I love to explore the Divine Feminine and write about Goddesses. For a list of those, click on the link: Goddesses. In order to become more balanced within ourselves and, through that, to bring greater balance and harmony to the world around us, we must find greater balance between the masculine and feminine energies within ourselves that each one of us possesses, regardless of physical gender or any other ways of self-identification.
Deep Water & Wisdom
Sinann is a Celtic Goddess, alternative spellings are Sionnan, Sionna, and the modern Shannon, but I am sure, there are more. The story of Sinann seems at first a tragic one. She was once a human maiden and went out to find knowledge and wisdom. In her search, she heard of a magical Well of Wisdom in which lived the Salmon of Wisdom. This is said to be the spring of the River Shannon in Ireland, the longest river on the island.
By the spring stood nine magical hazelnut trees. The nuts fell to the ground and into the water, thus imparting their magical wisdom to the water and the salmon who ate them, having access to the wisdom of the world in a nutshell, quite literally. When Sinann found the well, she lifted the lid and the water sprang out, flowing forth and created the River Shannon. However, Sinann was drowned in the process as she was swept away by the water.
In an alternative story, the well was a deep hidden pool, sought out by men who drank from the water and thus skimmed the surface of the wisdom of the world. They sought power but did not inspire others. Sinnan, however, was different. When she came to the pool, she was without expectations. She did not come as a magician, wise man or to seek power. She was free, wilder than the sea and deeper than the pool itself. She was like all elements of nature combined without control, without hindrance, without the knowledge to bind her spirit.
This is an interesting part because here knowledge is pointedly referred to as a form of mental bondage when in the absence of wisdom. Sinann was dancing a joyful dance of inspiration and understanding and the waters rose to greet her in all its beautiful, multi-faceted colours. She sang with the song of the waters of intuition and allowed them to sweep her away while she became one with it. The water bubbled over and created the river, bringing with it knowledge, wisdom, blessings and favours to all.
But what seems to be at first glance a tragedy of drowning turns into a beautiful allegory of the cycle of death and rebirth, not in the physical, but the spiritual sense.
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Death & the Birth of a Goddess
When Sinann died, she was turned into a Goddess and was from then on revered as the Goddess of Wisdom. In another tale, Sinnan is said to have run from the waters towards the sea where she was subsequently drowned and as a goddess and had a temple on the island of Inis-Gathaig. She was often depicted as a mermaid and said to have slain a sea monster.
Water represents the flow of life that can only unfold unhindered when no longer contained and stagnant but then explodes in all its glory, exuberance and abundance. Sinann is said to still be present in the well where the River Shannon springs from. The allegory of flowing water, like rivers, streams and even the sea, are common in all mythological tales being linked to the flow of life, often said to be the umbilical waters of a mother goddess giving birth to the world or the universe.
In this, Sinann is no different from the story of the maiden Gangha who became one with the River Ganga, the holiest one in India. What strikes us as particular and unique in this story is the emphasis on the maiden coming without knowledge and expectations, all of which are equated with limitations and thus definite hindrances to gaining true wisdom.
The story teaches us to give ourselves over, surrender completely to the flow of life, live and be wholly present in the moment in order to not become stagnant and merely skim the surface of this wisdom of life itself, as all the seekers before Sinann did who came with a particular goal in mind, thus never experiencing and understanding the entirety of the meaning of life, and thus the realisation of Self.
And this is what Sinann imparts with us, to dissolve all boundaries, relinquish our limiting beliefs and preconceived ideas and give ourselves over trustingly in complete surrender to the divine flow of life. And in this understanding, Sinann becomes a Goddess, as she understands her full divine potential beyond all humanly preconceived limitations.