Hi there!

You can call me Echtrai or Rai, and this is my religious blog. This is where I talk about my personal religious practice interspersed with research and ramblings. I am a Gaelic Reconstructionist Polytheist.

I am away more or less until mid September. I am checking in periodically, though, so if you need me please tag me or send an ask!

I also maintain a digital shrine for Lugh and help out with one for Brighid

ancusidhe:

"Maireann an chraobh ar an bhfál ach ní mhaireann an lámh do chuir."

"The branch lives on the hedge, but the hand that planted it is dead."

Gaol Naofa just released their newest video and it’s about Samhain!

Friendly reminder (because nothing else seems to work) that Neo-Druidism and Celtic Recon/polytheism are not even remotely the same thing.
Posted on September 29 with 65 notes at 7:44 am

adventures-in-asexuality:

echtrai:

Husband (after watching me answer recent thing about hawks): Do you ever feel like you’re just winging it with this stuff?

You/your husband may want to know that I just applauded him.

doN’T ENCOURAGE HIM

Posted on September 22 with 10 notes at 7:24 pm

heelancoo:

echtrai:

IMPORTANT NOTE

I’ve seen a couple other PSAs so this is probably old news, but I just got around to updating the links on my resource page so here:

Gaol Naofa has migrated to a .org domain in keeping with its nonprofit status: http://www.gaolnaofa.org/

They are working on getting a redirect up on the old .com domain, but you may want to fix your links and bookmarks and whatnot regardless. As I mentioned, I just changed all GN links on my references page to point to the .org site, but please feel free to let me know if I missed any! (or if I accidentally broke any links haha).

I’m obviously not going to bother going through all of my old posts to find every time I ever linked to GN - so please just be aware if a link is broken, check the url and adjust as necessary! 

When Gaol Naofa started out the site pointed to the .org address but after the leadership changed hands I think there were problems transferring the domain, so that’s when it moved to the .com. So we’re kind of moving back to our old home, really…

Hopefully the .com will be back up and redirecting to the .org site in the next day or so. Once we get that sorted then old links won’t be broken as long as we have the redirect going on (hopefully that will be a permanent arrangement but I can’t guarantee it, I’m afraid). The links within the GN site should all be updated, except for the documents that are hosted on Scribd. We’ll be updating those soon. 

Thank you for the info/updates! 

Posted on September 22 with 7 notes at 7:22 pm

Husband (after watching me answer recent thing about hawks): Do you ever feel like you’re just winging it with this stuff?

Posted on September 22 with 10 notes at 8:06 am

ancusidhe:

ancusidhe:

hoganddice:

korrigantsionnach:

Does anybody know if Lugh has any kind of association with hawks? Pre-Christian or Fairy-Faith sources, doesn’t matter. Or does anyone else associate him with hawks in their personal take?

Lugh has associations with birds in general.
Also he has every skill known to man, so that would include falconry.

echtrai has some sources for links with Lugh and hawks. I think I remember where she got them. Let me see if I can track them down.

I was looking through Gaelic Names of Beasts I couldn’t find direct links to Lugh, but Eagles were considered kings of the birds and sky. Hawks were held in very high regard as well. So hopefully that helps.

*stumbles in 9 days late without starbucks*

HELLO FRIEnd - I had a couple asks about Lugh and hawks and eagles that you can look at:

number one (eagles) | number two (hawks)

Posted on September 22 with 9 notes at 8:04 am

IMPORTANT NOTE

I’ve seen a couple other PSAs so this is probably old news, but I just got around to updating the links on my resource page so here:

Gaol Naofa has migrated to a .org domain in keeping with its nonprofit status: http://www.gaolnaofa.org/

They are working on getting a redirect up on the old .com domain, but you may want to fix your links and bookmarks and whatnot regardless. As I mentioned, I just changed all GN links on my references page to point to the .org site, but please feel free to let me know if I missed any! (or if I accidentally broke any links haha).

I’m obviously not going to bother going through all of my old posts to find every time I ever linked to GN - so please just be aware if a link is broken, check the url and adjust as necessary! 

Posted on September 22 with 7 notes at 7:58 am

It’s going to be weird this year having two Bealtains and no Samhain, but I really do think it’s important for me, living in the Southern Hemisphere now, to celebrate festivals by the local seasons. 

Perhaps I will do a bit of a combination though, just to acknowledge the one I’m missing? Samhain is just so big it feels weird to just ignore it for an entire year. 

We’ll see what feels right. I actually have absolutely no privacy at the moment so I may not wind up doing much of anything. 

