Gentlidecht – Finding The Dates of the Holy Days

Happy Solar New Year!

First post of the year 2015 on the Gregorian Calendar and I thought it should be about the calendar used in Gentlidecht na gCuanaigh.  In the article “Telling Time Through Worship” I talk a bit about what the Gentlidecht calendar should look like so in this article I am going to apply that information using the Notional Celtic Calendar. This is a lunar calendar so it is not as easy as just looking up the first of the month for November, February. May or August.  We have to look at when the moon phases fall and as this year will have 13 months instead of 12 (there is one interracial month this year) we will have to make an adjustment to our usual calculations of having a festival every third month (1st of the 1st month, 1st of the 4th month, 1st of the 7th month, 1st of the 10th month and three months later the 1st of the 1st month in the new year).

So let’s start with some terms.  Quarter Day and Cross Quarter Day, or as we call them Fíor Ráithí and Cam Ráithí, we follow the pre-Christian Irish usage of these terms so the quarter days are the main festivals commonly placed at February 1, May 1, August 1, and November 1.  The Cross Quarter Day (crooked if you translated our Irish) would be the equinoxes and solstices and crooked as is better term in this instance as you will notice these dates will not fall at exactly between the quarter days.  I want to point out this is the opposite usage of the same terms by other Neopagan religions (and most English based calendars), which is why it is better to use the Irish as not to confuse folks.

As the Cam Ráithí are solar events they are easily identified on any calendar, so we don’t need to go into detailed explanation on how to find the dates.  To figure out the Fíor Ráithí using the Notional Celtic Calendar you have to go back to October 2014, as that is when the this year began, on 1 Samhain or October 24, 2014.  This is the point we start going forward to identify Lá Fhéile Bhríd.

What we are looking for are the New Moons as it is the day after each New Moon that the new month begins.  Knowing that the commonly accepted Neopagan date is February 1 and that the solar date would be the exact (English) cross quarter date, we jump ahead to February 2015.   We find the New Moon in February to be the 18th and the Winter Cross Quarter Day to be on the 4th, further we see that the 5th month of the lunar year begins on the 19th.  Which date is it?  Well, none of them.  What we want is the first day of the 4th month of the year.  Even though there is going to be 13 months this year, we want to stick as close to the usual 12 month cycle as possible, so we go back to January and find the New Moon to be on the 20th, making the 21st the first day of the 4th month and our date for Lá Fhéile Bhríd as it is not too far off from the expected solar date. 

Now we will do the same thing for Lá Bealtaine, and jump to May 2015.  We find the Spring Cross Quarter day on the 5th and the New Moon on the 18th.  Note that the 19th starts the eighth month, what we are looking for is the start of the seventh month so we jump back to April and find the start of the seventh month to be April 19th.  So this is the date of our lunar based Lá Bealtaine.

For Lá Lúnasa we again jump to the expected date in August and find the Summer Cross Quarter day to be the 7th and the new Moon to be the 14th.  With the start of the 11th month on the 15th we have to go back to July and locate the start of the 10th month which is July 17th.

Finally, we identify the start of the following year and Samhain.  Jumping to November this date is easily identified as November 12th.  Which seems odd as every other date occurred prior to the expected date and this one occurs after.  What occurred is what is called an intercalary month, or a leap month.  An entire month added in to keep the lunar calendar in sync with the common solar calendar.  As this month is added at the end of the year it created a larger space between festivals that what would usually occur.  We could have chosen to skip a month at any point to stay as close to the expected dates but as I started earlier, the idea was to keep as close to the every three lunar month cycle as possible.

Using the same method with different assumptions you may place your festivals at other dates.  This is perfectly acceptable as it is important for groups to establish their own methods of identifying their holy periods and ritual year.  What is important is consistency in method of identifying the dates.

Here is the resulting calendar with the lunar Fíor Ráithí and solar Cam Ráithí for 2015.

Lá Fhéile Bhríd – January 21st
Spring Equinox – March 20th
Lá Bealtaine – April 19th
Summer Solstice – June 21st
Lá Lúnasa – July 17th
Fall Equinox – September 23rd
Féile na Shamhna – November 12th
Winter Solstice – December 21st


Gentlidecht na gCuanaigh – As there are variations on Gentlidecht throughout the world this is the specific form of Gentlidecht as it is done by the Genti of Five Rivers Protogrove and myself.

New Moon – The creator of this calendar uses the term to give the date of the Dark Moon, the night the moon is totally dark. 

