There Will Be Beltane And Rumors Of Beltane

The following article was originally published on Our Pantheons Way on April 30th, 2014.

Beltane 2008
Beltane 2008

I have been to many Pagan gatherings, rituals and festivals over the years, in private homes, at community centers, at UU churches and my favorite, camping in the woods! Of all of the Pagan gatherings of any type, none produce more wild stories (some true but many I suspect not) than Beltane. Good ol’ Beltane, the great springtime rite of fertility and sexuality. Of course it has sexual overtones and because sex is such a charged subject in our society it produces a lot of mixed feelings, emotions and sometimes quite outlandish tales.

I recall one time years ago we came back from camping at a Beltanelike event with one of the traditions who by their own words even are “The Pagans who scare other Pagans.” Due primarily to the legends which permeate the whispers and gossip among the denizens of the greater Pagan community. Upon returning I mentioned to a friend and former covenmate where we had been and he popped off without missing a beat “Oh, those people grow their own chlamydia.” This from a man whose idea of roughing it is to stay in a hotel room somewhere that has no room service. Someone who does not own one single piece of camping gear and therefore has never been to a single event with these or any other people. So I challenged him on it. “Oh, have you ever been camping with them?” 

“Well, no but I have heard…” Yes, we have all heard. If what you hear about and what actually happens have any relation to one another I must be one of the unluckiest sons of bitches on the planet because I have been to many of the camping events with many of the very groups that these rumors are about and I have seen….not much. So, I am just saying, take what you hear with a very large grain of salt please. People do love a good story after all and if there is sex and scandal involved all the better. Now, that being said, I don’t doubt that some of what people speak of may have indeed taken place…once or twice…somewhere at some time. But with the frequency with which it is spoken about you would think it were a regular occurrence and I’m here to tell ya, not so much.

Ho to tell if your dog is involved in a sex scandal.
How to tell if your dog is involved in a sex scandal.

One of these rumors I hear come up a lot involves acts of oral sex being performed at the revel fire of a popularly attended Pagan camping event. Nope, sorry, I missed that one, every….single….time. Women topless, dancing around the fire, yes, I’ve seen that. Men and women dancing around the fire naked late at night. Yes, I’ve seen and participated in that as well. But actual sex acts? Nope, sorry, I missed it. It would have been a great story to tell if I had but I didn’t. In fact, in all my years involved in Wicca and paganism in general I have only been to a few rituals in which the great rite were enacted in true and those have always been clearly stated by the organizers to be adult only events; leave the kids at home for this ritual. They don’t even let you on the property with minors in tow. Everyone in attendance knows what to expect when they get there. It’s the great rite, if you don’t know what it is look it up in any book on traditional Wicca or do a search for it online.  Of course, it all depends on who you’re hanging out with and where you go but I’m talking, I do hang out with the groups that most of the rumors are about. So, again, take what you hear for what it’s worth.

There is a common occurrence, again, late at night when all youngins are fast asleep if there are any present, in which some women slather a special herb and oil concoction on their bare breasts and apply it to the bodies of, usually unattached, young men while chanting. It’s pretty sexy and alluring and it’s meant to be. It’s a fertility rite. The most that is happening there is bare breasts are touching skin much as they would if a hug were given. Again, no sex, oral or otherwise involved. These are the most graphic scenes I have ever seen played out in my 15 plus years of camping with the very pagans who all the rumors are about. I’m not saying that nothing beyond that has ever taken place, but I am saying, I have never seen it.

I used to frequent a pagan community center in town where it is rumored that sex routinely took place in the bathrooms. It is true that the bathrooms in the place were co-ed. Both males and females shared the same bathrooms. The stalls had walls and doors. If anything other than the usual bathroom activities ever happened there, I missed that too.

All of that being said, as a general rule of thumb, if you are looking for a family friendly Beltane event in which there is unlikely to be any nudity or overt sexuality, your best bet are the ones held in town at the UU churches or other public places. I have been to and even officiated at ADF Druid May Day rites like the one coming up May 4th at Arlington UU church which I posted about earlier under the title May Day UU Celebration. They are very family friendly and conservative in nature. You can take the kids and probably not have anything to worry about. I have also been to the AmTrad Beltane gatherings such as the one Covenant Of the Goddess is hosting which I also posted about earlier under the title Beltane Celebration. Again, very family friendly and no nudity.

But if you’re looking to not be exposed to any nudity or sexuality whatsoever. DO NOT go camping with Pagans at Beltane. Although the reality is not as “bad” as the rumors might lead you to believe, there is still the possibility that some of them might be true. A good camping event usually to take kids to is Ostara. There are usually colored egg hunts, fun games and faeries at Ostara with little emphasis at all on sex. But always ask in case it isn’t made clear, whether an event is family friendly before attending to avoid being shocked. Just in case.

