Fig. 70: Gold model of a boat, Broighter, Ireland.
The story of Irish seagod Mananaan's
magic boat that used to sail to the paradise in the remote West could also be taken
to refer to the Gulf Stream. The boat had the ability to travel without rudder,
without sail, but by the wish of Mananaan alone. Naturally he always headed for the abode
of half of his fellow De Danaans across the ocean. Legend has it that half of the Tuatha
De Danaan went into the "hollow hills" of Ireland, the remainder went to the
Blessed Isle in the Remote West. Hy Brazil (after which Brazil was named, and which the
sixth-century Irish Saint Brendan the Navigator set out to find) was another name for this
mythical land in the West.
Quetzlcoatl, the Feathered Serpent, is
described in the Amerindian scriptures as being fair-skinned and bearded. The Popul
Vuh also tells us that Kukulcan came from "the place of the rising sun". Stories
like this are, indeed myths. However, a myth can be interpreted historically or literally
without diminishing its symbolic truth. There is scope in these complementary myths of
Europe and America to explore possible cultural exchanges across the Atlantic, dating
perhaps as far back as the Bronze age.