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All About Mani: the Norse Moon God
I love the Norse Moon God. There isn't very much information on Him in the surviving lore, and yet slowly but surely over the past decade His cultus has been restoring and rebuilding itself. This is a joy to see and it's an equal joy to be a part of such growing devotion. I've found He is a very hard God not to love. His Presence evokes longing and brings with it aching beauty twinned with the hint of ancient power. He touches the heart like no other Deity, and it often seems He moves with an exquisitely calculated sensuality throughout our world. Mani is mystery and in like fashion evokes the hunger for mystery.
We don't actually have very much concrete information on Him. He's the God of the moon and guides the moon across the night sky, always chased by the wolf Hati. His sisters are Sunna and Sinthgunt and He is of the House of Mundilfari, the Time Turner. He is sometimes said to travel with two children, a boy Hjuki and and girl Bil whom He rescued from neglectful parents. He is the nephew of Nott, or Night. That's what we know from lore. From direct experience of Him, not just by me, but by many of His devotees, we know that He is fascinated by humanity and the process of embodiment. He watches over abused children and notes every tear, every wound, every scar. He is a special protector of those affected by emotional pain and mental illness, and once, He was very fierce.
It might seem odd, for folks coming from a Wiccan background, to approach the moon Deity as a God, rather than a Goddess but the Norse are not the only Indo-European cultures to have this particular division of divine power. You find the same in the indigenous religions of Lithuania, Sumer, Japan, and ancient Kemet to name but a few. For this reason, and also because there's been so little written about Him, prior to my sabbatical, I asked folks to email me their questions about this magnificent Deity. It's one thing for me to wax poetic about Mani, which I can happily do, but i was interested in what my readers wanted to know about Him and you all did not disappoint. I received some really good questions and I'm going to do my best to answer them here.
For the next couple of weeks, in addition to my other articles, I'm going to be posting the answers to the various questions I've received about Mani. I encourage folks to email me should other questions arise. I'm always delighted to talk and write about this particular God.
For my first question, CH asks: "I've got a fair amount of questions regarding Mani, however I'm not sure where to begin, either. To be honest, I think most of my "questions" are not precisely hard ones, but more that I wish to hear someone speak about Mani. He's completely enigmatic to me."
He is enigmatic. That is part of HIs nature and, I think, part of His appeal. This is a God older, I think, than any of the Aesir or Vanir. He is ancient and very changeable as the moon is changeable. In "Day Star and Whirling Wheel," the devotional I wrote to Mani and His family several years ago, my adopted mom offered this glimpse of our moon God:
"Gentleness, and a presence so old it had learned to be young again, and to be filled with marvel. A certain bemusement. Some gentle longing that once must not have been so gentle. Some gentle sadness that once might have been raw pain. A wisdom that had time to turn back into that essential wisdom of the lonely child. A sense that He may be one of the Norse Gods, but He does not fit there -- or anywhere.
Mani smiles at His own melancholy."
(Fuensanta Arismendi, "Day Star and Whirling Wheel," p. 10).
He contains so many mysteries. He presents as gentle, sensual, almost ethereal yet I've certainly glimpsed the potential for hardness about Him, an hunger, an edge, a ferocity and yes, even tremendous grief. He may occasionally wear the sweet mask of a kindly Fool but it's just that: a carefully chosen mask. He chooses to be gentle.
This is a God Who in part, orders the rhythms of the cosmos: the movement of planets, stars, moons, the calculation of time. That is immense. Without His work tides would not move properly, cycles would run amok and amiss, planting and harvesting would falter, and certain types of magic would have a far different cast.
I"ve written a bit more about this here: http://krasskova.weebly.com/6/post/2013/02/the-moon-wears-many-masks.html
(the image of Mani used here is by Grace Palmer. Check out the prayer and meditation cards for Mani here: http://krasskova.weebly.com/prayer-cards-for-sale.html).
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