2. How did you become first aware of this deity?
Growing up in Dyfed, learning the stories of the Mabinogi at school, I must have been aware of Manawydan as a character from a very young age. I remember drawing him in primary school, walking across an outstretched Bendigeidfran to illustrate the proverb ‘a fo ben bid bont’ (let he who would be a leader be a bridge, in Bendigeidfran’s famous words). But this early introduction to the figure in the stories was not the same thing as an awareness of the deity.
It was an Alexandrian coven in Brighton, a few years ago, which prompted me to reconnect with the old tales and read them again from a pagan perspective. Around this same time, I developed my habit of walking the shore, especially at dusk. I started writing about the sea, to overcome a block in my creativity. I wrote about the dreams I used to have, in moments of my life when I felt lost, of waves rising up to engulf me, drawing me back… By the time I moved to Liverpool, all of this was gradually coalescing into a relationship – though with whom, or what, I did not dare to say.
I began to acknowledge the devotional relationship and, privately, to name it, two years ago; perhaps this marks the transition to awareness of the deity. But this kind of awareness is not an absolute state – better to say it is an ongoing process, and I know it will keep evolving, shifting, changing for as long as I pursue it. Therein lies its magic.