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Lá Fhéile Aibhneacha – Festival of the Rivers 2014

Lá Fhéile Aibhneacha
Ayluh Ow-wen-uch-ah)

Collect the items from the items
list (end of the document.)  Outdoor rituals shall be
organized based on availability of fire with the fire alter being at the center
and everything else in relation to its location.  For indoor rituals the main alter should be a
table on which symbols of the gods and ungods, the Apple Branch, the representations of the Hearth Fire, Well of
Wisdom and Bile, the seers bowl, saining smudge, and the apples are
places.  For both indoor and outdoor
rituals a smaller table should be placed in a convenient location, on
which the offerings shall be placed in order of need to facilitate a smooth

ritual leaders should be selected for the follow roles:  Guide, Druid (1,2,3, etc.), and Seer.  Roles will overlap and others created as
needed. Prior to the ritual the Druids should light the flame, fill the well
with fresh water, and place whatever tools are needed on the altar.  
A bell
is tolled three times calling the folk to the nemeton.
of Purpose

At Lúnasa
we gave thanks to Lugh and told the story of how he made Bres teach man the way
of agriculture.  Now we are mid-harvest
and at this time it is only proper to give thanks to the goddesses of the lands
from which our harvest comes.   The rivers of Maryland are the lifeblood of our
agriculture, industry and family lives.  They have provided water, food, and means of
transportation for thousands of years and yet we forget their importance. Let
this ritual and festival serve as a reminder of their importance and that a
spirit inhabits these lands and deserves our thanks.
today we have come together to pay tribute and honor the life giving waters of
our rivers.  Whether it is to irrigate
the fields, turn the turbines of a power plant, provide running water to our
communities; the rivers are the sources of life in any community.  Today we honor the goddesses of the lands on
which we live and rely upon for our survival; Potomac, Patapsco, Susquehanna,
Gunpowder, Patuxent and all of their tributaries and runs.


the land beneath us
the sea surrounding us
the sky above us
come unto the gods and ungods.
they light our way and
our days,
A guide
is selected to lead this guided meditation. 
Going through it with a calm voice and steady voice.
Guide: Close your eyes clear your
mind and focus on your breathing. Breathe in and out slowly visualizing the
spiral of the cosmos around you.
Guide: We are at the center of An
Thríbhís Mhór.            
Guide: Inhale and as you exhale visualize your feet firmly planted on the
Guide: We stand firmly upon the
Sacred Land.
Guide: Inhale again and as you exhale imagine you are surrounded by the great
calm ocean.
Guide: The Eternal Sea always
surrounds us.
Guide: Inhale and exhale seeing the great blue expanse above you.
Guide: The Endless Sky spreads
itself above us.
Guide: Inhale while visualizing the great spiral around you, with you at its
Guide: We are at the center of An
Thríbhís Mhór. 
Guide: And breath, open your eyes when ready.
the Local Land Goddesses
D2: We honor the Five Rivers, the
goddesses of the land; Potomac, Patapsco, Susquehanna, Gunpowder, and Patuxent.
 Givers of life that flow from the mountains and form estuaries of the
honor you and make this offering to you in gratitude for your waters that
nourish this land.
D2: makes an offering and says: Mighty
goddesses of the land accept this offering.
the Sacred Grove
Hearth Fire
I make
sacred the fire,
The first fire born of lightning
from which all fires are lit.
The hearth fire which warms our homes
and binds our people.
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,

Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Lets the water be the Well of Knowledge       
Let the tree be the bile,       
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,

D1: puts butter on the fire, then
I light
the sacred fire of inspiration.  Sacred fire, burn within us.
Well of
Druid 2
I make
sacred the well,
From which the five rivers flow,
Salmon swimming, hazels hanging high.
Bubbling brightly Segais, source of wisdom,   

I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Lets the water be the Well of Knowledge       
Let the tree be the bile,       
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
D2: dips the apple branch into the
well then says:
In the
depths flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred waters, flow within us.
Druid 3 says:
I make
sacred the branch/tree,
Towering high, hanging heavy with hazel,
Spanning and connecting the Three Realms,
The mighty bile of the grove,
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Lets the water be the Well of Knowledge       
Let the tree be the bile,       
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
D3: dresses (takes water from well
and pours it or rubs it on the tree) the bile, then says:
the depths to the heights spans the world tree. Sacred tree, grow within us.
D1: raises arms
D1: With the Flame of the Hearth,
the Well of Knowledge, and the Sacred Bile the grove is erected and hallowed.
the Mists
D1: prepares an offering for the
gatekeeper and says:
D1: says: We honor Oirbsen
(orib-sheen), Manannan, Patron of our tribe, Lord of the Mist, Ruler of
Tir na mBan (
teer na man), Guardian of the gate of the Otherworld.
 Oh Lord of the Otherworld, bearer of the silvered apple branch, hear us
this day and aid in the passage of the ancestors through the misty veil.
D1: makes an offering and says: Manannan
mac Lir, accept our offerings and gratitude as you part the mists.

