Fénidecht – Bringing our warriors home

Normally I would spend days and sometimes weeks working on a post so that I can cite all the material needed to convey my point.  Today, I am going to write off the cuff and with few references on a topic that I believe should be obvious.  Our warriors are coming home stained with the horrors and pain they have witnessed, with little in the way of transitioning from war to peace.  This is not how it should be, this is not how it was with our ancestors, and we need to bring back those rituals and social constructs that allow for warriors to truly come home.

The idea that our returning warriors need some sort of ‘home coming’ to help them deal with they have seen is not new, yet our society has totally neglected this aspect of the warriors life. In the article “The Hidden Imbolc PSV Lupus posits that Imbolc may have been a time when warriors were ritually cleansed and returned to society.   Kim McCone presents a theory that the Gundestrop Cauldron depicts such a ritual using Gallic and Thracian imagery in his article “The Celtic and Indo-European origins of the fian” found in The Gaelic Finn Tradition which I summarize in “Synopsis of Kim McCone’s and J. de Vries’ Theory on the Gundestrup Cauldron“.  Edward Tick, a leading expert on post conflict treatment of soldiers, has researched and published a book citing instances of how ancient societies may have dealt with issues faced by warriors returning to normal society in the book Warrior’s Return: Restoring the Soul After War.

A conversation online produced the idea that being involved in war stains ones soul, and that we need to go through some sort of process to remove the stain. In the hagiographies of Saint Brigid she used milk to remove the “diabolical signs” from the díberga (outlaw warriors) cleansing them and allowing them to return to normal society.  So while the mental health community needs to take the lead on the various mental health issues, our religious communities should consider the spiritual harm done by being involved in or even witnessing the horrors of war.

But we can’t limit ourselves to only those who have seen combat. Despite the negative opinions some folks in the ‘warrior’ community have towards military personnel, the reality is everyone who has undergone indoctrination into the life of the professional soldier, has taken on the burden of the outlaw and has some degree of the ‘stain’ upon them.  This calls for us to reconstruct the rituals of re-introducing our warriors to normal society and cleansing them of the ‘stain’.  We need to do this at the community level, not as individuals.  It takes a community to accept the warrior back and provide the support needed to return to society.

I have written articles, and lead presentations on this topic but now I am putting out a challenge.  I challenge every community, every faith, every church, to develop some sort of “Warrior Return” ritual, cleansing, class, whatever you want to call it.  Something that will aid the warrior spiritually in coming home and aiding them in removing whatever spiritual stains they may have acquired serving in the defense of our communities.  It is the least we can do for them.

 

 

 

It’s Been Two Years…..

Dear Readers,

As the title says, it has been two years since I started this blog.  During that time I have covered most of the topics that relate to my relationship with the gods, the hows in my worships, some of the whys, and even the whos.  As time passes though new research and new experiences change how we do things.  Over the next 11 months of 2016, I will be revisiting some of my old posts and updating them, but posting them as new material.  I also hope this spurs some original material as well, something that has been lacking on this blog for a while.

I have updated the WordPress site with some new tools as well.  Mainly so I can track statistics but I am also hoping to make me more accessible to you.  I am doing this because not only do I want to know you, my audience, but I want you to be able to reach me with comments and questions.  The purpose of this blog is to share my practice to help you develop yours and one of the best ways to do that is through conversation.  So please, as I add features to facilitate communication please use them. Tell me what you think, and if you have a topic you want to no more, then ask I will see what I can do to make it happen.

Thank you for reading, and hope to see more of each other in 2016.

 

Conchobhar ui Naill

Gentlidecht: Telling Time Through Worship: 2016 Edition

As we head into 2016, it is time to announce the ‘official’ dates of the holy days for Gentlidecht na gCuanaigh.  These are the actual event dates, not the date we will be holding the ritual.  That will be determined by site availability and proximity of the Sunday to the actual date.

After using the Time Meddlers calendar, this is the resulting dates for the lunar Fíor Ráithí and solar Cam Ráithí for 2016.

February 9th – Lá Fhéile Bhríd
March 19th – Founding Feast (Spring Equinox)
May 7th – Lá Bealtaine
June 25th – Lá Fhéile Manannan (Summer Solstice)
Aug 4th – Lá Lúnasa
Sept 22nd – Lá Fhéile Aibhneacha (Fall Equinox)
Oct 31 – Féile na Shamhna
Dec 21 – Feast of Family (Winter Solstice)
Jan 28th – Lá Fhéile Bhríd 2017

Don’t forget to re-read Gentlidecht Holiday Cycle for other suggestions for feasts and festivals.

 

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Gentlidecht: Aisling, Ársaíocht, agus Agallamh applied

In March I attempted to write a response to John Becket’s  article  “The Lore vs. UPG – A False Dichotomy“, but ended up just sharing information on the triad Aisling, Ársaíocht, agus Agallamh as conceptualized by Erynn Laurie in her blog “Aisling, Ársaíocht, agus Agallamh: A Modern CR Triad.” This month I want to demonstrate why I reject the idea that UPG, or aisling in our terminology, is dismissed out of hand by folks involved in reconstructed faiths such as Gentlidecht by giving an example of how the triad has been applied to two subjects, one that was rejected and one that is accepted.

The most obvious example of UPG becoming accepted by reconstructionist is Manannan Mac Lir functioning as a psychopomp.  For those who have not spent years reading every little detail of this god from original source material (translated and untranslated); there is not a single example of him acting as a ferryman for the dead.  No song, no story, no sentence ever has Manannan in any known form leading the dead to the Otherworld.  Every time Manannan is involved in Otherworld travel with a mortal that mortal is very much alive.  However, over the past 20 years he has come to be known as a psychopomp among Wiccanate and recontructionists alike.

While some mistakenly just accepted him as psychopomp, others looked hard within the lore,  ourselves, made offerings, asked questions, and then discussed our findings before coming to a conclusion.   The final result was an acceptance that Manannan does function as a psychopomp when requested and it fits his over-all role of moving through barriers.  The aisling, or UPG, becomes accepted as a reality and we all move on.

The application of the triad has also resulted in the rejection of a common UPG, namely that the Morrigan is a Mother Goddess.  There are those who feel that the Morrigan, one of the Morignea, is a goddess of mothers and motherhood.  When the idea was presented to the reconstructionist community it forced a lot of research, discussion, debate, more questions and finally a general rejection of the concept by reconstructionists.

The idea that all reconstructionists are hostile to the concept of UPG is no longer a true one, and those that are hostile are in the minority.  The Genti application of the triad allows us to take aisling and break it down so that we don’t stray from too far from our root mission; the revive/reconstruction the pagan indigenous religion of Ireland.

 

Ritual – Lá Fhéile Aibhneacha 2015

Lá Fhéile Aibhneacha

(Law Ayluh Ow-wen-uch-ah)

2015 edition of the Festival of the Rivers ritual for Five Rivers Protogrove in Columbia, MD.

 

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Ritual – Lá Lúnasa 2015

July 19, 2015 my grove got together to pay tribute to Lugh.  The main offering were items from our gardens.  Here is the ritual we (will be) used.  Our ritual was held at Gladsheim Hof, so we feel it appropriate to gift a gift to the God host of the hall, we do this right after we honor the land itself.

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