Monday, June 19, 2017

Midsummer Blessings


May your days be sunny, your nights be festive and may you enjoy all the beauty of the season!

Sláinte!

Laurel

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Counting Crows


"One for sorrow,
Two for mirth,
Three for a wedding,
Four for a birth,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret not to be told,
Eight for heaven,
Nine for hell,
And ten for the devil's own to sel'. "

So I wonder what 18 will get me?

This is one of many versions of a corvid counting rhyme that plenty of us grew up with. The photo above was taken during a tour of the very depressing Kingston Penitentiary; this murder of crows shot up all of a sudden while the guide was talking about the killing of a guard that happened in 1948 {his parents had immigrated from Ireland}. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

An Anatomy Garden


I will admit to being one of those nerds that daydreams about having theme gardens, and one of those themes is an anatomy garden. Essentially a garden with plants that either resemble parts of a body or have it in their names {common or Latin}, and sometimes they are both.

There are so many potential candidates, so beyond my favourites listed below, I encourage people to search for other options should you be interested in having your own anatomy themed garden!

Borage {Latin borro for "rough hair"}
Comfrey {aka "knitbone"}
Herb-Robert {aka "storksbill"}
Mandrake {Mandragora officinarum roots often resemble a human form}
Orchids {from Greek for "testicle"}
Snapdragon {seed pod looks like wee skulls}

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Previous related posts:


Sláinte!

Laurel

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Dom-fharcai Fidbaide Fál/The Scribe in the Woods


"Dom-fharcai fidbaide fál
 fom-chain loíd luin, lúad nád cél;
 h-úas mo lebrán, ind línech,
 fom-chain trírech inna n-én.
Fomm-chain coí menn, medair mass,
 hi m-brot glass de dingnaib doss.
 Debrath! nom-Choimmdiu-coíma:
 caín-scríbaimm fo roída ross."
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"A hedge of trees overlooks me;
A blackbird’s lay sings to me {an announcement which I shall not conceal};
Above my lined book the birds’ chanting sings to me.
A clear-voiced cuckoo sings to me {goodly utterance}
In a grey cloak from bush fortresses.
The Lord is indeed good to me:
Well do I write beneath a forest of woodland."

~ Dom-fharcai fidbaide fál/The Scribe in the Woods {Author unknown, found in an early 9th century manuscript margin. Translation from Gerard Murphy's Early Irish Lyrics}

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Flowering Rowans, Naughty Crows & Other Friends



A couple of days ago a friend and I went for a little walk around our neighbourhood to get an idea of what grows wild around here. I find that this is the perfect time of year to identify plants and trees once the leaves are nicely developed and flowering is underway. We were not disappointed by all the options of potential free groceries, remedies and folk magic supplies.


Upon moving south one of the things that I lamented was not having very many rowan trees around me anymore. However, I guess my fear was misplaced because there are a whole bunch in my immediate area. 

Right now the rowans are in full bloom, and while their flowers are stinky, I think that they look glorious. All I can think of is how many berries will be laden on those trees come late summer/early fall. 


A laneway just around the corner from our building proved to be especially fruitful with with rowan, apple, elder, staghorn sumac, crabapple, hawthorn, honeysuckle/woodbine, raspberry, and cherry. There were pretties growing lower too, although I don't think I would trust to harvest anything from ground level in that spot.


Thankfully throughout our immediate area there are spots safer to harvest from and so far we have found dandelions, lemon balm, peppermint, motherwort, daylilies, comfrey, shepherd's purse, curled dock, rhubarb, chickweed, yarrow, cleevers, stinging nettle, pineapple weed, columbine, garlic mustard, milkweed, catnip, solomon's seal, creeping charlie, chamomile and lily-of-the-valley growing aplenty. 


On our way back to our building we were greeted by a pair of crows that were up to no good. They stopped their antics long enough to peek at us before resuming their domestic dispute over a found robin's egg.


We have a wildcrafting day planned for early next week, so in the meantime we are dreaming of what lovely thing we can concoct with the things we find. I saw a yummy-looking roasted golden beet pizza recipe that calls for garlic mustard pesto... {!!!}.

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Sláinte!

Laurel

Monday, May 29, 2017

Recommendation Round Up {for May}

This is my second monthly recommendation post, where I share different media and events that I come across during that month that I think might be of interest to other Gaelic Polytheists. There is a lot for the month of May, so I hope that you all enjoy.

The ladies over at Story Archaeology podcast released their third installment on the series called Circling the Táin, this installment being called The Birth Pains of Ulster. Before giving this episode a listen, you might want to listen to the first two episodes, 1. The Quarrel of the Two Swineherds {or Where it All Began and 2. Portents and Prophecies. I am a fan of both the blog and the podcast, and highly recommend it for all GPs or anyone into Irish myth.

There are two nifty web resources that I came across for the first time this month that deal with the history of Ireland. First up is a Irish Historic Towns Atlas, that features towns that are monastic in origin, Viking in origin, and quite a few others. The second website is geared towards tourism, but has a good amount of history and lore on it as well. Ireland's Ancient East is a pretty good looking website.

While an older article, Irish Central recently republished an article about North America's only official Gaeltacht {Irish-speaking community}, which I am more than happy to boast is just outside of the city where I currently live. Speaking of which, there is an annual event held there every summer that celebrates Irish language and culture. If you happen to be in the Kingston, Ontario area at the end of June, you should come check it out!

The Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada is a three day festival hosted by Cumann na Gaeltachta and Oireachtas na Gaeilge, held from June 23rd to 25th. You can find out more at the event website and purchase tickets over at this site.

There are two books that I have recently added to my wishlist, and although they are not really new releases, they are new to me. Food and Drink in Ireland is a "multi-disciplinary collection of fourteen essays explores the collection, cultivation, consumption and culture of food and drink in Ireland from the beginnings of settlement in the Mesolithic to the present". By the looks of it, this book is probably similar to Domestic Life in Ireland, which is a fantastic resource and read.

The second book is Seanchaidh na Coille / The Memory-Keeper of the Forest, which is a collection of Gàidhlig/Scots Gaelic literature from across Canada. It is described as, "A unique resource, it covers a wide range of territory and time, allowing Gaels to express their own opinions about a broad set of themes: migration, politics, religion, family life, identity, social organizations and more." I can't wait to get this one as well.

Someone from an online GP group that I am a member of found a book that is now available online for free; Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales is one of those books that tends to be on all of the recommended reading lists posted by Celtic Reconstructionists. It can be found on Archive.org.

In the same group, someone else shared this video about Saint Brigid's Cursing Stone {you may need to go to the host site to watch the video}:

Harold Johnson and the Cursing Stones from Howard Goldbaum on Vimeo.

There were quite a few other good videos that I came across this month!

Tomás Ó hAodha does a quick intro to mythology of the Tuatha Dé Danann:
 

Tale Foundry does another quick intro, this time on all six groups of invaders found in Irish myth:



And to round off the Irish mythology theme, here is a short animated film by Damian Byrne called Cú Chulainns Lament:



I came across a Kate Masters lecture called Megaliths of Orkney and Shetland that is definitely worth spending an hour to watch:



Lastly, Kelden is starting a video series on Scottish witchcraft, and in the first episode the Scottish witch trials are explored:



May was a great month around the blogosphere too! Unsurprisingly, Bealtaine was a topic that came up a few times, including in posts such as May Day & Butter Stealing Witches on The Fading Year, The Folklore of May-Day/Bealtaine on Ireland's Folklore and Traditions, and Bealtaine, Water and Sun-Enchanted Dew on The Ever-Living Ones.

Over at the Primal Heart blog, the author explores devotional practice with An Dagda in a two part series: Devotional Practice with The Dagda and Learning: Devotional Practice with The Dagda.

On Living Liminally there is a great post The Influence of Folk Etymologies, Allec on Child of the Storm shares a lovely Prayer for Protection of the Land, Cailleach's Herbarium shares a yummy floral jam recipe in Preserving the May, Roaringwater Journal shares a lovely spring-time walk in We Welcome the Hope That They Bring, and Occvlta shares a good how-to in How to Burn Incense.

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Sláinte!

Laurel

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Gaelic Roundtable for May: Devotionals

{Artwork Corax by Stephanie Lostimolo}
This is my third post participating in The Gaelic Roundtable blogging project, May's subject is Devotionals. The Roundtable asked:
"Does your Worship include Devotional acts? If not, why not? If so, why? Who is the common object of these Devotionals- or who do you find yourself performing them for the most often? Do they have a structure, or is it whatever feels right? Do you record these devotionals? What acts do they usually include? How often do you practice them? Is it daily? Weekly? Whenever the fancy strikes?"
I feel that I have touched on a lot of this already in last month's post, so for this month I will share devotionals that have become a staple within my own practice. A few I have come up with or adapted myself, and many others are created or adapted by others.

It may be noticed that one of the biggest sources of inspiration is Carmina Gadelica, and it will also probably be noticed that some of the versions I am sharing are not adapted. The adapted versions I have previously shared online I will linked to, and for the rest, the originals will be shared.  

In general I work within an outline so I don't get sidetracked when doing my devotionals, but as I have become more comfortable in my religious practice I will do spontaneous devotionals as well. 

Daily

Upon rising in the morning I light a candle, make a small offering and say a prayer. Sometimes I will add to that prayer, do divination or do a meditation. 
Togail an Teine/Kindling the Fire
Toirt Taing/Thanksgiving
Urnaigh Èirigh/Prayer at Rising

Before bed I will relight a candle for an evening prayer and sometimes a meditation. 
Smaladh an Tein/Smooring the Fire
Coisrig Cadail/Sleep Consecration

Monthly 

While a little more than monthly, every 20 days I will participate in a Brighidine flamekeeping vigil and a water blessing. I am not comfortable sharing the ritual outline as I don't feel it is mine to share, however, some of the prayers I use can be found below under the "Prayers and Praxis" section.

Another monthly practice is a new moon ritual, which I used to do monthly but have been lax on for the last bit. I would like to incorporate it and make it a monthly devotional again. A' Ghealach Ùr/The New Moon  { A ritual outline I like to use can be seen over at the Gaol Naofa website.}


Prayers and Praxis

These are some of the devotionals that I use as needed, while making offerings, doing certain tasks or when asking for aid with something. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but these are some of my favourites.
A Prayer to Macha for Safety
An Coisrigeadh Sioil//The Consecration of the Seed
An Deiseal/Sunwise Blessing {to open a ritual, by Annie Loughlin}
An Invocation of Macha {by Morgan Daimler}

Sláinte!

Laurel