In the article entitled Fénidecht I explain that the fiana are part of an Indo-European cultural phenomenon that have been associated with wolves and werewolves, also called ‘wolf warriors’ (McCone, Werewolves, Cyclopes, Diberga, and Fianna: Juvenile Delinquency in Early Ireland, 1986, p. 16). If you do a search for other examples of this institution you will find warrior hunter gods to which these groups were associated, but not for the fiana. This could be due to the fact the Irish had an oral tradition, and stories of their gods did not start to get written down until the 5th century by Christian scribes who altered and hid the mythologies while other Indo European people were writing down their stories or would be writing them down before Christianity could fully take hold of the culture. It could be that the Irish did not have a deity associated with the wolf warriors, but that is unlikely given that hunting and warrior bands were a core part of Irish culture and other Indo European (IE) cultures have stories of such gods. No, I suspect the truth is that the Irish god of the ‘wolf warriors’, the hunt, and wild places is the well-known deity turned hero, Finn mac Cumall.
Most of these can be found on this blog dating back 4 years. I am consolidating and re-sharing them now to kick-start the year with something on topic.
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 defending my people.
Pre training devotional
As I prepare my mind, body and spirit for the stresses of combat I call on Scáthach, teacher of Cuchulain to guide me.
I offer the pain to be felt, sweat to be dropped and blood to be spilt to you as my sacrifice in payment for your guidance.
A Processional Prayer– Written for use at Public events in which I remained outside of the ritual.
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.
Warning and offering to the undesired. – When I was working on my initial ADF rituals I was prepared to include a section for the Outsiders, I took the aggressive approach.
Spirits of ill intent, dare not approach for I will bar your way.
Unwanted guests, I am steeled against you and will bar your way.
Dare not approach and an offering will be made.
Accept this bargain and peace there shall be.
If you enjoy reading my musings and writing, please share my blog on your social media outlets – John
As part of the prepping exercise in 2014, I built myself a “get-home-bag” to keep in my car in case something occurred while I was at away from home that required me to either shelter in my car for a period of time, or hike home. No part of this planning included bugging out of the area so the resulting pack was small. In the past two years I have reviewed backpacking blogs and site, mapped out my various routes home, and had some experiences that have changed my perceptions. While my initial attempt was solid for what I knew, I see the pack now as wishful thinking and probably would not have helped me as much as I would hope.
Back in 2014 I completed an exercise in preparedness and created a Zombie Apocalypse Go-Bag and then shared my results. Since then I have taken the bag with me whenever I have gone on over-night travel more than 60 miles from home. In doing so I realized the bag I chose was a poor choice, that I didn’t have any idea how to pack such a bag, and that I may not have made the best choice in the items I chose to pack. So I took to the web and read what the experts had to say; not preppers but recreational backpackers. The folks who know how to pack, hike, and survive for 5+ days in the bush. What I learned forced me to make some changes, and now I share what I have learned with you.
Yesterday a man died. That man advocated for ritual initation of post-pubescent minors into his brand of Wicca via sexual intercourse. He never backed down from this position. While never charged with a crime, the very advocacy of this particular crime makes him a disgusting individual that should not be honored.
We should not be celebrating this mans life. He died.
Time to forget him.
Good riddence Gavin Frost.
A year ago I was injured during Krav Maga. They call it tendinopthy but most people just call it ‘tennis elbow’, it was coupled with an actual tear in the tendon. This resulted in pain and constant demotivation to do anything. Even Zombies, Run! lost its shine.
I went to the doctor immediately after it happened but she didn’t make a diagnosis nor did she send me referrals. She just said take some Motrin and let her know if it gets worse. So I changed doctors. By March I saw my new doctor and she immediately refereed me to an orthopedic doc and sent me for an MRI. The ortho doc made the diagnosis and sent me to an occupational therapist with a hand and arm specialty. Best thing ever.
Now a year later my elbow is fully healed and I know stretches to keep it from happening again. The problem is, I have done nothing to maintain my weight loss in that year and am back up to about 10 pounds under where I started, but 15 higher than where I was when I got injured. Even with running, it is too infrequent for weight loss, even though I am consistently hitting 5k in 45 minutes…nothing impressive mind you but better than last year.
The point of this brief post is to tell everyone that you can’t allow injury to reverse everything you have worked to accomplish. I grant you that there are instances in which you simply can’t do anything but if you can move, you can exercise SOMETHING. What could I have done with a busted elbow? I could have run more and done just about anything with the core.
