Friday, August 3, 2012

Of Methodology

A few people who have visited my blog and read the page I had up on it (Reconstructionism and Unverified Personal Gnosis) sent me emails saying "yes, but HOW?" among other things. So I thought I would use this post to answer some of their questions. **Now remember, this is MY approach. It doesn't mean that it is the ONLY approach.** Now that that is out of the way let us get started.

It seems to me from all the emails I got that a lot of people are still unsure what reconstructionism is. So I'm going to tell you what it means to me. To me it means piecing together what we know about the Pagan religion of the Irish from around 1000 BCE (to be on the safe side) until the Early Christian period. This is done by looking at the material remains of the people (archaeology), at what the classical world had to say about them, their mythology, and their folklore. It is very important also to look at their worldview so an understanding of their culture and society is very important (anthropology and sociology). Putting all these sources together then bringing that knowledge into the modern world, this to me is reconstructionism.

Unverified personal gnosis is already defined in the page above, but I'll reiterate, it is the idea that someones spiritual insights or intuitions may be valid for them with out them being generalized to other people's experiences. However, even this has to have certain rules governing them that are mentioned in the page above.

Now there is one question that a few have asked and which I want to answer here. What do you do when something is not mentioned in history, mythology, or folklore, for example, how to perform rituals. This is where comparative studies come in for me.

The Celtic languages are part of a larger family tree which is the Indo-European family tree. Within this family there are similarities in some cultural and religious aspects, and within this family there are groups that we do know the ritualistic behavior of. People like the Indians (Hindus to be exact), the ancient Greeks and the Romans. We can use comparative studies to fill in the blanks. Again keeping in mind the same rules that are applied to UPG, because this would certainly fit under that heading.

I hope I have cleared up a few things for the people that asked and please keep your questions coming.

Location:Zarga Al-Yamama,Kuwait

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Of Language Study

I have always taken the view that if you want to understand the worldview, and therefore the culture of a country or people, you need to learn their language.  "Language is also immensely important on an ideological level because it can fundamentally alter a person's view of the world, or at least how to express that view." (1) And this happens to be the reason I am a forever student of the Irish language.  It is part of my spiritual regime since it helps me be close to my deities, and the Irish worldview.  

I have a myriad of self teaching books, CDs, and yes even tapes (aha, I'm OLD).  Over the years I've tried different methods to help me retain the knowledge I've gained studying the language, now I'm going to pass on some of the great places I've learned it, or some of the sites I've used to help me keep it in mind.

Of course nothing beats a conversation with an Irish speaker, or at least a teacher who can teach you face to face, but that is not always possible. 


1. Progress in Irish: A Graded Course for Beginners.  This is one of the most famous books for learners of Irish.  It is tiny and compact but it makes for a good start.  It deals mostly with vocabulary and small sentences and builds on that, with exercises.  It keeps grammar to minimum and in some cases it is quite absent.  You can find the answer key to the exercises in the book here (Progress in Irish Answer Key) See Philo-Celtic Society below for mp3 files of the vocabulary and sentences in this book.

2. Buntús Cainte: The First Steps in Spoken Irish.  This is another famous set of books (there are three parts to this series) It comes with CDs so that you can listen to a native speaker say the words.  Again there is no grammar here and it depends on conversation to teach you the language.  

3. Learning Irish.  A book that comes with CDs for pronunciation.  It does have some grammar like the Progress in Irish book, but again it mainly depends on the CDs and the exercises to help you get to where you are going.

4. Tús Maith.  This is a course specifically aimed at the adult learner, it is a series of three binders with exercises, and CDs.  It depends on conversations mostly with almost no grammar, but it does have a lot of trivial information on the Irish culture and different sites in Ireland. You can find it on Litríocht.

5. Complete Irish: A Teach Yourself Guide. This book comes with CDs and it uses real live situations to teach you Irish.

6. Collins Easy Learning Irish Grammar.  This is a great book to use if you are studying alone or as part of a course.  Very easy to use. 

