Monday, May 26, 2014


Astounding to see that I have not posted here since December 2012 but the past year and a half have been rather massive in terms of change for me.

I have been dealing with family illnesses and surgeries, deaths of loved ones, happening upon the love of my life (whom I've been with for over a year now), trips to Virginia, Washington DC, and Arizona, work and publishing deadlines, coming out as a bisexual to my family, a move from the country to the city, the births of two new family members, financial scares, and much more.

Some of the events that have taken place since I was last here have aggravated my anxiety and depression to an overwhelming extent - sometimes including rather dark periods and places where my trust issues have been exacerbated. As such, I have fully left Gaol Naofa (and the online GP community). While I still support the organisation’s efforts and wish them all the happiness and success, I am no longer a part of the organisation for personal reasons. 

My life is merely going in another direction. In 2015, I might even possibly be relocating to California and with that I'll be entering the whole new world of stress and anxiety that comes with a cross-country move. Because of that, I need to switch priorities onto taking care of myself and my family. While the community will always be in my thoughts, I can no longer devote substantial time to it. My mental health will not allow it, and I need to focus on healing.

With the death of my grandfather last spring, my spirituality became more of an intellectual pursuit rather than a living practice. I could read history books, articles, dissertations, etc and write about Gaelic Polytheism and the Gaelic cultures but as far as wanting to practice it, no. I felt a distance growing in me with his death - never had I lost someone that dear and close to me. It was an earth-shattering blow. Thus, part of the healing I need to do lies in finding myself within my practice again.

Some of the changes happening here will hopefully include me blogging a bit more, but it's even quite possible I start afresh somewhere else. We shall see.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Celebrating Grianstad an Gheimhridh (The Winter Solstice)

Winter Solstice Sunrise, Ireland, Sandymount Strand, 2008
While it is uncertain whether or not the ancient Gaels celebrated the darkest night of the year (Grianstad an Gheimhridh or Meán Geimhridh as it's known in Gaeilge [Irish] today), a number of modern Gaelic Polytheists, including myself, do indeed mark this solar event. As the winter was an extremely hard time for the ancient Gaels and travel would have been short (if any took place at all), the likelihood of a grand celebration on the scale seen at Samhain looks very slim. However, some of us believe that if the Midwinter was indeed observed it would have taken the form of small, intimate, familial celebrations. This sets the stage for how most observe the day.

Family/community is the foundation of Gaelic Polytheism and so gathering together with loved ones (of choice or relation) during the dark, cold months of the year is truly something special that some feel should be commemorated. Many Gaelic Polytheists celebrate by welcoming the sunrise whilst repeating prayers from Carmina Gadelica (#316, "Hail to thee, thou sun of the seasons" being a favorite of most) and turning their thoughts to Brú na Bóinne, or Newgrange, since the tomb is illuminated by the solstice sunrise through the roof box. Others might even have all-night vigils, using the long darkness of the night for meditation, contemplation, and devotion — huddling together with family and friends to celebrate the sun when it rises.

While Brú na Bóinne is definitely a pre-Celtic passage tomb, the fact that it has myths attributed to it shows that the Gaels respected it and even possibly had rites honouring it. While we will probably never know this for certain, Midwinter is indeed an astronomical event marked by many Gaelic Polytheists today. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Announcement: Gaol Naofa Relaunches and Celebrates Five Years

"While it may seem we’ve been quiet for a while, much has been happening behind the scenes as we’ve celebrated five years as an organisation. Our council has been very busy, creating new content for this site, as well as for private use by the members of Gaol Naofa. All of the site documents have been updated and restructured. While much of this site will still be familiar to our long-term readers, there is a lot of new material here.
Notably, we have substantially revised and expanded The Gaol Naofa FAQ into an 89 page pdf document that addresses many of the common questions about Gaelic Polytheism and, specifically, our Gaelic Polytheist Lifeway (Ár nDóigh Bheatha Ildiach is Gaelach / Ar Dòigh-Beatha Ioma-Dhiadhach Ghàidhealach) as practiced by the core members of Gaol Naofa.
New articles include “Rowan and Red Thread: Magic and Witchcraft in Gaelic Cultures” (pdf) — an in-depth look at practices and terminology in both historical and contemporary Gaelic cultures, as well as an upcoming piece on the Triple Flame of Brigid."

Please see the entire announcement here:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Publication Alert: "Cornerstones of Wisdom"

Hey everyone! My essay ‘Cornerstones of Wisdom: Poetry, Permanence and Wildness in Gaelic Polytheism’ (p50-53) was published in the latest issue of Written River. Hope you guys will take a look :) Right now it's only available in online viewing, but soon there will be print copies to order, if you'd rather have a hard copy.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Celtic Reconstructionism: A Spirituality or Methodology?

In short, Celtic Reconstructionism is both.

The act of reconstructing is itself absolutely a process or methodology. I've never seen anywhere that has been disputed. However, that being said, to view Celtic *Reconstructionism* as a spiritual practice, religion, or way of life is not some wild idea born from a couple of people misunderstanding of The CR FAQ. I honestly haven't the foggiest idea as to why "CR as a spiritual practice" seems to ruffle feathers as we are not contradicting anything. In fact, I feel the FAQ is quite clear on it being both:
"Most of us are very spiritual people in our private lives. We have altars in our homes and do personal and family-centered devotional work. Some of us do divination or healing, or perform ritual services within our communities. Reading doesn't mean we're not spiritual. In fact, for most of us, the reading we do enhances our spirituality and helps us understand what we are taught by other people and what comes to us through more mystical means such as in visions, meditations or dreams. Reference books, written by those who have devoted their lives to studying the words and traditions of the ancestors, help us sort out what is traditionally Celtic from what is our own internal voice. Both may be valid, but our inner voice may not be entirely accurate about what is Celtic, or what is communication from the Divine and what is our own imaginations. When we believe we are receiving information from a Deity or spirit, we go to the scholars to compare notes and see what's Celtic and what's not.

Turning Thoughts to Summer

Even though the past two days have been rather windy and a wee on the chilly side, signs are pointing to the approach of Lá Bealtaine...

The honeysuckle and hedges are fragrant and blooming

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lá Bealtaine Survey

The National Museum of Ireland is currently conducting a survey in Ireland to up their efforts to collect May Day / Lá Bealtaine customs for their Archives.

If you live in Ireland and would like to take part in this, please visit this link for more information.