Beyond the Ninth Wave

A Study Group for Those on a Druidic Path

Ninth Wave

About the Ninth Wave and Beyond

Nine waves before you,
Nine winds above you,
Nine paths beneath you,
Nine fires transform you,
Nine wells sustain you,
Nine wisdoms open you,
Nine gifts given you,
Nine skills given you,
Nine strengths given you,
All Ninefold the blessings of the Goddess.

from a blessing by Caitlin Matthews

Hy Breasil

The term Hy Breasil (spelled in several ways) makes reference to what are known as the Blessed Isles. Maps would display and island called "Brasil" or "Breasil" somewhere out in the Atlantic. Of course, the idea that there are magical islands to the west is based on both myth and fact. So it comes as no surprise that the Celts had islands in the Otherworld.

According to the mythology, the islands lie "beyond the ninth wave." The reason for this naming is perhaps based on a liking for the number three and combinations of the number 3 (3 X 3) as representing perfection.  The Otherworld islands are lands of peace and eternal life, unlike the sidhe:

Without grief, without sorrow, without death,
Without any sickness, without debility,
That is the sign of Emain--
Uncommon is an equal marvel.

--The Voyage of Bran

In Irish myth, these islands beyond the ninth wave are ruled by Mananna mc Lír. Manannan, while a god, is not really one of the Tuatha Dé Danann. He is actually older but seems to be included.  He is the son of Ler, "the sea" about whom little is known. These islands are extremely difficult to access. One can only reaches these islands through the invitation of Manannan or his daughters. This process is called an echtrae.

The Celtic fairy Queen Cliodna, a daughter of the Sea God, Manannan, rules over the sea in Ireland and those lands where people of Celtic descent have settled. Every ninth wave is sacred to her and if a wish spoken as a small pearl, is placed in a double shell, tied with seaweed and cast on the ninth wave to reach the shore, it is promised she will grant it.

Manannan’s family consists of his wife is Fand. His first daughter is Niamh of the Golden Hair and his second is named Cliodna and a son named Mongan. In many Celtic stories, we are told of Manannan's wife, the Fairy Queen Fand, also known as The Pearl of Beauty, his sons Ilbhreac (Fairy King), Fiachna and Gaidiar, and daughters Áine, Aoife and Griane. Manannan also had a foster son named Lugh; the Great Warrior, on whom he bestowed his magical belongings.