Mana or its cognate is found in nearly all languages, the essential meaning of which is maternal power, moon-spirit, supernatural force, andtitle of the Goddess. The term was resurrected in English through anthropological studies in the South Pacific, where Mana was described as follows:
Mana is the stuff through which magic works…proceeding immediately from the sacred person or thing, or mediately because a ghost or spirit has put it into the person or thing…The cult of the relics of saints springs from this belief that their bodies, whether living or dead, possessed Mana.
Also, Mana ruled the underworld, which the Finns called Manala. The Romansknew her as a very ancient goddess Mana or Mania, governing the underground land of the long dead; the ancestral spirits called manes, her children.They went to the pit under the lapis manalis in the Forum, emerging to receive their offerings on the annual feast day of Maniac. It was on this occasion that the goddess Maniaappeared wearing a fright mask, like the terrifying Crone-face Medusa or the Destroying Kali.
Death and madness were not Mania’s only aspects, however, in classical times, her “moon-madness” or “lunacy” was viewed asa revelation of the divine, which was to be received with gratitude. Socrates said, “The greatest of our blessings come to us through mania…Madnesscoming from (the deity) is superior to sanity of human origin.” In other words, Mana-Mania was the muse. The Gnostics believes that Mana is “the divine spirit in man”; and the GreatMana, or Mana of Glory, is “the highest godhead.” A.G.H.
Mana is most widely known from the ancient Polynesians as a ‘spiritual force’ or power given or bestowed upon a human by the gods. It was said to be harnessed by the Arii or wise men of the tribes, and thus were these shamans of the tribes respected for they bestowed honor. The ancients believed that Mana exists in all, and is a part of all life on earth. This spiritual force was what they believed life was created from.