Posts filed under ‘Celtic/Druid’

Lore, Lit and Canon

July’s Gaelic Roundtable topic is Lore. Before I tackle that, I need to figure out what the heck even to me counts as “lore”.

Folklore is stories, customs, shared among a group of people- rather than attributable to any one person. It is generally shared orally, but especially with the Internet there is now a lot of written and pictorial folklore, such as conspiracy theories and memes. There are several kinds of folklore that I see as relevant. One is folklore that is so old that it is intermixed with literature, the next category. Another is folklore collected into books or recorded. It’s important to considered selection bias on the part of which people were available and willing to be interviewed, what stories, sayings and songs were included by folklorists and archivists, and what has or hasn’t been changed. Sometimes there were social and political motivations for collecting the folklore and that impacts what is included. Some of this folklore is in the home countries themselves, others can be found in various parts of the Irish and Scottish diaspora.

Literature– many of the texts such as the Book of Invasions, the Book of Leinster and so forth, I think are more accurately described as medieval literature rather than folklore or mythology per se. However some of the texts draw on folklore as well as history and it is often hard to tell what is what. Other literature that we might not see as being religious per se, but has cultural importance and influence such as works by W.B. Yeats  can also be part of this category. Since our mythologies are very fragmented, finding inspiration in modern fantasy novels can serve as a sort of midrash.

Canon is the collection of texts considered authoritative by a religion- or a fandom! The primary example of course, being the Bible. Though Gaelic polytheism is not really a text-based religion, there are some texts that are seen by most as more valid than others. Some of us might include more Celtic Christian or Celtic Twilight era texts. And since we (quite rightly!) have no central authority there is no Irish, Scottish, Manx or pan-Gaelic canon. But I think an individual or group could have a personal canon. These distinctions could be useful in our discussions of comparative practices.

July 8, 2017 at 12:24 am 3 comments

Wanderings of a would-be Gael

Gaelic Roundtable for the March 2017 topic of Journeys (summer catch-up!)

I have been a Pagan of some sort for about 20 years now, which sounds more impressive than it actually is! I’ve had a tendency to be more of an armchair philosophical Pagan than much of an active practitioner, but I’d like to change that. I’d like to weave my spiritual practice into my everyday life, so it does not just feel like something walled off in a corner. I have primarily been focused on Irish culture, but am also branching into Scottish traditions as well. I am especially interested in learning more about how customs and cultures have evolved in both diasporas in Minnesota and other parts of North America and adapted to a modern urban working-class setting, rather than an pastoral aristocratic or peasant setting that tends to be the bias of medieval Irish literature and later folk customs.

During my college years I studied with two different Irish Reconstructionist groups- Tuath Choilraighe, led by Aedh Rua (who now goes by the name Segomaros Widugeni) and Temple of the River, led by Andrew Jacob (who now goes by the name Andre Solo) I have also been an on and off member of Ar nDraiocht Fein, and also studied and practiced with the Mists of Stone Forest, a druid grove that branched off of the Henge of Keltria, in turn a branch of ADF.

I am now a part of Northern Roots Grove, which is an independent syncretic Druid grove, with members of RDNA, ADF and OBOD involved. And of course, I’ve done lots of studies on my own, and gained a lot of knowledge along the way.  I have also been studying the Irish language with Gaeltacht Minnesota.  I am also a member of Clann Bhride, a gender-inclusive Brighidine online devotional group with a focus on social justice.

Druid ABC soup:

RDNA– Reformed Druids of North America

ADF– Ar nDraiocht Fein

OBOD– Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids

For a good comparison of these different druid groups see Susan Reed’s summaries here.

 

 

July 1, 2017 at 8:23 am 1 comment

Morrigan

Articles (Scholarly/Works Cited)

The Irish War Goddesses by Saigh Kym Lambert

Fulacht na Morrigna (the Morrigan’s cooking hearth) by Morgan Daimler

Articles (Personal Insight/No Works Cited)

The Morrigan and Personal Sovereignty by Morgan Daimler

Ways to Feel More Connected to the Morrigan by Morgan Daimler

Books

By Blood, Bone and Blade: A Tribute to the Morrigan

The Morrigan: Meeting the Great Queen by Morgan Daimler

Morrigan/Warrior Bibliography by Saigh Kym Lambert

Not Recommended Books-

Feast of the Morrigan by Christopher Penczak- review by Morgan Daimler

Groups/Organizations (Note: I have put the more general groups at the top and the more priestly/dedicated warrior ones towards the bottom)

Call of the Morrigan Community– For anyone who honors/worships the Morrigan in any of Her aspects

Clann na Morrigna– Facebook group for all genders dedicated to the Morrigan as warriors

Ban gaiscedach na Morrigna–  Facebook group for women (trans-inclusive) dedicated to the Morrigan as warriors

Coru Cathubodua: A Morrigan Priesthood- accepts people of all genders who wish to dedicate themselves to Her service.

January 29, 2016 at 3:56 am 1 comment

Labels, Identities and Boundaries

Hey, y’all! I have moved this post to my Witches & Pagans blog, Way of the Sacred Fool. I realized something rather odd. It seems when I specifically set out to write a post for W & P I end up getting stuck, but then I’ll fluently write out something for this blog. I think I need to *just write* without worrying which blog whatever I’m writing fits into and then publish accordingly!