Today – I started over. Did some cardio, some core, and the heavy bag. After 30 minutes I walked away with wobbly legs and a sore shoulder. But it felt good to be doing something again. Now to get back to my Krav Maga classes.
Don’t be a fool like me. Don’t give up.
I do not consider myself a ‘prepper’ or a ‘survivalist’. I do not expect the world to fall apart anytime in my lifetime. However, natural disasters do occur and putting in some time and money to be even a little ready is harmless. So, I did an exercise in preparedness and this post is what I came up with for two people evacuating their home without a destination.
911, Katrina, Sandy, three events that have left even the least most paranoid person with a sense that something could happen that would force one to flee their house, community or even the region. Or maybe you don’t want to flee, you want to shelter in place. In either instance you have to have a plan. Part of the training of the Féinnid is to put together such a plan, to include what some call a bug-out kit. A kit with everything you need to survive in urban and rural environments with minimal planning. This post is about my bug-out kit in instances where sheltering in place is not an option.
The kit I put together has a higher cost than is necessary as I did purchase a couple all-inclusive-kits such as medkits and survival kits which you may be able to put together cheaply once you know all the contents. Everything fits into or onto a single backpack or can be slung over the shoulder independently without too much trouble. Weight wise the kit comes in at less than 30 pounds without clothing or toiletries that would have to be added at the time of departure.
When deciding to do this I had to figure out what exactly my plan would be and then build to that. What I came up with was a worst case scenario in which I have less than 24 hours to evacuate and no place to evacuate too. This meant preparing to live in primitive conditions for at least 48 hours with a mind towards a hike into the mountains.
The next choice was water, food and shelter. For water and food I chose a kit that was designed for 1 person for 48 hours. In it are water packets as well as 2400 calorie ration bars. I also added a LifeStraw, water purification tablets, and a 2 liter canteen as it is clear that the water provided in the kit would not last long if the weather is hot.
Shelter can be a small tarp held up by a single stick, or you can purchase a small 2 man single pole tent . Part of the shelter is your sleeping bag, and for this I specifically suggest the US Army Patrol Bag stuffed into a waterproof case and strapped to the lowest part of the backpack. You should also throw in a space blanket to add to your ability to stay warm, these often come with survival kits and first aid kits if you go that route.
You will need a fire starting kit, not only to heat up food but to aid in warmth and safety. Fire starting supplies should begin with a phosphorous fire starter kit and water proof matches. Add to that some sort of saw, machete or hatchet to make wood collection go easier. Also you may want to add an entrenching tool or folding shovel to dig a firepit making it easier to conceal and put out.
Put together a small first aid kit or buy one from any camping store. With a little research you may be able to build one yourself rather inexpensively. You should plan for this to contain a lot of supplies for cuts, gashes, strains and sprains, and possibly a broken bone. So be sure to include gauze, tape, splints, gloves, medicated ointments and of course alcohol. Your muscles will be sore if you have to hike due to traffic jams so also include pain killers.
You will need to know where you are going and plan to not have GPS. Be sure you have current maps of your region and the region you intend to get too as well as a compass and a flashlight. If you don’t know how to read a map or use a compass, don’t wait until a disaster strikes. Learn some basic orienteering now.
Knowing what is going on in the world is just as important as survival. You will need a radio receiver that operates on something other than an electric plug. The one I chose is from Sportsman’s Guide and has a crank that charges the batteries but can also run on solar and when fully charged will be able to charge up a cell phone, assuming you can get service.
What you wear will help protect you from animals, insects, and the elements. While I do not suggest you pre-pack all of your clothing you can pack a few items. Underwear and socks are the easiest items to pre-pack and you should pack at least 3-4 pairs of each. Your socks should be good well made socks made for hiking. When disaster does strike you should be putting together pairs of jeans, long sleeved shirts and sturdy shoes. If it is cold be sure to add inner-wear such as thermal underwear, it will get cold.
Once you have the above kit put together you can add items to it that will help you survive longer or more comfortably. For eating have added a military messkit, eating utensils and a can opener. I added 50 feet of parachute cord in case things need to be tied down, or hung up in a tree. I also added a LifeStraw Family Filtration System, since I will be with my family and it is much easier to fill up canteen with this and I don’t like water purification tablets. I also added a large fixed-blade knife to the pack for large cutting jobs, such as dressing an animal or carving into wood.
The more controversial items you may choose to include are firearms and gas masks. A gas mask is only going to be useful during civil disturbances in urban areas so while I have them I expect to dump them once I get into the woods and use the bag to carry other items. A firearm could be anything from a hand gun to a shot gun, but it should only be taken if you know how to use it. Most people I know would take a long arm so they could use it to hunt and this is probably the best reason to have it. Remember to carry ammunition for the firearm as well.
