In Part 1 of the Outlaw/Outsiders series, I talk about the mythological Fianna protecting Ireland from outsiders, this includes foreigners from other lands and Otherworldly beings bent on harming the people of Ireland. In the stories these beings are not given a special name and by there nature, Otherworldly beings are ‘outsiders’ to our world so for purposes of this article and discussion the term ‘outsiders’ will only represent those beings that are hostile and/or disruptive to us. In most ADF groves they include a section of the ritual where they make offerings to the outsiders as an offering to appease or make peace with them so they do not interfere with the ritual. Others portray the outsiders as negative emotional baggage carried by the ritual attendees which is cleansed by the appeasement of the outsiders. In the version of Gentlidecht
I practice we view the outsiders as beings not emotions, and we do not make offerings to them during the normal course of our rituals.
Among the various Irish Polytheist folk, treating with the outsiders is something that varies from group to group and the reasons for and against are also varied. My group of genti have chosen to not include offerings to the outsiders for a few of reasons. Reason number one is that we have no evidence that I am aware, of the pre-Christian Irish doing such things.
Of course absence of proof is not proof of absence so that leads into the fact that in the legends such beings were dealt with by other outsiders, in Ireland’s case the Fianna lead by Fionn mac Cumhaill, not the members of society. Trained specialists who could travel between the worlds to deal with the hostile forces in an effective, and deadly manner. They did not bribe them, they defeated them. So reason number two is, it is not the place of the community to keep the hostile outsiders at bay, but the responsibility of the ‘friendly’ outsiders.
Finally we do not wish to call to them or attract them with goodies and create a situation of ‘blackmail’ in which we have to constantly provide for them. This situation is not obvious to most but for those groups that have regularly made such offerings in the same space for a period of time, the area used begins to develop a ‘darkness’ about it that doesn’t go away without some serious work.
There is a way for those who wish to include some sort of acknowledgement of the outsiders to do so without creating a ‘hostile’ zone. I have already pointed out that in legends there are beings whose job it is to defend against outsiders. If you wish to include an outsider section in your rituals my suggestion is to make the offerings to a defender being and not the ‘hostile’ forces. Two such beings would be Fionn mac Cumhaill and Angus mac Og who both have qualities of being an outsider or defender from outsider forces. This way you are asking for the being to protect you from those things that are not friendly to what you are trying to accomplish.
During the development of Gentlidecht na gCuain we have chosen to not include a section for the ‘outdwellers/outsiders’ in our rituals for three clear reasons. One is that we have no evidence that it was part of ancient Irish Pagan rituals, the legends show that it was other outsider beings dealt with outsiders rather than anyone within the community, and because anecdotal evidence shows that having a regular place where offerings are made to hostile outsiders develops a relationship of blackmail, bribery and an unfriendly space near the ritual.