Monday, July 10, 2017

The Gaelic Roundtable for July: Lore

This is my fourth post participating in The Gaelic Roundtable blogging project, July's subject is Lore. The Roundtable asked:
"How important is lore to your practice? What emphasis do you place on it when reconstructing, reviving, or generally creating your faith? do you lean more towards one sort of Lore compared to another? Or do you treat them all equally? How often do you turn to Lore when you’re stuck or don’t know where to take your practice? Do you look at it for answers? And finally, what is your favorite piece of Lore?"
For myself, lore is very important and in many ways it is a foundation on which I base both my faith and my practice on; it is both a cornerstone and a compass of how I practice my spirituality and shape my worldview. Of course it is not the only influencing factor, but it does indeed play an important role.

I think that when one initially gets into Gaelic Polytheism, one of the first sources we turn to is myth {specifically Irish}; this can create some extra challenges as there are often contradicting stories within the various bodies of mythology. Talking about this can be a whole post unto itself, so I will just say that above everything else that this type of lore has to offer, it is most important to me in how I understand and interact with the Gods.

By and large, most of my practice is inspired by living traditions, or customs that were still in effect in the recent past. This is especially true for when it comes to devotionals and other types of rituals, as well as folk magic. More often than not, I am still left to fill in the gaps with some research, but to me that is half the fun.

Over the last couple of years I have been getting into more regional lore, specifically from around Co. Carlow and in certain spots in Scotland where some of my ancestors come from. As well, I have once again taken up interest in family lore, of both my blood ancestors as well as that of my partner. A lot of families seem to fancy themselves having other-worldly connections, whether it be with maidens that shape-shift into white deer or being descendants of Selkies. ;)

There is no one piece of lore that I can claim to be a favourite, although I do have a few resources that I frequent to access it or to get an idea of where to look. I have gathered a reading list {although it needs to be updated!} and an e-book & app resource list of titles that I have found especially helpful. Below are a few other sites that I regularly haunt for the same purpose:

Tairis- The Big Book List & Articles
Mary Jones
Tobar an Dualchais
CELT-Corpus of Electronic Texts
Sacred Texts
The Carmichael Watson Project

At the end of the day, whether the lore comes from living traditions, commonly told stores, or from a folktale found in the dusty pages of some obscure book, to me it is still important that it is tempered with gnosis, both personal and communal.

But, more on that at a later time.



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