This is a pathtag. A pathtag is a personal swag item and does not move along like a travel bug or a geo-coin. If you found this tag in a cache, it is yours to keep!! If you don't wish to keep it....even AFTER reading the fabulous descriptor of this tag...then please recache it. I REALLY don't want to see my treasure up for the highest bidder on Ebay.....you wouldn't treat your kid or your dog that way....please respect my art just as prodigeously. Because of the meaning of the Manaia, I'm going to make an odd request. I don't know if it will be respected or not, but here goes.
If you already HAVE one of these tags.....then find another on the trail....please let it stay in the cache! I am thrilled to GIVE you the first one, but to TAKE a second would destroy the meaning of the tag and leave the Manaia powerless. If you found/traded for one, then gave the first one away....then by all means, take the next Manaia you find. After reading the meaning of the Manaia I hope you understand why.
First consideration for trading will go to nautical/ethnic/historical/ mythological tags. As much as I love signature tags, with over 8,000 taggers, I just can't FUND trading with every tag. That doesn't mean I won't, just means I can't EVERY time.
According to Wikipedia.com the Maori people populated New Zealand before the 1300's. Accurate time stamps are difficult to establish but the Maori oral history would have one believe that they populated the land long before this date. Some of my research said as old as 250AD, but I am unsure as to the accuracy of those claims.
The Maori people are very strong spiritually and use many symbols to represent ideals that are most important to them. For the Ancient Civilizations Club, I chose the Manaia because I felt connected to its meaning. Not only have I dreamed of visiting the Downunder, but this is exactly what I would wish for all these amazing people I have met (sort of) through this fun hobby.
The Manaia is a spiritual protector and guide of this ocean-faring people. With the head of a bird, the body of a man and the tail of a fish, the Manaia transcends water, earth and heaven to guide and protect their charge from birth, through life and into the after-life. Rife with symbolism, the three fingers of the Manaia stand for the three stages of life (birth, life and death) and the three realms of which the Manaia can protect you. The head represents the sky, the afterlife and knowledge. The fish's tail is representative not only of that which feeds the People and provides the creation of existance, but the beginnings of life as well. The body IS the people and their short time here in this world. Man is immediate, now and physical. The body represents the land on which man must live in THIS time.
The Manaia should never be purchased for oneself, but should be given as a gift (or in this case trade). Finding one in a cache will follow this philosophy as well. The Manaia is strongest if it is given from someone who cares for the recipient and wants to protect and strengthen them through life. The older a Manaia is, the more powerful it becomes, as the spirit guide absorbs the strengths of all past wearers. For this reason a Manaia is often passed through generations and is a respected and treasured heirloom.
This particular Manaia has the additional traditional symbol of the fishhook; or the Hei-Matau. The meaning for this includes strength, prosperity, abundance, and a GREAT respect for the sea....from which all life is born. I wish all of you strength, health, prosperity. I also LOVE our Oceans. If we want the sea to provide for and protect us, we must respect and care for her....in all her glory. In the end of all things, I could give up caching; I could EVEN give up pathtags (believe it or not), but I can never lose the ability to become one with the sea. It is a part of who I am and where I will return to when all things are over. I need her to be healthy and well loved. Which brings me right back to this tag. I hope my figurative Manaia always keeps me by that which I love so much.
This tag was designed by Nicole Florian at Pathtags Art in the "Get Design Help" section of the Pathtags home page. I told her "it had the head of a bird, the body of a man and the tail of a fish". She HAD to have done some research to incorporate the fish hook and the three fingers. I was floored. I LOVE this tag and while the club is limited to 35, (so there will definately be spares,) I can't think of a more appropriate tag to find in a cache...can you? That means as soon as funds allow, I'll be reordering. This is probably going to become one of my permanent tags that won't be retired until I am. Thanks Nicole!!