Ruler of the Land Under Wave

In reading about my ancestors, the ancient Celts, I recently came across the god Manannan mac lir, the Irish god of the sea. They called him, “Ruler of the Land Under Wave” (which I think is a pretty bad-ass title).

For the Celts the sea they spoke of consisted mostly of the Irish Sea and the islands between Ireland and Britain.

It was thought that the Ruler of the Land Under Wave traveled over the water in his chariot called Ocean Sweeper, led by his favorite horse Enbarr (which roughly translates to “Waterfoam”).

Manannan held one of the ancient magical pieces of the world, a great shining cloak that could change color as the sea changed, making him largely invisible for those not paying attention.

On the Isle of Man the ancients would climb a mountain with a bundle of green rushes and pay tribute to him on Midsummer Eve, as they regarded the Ruler of the Land Under Wave as their great protector.

Even now some Irish and Scottish fisherman who hold on to the old ways say a blessing to Manannan before heading out to sea:

“Manannan mac lir (Son of the Sea),
who blessed our Island,
Bless us and our boat, going out well.
Coming in better, with living and dead (fish) in our boat.”

A statue to Manannan mac lir still stands in Gortmore, Magilligan, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

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