Before applying to join Gaol Naofa, we ask that you join us in our private Gaelic Polytheism discussion group on Facebook and actively join in with discussions for a minimum of six months. This is an opportunity for you to get to know us, and for us to get to know you, so we can all be sure that Gaol Naofa is the right fit. The group is very active and is comprised of both GN-members and non-members, and posts in the group are only visible to group members and will not show up in your newsfeed, or to anyone on your friends’ list (unless they are also group members, depending on your settings and how Facebook is feeling that day).1 Participation in our Facebook group is no guarantee of being later accepted into Gaol Naofa, but is a necessary step in getting to know one another.
Before applying to join the Gaelic Polytheism group, please make sure you’ve read these guidelines below, as well as the Gaol Naofa FAQ. The guidelines here also apply to members of Gaol Naofa. It is absolutely essential that anyone wanting to join the Gaelic Polytheism must contact us to confirm that you have read, and agree to abide by, the group guidelines.
So, to join the group, there are four steps…
Step One: Read the Guidelines thoroughly.
1. We expect members to comport themselves with honour, compassion, and integrity.
Hospitality is the rule here. Remember what it was like to be new. Be kind. Be welcoming. If you are new here, also bear with those of us who are old and sometimes cranky.
Questions are always welcome here, but do try to do a little of your own heavy lifting. If someone says your question is best answered by reading a link, please read the link before questioning them further. While we are here to help newer people (and are happy to do so), those of us who have written articles, books, and websites have done so partially so we don’t have to constantly repeat ourselves on Teh Intarwebs fora. :)
2. Respect fellow members and other polytheists.
This forum is for Gaelic Polytheists, those who are exploring Gaelic Polytheism to see if it is for them, and friends and allies who are supportive of our work. Please respect one another, including those who may be curious and questioning about our ways and practices.
Conversations here should not serve as fodder for the public disparagement of other individuals or groups. Calling someone an idiot elsewhere online for all the world to see because they don’t agree with you or perhaps were laboring under misconceptions is dishonourable, disrespectful, and does not in anyway engender community.
Please respect other members’ privacy. While the group is now for members-only, not everyone wants to go into lots of personal details in a forum. Feel free to take conversations to PM or the phone.
3. Lying, misrepresentations, sockpuppeting, and other dishonourable behaviours are not allowed here.
Respectful discussion is welcome, but mud-wrestling, name-calling, flaming, ad-hominem attacks, petty squabbling, unnecessary drama, and trolling are not. We understand that discussion can become heated sometimes, but this does not excuse negative behaviours. If established community members say you’re behaving inappropriately, you may want to back off and think about it until you’re calmer.
Inappropriate behaviour will result in warnings being given; we understand that everyone has an off-day every now and then, but think before you post! Repeated warnings about inappropriate behaviour may ultimately lead to individuals being banned. Chronic behaviours of this sort show the type of character we don’t want in our communities, and we reserve the right to ban individuals if they fail to show consideration of others, or basic common decency.
We know the difference between conversation and bullying. Being a bully is not part of the ‘warrior’ path.
Please do not join in discussions if you are intoxicated, whether under the influence of alcohol or any other substance. Also, do not go outside the group and get your friends to join just to “gang” up on someone who disagrees with you. This is not a space for your own personal internet army; sometimes people have different opinions, and that’s OK. It’s also OK to disagree with those opinions, so long as you do so respectfully.
We have no illusions that a mid-sized forum on the Internet can be “safe space”. However, we will not welcome anyone who has a history of threatening physical harm to others, physically harming others, or in other ways dedicating themselves to intentionally causing distress to community members or the community itself. Any threatening behaviour from members will result in the ceremonial wielding of the ban hammer.
On no account will sock-puppeting of any kind be tolerated. Members who try to add sock accounts to the group will be banned.
This is not a group for witchcraft. In Gaol Naofa, we use the traditional Gaelic definition found in the lore and the living cultures, not the neopagan redefinition. For how we define witchcraft, please see The Gaol Naofa FAQ (pp.77-79). For a longer, heavily footnoted explanation, see “Rowan and Red Thread: Magic and Witchcraft in Gaelic Cultures.”
4. Second Chances.
Members who have been banned due to inappropriate behaviour may (eventually) be given a second chance if they show a willingness and sincere desire to change. However, rejoining a forum with (or without) a new screen name does not give someone a blank slate. The only way those with dishonourable histories will be given another chance is if those they victimized feel the situation has been resolved to their satisfaction and they are OK with the person being given another chance. See: How to Eff Up (there’s some language, so be warned).
5. Personal Spiritual & Visionary Experience is Welcome.
The discussion of personal experience, and information received through spiritual experiences (aka the various forms of Personal Gnosis), is absolutely welcome in conversation here. But in order to avoid confusion, please remember to present it as your personal experience and not historical fact.
