The Irish that I Worship

A bit late, this is my latest entry The Gaelic Roundtable. Our second discussion topic so far, April covers Worship; the who, when, and how of our practices.

As I’ve ventured further into Irish Polytheism, the mythological figures I look to for spiritual reverence grow in number; first it was Cailleach, and it was she who brought along Brighid. From there it continued: Manannán mac Lir and Clíodhna, Fliadhais, Airmedh, and an entire murder of Crows- Na Morrígna– followed suit. Lately even An Dagda has been knocking on my door, too, demanding his own place at my table.

But even though I focus on a few here and there, my home is really open to all of the Irish Deities; there is a Visitor’s Shrine where I leave offerings and perform Prayers to whoever happens to capture my attention that day. And on Holidays, they get a portion of the Libations and Offerings just like anyone else. I may not be dedicated to all of them, but I do believe that they should all be acknowledged and respected as equals (and as equally important).

But it doesn’t stop there, oh no. In addition to (practically all of) the Irish Deities, it was only natural to integrate my Ancestors into my Worship. After all, not only does Irish faith place great emphasis on family and ancestry… I had already been practicing Ancestor Veneration far before I dipped my toes into Irish Polytheism. The difference this time is that I was driven to discover more about my father’s Heritage and the Ire-Scot Diaspora of which they were a part- a process I had hit a wall on several years ago due to a number of factors. Thankfully DNA tests have become far more affordable since that point- though unfortunately, it is still hard despite this; I am nowhere near any of our Ancestral Lands or burial areas, and sometimes it makes it hard to connect.

And then, of course, there are the Good Folk whose names we do not speak for fear of drawing their attention. We’ve never gotten along, but I don’t believe in leaving them out in spite of that. They are also an important part of Irish belief and Folk Practice, after all. And while I may not practice a Faerie Faith or place much importance in them when compared to others? I still pay the rent like clockwork every year come Fáiteall. That, however, is generally where our relationship ends- at least until they get particularly mischievous and I have to pour some milk out for them.

The one thing missing from my practice is any sort of Hero Worship or Veneration. While there are certainly a number of figures in Lore that I would consider Heroes worthy of it, I simply don’t feel drawn to it just yet. I have too much to learn at the moment about my Gods and my faith; too much to reconstruct and piece back together. For now, they are the last thing on my mind- and whether or not I’ll ever include them is an unknown.

Regardless of who comes and who goes, however, all of the relationships are important to me. They are my family and my gods… And sometimes it feels like they are more than these tangible connections.

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