Revised and updated March 2015
Membership to Gaol Naofa is offered on an individual or family/household basis. Please read this page fully before deciding whether or not you would like to apply for membership.
Why Become a Member?
Joining Gaol Naofa is free of charge and will give members the opportunity to:
- Network with other members
- Join our members-only Facebook group
- Receive our monthly members’ newsletter
- Participate in our monthly Gealach Ùr ritual
- Collaborate on Gaol Naofa projects
- Receive specially produced, members-only support materials
- Aid in the preservation and revitalisation of Gaelic culture and tradition
- Work with others to build a solid tradition for our descendants
- Be a part of our supportive and evolving cultural and spiritual organisation
If you meet all of the following criteria for membership then Gaol Naofa may be a good fit for you. Additional notes and comments are given below:
- You are over 18 years of age
- You have been a member and active contributor of the Gaelic Polytheism group on Facebook for at least six months
- You are a practicing Gaelic Polytheist
- You have read our About section, our FAQ, and you have read and agree to abide by the guidelines set out here
- You are not homophobic, transphobic, racist, do not sell “pay to pray” or other spiritually-based services, define yourself as a druid and/or witch (see our FAQ for more details), or engage in other forms of bigotry or problematic behaviours
- You are looking to actively participate in, and contribute to, the Gaol Naofa community
Please note that applications for membership are ultimately decided on a discretionary basis by An Chomairle Ghaol Naofa (the Gaol Naofa Council).
Younger members of our broader community are of course welcome to participate in Gaelic Polytheist activities in their families and/or local communities, and may be included as part of a family membership (provided the parents of adults of that membership give consent for minors to join). If you are under 18 years of age and wish to join as an individual member, then we may make an exception with the express written and verbal consent from a parent or guardian.
The Gaelic Polytheism group on Facebook
One of our main aims for Gaol Naofa is to provide a solid community for members. As such, we think it’s important that you get to know us and we get to know you a little before deciding if Gaol Naofa is the right fit.
Before applying for membership to Gaol Naofa we would ask you to join us on our Gaelic Polytheism group on Facebook and spend at least six months taking part in discussions and contributing to the group. The group is closed to public viewing so your membership, and any posts you make in the group, will not show up in your Facebook feed or your profile. In order to join you will need to read the group guidelines and follow the instructions. Failure to follow the guidelines will result in your request for membership being rejected automatically.
“Practicing” Gaelic Polytheist
At the present time, Gaol Naofa’s primary aim is to provide support and networking opportunities to Gaelic Polytheists. As such, we ask that members should at least be reasonably certain that our Gaelic Polytheist Lifeway¹ is something that is a good fit for you.
While we do believe that some forms syncretism are historically and culturally appropriate (see the FAQ), we are unfortunately currently unable to provide the kind of support or resources for those on a syncretic path. We distinguish between syncretism and “dual-path” practice where two or more religions are practiced concurrently, but separately; if you are pursuing Gaelic Polytheism as part of a “dual-path” then unfortunately this would not be compatible with our views on our religion being part of a lifeway.
If you are interested in Gaelic Polytheism but are still too new to know whether or not it is the path for you, we invite you to join our Facebook page and group to learn more about Gaelic Polytheism/Gaelic Reconstructionist Polytheism and communicate with other polytheists before submitting an application for membership with Gaol Naofa.
FAQ and community guidelines
Our About section explains our aims and outlook for Gaol Naofa, and as of November 2012 our FAQ has been substantially revised and updated. These documents are intended to give seekers and/or prospective members a good idea of who we are and what we believe. If you have not yet read through these resources, please do so before applying.
Homophobia, transphobia, racism, misogyny, and other kinds of bigotry and prejudice
Membership and participation in Gaol Naofa is not dictated by race, ability or disability, gender or gender expression, blood line, income, social status, marital status, sexual orientation, nationality, and/or political orientation. The only things we discriminate against are racism, white supremacy, hubris, bullying, lying, cultural appropriation, “pay to pray,” eclecticism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, fascism, Neo-Nazism, misogyny, disrespectful attitudes toward tradition and elders (of any culture), non-historical syncretism, white privilege, sock puppetry and other dishonourable behaviours. These have absolutely no place in Gaol Naofa.
As an organisation we take issues of prejudice and oppression very seriously. Some of our senior council members also sit on the CAORANN council; please see the CAORANN website for more details. Further information can also be found in the FAQ.
Membership in other organisations
We understand that some people wishing to find in-person community and fellowship may become members of Neo-pagan organisations that are not always completely compatible with Gaol Naofa’s aims and outlook. This is not something that we would consider to be an obstacle to membership, so long as the individual’s involvement within such organisations does not go against the principles and views outlined in the About section, FAQ, and membership guidelines for Gaol Naofa. In particular, we view labels such as “druid” and “witch” as having specific meanings in traditional (as opposed to Neo-pagan) usage, which may be at odds with the way they are used in some Neo-pagan communities. Please refer to the “Membership Questions” section of our FAQ for more detail.
Community and Participation
Joining Gaol Naofa means becoming a member of our community and gaining access to a private group, which is intended to provide the opportunity for discussion, networking, and support. A community is nothing without its membership, so we ask that everyone who joins our organisation should be willing to commit to actively participating in the community. Questions, discussions and respectful debates are welcomed and encouraged from eveyone in our membership. Unlike the Gaelic Polytheism group, where we ask that members stay on the topic of Gaelic Polytheist (and related) topics, we also encourage more social discussions, chit chat and banter as part of our community-building focus. Anyone who is inactive in any of the groups that are run by Gaol Naofa, for a period of three months or more, may have their membership terminated at the discretion of An Chomairle Ghaol Naofa.
While Gaol Naofa utilises the internet for social networking and the sharing of knowledge, we are not an internet-only group. Our core members know one another very well – in person or at least via open, personal communications – and many of us also know one another’s extended families, households and broader circles of friends. We are about building solid, in-person community. Therefore, we must be certain that you are an honourable, truthful person and not a sockpuppet account or troll. People who are dishonest about themselves, or dishonest or disruptive in general, will not be welcome in the group.
Gaol Naofa is run by a group of dedicated volunteers and there is no fee for joining. If you meet the criteria outlined above and agree with the principles, aims, and guidelines that have been detailed then please fill out one of the forms below, as applicable. You will be asked to join with your real name and contact information, even if you prefer to go by another name online. Your personal details will not be shared with any third party.
While we endeavour to respond to applications in a prompt and timely manner, please bear in mind that as a volunteer-run organisation, we may have other obligations to attend to which may cause short delays at times. We appreciate your patience! Before you fill in your application, please make sure that you meet all requirements listed above, and that you have read the group guidelines.
If for any reason you have trouble applying, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
1. In Gàidhlig, Dòigh-Beatha Ioma-Dhiadhach Ghàidhealach, and Gaeilge, Dóigh Bheatha Ildiach is Gaelach. Gaol Naofa has coined this term to better describe our specific tradition and beliefs, as practiced by the members of Gaol Naofa. This is partly in order to distinguish ourselves from other Gaelic Polytheist groups, but also to emphasise our commitment to our spirituality as a way of life. Although admittedly a bit of a mouthful, we feel the phrase speaks to the heart of Gaol Naofa’s philosophy and community.