Blessed Be and Flags, Flax, Fodder and don’t forget Frigg!

Spirituality – Living It vs. Reading It

The following article on living was originally published on Our Pantheons Way on July 7th, 2013.

Festival Drum - Living It!
Djembe By Campfire – Living It!

Each morning I start my day off in basically the same way. I wake up (hopefully) and look over at my altar which sits right next to my bed on a small shelf attached to the wall where most people would keep their night stand. If the spirit candle has burned out I light a new one. I light a tea light candle in the southern quadrant for the element of fire. I light an incense in the east for air. I check on my malachite and other stones in the north and my sea shell in the west. Sometimes I change out and have a chalice of water in the west or some other representations but these days that the basics of my altar. I light a healing candle if anyone I know of is in need of healing or other energies. Then I pick up my athame and cast an invoking pentagram followed by these words or something similar.

Great Goddess, Mighty God

You who are of me and around me

Guide me through this day

Show me the way through darkness and confusion

Grant to me peace, love, balance, courage, health and joy for this day.

So mote it be.

I place my athame back into it’s sheath (it’s a replica of a Royal Scottish Dirk which my wife gave to me as a gift) and lay it back onto the altar. I reach into my bag of runes and take out one for my guidance for the day. Write down what rune it was in my journal and a little about it’s meaning then go on to start my work day.

It’s a simple ritual and very Wiccan in style but I do it every day and it helps me to connect with the divine, ask for their guidance and feel I am off to a good start. If I were to miss it I would probably go through the day feeling lost because it has become an important part of my life and of my daily routine.

In the past I have done daily invocations in the style of ADF Druidry but since the Goddess smacked me upside the head nearly a year ago now and made it quite clear that I needed to get my butt back on my path this is the ritual which has been working for me. Later I may change it but I will likely always start my day with something like this.

We all have our own ways of reconnecting with the divine, the center, nature or however we describe what makes us feel….. for lack of a better word, right? That we belong? That we are a part of something?

I know that whenever I am out in nature I also feel the connectedness of the divine. Some of us need ritual, some of us don’t. We all have our preferred methods of divination. Some of us are heavily into magickal workings, some of us are more interested in learning our history and rituals. But we all, together are living our spirituality in our own ways. How do you live yours?

“Go out, go out I beg of you

And taste the beauty of the wild.

Behold the miracle of the earth

With all the wonder of a child”

– Edna Jaques

Fear – Are You A God Fearing Person?

The following article on fear was originally published on Our Pantheons Way on June 27th, 2014.

If you are shocked by what I say then you obviously haven't paid attention to who I am. Fear.
If you are shocked by what I say then you obviously haven’t paid attention to who I am.

I was visiting my friend Camie at Texas Snow Store in Watauga as I sometimes do on my way home from work and a couple of guys walk up carrying a big box of banana nut bread for sale. She says, “Oh, you have to try this banana bread! It’s the best ever!” So, she goes running up to meet them and buys a few loaves for herself and one for us to share. She offers them a snow cone each to cool them off from walking in the afternoon heat and humidity and they come over and join us in the shade of Dave’s gazebo close to his Philly Shack restaurant.

These two guys are from a Christian based rehabilitation house nearby which helps drug addicts turn their lives around and change their habits. The banana nut bread they sell helps fund the program and helps the people going through the program get accustomed to the trials of everyday productive work and interacting with people. They tell us about how some of the people who are doing what they are doing don’t want to change their ways and instead steal the money made from selling the bread to go buy drugs.

But if the program can help 1 in 10 people pull themselves out of the gutter of addiction then it’s worth it right? I am happy to see people improving their lives through whatever means work for them. Now cynical me has thought on occasion about how these programs latch on to people when they are at the lowest points in their lives and most vulnerable and susceptible to persuasion in order to brainwash them into a manner of thinking which benefits the people running the program. Like, I said, that’s cynical me talking and indeed such programs do usually come with a stipulation that one needs to submit to and turn over their faculties to the particular organizations interpretation of what their “one true god” wishes. Essentially using it as an avenue to recruit more members. The very thing those of us from minority religions like Wicca and Druidry are often accused of.

But still, if this organization helps those people to make a better life for themselves then some loyalty in return is probably not too much to ask is it? Perhaps some of the Pagan organizations should take note if they ever become large enough and organized enough to fund such programs. 😉

But anyway, at one point one of the guys pipes up and asks us if we are “God fearing people.” I answered as I often do such queries. “I have no need to fear my god because I know my god loves me.” He wasn’t quite sure what to do with that answer based on the look on his face but it was no matter because Camie piped in with “Well, he’s spiritual but not religious.” So the guy says, well, the important thing is that we believe there is something bigger than just us out there. Which I agree with regardless of what form that something bigger might take on from one individual or another.