This seems like a lot of stuff that takes up a lot of space so you will want to keep your pack well organized. This means that when you pack your backpack you are going to want to compartmentalize as much as possible. Placing items into smaller sacks or cases within the backpack or putting smaller items in pockets on the outside of the will make it easier to find and keep like items together. You will also move some items from the pack to other locations when you hit the road. For example, the canteen and gas mask can be carried on your belt or on the strap that comes with the case freeing up a lot of space inside the backpack for clothing and more food should you decide to carry it. As it stands right now with my pack fully packed, less the clothing, there are still 4 empty pockets outside the pack as well as several liters of space inside the pack.
If you think of anything missing that is a must have or even just a comfort leave a comment. With climate change and an increasing level of violence in our society you never know when you will have to bug-out, and we can all use all the help we can get.
my total opposition to the worship of the battle goddesses known as Nemain, Badb and Morrigu (I am leaving Anand and Macha out of this for now.) I was spurred to write this entry after reading about a
Temple of the Morrigan at Pantheacon run by a group known as Coru Cathubodua, the idea of a temple to these goddesses being established at a Neopagan gathering of hundreds of people actually scares me a little.
going to focus on the reasons why I do not worship her and won’t be part of any ritual that does, except under a very specific circumstance.
occasions this included Somali’s who were injured during their clashes. All of the wounds we were treating were either from gunshots or explosives, inflicted on men, women and children. There is nothing more heartbreaking than helping a kid who has an arm blown off to eat.
The discussion with Alexi Kondratiev in which he used the term ‘psychopath’ to describe the Morrigan occurred at the Chesapeake Pagan Community Gathering in 2008. I no longer try to convince people it’s a bad idea to worship any of the Morrígna (it is rude and inappropriate). And the comment about people not being killed by her “yet” is meant as a joke. Lighten up.
The following article has been published in “Oak Leaves – The Quarterly Journal of Ár nDraíocht Féin” Spring 2014 Issue No. 64
If you attend Neopagan festivals or belong to a public Neopagan group, you have likely encountered individuals who, while willing to participate in social activities, for specific and often spiritually-based reasons they are unwilling or unable to take part in the religious aspects. As Neopagans, we generally accept that from outside the community many of us appear different from the norm or don’t seem to fit easily into mainstream culture. It’s often this “otherness” that brings us together, despite the variety of our beliefs and practices. So it’s understandable that when our members seem committed to remaining apart from our most central religious activities, we may react with disdain, discomfort, or simply not know what to do with them. After all, what’s the point of belonging to a community if you don’t actually want to belong?
the Gaelic Narrative Tradition 48-51). Living outside of established communities, these men formed an ancient counterculture; existing beyond the bounds and protections of their villages laws, they had their own rules and values.
and worshipped their gods on their own. (Nagy, The Wisdom of the Outlaw: The Boyhood Deeds of Finn in the Gaelic Narrative Tradition 50; McCone, The Celtic and Indo-European Origins of the Fian 20).
Narrative Tradition 54-55). To join a warrior-band or fían required one to give up all claims to hearth and home and complete legendary feats requiring mental and physical discipline (Keating 349-350). Separate from their society, they had to fulfill the most crucial and highly valued roles for themselves, including those of hunter, warrior, poet, and seer. As he excelled in all these things, Finn mac Cumaill was often considered the epitome of the accomplished warrior outsider.
living next door, the outlaw motorcycle club you saw on the highway and the loner kid who seems slightly off to classmates and parents alike, modern life affords the intentional and unintentional outsiders many different lifestyles and expressions, and unlike in the past, they may or may not come together in counterculture groups. The hermit isolates himself voluntarily much like some ancient seers and poets while the soldier, also a volunteer (at least in the U.S.), is involved in a military lifestyle not so different from the warriors of old, and that is separated from regular society by the tasks they are asked
to perform. Some outlaw motorcycle clubs may be involved in criminal activity, while the loner kid is intellectually or socially in conflict with his peers. These are all examples of modern situations and lifestyles that can set people apart from their societies of origin.
capability occasionally. An authentic practice of Fénidecht also requires that the warrior/hunter aspect of the path be sustained through non-combative physical training.
memorization and recitation of poetry comes to us from the stories of Finn and the initiation requirements to join his fían (Keating 349-350; Nagy, The Wisdom of the Outlaw: The Boyhood Deeds of Finn inthe Gaelic Narrative Tradition 248). Today, this requirement could be expanded to include the writing of rituals and liturgy that they share with their communities.
