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.