Those of you who follow us on social media may have seen the memes we’ve been creating. We’ve added a page to the site to archive the ones we’ve done so far, and where we’ll be posting more in the future: Gaol Naofa Memes.
We’ve been working with a mixture of proverbs, prayers, triads, and quatrains from various Goidelic sources, doing our bit for language preservation and providing links for further info. For regular updates follow us at our Gaol Naofa Facebook page and Twitter account.
Since our most recent video – A’ Ghealach Ùr (The New Moon) – which was released back in February, we’ve been working on a number of projects for the website and for future publication. We’ve had such great feedback from the videos we’ve been doing for the Gaol Naofa Youtube channel, though, that we decided it was high time for another one, so we’ve taken a short break from things to put together our newest video, titled Offerings in Gaelic Polytheism.
Offerings are an important part of our religious practice, and – in theory – they are also one of the most simple things a person can do to make the transition from someone who’s interested in Gaelic Polytheism, to someone who is a practising Gaelic Polytheist. Our latest video is intended to be a brief introduction to the subject, giving an idea of why we make offerings, and how we can go about making them:
Wherever you are in the world, we believe it’s important that offerings should be made with respect to the local spirits. Offerings should not harm the environment or local wildlife, and we would urge careful consideration and contemplation about how your offering(s) may impact the local area. In recent times, this especially needs to be stressed when tying clooties or other things on trees. Although traditions evolve naturally over time, and the type of offerings that are being tied to trees are no exception, the increasingly common trend of tying non-biodegradable items (including, for some reason, things like iPhone cases and even nappies/diapers) tightly onto branches ends up stunting the tree’s growth or even killing them. The practice of leaving pennies or other coins worked into the tree trunks or natural cracks in stone is equally damaging. We believe that the Nature Spirits whom we honour will be better-disposed to you if you don’t harm their abodes and if the offering you make is truly something that honours, feeds, and beautifies the tree or sacred site instead of damaging it. Similarly, as much as we try to keep pets from getting at food offerings, there is always the risk of strays getting into them, and in many places wild animals commonly consume the offerings. Small amounts of human foods are usually not dangerous, but just to be on the safe side be aware of local wildlife, and familiarize yourself with what foods may be harmful if consumed by local animals.
As always, we hope you find the video useful! If there are any subjects you’d like us to cover in future, why not let us know on the Gaol Naofa Facebook page.
We leave you with this ‘Good Wish’, excerpted from the Carmina Gadelica #282, Dùrachd:
Although it’s been heartening to see that (for the most part) there has been very little of the “black armband/All Snakes Day” crowd in recent years, there are still undoubtedly a lot of misconceptions that abound whenever the subject of St Patrick, and St Patrick’s Day, comes up. This was especially evident in the rather ignorant comments made by (thankfully a minority of) people about “finishing what Patrick started” following the theft and destruction of the Irish Manannán Mac Lir statue in February this year. As such, we feel that there’s still very much a need to dispel these misconceptions and present a more factual view of Patrick and just what, exactly, he might be held accountable for…
25 January — Burns Night 31 January — Gealach Ùr 1 February — Lá Fhéile Bríde 1 March — Gealach Ùr 17 March — Lá Fhéile Pádraig 18 March — Sheelah's Day 25 March — Là na Caillich 29 April — Gealach Ùr 1 May — Lá Bealtaine 28 May — Gealach Ùr 21 June — Grianstad an tSamhraidh 27 June — Gealach Ùr 5 July — Laa Tinvaal 26 July — Gealach Ùr 1 August — Lá Lúnasa 24 August — Gealach Ùr 23 September — Gealach Ùr 29 September — Là Fhèill Mìcheil 22 October — Gealach Ùr 31 October — Oíche Shamhna 21 November — Gealach Ùr 30 November — Latha Naomh Anndra 21 December — Gealach Ùr 21 December — Grianstad an Gheimhridh 26 December — Lá an Dreoilín 31 December — Hogmanay