and seek aid for ourselves or our community.
old men (Nagy, The Wisdom of the Outlaw: The Boyhood Deeds of Finn in the Gaelic Narrative Tradition 51; McCone, The Celtic and Indo-European Origins of the Fian 20). Because modern fénidecht
mostly live in communities rather than remaining camped in the wild, this defensive role must evolve slightly. Serving in the national or local defense industries, working with or on the police and firefighting forces, working in the personal or self-defense industry, doing festival and event security, and even participating in activism to protect your community’s interests are all ways in which the “defense of the people” can manifest.
deities but there are also “outsider” deities, such as Manannan, Finn, and Brig Ambue.
kind of ceremony may be best uncomfortable, and at worst in direct conflict with his oaths.
depiction of one of these rituals and is described by McCone in detail (McCone, The Celtic and Indo-European Origins of the Fian 28-29). But groups of féinnidi can do more than facilitate these rituals and transitions for their own as members go through phases of being within the community and without—they can provide such work as a service to the broader community as well, facilitating rituals of ‘cleansing’ and ‘purification’ for others, such as the aforementioned soldier. (Lupus).
can support the Neopagan community, this article may inspire more groups to provide for the inclusion and spiritual development of these individuals in their organizations. As knowledge of this path spreads, I look forward to seeing the community learn how to acknowledge and accept the outsiders, and
give them a place and a voice, which is, ultimately, what all human beings—even self-described outsiders—desire.
The short of it is that Prof. McCone theorizes that the Gundestrop Cauldron is associated with fiana like warriors of Gaul. All based on the images on three of the inner panels of the cauldron. I will paraphrase his work from his article “The Celtic and Indo-European origins of the fian” found in The Gaelic Finn Tradition published by Four Courts Press.
Panel 1 – This is the well known ‘Cernunos’ panel, the main figure with Gaulish parallels (see “Keltische Religion (1961 Pp106-7)) with horns on his head and the “hatching” of the clothing worn is indicative of fur. A deer stands on the left and a wolf on the right, with the horns associating him with the deer and the fur possibly associating him with the wolf. The implication being that he has attributes of both animals. Above and below the figure are a goat and lion, which would have the same cultural attributes as the deer and wolf near Eastern or Balkan context. Keep in mind that the cauldron most likely comes from Thrace, which was a mix of Eastern and Gaulish peoples.
Prof. McCone believes that the figure depicted is a patron of the *koryos the outcast warrior bands of Indo-European cultures such as the Fiana in Ireland.
Panel 2 – The second panel has hunters accompanied by hounds or wolves attacking large oxen. Above each stands a spotted cat like figure that could be a leopard. The prey our doubtless to be aurochs with the leopard being another Balkan addition. If the dog figures are hounds then they would be helping with the hunt, if wolves they could represent the ‘mascot’ of the hunters, who garments resemble that which is worn by the “Cernunos’ figure on the first panel. The two outer men are wearing only britches and cap with the more seasoned leader wearing a garment covering his upper body. With the stylized leaves, also found on the first panel, this could be a *koyros hunting party in the woods.
Panel 3 – The third panel depicts a ritual, where a group of foot soldiers move towards a cauldron are dunked into the cauldron and come out as horseback warriors. An initiation or cleansing from one status to another. The bottom six soldiers are armed with spear and shield and are again wearing clothing as depicted on the ‘Cernunos’ panel. At the front of the line of soldiers is a wolf facing the oncoming soldiers, with musicians at the end of the line. The wolf is presumably the mascot and the young men are the ‘young wolves’ preparing for initiation back with the musicians also being ‘young wolves’ not yet ready for the transition but acting as assistants to the ritual.
I will quote McCone’s summary:
Whatever about some of the details, the crucial point here is that the three scenes from the Gundestrup Cauldron, just discussed, present clear evidence for a sequentially regulated Gallo-Thracian opposition between, on the one hand, spear and shield, and, on the other, a class of mounted warriors, progress from the former to the latter set being marked by a baptismal rite of passage.
For my own part. I have to wonder if the cauldron was actually used for such rituals. Now that would be an amazing thing.
de Vries, J. Keltische Religion (1961), pp 104-07
Kim. “The Celtic and Indo-European Origins of the Fian.” The Gaelic Finn Tradition. Ed. Sharon J.
Arbuthnot and Geraldine Parsons. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2012. 14-73.