Introductory Leaflet about Gaol Naofa and Gaelic Polytheism
The following text is available for download as a pdf, which you are welcome to print off and distribute. Links to the pdfs (available in two sizes) are given at the bottom of the page.
An Chuallacht Ghaol Naofa
An organisation of Gaelic Polytheists committed to the preservation and revitalisation of our lifeway – the earth-honouring traditions of Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man
Gaelic Polytheism is the reverence of the deities, ancestors and nature spirits of the Gaelic-speaking lands: Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. We refer to this triad of spirit-beings as Na Trí Naomh (Gaeilge [Irish], “The Sacred Three”). Our beliefs and practices are informed by the historical and archaeological record as well as the living cultural continuum.
The basic foundations of Gaelic Polytheist belief can be seen as:
Hard polytheism — Seeing the deities (goddesses and gods) as distinct and individual.
Animism — Recognising that all creatures, places, and some objects have a spirit, or spiritual essence, which we acknowledge in our practices.
Reverence of our ancestors — Along with the gods and spirits, our ancestors of the body, mind and spirit are honoured in our ceremonies.
Recognising a Gaelic cosmology and worldview — We view the world around us in a way that is informed by our beliefs, values, and cultural outlook, and this informs our ritual practices and behaviour.
Values — Observing and upholding traditional Celtic values such as truth, hospitality, courage, honesty, generosity, good judgement and the importance of the bonds between family, friends and community.
While Celtic Christianity provides a fulfilling and meaningful life for many of our relatives, we do not feel drawn to Christianity. We feel that we have been called by the spirits of the earth and the waters, the voices of our distant ancestors, and the spiritual forces that gave shape and meaning to their lives, as well as to our lives now. For more information about our basic principles of belief, please see:
Is Gaelic Polytheism ethnic-based?
While we maintain that Gaelic Polytheism is an ethnic tradition rooted in the culture, worldview, values, and character of the Gaelic peoples, we believe a sincere desire to adopt and internalise our beliefs, practices, and worldview, and participation in Gaelic Polytheist community, are the only prerequisites needed to become a practising Gaelic Polytheist. People of Gaelic heritage are more likely to be drawn to Gaelic Polytheism, but having Gaelic ancestry is not a requirement to participate in Gaelic Polytheism or to join Gaol Naofa.
Many of the Gaol Naofa Council members also hold council seats with an activist and preservation organisation — CAORANN, or, Celts Against Oppression, Racism and Neo-Nazism. As such, Gaol Naofa — by extension — takes a firm stance against racism, sexism, homophobia, cultural appropriation, the destruction of sacred sites, and the spread of white supremacy in any culture. For more information, please visit:
What Gaelic Polytheism Is Not
We hold deep respect for the ways of other, Earth-honouring ancestral traditions, and our friends and relatives who preserve those ways of life for their peoples. Our belief is that we must be rooted in our own culture and traditional ways and not steal from, nor denigrate, the ceremonies or traditions of other cultures.
Gaol Naofa has the utmost respect for other paths and perspectives, but we do not see Gaelic Polytheism as a path that’s compatible with eclecticism, witchcraft, “Shamanism,” Wicca, New Age, or Neo-Druidic practices. Although Gaelic Polytheism is a modern pagan tradition, we do not feel that the “Neopagan” label or community is representative of our beliefs, practices or worldview, and we do not identify with it in any meaningful way beyond acknowledging the role reconstruction has, of necessity, played in the revival of our ancestral ways.
About Gaol Naofa
An Chuallacht Ghaol Naofa (Gaol Naofa) is an organisation of Gaelic Polytheists, committed to the preservation and revitalisation of the pre-Christian, Earth-honouring spiritual traditions of the Gaels.
The Gaels are the peoples of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man who have historically spoken, and still speak, one of the Gaelic/Goidelic languages.
We provide support and resources, and act as a touchstone to help provide community and fellowship for Gaelic Polytheists across the globe.
Gaol Naofa (pronounced “gweel nee-fah”) is an Irish phrase that roughly translates to “sacred kinship.” Our organisation is run by a group of dedicated volunteers who make up An Chomhairle Ghaol Naofa (The Gaol Naofa Council), currently led by Annie Loughlin, who is based on the west coast of Scotland.
Membership in Gaol Naofa is offered, free of charge, on an individual or household basis. Individual applicants must be over eighteen years of age, and must be able to meet a number of requirements outlined on our membership page. Those under eighteen may join as members of a family or household:
As an international organisation, Gaol Naofa focuses on a number of different areas to help achieve our goals:
Education – gathering and producing sound, reliable, informative and inspiring materials about Gaelic Polytheism, via articles, books, videos and other forms of media.
Community – nurturing Gaelic cultural, spiritual, and language preservation communities; providing social networks, events, and fellowship for our members, their families and extended families.
Preservation – guarding and protecting our cultural and spiritual traditions to ensure a continuation for the generations to come.
Restoration – reconstructing and revitalising (in a culturally and academically accurate manner) the worldview and ceremonies that were discontinued and almost lost.
Practice – providing practical guidance and support to our members and those who wish to adopt our Gaelic Polytheist Lifeway.
Interested? Learn more by reading our FAQ online:
Or contact us:
Download the leaflets
Paper sizes differ slightly between the US and UK so the leaflet has been formatted to fit both sizes:
- Intro to Gaol Naofa & Gaelic Polytheism Leaflet – UK Size A4 – (21cm x 29.7cm)
- Intro to Gaol Naofa and Gaelic Polytheism – Canada/US Letter Size – (8.5″ x 11″)