6. Cite Your Sources.
If you are presenting traditional material, evidence or theories, it is helpful if you provide a source or reference for others. If you are asked for one, or if your source is questioned, it’s nothing personal; this is par for the course in Reconstructionist and traditional discussions and not a sign of distrust or a questioning of your intelligence. Citing your sources simply helps further the discussion and helps others learn, and it’s always appreciated.
7. Ignorance is bliss and can be forgiven, however, knowledgeable loyalty to folly cannot.
It is perfectly okay for someone to disagree with you over something (though this should be done in a courteous and civil manner), but as this is not a group for fantastical or romantic beliefs, hands will not be held for those who chose to continue living in a fantasy world when sound evidence (from reliable sources) to the contrary has been presented.
8. Stay On Topic.
This is a group for Gaelic Polytheism and Gaelic Culture. Discussions of comparative religions are fine, but please do not post things that will mislead people into thinking non-Gaelic practices are part of Gaelic Polytheism and please do not be offended if something you post is questioned or removed for being off topic. There’s nothing wrong with a little relaxed and friendly banter, but if threads keep getting derailed then the admins may step in and politely ask posters to get back on topic.
9. Bear in mind that some of us are old…(er)
Not everyone understands text speak (or whatever it is you call it!), so please save us the brain ache and write in full sentences. English may not be everyone’s first language either, so full sentences makes it much easier for everyone to read and understand each other.
Individuals who join simply to spam their own links, events or work are extremely rude and annoying. If you are a member who actually joins in conversation and otherwise contributes to the group, then posting a link to your event or website is welcome. However, those who join and immediately use their membership for promotion will be warned once. If it happens again, you will be banned.
Don’t. It really is a waste of time. And just rude.
12. Racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia and similar oppressive prejudices are not allowed here.
Anyone, of any race, sex, gender, gender expression or sexual orientation, is welcome to join here; racism and bigotry will not be tolerated, nor will the promotion of colonialism, cultural misappropriations, “shamanism” (unless you’re a traditional Siberian), or pay-to-pray. We are here to build community, not to exploit or commodify spiritual experience. Those of us in the diaspora are also very conscious of being good neighbours, and accountable, to our relatives and Elders who are Indigenous to where we now live. This group, and our advisory council, includes people of colour, including traditional Indigenous people and elders. For more on this, visit CAORANN.
13. Do Not Delete Comments or Topics.
Once you click reply, leave your comment on the thread as removal will create confusion for others. If you make a typo, just correct it in another reply. We urge you to think carefully before replying if you are afraid of having your comment up for all to see. Topics will only be removed by admins if they are off-topic for the group.
14. Conflict Resolution.
If you have a problem with another poster, please try to deal with it like grown ups, in private. Do not allow personal grievances to spill over into discussions and threads; this is not a forum for your dirty laundry!
If you have concerns with the way this group is run, please deal with any issues privately with the admins. You can find out who the admins are by looking at the group’s member’s list and selecting the “Admins” option from the drop-down box, and then PM us.
Do not block or ignore any of the admins; however, if you have problems with other members in the group, that you cannot resolve, then by all means ignore them if it means there is less potential for upset and drama.
14a. Conflict Resolution for Gaol Naofa members within GN or GP group spaces.
Upon joining Gaol Naofa you will be assigned one of our Brughaidhi (Hospitallers) as a member liaison, who may also act as an ombudsman or advocate (as necessary). If you have a problem with another member (or members) and are unable to resolve matters privately and constructively, you may wish to contact your assigned Brughaidh for help in mediation and conflict resolution. The other party may also involve their assigned liaison to assist in resolving the issue.
If you do not feel comfortable with involving your assigned Brughaidh you are welcome to contact another member of the council, of your choosing. In the event that your liason (or chosen contact) may be unable to deal with your request, you will be assigned (or may choose, if you prefer) a proxy.
If you have concerns with the way the organisation is run, please deal with any issues privately, with a council member (or members) of your choosing. You are welcome to contact anyone on the council to discuss any concerns you might have directly, or approach the issue via your assigned Brughaidh.
15. Common Sense.
The admins recognize that these rules can only go so far. When all else fails, the admins of this group reserve the right to use common sense in dealing with any situations that might arise.
Now that you’ve read the Guidelines, and if you fully agree with them…
Step Two: contact us and tell us a bit about yourself and your interest in the group. You can do this by
- Sending a Private Message via the Gaol Naofa Facebook page, or
- Contacting us via the contact form here on the website, or
- Emailing Annie via the Gaol Naofa email address
Step Three: Let us know if you’ve read, and agree with, these group guidelines. Let us know if you have any questions.
Step Four: Go to the Gaelic Polytheism group and click “+Join Group.”
Although we aim to respond to membership requests as quickly as possible, sometimes we are unable to process requests in as timely a manner as we’d like. Please bear in mind that Gaol Naofa is run by volunteers, and we do what we can with the time we have. Your patience is very much appreciated!
1 According to the way Facebook currently operates. Any changes that might be made to Facebook’s structure in the future are unfortunately beyond our control.