In the article Gentlidecht Holiday Cycle I mentioned several possible additional seasonal events that Genti can include in their calender to flesh out the ritual year. Two such events occur in September, with Lá Fhéile Finn mac Cumhaill (or if you prefer the Hero-Feast of Finn mac Cumhaill) at the start of hunting season and Lá Fhéile Aibhneacha towards the end of the month around the time of the fall equinox. Both are modern events created by genti to make offerings to specific beings that they consider to be special and worthy of devotion.
Lá Fhéile Finn mac Cumhaill is a festival that I propose should fall at the start of deer hunting season. Finn is a hunter, warrior, outlaw, poet and seer; living off the land and protecting his people from outsiders. In a forthcoming article on him I will make an argument that he is a hunter god (representing both hunter and prey) but for the purposes of this article lets just call him a ‘god of the hunt.’ As such placing his special day at the start of a hunting season is perfect, I chose deer season due to his associations with deer in the names of his son (Oisín) and grandson (Oscar) and in the name of his warrior band ‘fianna’ being modern Irish for a herd of deer.
There are two ways to handle this particular feast. The first way is to do it as a celebration of the opening of hunting season and to make offerings to Finn for his aid in a successful hunt. Another purpose would be to hold the feast after the first successful hunt and make offerings to Finn in gratitude. In either instance the offering of prey meat would be the most appropriate, though you would have to have something remaining from the previous year if you did it as a season opening feast. Other options would be pig, salmon or even mead…everyone likes mead.
The second event of September is called Lá Fhéile Aibhneacha, the Festival of the Rivers. In this instance the rivers are the deified river or land spirits of our local major water sources. I chose the equinox for this one to give genti a ritual to celebrate the second harvest and to give thanks to the rivers that provide the life giving fluids to our crops. Here in Maryland our offerings are to the five mountain born rivers that run to the Chesapeake, irrigating our fields, turning our turbines and providing the water supply. Of course you should look local for your land goddess.
There really is only one offering to make to the land goddesses this time of year, seasonal harvest foods. With all the farmers markets or even our own gardens this is a simple offering and makes the most sense since such crops could not exist without their life giving waters.
So, for us Genti the month of September can be a busy month. With two opportunities for the community to come together to worship and feast. In a coming post I will share my groups ritual for Lá Fhéile Aibhneacha.
Bless those minding cattle, And those minding sheep, And those fishing the sea May the rains sweep gentle across the fields, May the sun warm the land, May every good seed planted bear fruit, And late summer find us among fields of plenty.
So been quiet here for the past couple weeks as I worked on my ritual for Imbolc. In the past I have never really done a ritual per se. My Imbolc has always consisted of burning a candle for the Brigids, burning incense, for the past 6 or 7 years smudging the house with juniper and cleaning the house.
In short, for me Imbolc is about cleansing and purification. I can’t really say where I got this idea from it just sort of evolved over time (probably came about with discussions with other CR folk) until it stopped being a thing and just became the way it is done. It is so ‘not-a-ritual’ my housemates/wife would only know I was cleaning the house and making it smell nice.
This year, as part of my 12 months of ADF ritual for genti I wrote and conducted an Imbolc ritual. the Brigid’s were the focus of the worship and the work is purification. I did my ritual cleansing of the house with juniper as part of the ritual but completed and closed it before I started the vacuum and mopping.
In a previous article I talked about using apples as the medium to receive the blessings but for Imbolc I switched to butter. This year it was regular unsalted butter but I am already planning on using my grandmothers churn to make fresh butter. We can’t get raw milk in my state but some friends in PA may be able to help me out so I can make butter as our ancestors did.
Why butter? Because no matter what Old Irish term you use for the day, it has something to do with dairy. Oimelc is understood to mean “ewes, milk” and Kim McCone translates Imbolc as “butter wolf”, more about that in the Hidden Imbolc article. In any case…it’s about butter. So, the making of and consumption of butter seems appropriate to the day.
Since the ritual was indoors it was quiet and smooth. Other than cats wanting to eat my blessed butter (which I used in making cookies) nothing unusual occurred. I did not do any of the other usual Imbolc activities this year, but seeing as I have just helped found and am the Grove Organizer for Five Rivers Protogrove, ADF I expect some of the traditional activities to became part of our Imbolc celebrations.
I hope you had a nice Imbolc. Use the comments to tell me what you did.
An affirmation is a positive self-empowering statement that should be said daily . They have probably always been around for a long while but became a ‘thing’ in the New Age movement. As part of our spiritual lives many make affirmations and I support this, and we should make affirmations part of our daily ritual.
As féinnidi we should do more. We should declare ourselves to the gods daily our role and remind ourselves who we are and why we do what we do. This first declaration focuses on the Otherworldly aspect of fénidecht and is a prayer that can be done anytime or anyplace.
Warrior, hunter, poet, seer, outsider, I am what
is feared by the ‘things that go bump in the night.’ With truth in my heart,
strength of my arms, and constancy of my tongue, I walk the boundary between
worlds and stand at the borders guarding against the unknown. Armed against
those who wish to harm; I am the wolf, I am the prey, I am the wild hunt.
I am a guardian between the realms, a wild beast in the wood, a féinnid
in the service of my people.
Féinnidi protected the community from invaders, from this world and the Otherworld. When standing outside a ritual space modern Féinnid should do the same. Here is a poem I wrote years ago for Pagan Spirit Gathering. I would say it as the participants would process into the circle for the larger rituals.
Finn, Chieftain of the Fiana hear our call. For we stand at the boundary between Order and Chaos, the civilized and the wild. As the tribe gathers we come to observe and protect. We shall fear no man, nor beast, and nor spirit. We shall challenge any who come to do the people ill. Gods and ungods of the people, know that we are here and we are allies. With spear and shield we will protect the people, aid the people and sacrifice ourselves for the people. We stand at the boundary between Order and Chaos, the civilized and the wild.