I’ve been spending a lot of time in my own head again recently. In part it was my parents’ visit this weekend and the many things that are coming to a head as this year ends. But it has also been the coming of winter – even though it ran away again – that has me thinking deep thoughts that I mostly keep to myself. And as freezing temps washed over the hills in what is often the shape of winter here in central Alabama, I heard the soft calling of my mysterious God, Lir.
Ever since the day that it was made clear to me that there were more who called to me, Lir’s presence has been the soft beat of the sea in the back of my mind, but His voice has been silent to me. I know in large part this has been because my Lord Manannan had some very important things for me to work through. And it’s hard when you are being broken and reforged to listen to that quiet voice; to hear a whisper over the screaming of soul shattering growth. That is dramatic language, but it has been a dramatic couple of years for me. And the Gods only know what more is to come in the years ahead; but for now, I’ve reached a plateau of restfulness of spirit.
So I heard Lir’s call and I have begun trying to respond to Him and – much more importantly for my most patiently stubborn God – listen to Him. *Warning – what follows is UPG* (UPG – Unverified Personal Gnosis)
Most see the Cailleach in winter’s heart – and the more I study and the more I try to understand the lore, the more I see Her, though I’ve never interacted with Her. But there is something about winter that makes me think of Lir. Maybe it is the knowledge that Manannan replaced His father in many ways within the lore and belief, just as summer’s glory will always replace the respite of winter’s depth. The way the exuberance of life replaces the quietude of death. They are in so many ways the same, Father and Son, but in so many ways They serve as counterpoint to one another. Manannan is the Son of the Sea, and His domain is of the pathways of the sea. But Lir is the sea. He is the crash of waves and the deep, beating heart of blue; He is the fury of the tempest and the peace of the softly lapping waves on shore.
I am of the camp that sees Manannan as more than just Lord of the waves and weather. He is the one who leads us to the Otherworlds, in life and in death. He is the God who leads us to better ourselves, who uses subterfuge to help us find the answers to questions we didn’t even realize were asked. To use language not native to the Irish or other Gaels, but more familiar to others – He is a psychopomp who leads us through death, and He is the trickster who teaches us, sometimes painfully.
So what is the counterpoint to that? Lir is the sea – both in the literal and the ethereal sea through which we travel to reach the Otherworlds where we might dwell with our Gods and our ancestors. He is death – not the physical act, but rather the place where we find ourselves when we leave this plane, this reality, for the next. He is the waiting between lives, before we are reborn once again, led by His son, Manannan, back to the world of the living. And the lesson He is leading me to – or rather maybe waiting for me to arrive at – is that there is a time for action, and there is a time we must rest. These moments need not be a season or a death; it may be as simple as taking a moment at the beginning or end of the day to sit in quiet, without external demands or without our own driving ambitions.
Now, as I said, this is my own personal belief, and I’m sure there are plenty who would be angry at these beliefs. Maybe down the road He will better show me who He is, and these beliefs I currently hold will be washed away in the rising tide of understanding. But for now, I am hearing the message. I’ve pushed myself and my husband to reach goals – one after another after another – and I’ve felt like I was barely treading water, keeping us afloat and on track. Now my Quiet Lir murmurs to me to rest. Take the peace offered by achieving my goals and rest. There is time to move to the next goal, but now is not it.
So on Thursday, I will pay the final $220 on Buttercup and she will be ours, free and clear. And I won’t worry about the future until the first of the year. That sounds like a plan. I am listening.