and bless our space. I wrote about Thor before here. He may specifically be invoked as “Guardian of the Shrine” before rituals to consecrate the space and rite. Thor is awesome. Then, I explained the purpose of the ritual – we all knew, as we’d agreed as a household to do this, but stating that intention was one more way to center our minds and allow for a smooth transition into the appropriate headspace for reverent veneration. After that, I offered the following prayer to Sunna and lit the three candles (the candles for weeks one and two are only about half way burned down):
Prayer to Sunna Force and fire, that is what You are, Swift precision as You plough across the sky, Driving back pollution, and cleansing the path that Day must tread. Force and fire, bringing the light that restores our souls, bringing Your glorious brightness to our world. You are force and fire, gleaming and fierce. Battle ready, You are indomitable. There is no obstacle You cannot surmount, No enemy You cannot conquer. You drive forward the rhythms of the world. You smite malefica, wickedness, evil, and all that stands against the order created by our Gods. These things You obliterate with the force and fire of Your passing. That order is Your order, blessed and structured by Your holy hands, and always will You defend it. Teach us, oh Sunna, to stand courageously no matter how afraid we might be, in defense of that order too. Hail to You, Glorious Goddess of the Sun, May You grant us bravery in our devotions, as You move across our world leading us to Yule.
After this, I galdred thurisaz which came so joyously (there’s really no other word for it). It was like the force of a storm wind hitting the house. That’s how it felt to galdr this rune. He came immediately and with such a tremendous kinetic energy that it left me wired for hours afterwards. We passed a horn filled with sparkling apple cider and hailed Sunna, Her family, Thor, Odin and the runes, our ancestors, and more. After this, we sat down in sacred space, in holy space, and brought out our divination materials. We had been talking earlier about the small asteroid orbiting the moon, and had wondered if it was a physical representation that Mani had had a child. We meant no impiety by divining, but if He had, we wanted to know how or even if we should include that child in our veneration of the House of Mundilfari. We stumbled into epiphany and mystery and I am still shaken by it.
Sunna wanted this story told or I would not speak it. The holy order of the heavens will not fall. She and Mani were joyous and the rune that fell was wunjo: Joy, perfection, a blessed gift. They had a child, star of heaven, Himinstjarna,* A glorious daughter (fehu tells us how to honor Her: Song and beauty, art that elevates the soul, Land and life and glory, freeing the world of its disorder). I thought it lovely and we were moved to tears, Then I realized what a terrible omen it was, but what a powerful hope too. The sun and moon will not fall: Their continuity is ensured by Their child. She will bring Them back from the darkness. A magical gift, hope for our world. Mani prepares to go to war. Taking up His scimitars again, For He was a warrior in days of old. But the holy order of the Gods will endure. Himinstjarna: praise Her.
We closed the div session and then sang Sigdrifa’s Prayer, which is our way of closing almost every ritual. After that, we staggered off to get food, because after the spiritual work that was done, we were ravenous. So, that’s where we are and I think the House of Mundilfari will play a far larger role in our devotions from here on out.
*this is Her name to the best that we could translate with divination, and an ON grammar.
So Sannion just finished a fantastic book on divination — I think it’s probably the most important book he’s written. I’m chomping at the bit for it to be generally available (I got to read the file before he sent it over for formatting and I was blown away). Of course I’ll post about it here when it is available, but I want to share a system that I stole and adapted from his book.
Of course he stole it first from my people. LOL. He adapted this from Anglo-Saxon sources for use in a more Bacchic-Orphic practice, and I took it back and re-adapted it for a Mani-centric practice. This is what happens when you let a Southern Italian Orpheotelest loose in your library. Anyway, here it is (my version) for those who might be interested.
The Mirror of the Moon
When the moon is new on a Sunday, that signifies three things will happen during the month: rain, wind and calm. It also signifies barrenness of cattle and old men’s sicknesses – but health and fitness among the young men. Make offerings to the Mothers.
If it is new on a Monday, that signifies sorrow for those who are born and young men’s heads will ache in that month. Make offerings to Heimdall.
If it is new on a Tuesday, that signifies joy for all men, and grief for the young. Make offerings to Narvi and Vali.
If it is new on a Wednesday, that signifies that peaceful men will dwell among loyal friends. An end to ancient feuds and generational enmity. Make offerings to Mani.
If it is new on a Thursday, that signifies the health of kings through potent drugs. Make offerings to Odin.
If it is new on a Friday, there will be good hunting that month. Make offerings to Frey.
If it is new on a Saturday that signifies strife, and bloodshed, and whoever begins it with the south wind will have the victory. Make offerings to the Nine Daughters of Ran and Aegir.
It’s weird offering to Mani on Wed. and Odin on Thurs. — those aren’t the usual days but I did divination while adapting this and these are the Powers that stepped forward. The placement of the moon signifies the overall influences moving through the month. The diviner extrapolates from the information given. The offerings can be done as a matter of course when this is consulted or in order to better the outcome for the month.
(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.
The Friends of Mani is a loosely organized spiritual community, inspired by the God Mani (and His family: Mundilfari, Sunna, Sinthgunt, Nott, Dagr, Unn, Bil, Hjuki, et Al.), seeking to grow in knowledge and in devotion alongside other devotees of this God. We offer a place to share information, prayers, liturgy, inspiration and other resources for spiritual deepening.
From our inception on March 21, 2016, we are an international society, with members not only in the United States, but also Canada and abroad. We all share a common love for Mani, or another Divine Member of the House of Mundilfari, and a desire to build His (Their) cultus.
We are new, but our goals involve organizing rituals and prayer groups wherever we live and venerate, setting up shrines, including one day public shrines to Mani and His family, creating a shared liturgy (and collection of prayers), and developing other ways that members involved in His cultus can enjoy shared communion, not only with Him, but with each other across the globe.
If you love Mani, or any other member of His family, we invite you to join “Friends of Mani.” Contact Galina at Krasskova at gmail.com for more information.