(mah-nuh-nahn’ mak leer)
D1: Let the mists be parted!!
All: Let the mists be parted.
the Gods and Ungods
D2: Mighty dead, you who have come
Ancestors of our blood,  Heros of our people
We offer you this gift with love and loyalty and invite you to witness this
D2: makes an offering and says: Ancestors,
accept this offering.
Aos Sí
D1: Great nature spirits, you who
frolic in the wild world,
Spirits of this place,
We offer you this gift in friendship and invite you to witness this rite.
of family and the people that came to this land from faraway lands.
We offer you this gift in friendship and invite you to witness this rite.
D1: makes an offering and says: Aos
Sí , accept this offering.
Gods of
the Tribe
D3: Great gods, you who are
mightiest in all things,
Deities of our faith,
We offer you this gift with reverence and honor and invite you to witness this
D3: makes an offering and says: Gods
and goddesses accept this offering.
D1:  Potomac, Patapsco, Susquehanna, Gunpowder, and
Patuxent born of the mountains you flow to the Chesapeake bringing with you – life.  Because of you we can irrigate our fields,
power our homes, and provide fresh water to our people.  For these things we give you thanks and
gratitude we make this offering of the fruits of our harvests. 
D1: makes holds up the offering
and says:  Blessed goddess of the
land, accept our gift.
Seer: Ritually washes their hands
then forms the left hand into a tube, blows through the tube then says:
I am
going within
To the doorstep of the sí
in the name of Finn
Stronger in sight then all.
augury made by Finn to his men,
That Bride blew her palm,
Message of truth without a message of falsehood
That I myself shall see
The semblance, joyous and mild
Of all that is hidden to me
spirits and gods of my people,
Give me the sight to see all I need,
With vision that shall never fail, before me,
That shall never quench nor dim.
Tell me
what I need.
Seer: then takes the omen,
interprets it, and records it.
the blessings of the Gods and Ungods
D1: raises the blessing plate/cup
high and says:
de Danaan
Aos Sí , (ees she) and An Sinsear  (en shen-shoor), we have praised you
and made offerings and now a gift calls for a gift. We pray to you and ask that
you give us your blessings.  Make sacred these apples and infuse them with
your vitality, strength and inspiration.
Lo, the
blessings of the Gods and Ungods are upon us.
D1: Slices and eats the blessed
apple and passes it around.
the Gods and Ungods and Closing the Mists
D1: We have given gifts to the gods and ungods
and received gifts in return.  Take these
blessings into the world and use these them to live fruitfully and with
honor.   At this time we have come to the
closing of this ritual and will give thanks to those who have come to aid us.
D3: Tuatha de Danaan, gods of our
tribe, we thank you for your presence and blessings.  
D1: Aos Sí, these are your lands
and here you shall remain.  We thank you for attending and accepting our
offerings of peace and respect.         
D2: Mighty Dead, thank you for
attending and accepting our gifts.  Pass back through the mists and return
to the Otherworld.  .
D1: Manannan, we thank you for your
attendance and parting the mists.  We ask that you allow the mists to fall
as our ancestors pass back into your realm.    
D1: Let the mists return and the
veil be whole.
D2: Mighty Rivers, these are your
lands and here you shall remain.  We thank you for attending and accepting
my offerings of peace and respect.
down the Sacred Grove
D1: And now the Sacred Grove
must be taken down. We honor the Hearth Fire and restore it to flame.  We
honor the Well of Segais and restore it to water. We honor the bile and restore
it to branch.  All is as it was and the Sacred Grove is dismantled. The
ritual is ended.
love and laughter light your days,
warm your heart and home.
good and faithful friends be yours,
you may roam.
peace and plenty bless your world
joy that long endures.
May all
life’s passing seasons
the best to you and yours!

All: Biodh Se!    (bee-shay)

Items List:
Bell or gong for calling the folk to the temple
Juniper bundle for saining the attendees. 
Representations of the Hearth Fire, Well of Wisdom
and Bile.
Bowl with fresh water and ogham staves for the seer.
 Butter for
the consecration of the fire
Apple Branch for consecration of the well
Cup for water from the Well of Wisdom to consecrate
the tree.
Offerings to the gods and ungods
Apples for the blessings on the folk.
Basket or bowl to collect offerings during indoor
River Goddesses
Mac Lir
water grasses, yellow flower
of Place
de Danaan