That the Cultic Mannerbunde was part of the tradition of these islands can be proven when we look at certain aspects of traditions of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. It seems obvious that here in England the same tradition was upheld when we look at the figure of Robin Hood and the 'outlaw bands' related to his legends. But we have a clearer indication of the workings of the Germano-Celtic Mannerbunde when we look at Irish Lore.
To do so we need to look at the figure of Finn Mac Cool (I'll use the English version which gives the sounding of the name). Finn (meaning 'white') is a Mythical Hunter-Warrior and thus comes under the general concepts related to the One-Eyed Hunter-God, Woden, who was the Leader of the Mannerbunde. To take this back further it seems that Nuada of the Silver Hand has a name rooted in a Germanic root meaning 'to acquire', 'to catch' or 'to entrap', thus relating to the hunter. Nuada (Irish) or Nudd (Welsh) are both seemingly linked to Tiw, both losing a hand and having it replaced by a 'Silver Hand' (lunar symbol). Finn Mac Cool was obviously known to the Scots who lived in Northern Ireland in ancient times, as well as further south in Ireland.
The Cultic Mannerbunde that I am speaking of here is embodied in those known in Ireland as the Fianna through the Fenian Cycle. The term springs from fernni which means 'wilderness' or sometimes 'wild one', and this is the same as the Welsh gwyddelod also meaning 'wilderness', 'wild ones' or 'wild people'. Interestingly the same roots as gwyddelod gives us 'Gwydion', both related to the forests which is the area of wilderness in which the Warrior-Bands lived and survived. As with our 'Robin Hood' these bands were in the beginning aethlingas or 'princes' who were forced for a time to live outside the bounds of civilisation in order to become warriors that could rejoin the tribe in manhood.Woden, as we know, was linked to the forests and wildwoods of Germania.
To emphasise the links to these cultic-warrior bands of Ireland, the 'Death's Head' was one of the prime symbols of the Germanic Mannerbunde. These bands of Fianna were referred to as Mic Bais - 'Sons of Death'. Linked to these ideas was what was known as ferg or fearg meaning -
- anger, passion, ferocity.
- anger, wrath.
Fearg is merely a version of wearg/warg which means 'wolf of the outside', i.e. the 'outlaw' or 'wolf's head'. This is here the 'battle-fury' or 'battle-madness' of the youthful warrior-bands. It is my belief that these mysteries can be found within the Feoh-Rune which I have touched on before; this rune is related to the 'wild-wood' and to the 'wolf in the wild-wood', and thus to the concept of fearg. Names such as Fergal, Fergus, Fergusson etc. stem from this root.
In order to understand this 'battle-fury' we need to look at the heroic figure of Cu Chulainn who is the Hero of Ulster. He embodies this fury which forms part of the tales around this Ulster Hero. The basis of the Ulster Cycle is that the rest of Ireland was united against Ulster and tried to invade this area of Northern Ireland. Cu Chulainn was the hero who saved Ulster.
I have tried here to create a balance since the Fenian Cycle is used by Irish Republicans and the Ulster Cycle by Ulstermen in Northern Ireland. Although the English got the blame for the problems it was really the Norman-Bretons who sought to control Ireland, and the English were the first to be ruthlessly and violently suppressed prior to this. We have to recall that the Scots occupied Northern Ireland in ancient times, and took some of these legends with them when they moved into what we now know as Scotland. Neither Oliver Cromwell (financed by Amsterdam Bankers to overthrow the monarchy here), nor William of Orange (brought over because the monarchy here was restored, which was not the plan) did the English any favours either. Through these two different traditions we can put together a view of these ancient Cultic-warrior Bands.
The father of Cu Chulainn was Lugh, and in his battles he was aided by the Goddess of War, Morrigan. Cu Chulainn learned the arts of war from Scathach the Wild, a warrior-princess of the 'Islands of Shade'. Her name, and the name of the island tells us she is a Shadow-Warrior much like the Norse Skadi whose name means the same - 'shadow'. Interestingly, we have the same ideas embodied in the 'Will Scarlet' who was with Robin Hood, since his original name was Will Scathlock. Scathach gave to Cu Cuchlainn the Gae Bolg which was the 'Spear of Death'. The name Gae Bolg can be Gae Bulg, Gae Bulga or Gae Bolga, and these seem related to the Fir Bolg - Men of the Bolg. (I will look at this another time since it is an interesting concept.)
I have posted a blog on Cu Chulainn before and will not go over this again here, refer back to this for more information, suffice it to say he has a legend about being 'one-eyed'. He embodies the power of the Cultic Warrior Hero and the Woda-Force that this entails - the force of the Berserker-Warrior.