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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Irish

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Springtime Ceilidh

St. Patty's Day can be an odd time of year for we Irish Wiccans and Pagans. On the one hand, the attraction of all things Irish is strong. First there's that stirring fiddle music and the rumble of the drum. The food is mighty tasty, folks are feeling celebratory, and who doesn't like the color of bright, springy green? On the other, who wants to revere a man for driving the "snakes" out of Ireland, a.k.a. the Druids? There is still a spirited scholarly debate regarding how much damage St. Patrick actually did on his own versus the mythic qualities that surround him to this present day. This presents a quandary, but not one insurmountable. I believe that you can partake in festivities in your own way, honoring your Irish heritage. Perhaps this year is one of the most opportune times, when we have the Irish holiday falling within the same week as the Spring Equinox. If you do up a dinner party combining the two, with a focus on some of the more classic Celtic traditions– problem solved!

Take down your favorite celtic knotwork wall hanging and use it as a tablecloth. Hopefully it is nothing you mind cleaning a little spilled food or drink off of. Decorate the table with fresh cut spring flowers, such as daffodils. Invite about 4 to 6 others to join you and pull up a chair. For your menu, think Celtic-eclectic. This is your very own hybrid holiday, after-all.

Had it with tired old corned beef and cabbage? Give this tempting main course a try: 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

As the sun set on February 1st, Pagans everywhere began their preparations to celebrate Imbolc. This is an Irish word meaning “in the belly”, because lambs would be developing “in the belly” of the ewes (female sheep) at this time, waiting to be born in the spring. It is a fire feast because now we can truly see that the sun is growing stronger in the winter skies, and the days are getting longer.

But February 1st through 2nd (note: Irish pagans see the day as starting at dust the prior evening) is also sacred to the Celtic goddess known as Brigid or Bride. (The Celts were the tribes of people who eventually became the Welsh, Manx, Cornish, Scots, Irish, and people of Brittany). Her name means “Exalted (mighty) One”, as well as “Bright Arrow”. She is often seen as 3 goddesses in one, known as a “triple goddess”, because she had mastery over three things: fire and smith-craft, hearth and home, and poetry – which was thought of as magical, and born from the “fire” of inspiration. She is a goddess of fire, but also of water.

This may surprise you, but it is often true: for something to thrive, it needs a little bit of it’s opposite. The warmth of the sun (fire) makes things grow, but it can’t do it without the rain (water). The fire goddess Brigid is also goddess of sacred wells where people would go for healings. So that the goddess would remember them and aid their health, people would tie strips of white cloths, called “clooties”, to the branches of the trees surrounding the wells. It is similar to the way some Christians light candles before a statue of a saint in church, to be a reminder that their help is needed.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

For the men of Ireland have again followed gentlidecht as it was at first before belief, before Patrick’s advent, save only that they have not worshipped idols. For the heathen had a lie and a good word, and this existeth not today. And every evil which the heathen used to do is done at this time in the land of Ériu, save only that the Irish do not worship idols. Howbeit they perpetrate wounding and theft and adultery and parricides and manslaughter, and the wrecking of churches and clerics, covetousness and perjury and lies and false judgment, and destruction of God’s church, draidecht, and gentlidecht, and dealing in charms, philters and enchantments and fidlanna.

—“Adomnán’s Second Vision” (c. 1096 CE), §15-16

The text above is from Whitley Stokes’ edition and translation of “Adomnán’s Second Vision,” which was published in 1891; few scholars, let alone everyday Pagans or polytheists, have paid much attention to it since then. Many modern Celtic Reconstructionist groups have been founded, and have created Irish and other Celtic neologisms as names for their polytheistic practices; but here is a thoroughly medieval Irish word for what the Christians understood to be the Paganism of ancient and medieval Ireland, still going strong (if their reports in this 11th-century text are to be given credence) after centuries of post-Patrician conversion: Gentlidecht. Stokes translates the word as, rather amusingly from a modern Pagan perspective, “heathenism” or “heathenry”…if only the Ásatrúars knew!

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  • Chris Vermeers
    Chris Vermeers says #
    Also, the modern Irish spelling is gintlíocht.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
As March 17 approaches--green or orange?

For years I’ve struggled with St. Patrick’s Day.  No, not the drinking and eating--no struggle there.  But I learned years ago that you wear green on St. Patrick’s day if you’re Catholic and orange (for William of Orange--see the Battle of the Boyne for more info) if you’re Protestant.

I wear a lot of green (and black, to be honest), most of the time.  But I am hardly Catholic.  And though I’ve threatened to pre-order an orange jumpsuit for Gitmo, I wouldn’t do the Prod thing either.

What’s an Irish Pagan woman to do?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

the south altar, dressed for the wake


Several years ago, I met a big loud Irish-American man who told a good tale and couldn't be trusted as far as you could throw him. He was one of those wounded braggarts that seemed so common in the Pagan community in those days--an obnoxious exterior that shielded a deeply flawed and troubled person, a person who wouldn't have been so bad, if he hadn't been raised so rough.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    And bless you, my dear, for always being there to do what needs to be done for your tribe. "The owl flew low tonight. The hare kne
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Priestessing really is a service industry. :>) Thanks, dear one. Your kind words--and beautiful quote--brought a few tears.
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks, dear sister. May she be well remembered.

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