7. Irish Grammar: A Basic Handbook.  This is the book that most courses will recommend when it comes to grammar.  

8. Essential Irish Grammar.  This is best used with the book Complete Irish: A Teach Yourself Guide

9. Briathra Na Gaeilge: Regular and Irregular Verbs.  A tiny booklet but gives you a very hand guide to Irish Verbs

10. Leabhar Mór Briathra Na Gaeilge: The Great Irish Verb Book.  A great resource for Irish Verbs and an expansion on the above.  It also gives the verbs from the stand point of all the dialects and Standard Irish. 

11. Collins Easy Learning Irish Verbs.  It  is the ideal resource for independent study or as part of a course. It includes over 100 full verb tables and a comprehensive index of more than 3000 verbs.

12. Collins Easy Learning Irish Dictionary. Everyone needs a good one!


1. The Philo-Celtic Society.  These people have classes that run all year long online using yahoo groups.  They use Progress in Irish and Buntús Cainte.  

2. An Foclóir Beag.  This is a great place to check your verb conjugation.

3. Gramadach na Gaeilge.  This is a great site for grammar study.

4. Abair.  This is a great site to put in words that you don't know how to say and it will synthesize the phonetics for you and provide you with a recording.

5. StudyBlue.  This is a site I use to make flashcards and then quiz myself on Irish Vocabulary.

I hope these things help you the way they help me everyday.  Have fun!

Works cited:

(1) Henderson, Jon C. The Atlantic Iron Age: Settlement and Identity in the First Millennium BCE.  Routledge: New York.  2007 p.90

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Exercise and An Mórríghan

Part of my daily routine is to dedicate my exercise to An Mórríghan; I set up my altar and pray a little then dedicate the time to her, and yesterday was no different except in one respect.  Yesterday's exercises were a little more intense for me than what I have been doing for the past year or more.  (Read more about it here).  And boy was it amazing!  I felt more connected to An Mórríghan than I have for a while (The relationship is great but yesterday was even better), and I felt the encouragement all around me.  When I left the gym, I saw a house crow flying overhead and usually you only see these in the desert, yet here one was.  I'm thinking it is a sign of encouragement or confirmation that this was the right thing for me at the right time.  I went home, and sent an extra prayer out to An Mórríghan, thanking her for her support. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Solstice and Ogam meditations

So I did my summer solstice ritual (ADF style) this week.  I don't usually celebrate it but because the ADF DP requires 4 ADF style rituals to be completed I decided to do those on the equinoxes and solstices because they were not promised to my household Gods.  I decided to do it near the ocean instead of the desert because (a) I just felt it was more correct to do it this way, and (b) because I couldn't go to the desert on that day.  It was certainly interesting and you can find the ritual here (ADF BLOG) since I decided not to add it to my website.  I do think however, that I want to explore doing a simple ritual to Manannán Mac Lír each year as I felt a bit of a connection that I would like to explore.  Of course it could just be that He was just acknowledging my presence there...who knows...

On Wednesday I finally finished meditating on the first aicme (BLFSN).  My interpretations in general agree with what I have read in Erynn Laurie's book.  I'm taking a break until Sunday from Ogam meditations to let things marinate in my mind a bit.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Of Technology, Meditation and Divination...

Usually I don't think much of applications on phones that promise something along the spiritual or divination lines.  However, lately I discovered two applications that have made a huge difference for me and so I thought I'd talk about them here today.

The first application is called Relax Melodies.  I have the premium version and it has made a huge difference in my sleeping cycle, my meditations, and my concentration.  This application can be found both on Android phones and on iPhones.  The application has many different settings, deep meditation, dreams, dreamless sleep, concentration, relaxation, and pre-sleep.  I've been using the pre-sleep setting every night for the past month and the deep meditation setting for all my meditations.  I've found that my sleeping cycle has improved a lot, as well as my concentration during the day.  I have also found that the meditations that used to be so hard for me are now much easier to perform.  The sounds are very soothing and the timer option that the program has is just amazing.  I don't have to worry about shutting the program off after an allotted time nor do I have to worry about waking up to close the application if I drifted off to sleep in the pre-sleep mode.  

