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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Gentlidecht – Offerings to the Gods and Ungods

A question I have heard often asked, “What kind of offerings should we make to ….?” can often result in head scratching and uncertainty.  In Gentlidecht na gCuanaigh I have made an effort to make the selection of offerings as simple as possible.  My methods are based on 20+ years of experience working with the beings in question but by no means are these the only offerings or offering method they would accept.

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OPED – Five Rivers Protogrove and ADF

Recently the Mother Grove (Board of Directors) of Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) took an action
that some, including myself, felt was not appropriate and should have been handled differently. This has prompted not a few people on my social media lists to reconsider their involvement, and some have even decided to stop supporting the organization. Now some of you know that I do not feel that some of the leadership are worthy of their position, and that I already left ADF once due to poor treatment of a specific membership population…mistreatment that I am still seeing, and that the training programs are lacking due to the subjective nature of the reviewers.

Despite those incidents and opinions, I have chosen NOT to quit ADF at this time. My reasoning is simple – I lead a grove and still believe in Isaac’s vision that each grove is pretty much a religion of its own. This means that for my grove, ADF is the legal vehicle by which our religion, Gentlidecht, can grow. So long as we are doing our thing within the rules established by ADF, and so long as those rules don’t change in ways that prevent us from practicing our faith, we will remain an ADF Protogrove/Grove. Even if we choose not to engage in the national organization.
I offer my best wishes to those that leave, and ask those that are staying in ADF to always look at the impact of your actions before to take them. There may be unexpected consequences when
you make assumptions or rush.

Gentlidecht: Gentlidecht na gCuanaigh

Sometime in 1995 I wrote an article about Celtic Reconstructionist (CR) religion called “Neocelts: A Modern Celtic Religion.” Between 1995 and 1999 I updated and changed it four times until it was finally published in Connections Magazine as an article about a specific faith based on the CR methodology “Aurrad: Old Faith in a Modern World.”  Things have changed since then but the argument of what to call a religion based on what we know of ancient Irish beliefs still rages on.  However, this article is not about making an argument for what to call the religion, for that look at my November 2013 article Gentlidecht: Old Irish for (Irish) Heathenism. This article is to briefly explain what a form of Gentlidecht looks like, specifically what followers of Gentlidecht na gCuanaigh believe and what we do as part of our faith.

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Gentlidecht: A Sharing of “Aisling, Ársaíocht, agus Agallamh” in response to the Lore vs UPG debate.

So, John Becket wrote an article called “The Lore vs. UPG – A False Dichotomy” filled with an opinion that makes it clear he is talking to the wrong (and at this time, minority) crowd.   It is a re-hash of a stereotype that has been diminishing over the past 10 years to the point of being an annoyance to many of us who have used to the term “Celtic Reconstructionist” at some point in our careers.  In working on my response I realized that arguing his points is not worth the energy spent and it would be better to provide a positive resource on the same topic.

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