Irish Traditional Polytheism

This is the name of my specific spiritual path. It took me a long time to understand what my path is all about and so I’m going to try and explain it here for you all. 

My practice is based on the CR methodology, I research the Gods and the history, mythology and folklore of the Irish and then apply my intuition and thoughts to what I have learned to practice my chosen path. I also believe that language plays a big part in understanding the culture of a country and so I am probably going to be a forever student of the Irish language. 

Every religion has a worldview that shapes it. The characteristics of that worldview are as follows: beliefs, sacred texts or writings, rituals and ceremonies, and ethics. 

Beliefs

As you can see from the name, my spiritual focus is on the country of Ireland. I derive my spirituality from its culture, history and heritage. I am a hard polytheist which means that I believe in many Gods, I believe that They exists and that They have effects on the world of human experience. I also know that other Gods, that I do not worship, serve or obey do exist. To me the Gods are distinct beings, rather than one entity appearing under a series of disguises or aspects or archetypes. I believe that Gods are not omnipotent or omniscient, but operate within significant limits and have particular areas of concern or rulership and yet They are also more powerful than we are. The Gods are not isolated from one another or from the ordinary world, but are capable of interacting with each other and with other beings, in ways ranging from cooperation to conflict, and in contexts that include human social and physical environments. 

My household deities are An Mórríghan and Lúgh. 

I decided after serving my deities for a while that I needed a formal contract with them and that is exactly what I did. The idea for a formal contract came out of a few things that I read in a couple of books. The idea is that In the Indo-European cultures people sacrificed to the Gods and fully expected the Gods to reciprocate the favor. This is the idea of *Ghosti or hospitality. 

The ancestors play a big part in my religion as they are honored and acknowledged in ritual and asked for guidance. 

Another important part of my beliefs are the land spirits, they too are honored and asked to join in on the rituals. 

I believe in the three realms of land, sea and sky as opposed to the four elements and they are the ones I call upon in ritual. 

Sacred Texts and/or Writings

Obviously, we as pagans have no sacred texts or writings in the same way as the book religions have the Talmud, Bible or the Quran. However, we do have mythological texts, statues, inscriptions, icons, paintings, and folklore as well as writings like the Brehon Laws that can help us figure out what the Gods and the culture surrounding them were like. The Irish had a rich oral tradition that was later written down by the Christian monks. While these texts are not perfect obviously, supplemented by archeology and classical writings we can glean quite a bit. 

Rituals and Ceremonies

Rituals and ceremonies include festivals to mark the seasons and important events like marriage, birth, healing rites and death. Included in this are the personal rituals like offerings, devotionals, meditations, etc... 

I celebrate the four fire festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltaine, and Lughnasadh. I also have a daily practice of offerings, devotionals and meditations. 

Ethics

Every religion has a code of ethics, mine came from a combination of my Irish and Middle Eastern heritages but mainly my Irish heritage. It also came about from my study of ancient ethics and values. 

1. Happiness is having a happy life; it applies to your life as whole not just moments in it.
 

2. All life is sacred.  Being a meat eater who is never going to be a vegetarian, I must acknowledge each plant and animal that I eat and be conscious where it came from and how it got to me in the first place. And this is just the simple part of this rule.
 

3. Every action that I take has a consequence that I must be aware of and I must be prepared to compensate for any wrong that I have done.
 

4. Oath Keeping.  Once a promise is made it must be kept so I must be very careful with my what I promise to people and be sure that I can keep it.
 

5. Honor.  This is as much about my reputation in my community as about having a code of conduct that I live by.
 

6. Hospitality. Being a good host and also a good guest is very important.
 

7. Making an honest living and working with high standards.  
 

8. I am a part of a community and so am subject to its laws UNLESS it goes against my ethics.   Serving my community in any way I can is also very important to me.
 

9. Consistency.  I need to be consistent in everything I do and in the positions I take.  Some people would call it loyalty but I prefer consistency.
 

10. Honesty.  This refers to being honest (telling the truth and performing the right action) with my self as well as the people around me.
 

11. Justice.  Being in accordance with the truth, and seeking it for others whenever and wherever I can.
 

12. Courage.  To me that includes knowing when to do the right thing even if it would hurt me or people close to me, which is never an easy thing.
 

13. Maintaining a healthy balance between the spiritual and the mundane.  This means knowing that life is not about just the spiritual, and that I have the mundane life to live as well.  But to do both with equal attention.  I connect to my deities through ritual and it is important to be correct in everything that I do in my spiritual practice.  But in serving my community can also be a spiritual practice but one in the mundane.
 

14. Wisdom. This to me is about knowing and acknowledging that I don’t know everything, and going out and finding the answers where I can find them. 

I hope this has explained what my beliefs are all about.  

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