Monday, 26 September 2016

Two Gods And One Being

Manannan is humanoid (see image here) whereas Lir, never anthropomorphized, is sometimes described as three-legged and single-eyed but only to evoke "...something strange and terrible." (p. 122)
-copied from here.

Thus, Lir is a shapeless god of the chaotic sea. For more on Him, see here. He seems to have met His match in a Bronze Age sea god imagined by SM Stirling:

"The enemy ships were gliding closer. On each stern was a small platform with a statue on it, a grotesque juju with three legs, six arms, and a single staring eye - Arucuttag of the Sea, Lord of Waves, Master of the Storm, to whom the captains gave gold and man's-blood."
-SM Stirling, Against The Tide Of Years (New York, 1999), Chapter Eighteen, p. 282.

The captains throw gold into the sea? And practice human sacrifice? Some gods need to be reminded that we imagine/create them, not the other way around.

Apart from the arms, the physical descriptions of Lir and Arucuttag are identical: one eye and three legs. One eye means focus. Three legs mean mobility. It would be an easy matter for the Ysans to recognize these two deities as different Gods representing one Being. See here.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I'm puzzled, the image you chose shows us nothing and nobody who looks like a humanoid.

    I certainly hope the Tartessian captains do not practice human sacrifice very often! You wrote: "Some gods need to be reminded that we imagine/create them, not the other way around." This seems theologically suspect. If we assume Arucattag of the sea was real, then he could not have been crated by humans. It's counter intuitive to think a god can be created by mere human beins.


    1. Sean,
      The image was chosen to show a stormy sea, which the god personifies. Does human belief in gods cause the gods to exist? Yes in (i) some works of fiction and in (ii) one theory of divine apparitions. However, (i) are just fiction and (ii) is implausible! So, when I speak as if the gods exist, my language is figurative, not literal.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Sorry, I misunderstood you. I was being too literal minded! Albeit, I don't think I've read about your point "(ii)" except in your blog.

      Understood, what you said about the image you chose. Stormy seas symbolizing sea gods.


    3. Sean,
      I was as puzzled as you when I reread this post but the passage saying "(see image)" is copied and there is a link to the original post which does show a humanoid image. I have added another link to make this clearer.

  2. Arucuttag was a bit of a tribute to Poul's Lir in the Ys series. Or to put it another way, I stole it... 8-).