That phrase and others like it have always bothered me though. It’s a popular one in Bible Belt Christianity. “God fearing.” It smacks of being in an abusive relationship to me. Why should I have to fear my god(dess) if (s)he loves me? Perhaps fear letting my god(dess) down if my actions are not worthy of his or her approval or that I am not living my life up to the fullest potential the gods have laid before me. But to fear my gods themselves? That concept just seems odd to me. What do you think?


Ugliness And Nastiness – No Thanks!

The following article on ugliness and nastiness was originally published on Our Pantheons Way on May 28th, 2014.

Be strong, but not rude; Be kind but not weak; Be bold, but not a bully; Be humble but not timid; Be proud, but not arrogant. No ugliness!
Be strong, but not rude; Be kind but not weak; Be bold, but not a bully; Be humble but not timid; Be proud, but not arrogant. No ugliness!

As I have mentioned in past blog posts,  in my 15 plus years hanging around in the Paganesque community I haven’t received nearly as much negativity from the people you might expect. No, not the hardcore fundamentalist Christians who dominate the region I grew up and live in. The truth be told, the most hateful, negative, ugly words I have ever heard directed towards my beliefs or those of other minority religion faiths have come from right within the Pagan, Heathen or Earth Based Spiritual communities.

It’s a bizarre phenomenon to me. Here we are surrounded, literally out numbered 1000 to 1 or more by people who wholeheartedly believe we are bound for a lake of fire and eternal damnation for daring to believe differently than they do, but some of us would rather cut one another’s throats, figuratively (hopefully), than understand one another and embrace our differences in the midst of mainstream dogma.

I remember a time, back in 2002, I was a freshly minted 1st degree Alexandrian Wiccan priest. I was proud of what I had learned in my past year and a day of study. I was proud of my new pentacle and robe. I was delighted to be a part of a Pagan community which I naively believed at that time to be all open minded, friendly, earth loving, ancestor honoring people supporting one another in their paths. I heard about this Druid gathering going on near Austin called Modron’s Gate. To this day I do not know who the organizers were or which Druid order was represented but I think it was ADF (the one I eventually joined many years later) and I think I remember Skip Ellison (former Archdruid of ADF although he was not yet Archdruid at that time I don’t think) speaking there.
I had really enjoyed myself there that first day and that night went to sit down by the fire with the others and listen to the drumming and story telling.
At one point the drumming stopped for awhile as people were resting their hands and refreshing themselves and someone, I don’t remember who, began to speak. He went on for quite some time about why he believed Druidry was superior to Wicca which isn’t bad in and of itself. Everyone is entitled to their opinion after all. But as he continued the stereotypical cliches about Wiccans came out. The stuff about how all Wiccans believe magick is powered by fairy farts and unicorns who shit rainbows. All Wiccans believe everything in the world is love and light and there is never any darkness. All Wiccans believe in a bunch of New Age (which rhymes with sewage) mumbo jumbo and don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground. You know, the kinds of things people say when they are stroking their own ego at the expense of others in an attempt to make themselves look superior.

Well, needless to say, I left that place thinking, if this is what Druids are about I don’t want anything to do with them. It was many years later that I bothered to look into it and find out there was much more to it than that person’s impression left me with. The founder of ADF was, himself married to a Wiccan and didn’t feel at all that way about Wiccans. But, how much more might I have been willing to learn about Druidry in 2002 had I not been driven away by that ugliness?

Also, back in the day I used to frequently make trips down to a popular Pagan festival ground to volunteer my time at work weekends. The land crew as it was called had their own camp ground and because I had helped out with the clearing of the land for camping places, I was invited to camp with them at the first festival held on the newly acquired land. My friends and I had a great time that night at land crew camp. There was drumming, dancing, story telling and camaraderie. No one was negative and I don’t recall a cross word being cast toward anyone. Then, the next evening, my wife at the time (ex now) went down to the medical tent area because she was experiencing some pain as she often did and needed some attention. While there another individual was in the area commenting about how there had been some “strange energy” coming from the land crew camp the night before and it just wasn’t good. I’ve come to learn that sometimes “strange energy” is used by some people as code for “I don’t like those people.” But I had no idea what the guy was talking about. I had been there the whole time and they all seemed like a wonderful group of people to me. Still, it stayed with me and showed me that this was not the cohesive, spiritually focused community I naively led myself to believe at first. But why can’t people talk to one another instead of about one another? It’s much as Tommy Elf said in his article, You Never Know Who Is Watching. You really never do and while most community leaders and organizers want to see their community grow, such negativity and divisiveness has the opposite effect on new comers. They see it and it usually makes them want to run the other way.