Posted on September 22 with 7 notes at 7:50 am

nicstoirm:

autisticcombeferre:

So I know I have yet to read Rowan and Red Thread but I really really disagree with the notion that being Gaelic polytheist prevents you from being a witch. Like from what I can tell it’s an issue of labeling and like. Witchcraft. Is not a religion. It can be done in a secular context alongside basically any religion or completely on its own. I get that there’s the “Gaelic cultures consider witchcraft to be evil” but I’m sorry the word witchcraft can describe literally any type of magic. Like I can add basil and mustard powder to my food to help with focus and guess what that’s fucking witchcraft. I just don’t agree with the notion a lot of reconstructionists have that you have to adopt every aspect of the culture your religion is based in. If we’re supposed to be adapting a historical religion to fit a modern context we need to accept that the meanings of words change.

First, I should point out that Gaol Naofa’s articles are not the be-all-end-all of Celtic or even Gaelic Recon. They are presenting information from a cultural standpoint, usually relying heavily on historical sources from the Gaelic cultures. If someone is a Gaelic Recon who doesn’t take into account the culture—past or present—of the Gaels…that’s their own business. The beginning of the article states as much, too. 

Secondly, the definition of “witchcraft” you are using is very new. VERY new. Only barely a century new (I think?) And it isn’t something that present-day Gaelic cultures have adopted. In the USA and parts of Europe? Yeah, it’s morphed to the newer, NeoPagan definitions. But in Gaelic-speaking communities? It has not. 

Thirdly, what you described with food could be called witchcraft to you. But if I were to do it? I’d call it magic.

It’s vital to realize that “witchcraft” and “magic” are not the same thing. I do magic. I do magic DAILY. But don’t call me a witch, or say I do witchcraft, because in the Gaelic Lifeway that means I’m doing malicious, harmful magic to my community. In fact, in the Gaelic context as I understand it, no one chooses the label “witch” but has it placed on them.

In the Rowan and Thread article, you learn that what is classified as “witchcraft” by a lot of people in and out of tumblr is in fact not witchcraft in the historical contexts, nor the modern Gaelic culture context. 

I’ll quote from the article, page 7-8: 

Today’s Neopagan concept of witchcraft has therefore been redefined from its original context. While most Neopagans today accept that Wicca is not the ancient tradition that Gardner promoted it as, “witchcraft” is a term that is still used to refer to a variety of thoroughly modern practices — whether in a Pagan, religious context or as an entirely secular practice — which often incorporate (to some degree) magical practices that have been found in historical sources — the latter of which were never considered to be “witchcraft” by those who originally engaged in such practices.

Further along, there’s this paragraph on page 9:

While many Neopagans tend to lump diverse magical practices under the simple heading of “witchcraft,” if we look at how magic has been viewed historically, we see a different picture, all the way from the earliest sources up until the present. The early medieval Irish made distinctions between different vocations or skills that involved magical practices, and also had all kinds of different words for kinds of magic. Just across the Irish Sea, we can find plenty of evidence to see that the Anglo-Saxons did too, so the Irish aren’t unique or special in this. It all adds up to suggest that these different words and their very specific meanings were important in defining who you were and what you did, and as a reconstructionist this is perhaps a point that needs to be considered carefully. If we are to reconstruct religious, spiritual and indeed “magical” practices then should we not also respect the historically-attested definitions and labels for the people who practiced these different vocations?

And that’s where I side. The article lists types of magical professions that have cultural names and goes into what they are. I don’t quite fit into any of those roles, but what I do is magic or—if not magic—superstitious. While I understand words and terms evolve, I do not agree that outside evolution of the words should dictate the historical contexts nor a modern context. 

I would really, really advise reading the article if you ever can get the chance. If it would help, I could try to record it so you have an audio of it (if reading it would be too difficult)? The authors did a lot of research (there are so many citations~!) and it shows. You don’t have to agree with it, and that’s fine, but your original post jumped to a lot of conclusions that could be avoided if you read or knew what the article actually said instead of assumptions.

(Disclaimer: I should point out that I don’t feel comfortable calling myself Gaelic, and do not want to suggest that I am. I am trying to adopt a Gaelic Worldview, but until I can speak a Gaelic language fluently… I don’t feel anywhere close to deserving that label.)

(Source: spookyautisticcombeferre)

Posted on September 22 with 31 notes at 7:42 am

unfetteredwood:

This is a very belated post about some of my observances for this past Bealtaine. I will be posting one for Midsummer and Lughnasadh separately.

On Bealtaine Eve the house was given a thorough cleaning and saining. I set up a shrine to Flidais, decorating it with botanicals from both the garden and the wild.

On Bealtaine morning I went out to collect some dew and rainwater from the garden, and left offerings outside for the Land Spirits. After I was done outdoors, I came back in to make offerings to the Gods and Ancestors.  I then extinguished my old hearth candle and lit the new one to be used over the coming year, saying a prayer for blessings.

A little later on in May I did a garden blessing, buried some charms for fertility, left offerings out for the critters, and made bee watering stations which were put to good use by the abundance of pollinators we had this year.

Towards the end of May I made a feast in honour of Flidais, mainly consisting of wild foods including a salad of greens and flowers, sautéed spring mushrooms, fiddleheads and asparagus, with a honey and sweet woodruff shortbread for dessert.

More to come!