October 28, 2015 at 1:35 am Leave a comment

The Tale of Danu: Part 2

Meanwhile in the Otherworld…during the early Revival Druid era…

Morrigan on phone: Damnit, Goibhniu! This is not about human ingenuity. I know you and the InterPantheonic Council of Smith Gods are all about human creativity and not interfering with it. Well this isn’t creation…these discoveries will lead to destruction, yes I know I’m usually into that sort of thing, but this is too much, even for me! The Manhattan Project will…Yes, I know it’s decades from now, but you know about the time differences between our world and theirs. Stand up to Hephaistos and worse, Prometheus and tell them we mean business! If you don’t, I will make sure Ireland stays out of that war!…Slams down phone.

Cosmic switch board worker: “My lady?”

Morrigan, sighs and leans back “Yes?”

“We’re getting a lot of calls for a goddess by the name of Danu, Danann, is it? Doesn’t that sound similar to one of your titles?

Morrigan looks at switchboard “Great balls of Dagda!” Those are a lot of calls! I think this is yet another error by those monks. Once, again we have to clean up their messes. I’m already taking calls for “Black Annis” seriously beneath my dignity…alright, give me some of them, and some to Brighid. I know she’s busy, lil’ Miss Jill of all Trades, she is (though somehow a lot less show-offy about it than Lugh!) but maybe she can get some of her little saint buddies to help out. Maybe even bodhisattvas…she’s also on good terms with Guan Yin.

So, regardless of origins, somebody out there may be answering your prayers to Danu…we’re just not sure who!

October 22, 2015 at 8:41 am 3 comments

The Tale of Danu: Part 1

Early Celtic scholars- we need a coherent genealogy for the Tuatha De

Medieval Irish texts: Ha ha! That’s not gonna happen

Early Celtic scholars- We need a mother goddess. A mother of the whole tribe of gods.

Medieval Irish texts: Eh, that’s not really there…lots of ladies of sovereignty, river goddesses

Some scholars be all “Vedic everything! Indo-European studies! Everything Celtic must have a Vedic connection!” So Danu, the Vedic river goddess- her name is linguistically connected to the Danube river, and the Welsh Don

Medieval Welsh texts: Don, who’s also an abstract motherly figurehead?

Early scholars- Shutup, texts! We get to decide how to interpret you. So we’re going with it, Tuatha De Danann, people of the goddess Danu. We also need a daddy figure- this Bile guy will do.

Other scholars- Or is that People of Skill/Arts- as in the Aes Dana, the skilled class? Bile who?

Revival & Neo-Pagan Druids- Eh, we’ll go with it! We need, like a Celtic Gaia.

Goddess-worshippers- All Hail the Great Mother Danu! Who is also Brighid, the Morrigan and any other strong female character in myth we think is cool.

Later scholars- There’s a mother of the three sons of Tuireann- Brian, Iuchar & Iucharba, the Gods of Skill- Danann.

October 22, 2015 at 7:26 am Leave a comment

Influences on Druidry & Celtic Spirituality

It can be hard to explain what all is included in Druidry & Celtic Spirituality- I found it more useful to describe some of the major influences (many of them of course are the same as those in other parts of Neo-Paganism and the New Age) It can be helpful to keep these influences in mind when looking at books and other sources!

Romanticism- reaction to the Enlightenment, urbanization and industrialization- emphasis on individual artistic genius, emotion over reason, folklore, fairy tales, nature, the “Noble Savage” (identified with Celtic cultures)

Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish and Breton nationalism (sometimes led by individuals from outside those cultures) Revival of interest in native literature and mythology- sometimes forgeries (MacPherson’s Ossianic Cycle, Iolo’s Barddas) and tampered manuscripts were added to drum up nationalist interest

19th century antiquarians who had interesting theories about megalithic monuments, ley lines, Druids as mystical “proto-Christians”, folk etymology like Beltaine comes from the name Ba’al

Gardnerian Wicca & Ceremonial Magic (Gardner was buddies with Ross Nichols, founder of Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids)

Goddess & women’s spirituality, matriarchal pre-history theories- Robert Graves, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s novel the Mists of Avalon, Jungian archetypes for female empowerment!

Looking to Celtic Christianity as a way to reconnect with nature, honor the feminine (actual historical Celtic Christianity may be disregarded!)

Arthurian Legend- Grail mysticism- legend of Joseph of Arimathea bringing Grail to Glastonbury

Environmental and peace movements- in U.S., U.K., Ireland and elsewhere- Hippie, Peace Convoy, and other countercultural movements

Indo-European studies (ADF)

New Age “awareness” and consumerism- workshops, conferences, publishing, alternative healing

Folk music & cultural revivals

Riverdance and related rise in interest in Irish dance

Opposition to destruction of sacred/historical sites, lobbying for access to sites

Michael Harner’s Core shamanism

Reconstructionism as a methodology

Fantasy novels and science fiction, medieval and Iron Age re-enactment

October 9, 2015 at 1:04 am Leave a comment

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