Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Gaelic Roundtable for March: Journeys

This is my first post participating in The Gaelic Roundtable blogging project, March's topic being Journeys

I am going to keep this particular post short and sweet, as I don't know how terribly interested most of my readers would be to hear me natter on about how I became a Gaelic Polytheist and much of what I believe is already peppered on this blog.  So to keep this to the point, I will address each individual question posed. 

Tell us a little bit about your practice; what kind of Gaelic Polytheism do you practice? Is it Historically Oriented or Eclectic?

My faith is of a reconstructionist nature, so I try to be as historically accurate as possible, while keeping at least some modern "sensibilities" in mind. This of course is always a work in progress, and thankfully there are quite a few wonderful online resources and folks to talk to, to get information and feedback from.

As far as my practice goes, it is part of my everyday, from small daily devotions, to observing the cross quarters and other days of importance. I honour the Gods of the Gaels in general and have more "personal connections" with a few Goddesses that have been fostered over time. As well, I honour the Ancestors and Spirits {both of place and nature}. 

Are you a member of an Organization like OBOD or another one?

Right now my only interaction I have with other Gaelic Polytheists is online, but hopefully now that I am in a bigger city that might change. The one group that I formally belong to is Nigheanan Brìghde Order of Brighidine Flametenders {a Celtic Polytheist one}.

Do you follow the Irish, Scottish, or Manx beliefs- or maybe a combination of the three?

I draw inspiration from Irish, Scottish and Manx cultures, although it would probably fair to say that Irish has the largest influence. With my fairly recent move to Kingston Ontario Canada, I am hoping to benefit from the strong Irish cultural roots here, by visiting important sites and delving into cultural events and specifically the Irish-speaking community.

How did you wind up at Gaelic Polytheism? What drew you to our faith and made you start practicing?

My journey towards Gaelic Polytheism is probably a fairly typical one, being from a line of a couple of different Christian faiths. As a teenager I was drawn to eclectic Paganism and practiced variations of that into my 20's, and as I got older I started to explore more structured systems. At one point I was practicing a mix of quasi-Celtic Reconstructionism and Traditional European Witchcraft, which eventually lead me to finally hunkering down and taking up Gaelic Polytheism. 


Well, that's it! If other participants have any questions about my practice/journey, please do feel free to ask.I look forward to reading about the journey of others and thanks for allowing me to participate!



The Gaelic Roundtable

There is a new online community-building project called The Gaelic Roundtable for Gaelic Polytheists to participate in. The mission statement says:
"This project is meant to benefit the Gaelic polytheist community threefold:
To encourage the growth and development of a community which is able to support a myriad of viewpoints without mortal conflict;
To encourage discussion between community members, as well as the critical evaluation of materials available to that community;
To create a cohesive resource for those searching for information and practical applications of Gaelic Polytheism in the modern era."
One of the ways to participate is to post on monthly topics, this month being Journeys. I like the overall idea behind this project, so I will be taking part as well. If you are a Gaelic Polytheist, you should check out The Gaelic Roundtable and see if it interests you as well!



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Dinner & a Movie for Saint Patrick's Day

Spotted Dog {recipe below} by Dennis Wilkison

Although not one of the cross quarter days, many Gaelic Polytheists observe Saint Patrick's Day to celebrate Irish culture, whether it would be doing rituals and making offerings, going to a gathering to listen to music, or perhaps getting together with loved ones for a meal featuring traditional Irish recipes. 

While there are quite a few events going on in the city that I now call home, I will be working over that weekend, so besides a small ritual, I think my celebration will be limited to dinner and a movie. Below I will share some suggestions of recipes and movies that I think are quite nifty and encourage others to try.



Lately for background noise I have been really enjoying "fireplace" videos while I am doing house work or cooking in the kitchen. Here is a nice peat fire one filmed Donegal Ireland to put on if you want something different from music or a movie with your dinner:


Lá fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh/Happy Saint Patrick's Day everyone!


Friday, March 3, 2017

In the Belly of Garden Planning Madness

Japanese Ghost Fern & Wild Ginger
In my neck of the woods Spring has been teasing us with peaks of her face, and her inevitable emergence is just around the corner. With this, I have been really missing my old garden. I miss every single plant, and just about every single critter that would visit my garden. To distract myself I have been planning a garden for our new home. 

I did not bring any of our outdoor plants with us, however I did bring quite a few containers along, some of my favourite pieces of garden kitsch as well as the stones that were used in our previous outdoor shrine, and of course my seed collection. Otherwise I am starting from scratch. 

One of the things I am going to have to figure out is what other types of containers to get. There are all sorts of options out there, and while I tend to gravitate towards the pretties, they are generally more expensive and not always the most practical option. I am thinking of getting a few storage totes, as I have used them to grow things in before and they hold up. I could always gussy them up with some paint, and this would still make them a more affordable option. Plus, I have seen plans online on how to make them insulated for overwintering perennials, which I am keen to try out. More about that to come in a future post, I am sure.

Our balcony faces North-North East, and while it is sheltered and quite large, I don't think it makes sense to grow vegetables on it. I may grow some greens and will definitely grow some herbs, but what I want to focus on are some of my favourite shrubs and trees, woodland plants and plants that pollinators love.

