Monday, 6 June 2016

This is what I am taking away from the sunken lands

The gods come and go. Sometimes they drift in, make themselves known and cause a flurry of interest and relationship for a few months and then drift on out again. Sometimes they stay and other times they hang about in the background waiting for the right moment known only to them.

My favourite part of ritual is trance possession, for those moments you are either a vessel for the gods or sit before someone who isn't entirely themselves and is speaking words they have no say in. For those minutes, you are before the gods in a way it is rare to find yourself in otherwise. For me, I see and feel them coming; my upper body reverberates in a way I have never felt before and I am totally guided by someone else.

The purpose of this is to convey something to the other people gathered there. I only do this with gods I have some sort of relationship with or if the person I am trancing with has a relationship with them. Recently, I had cause to seek out a particular god for a particular purpose, he was someone I had poured out libations for and made oblations to in the past, but wasn't a god I was very well acquainted with. It doesn't matter who, because on the way to the gathering, a different god who I do have a longer and more fruitful relationship with stuck his oar in and pretty much said “Nah, it’s me you are after for this”, being sensible about this sort of thing I changed my plans to accommodate.

Anyway, the short version is that he came across in a very different way to what I know and what might be expected; this was an agricultural god who made himself very clearly as a boar. What was once a ‘man’ with a plough tending the fields and bringing from them fruitfulness and life, became a huge tusked boar gouging and tearing up the soil and shitting our fertility in the trenches he left behind. In the cold of winter he took that which was dead and lifeless and started moulding it into something else - something with potential. What strikes me about this is that this almost exactly how I have perceived Mokkonos; the swine god. Almost forgotten Mokkonos who survives only as Moccus-Mercury in Roman Gaul.

Both he, and to a similar extent the divine ploughman, had drifted into the background by the time I had begun exploring the Indo-European cultures and sources for my own religious praxis, and now that I am more acquainted with them, the connections between the ploughman and the boar are glaringly obvious.

The sunken lands around this island tell a very simple message; this is not how things have always been. This land has been older, this land has been different, and the hidden and invisible history is still there - beneath the surface. The landscape was not lost in an eye blink, it was swallowed and consumed slowly by the seas - tide by tide, wave by wave.

The gods; century by century, generation by generation were lost or transformed. Nodens becomes Nudd who becomes Lludd.

Lludd is the landscape we see before us now, the shoreline is where he slips into Nudd and just beneath the breaking waves we get a glimpse of Nodens. The question is though; after a storm, who do we see exposed by the seas violence? When the sands of the shore are churned and stripped back, who will we find washed up like an ancient antlered skull?

Amaethon wasn't always a plough-man, a storm in my past has washed up and uncovered a Great Black Boar with a bristling hide and shining sickle tusks.

People have been on this island before it was an island, when it was a peninsula. They knew of the gods that formed the landscape they lived on, they knew their names and gave them animal masks of a sort to clothe themselves in. The masks were handed down through the generations - the first people here are the ancestors of the people still here now, there was no great washing away and repopulating. The masks were passed on from generation to generation, the gods they clothed changed with the people and the landscape.

Nodens is a patina on a mask. He is covered with the patinas of Nudd and Lludd, and under him are more gods hidden away by time.

These gods are there, buried by time and tide. But they are still there, they just need a storm to scratch away the names we have remembered to show us the faces we have forgotten.


Lorna Smithers said...

Wow, this is powerful. It makes me think of links between Mokkos and Twrch Trwyth who was associated with the sea. He escaped back there after Arthur's hunt and that story has much to do with the naming of landmarks. So does Henwen's.

The Amaethon and Mokkos links are interesting - not something I'd thought of. There are herdsmen who take ox form in the Welsh myths, but I hadn't thought of links between ploughs, pigs and shaping the land.

Your perceptions of Lludd, Nudd and Nodens make sense - Lludd seems to be more connected with cities and inland wells whereas Nudd and Nodens are mainly found at estuaries and Nodens has deeper connections than Nudd with the sea.

Great piece :)

Lee said...

I couldn't sleep the other night, eventually I got up, wrote this and had a lovely night's sleep. I think it is the take home message from all this synchronicity about the sunken lands and them being uncovered; everything is much, much older and what we have is just the continuation of that history and story over thousands of years. It didn't spring into existence 2000 years ago, by 2000 years ago it was already thousands of years old.

I dont know what is supposed to come next but right now I feel like this little phase has come to an end, I have got the point and now need to begin the next phase, which involves Nodens.