The second application I've only seen in Android.  It is called Ogham and it is very interesting because while I hate using these applications because of their interpretations, this application actually allows you to program into the application your own interpretations which is very convenient.  Now I can carry my Oghams with me everywhere, meditate on them any place and use whatever I come up with or whatever interpretation I prefer on it, for my own divination needs.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Thoughts of Book Writing and Stuff

I've had a lot of my friends ask me when I'm going to write a book on my journey through Irish Polytheism.  I always say I'm not, I mean what qualifies me right?  But lately, because of a lot of issues that have come up I've been thinking seriously about it.  So here is what I thought I would do.  I would write the book, send it out to a few of my friends see the kind of reaction that I would get, then maybe think about publishing it if they (and I) think it has something to say...

My Ogam meditations are going well.  So far I've only done Beith and Lus and so far my own interpretations jive very much with what Erynn Laurie has in her book.

I've also been doing the Two Powers Meditation every night and will share that experience on my ADF Blog

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

To Share or Not to Share

This post is inspired by a status update of one of my friends on Facebook.  She was wondering whether Reconstruction was a good path to be on for her, and that she was worried that she was listening to her head too much and not enough to her heart.

Funny enough this was the subject of my last post on here, sort of.  I had come to the point where I had to acknowledge that even though CR methodology was something that I was always going to keep in mind and practice in my spiritual path, there will/does come a time when CR methodology becomes limiting/limited (like in the case of Ritual practice), and it is time to trust our hearts, and our intuition.  

My thoughts on this is this: While Reconstruction is a methodology that I will always fall back on I'm starting to go back to simple practice.  I used to keep worrying what other people thought now...not so much.  You know what the funny thing is? Reconstruction is about practice, I'm wondering if somehow people just got lost along the way...Everyone from the old days of Reconstruction I've talk to say the same thing, but when you look at what really goes on (in groups anyway) all you see is knit picking..  If the Gods are not objecting, then humans should just shut the f*** up. It is MY path and not anyone else's. I'm going to blog about my experiences and if people don't like what I am sharing they can go somewhere else.  This is how I practice my faith, I'm not saying that this is the only way or that you have to do it this same way.  I would love to read about other people's experiences just like they read about mine...without criticism.

A Raging Battle

By ME! 

I lay down on the floor looking up,
My arms stretched out to the sides.
In my body there rages a battle,
My mind against my soul.
I hear music at a distance, the melody so beautiful
Is it there to feed and strengthen my soul?
My mind rebels and remembers its knowledge,
ancient, and newly acquired.
I’m the stronger! I have this knowledge!
I curl up and lay on my side,
then I remember,
My mind and my soul,
there must be a balance to end this war.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Some Thoughts on Today's Workout/Meditation

Like I said on my Daily Personal Practice Page, I use my workout each days as an active meditation and today I had a few thoughts come out of this exercise.  It was mostly on things that have changed for me lately, and whether that is because I've opened myself to them when I opened myself to the ADF Dedicant program or if they were always there under the surface and I am no longer confined by labels to go after them OR I understand myself a little better and that has made it easy for me to go after them.  By the end of the workout/meditation I came to the conclusion that it was all of the above.  

The world didn't end when I opened myself up to ADF and I'm still me (even doing things a little differently my path has not changed, in some ways it has been enhanced).  I really was confined by the label that I tacked onto myself without really understanding that label and how to work with it in a way that was both true to that label and what I wanted of my spiritual path, and I do understand myself a little better and no longer afraid or care what the people around me say about my path because it is MY path and no one else's.

For Equilibrium by John O'Donohue
(From To Bless the Space Between Us)

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

As the wind loves to call things to dance, 
May your gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the dignity of moon light restoring the earth, 
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what's said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough,
To hear in the depths the laughter of God.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Poem and A Welcome

He That Never Read a Line

"Tis sad to see the Sons of learnining
In everlasting Hellfire burning
While he that never read a line
Doth in eternal glory shine." - translation by Robin Flower, 

ninth century Irish poem "Mac Léinn"

A Welcome

Welcome to my blog!  I found myself deciding that I really needed to document my thoughts on my path and not just the research I do.  I have a blog already for my personal everyday life and one for my book reviews but I don't have one for my spiritual life so to speak.  I decided to rededicate this blog for this purpose.

I will be sharing what my thoughts on meditations are, what I'm working on spiritually and what my sessions of devotional work provide me with when it comes to thoughts or insight.  I might not use this blog a lot but I'm hoping to give it a workout.