Meadowsweet, loved by the bees and me.
My old hardiness zone was a 4 a or a 3 b and my new one is a 5 b or a 6 a, so it is quite a bit warmer here. That said, when growing perennials in containers, I really should be focusing on plants that will survive about two zones lower than the one I am in. Thankfully the plants that I am really drawn to fit the bill. 

There is already a small gaggle of seedlings starting on the window sill of our office/craft room including a few different types of columbine, Japanese primrose, Fuji Blue balloon flower, cardinal flower, and foxgloves. But there are many more that I hope to put in our new garden.

Below is a list of all the pretties that I am hoping to cram into our new garden:

Trees & Shrubs
  • Heather
  • Juniper
  • Rowan/Mountain Ash
  • Basil
  • Borage
  • Calendula
  • Cilantro
  • Cosmos
  • Dill
  • Lobelia
  • Nasturtium
  • Poppies
  • Scarlet Runner
  • Mini Sunflowers
Perennials & Biennials
  • Allheal
  • Ballon Flower
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Catnip
  • Columbine
  • Cowslip
  • Creeping Jenny
  • False Solomon's Seal
  • Foxgloves
  • Ferns {various}
  • Jack-in-the-Pulpit
  • Jacob's Ladder
  • Japanese Primrose
  • Japanese Ghost Fern
  • Lady's Mantle
  • Lemon Balm
  • Liatris
  • Lily-of-the-Valley
  • Lungwort
  • Mayapple
  • Meadowsweet
  • Mints {Peppermint & Spearmint for sure}
  • Mosses {various}
  • Mugwort
  • Perriwinkle
  • Pincushion Flower
  • Sage {Garden}
  • Sea Holly
  • Sedums {Autumn Joy, Hen & Chicks for sure}
  • Sweet Woodruff
  • Thymes {Woolly, Mountain, & Lemon for sure}
  • Turtlehead
  • Wild Ginger
  • Woodland Poppy
  • Wormwood


If you have any container gardening hints that you would like to share, please feel free!



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Beannachtaí Na Féile Bríde Oraibh!

There is no denying that there has been a lot of tension, pain and anger for many around the last few months, to the point of being palpable. Unfortunately I don't think that this is going away quite yet. 

For those of us who are exhausted, ragged, and raw, Imbolc is a great time to do some purification and remedial work. Brigid can help heal our wounded hearts and grant us strength, and her day is one of hope and renewal.

Here are a few previous posts that might be of interest to give you some more information and ideas:

Should you wish to participate in something that is more ongoing, there is a lovely project that recently started called Tending the Flame of Hope, which will be ongoing over the next four years. It is promoting the act of daily flame keeping and devotionals:
"Every day, until (at least) January 20, 2021, we'll be lighting up a candle to keep the flame of hope alive, physically and in our hearts. We kindle it with the intention to bring hope to all, and we encourage you to share the pictures we take of the candles. There may be additional intentions: Liberty, Joy, Unity... but always, "Hope" is where the kindling begins."
~Tending the Flame of Hope 

If you are a devotee to Brigid {or wish to be} and are not already a flamekeeper, there are many groups dedicated to tending to her flame. Two such groups Nigheanan Brìghde {a sisterhood that I belong to} and Ord Brighideach International {cells that are mixed, brotherhoods and sisterhoods}.

I have found support and a sense of community in the group that I belong to and I am glad that I joined. 

Finally, I leave you with a lovely video about some of the Irish lore and traditions of Imbolc.

No matter how you may {or may not} observe this time, may Brigid's fire bring you comfort and may her waters be a balm to you. Beannachtaí na Féile Bríde agus Imbolc oraibh/ Brigid's Day & Imbolc blessings to you all!


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Lustral Bath Melts

This was my first time making bath melts, and the recipe I used is pretty simple. If you have ever made candles before, you should find making bath melts quite easy. The recipe I used can be found over at DIY Natural, for which I doubled the measurements to get four large bath melts {one could probably be broken up for three baths each}.

I made these bath melts with purification in mind, and just in time for Imbolc. The plants I used are often associated with purification and I added a few extra for overall blessings: birch bark, dandelion leaf, heather flowers, juniper berries, lavender flowers, lemon verbena, rose petals, thyme, vervain and yarrow. I also added peppermint essential oil, for both purification and is great for relaxation.

Really though, there are all sorts of combinations of herbs and essential oils that you could use, whether for magical or mundane purposes. Experimenting is half the fun! 

I ended up using metal candy molds, and I had a bit of trouble getting them out. Next time I think I will use silicone molds. After removing them I stored them in a mason jar in the fridge, just to be sure that they don't get all melty.



Thursday, December 22, 2016

All the Best of the Season to You!

As the Old Woman of winter shakes her cloak and blasts us with snow and winds, may you all have merriment to keep your spirits bright and be blessed with all the comforts the body needs on these long cold winter nights! 

I leave you with a lovely poem and reading that I thought was suitable for this time of year by Adam Christianson: 

"When harpers once in wooden hall
A shining chord would strike
Their songs like arrows pierced the soul
Of great and low alike
Aglow by hearth and candle flame
From burning branch ot ember
The mist of all their music sang
As if to ask in wonder
Is there a moment quite as keen
Or memory as bright
As light and fire and music (sweet)
To warm the winter's night?"

Warm Hearts & Hearths!