I, only recently started exploring the Reddit online community or the Front Page Of The Internet as they like to call themselves and I found out they have subreddits for groups like pagan, druidism, wicca, heathen, etc. I’ve known about Reddit for a long time and have been on the site a time or two but never really took the time to fully explore it and get involved. I used to spend a great deal of time on Digg reading news articles back when I was kind of a news junkie and the people on the Digg boards would frequently mention what was going on over on the Reddit boards because, at the time, I think the sites were very similar in style as far as what niche markets they were catering to. Apparently on Reddit, anonymity is a big thing. They don’t even let you put much personal info on your profile over there which has it’s good points and bad points. On the plus side under a cloak of anonymity people feel more comfortable expressing themselves and saying whatever they want. On the negative side under a cloak of anonymity people feel more comfortable expressing themselves and saying whatever ugliness they want. What I mean by that is, some people hide behind anonymity to say some of the most negative and ugly things they can think of which they probably would never say in a face to face conversation. Sometimes it’s just out of pure meanness, ugliness and spitefulness. Other times it’s just general trolling. I come from a long history of not feeding trolls that stretches back to the days before DejaNews got bought out by a search engine newcomer called Google. So, I don’t give the trolls the satisfaction of a response most of the time. But, if these people are not trolls but instead regular participants in their tradition’s particular subreddit board, I wonder if they realize their antics do their groups more harm than good or if they even care. Look at all the good Westboro Baptist Church’s ugliness has done for views on Christianity after all. (/sarcasm)

Health and Blessings!


Please Don’t Wait For An Invitation

The following article regarding invitation to Pagan groups was originally published on Our Pantheons Way on April 3rd, 2014.

Let the seeker seek. Speak Up For Invitation.
Let the seeker seek. Speak Up For Invitation.

And the hills they are hollow and home to the Fey,
Who dance on Midsummer’s Eve,
Some people don’t understand when I say,
These are the things I believe.
These are the things I believe. – Damh The Bard

I once had someone say to me,

“I would really like to go to a Pagan ritual or gathering but no one has invited me.”

Please understand this. We are not an evangelical lot and most of us adhere to a code that says it is for the seeker to seek. In other words, a student of esoteric knowledge, occult, ancient wisdom, the arts, or whatever you want to call it, should always seek out a teacher but not the other way around. A teacher seeking students is often frowned upon in many Pagan traditions. There are several reasons for this. For one thing, we are not in the soul saving business. We do not believe that your immortal soul is in danger of eternal torment or any such things if you don’t follow the path we are on. Most of us believe that our lives here on earth are like a school of sorts and we are all learning lessons of one kind or another in this incarnation which may carry over into the next life.

Just because someone doesn’t happen to be on the same path that you are on doesn’t necessarily mean they are on the wrong path. So we have no driving reason to go after people and try to convince them to come join us on our path. But if a seeker shows up and asks to walk with us on our path they are more than welcome.

That being said, if you see a posting up somewhere for a public circle or gathering of a Pagan nature and you are curious or interested, then by all means go. Don’t be afraid that you will be unwelcome because if the event was posted as open to the public then it’s understood that seekers or the curious might show up. The only thing we generally find unwelcome would be people who show up with the intent to be rude and disruptive. If you are there with an open heart and open mind your kindness will be returned.

Many of our traditions include teachings regarding hospitality to strangers and being a good host or guest. So by all means, seek out a public event near you if you are curious. If you have trouble finding one, let me know and I will see if I can help you find one. Check Our Calendar! Need an invitation? Get in touch and let us know.

Many Blessings,

Cianaodh a.k.a. Troy

The gods are my pals, I shall not sweat it!

The Origins Of Valentines Day

Valentines just ain’t what it used to be. Those crazy Romans and the Lupercalia…

Burning Love Heart For Valentines
Burning Love Heart For Valentines

It’s not all about just hearts and flowers and chocolate, this Valentine’s Day thing. Kinda, sorta, truth be told the upcoming holiday has a history risque enough to set any respectable saint  spinning in his grave.

In days  of old when men were men and goats were nervous the ‘any reason to throw a party’ Romans celebrated Lupercalia. For  about 800 hundred years it was one of those mysterious ‘guy things’.  Those of you who didn’t sleep through your Ancient History studies might remember the story of the founding of Rome by the twins, Romulus and Remus. Abandoned as infants, the boys were raised and suckled in a cave by a kindly she-wolf. I mean, hey! she had to be pretty kindly since she didn’t have them for lunch right? To celebrate Romulus and Remus  not being eaten by the she-wolf, every year on February 15th, young men and boys would gather at the same cave and perform the rite of passage.

The festival would begin with a sacrifice by the Luperci of two male goats and a dog. Afterwards two young patrician men would be led to the altar and anointed on their foreheads with the sacrificial blood, which was wiped off the bloody knife with wool soaked in milk. Afterwards they were to smile and laugh. Hey! What else are you going to do when you find yourself in such a ridiculous situation right?!  That guy is still holding the knife and you see what he did to the goats and dog! Anyway, the men and boys would gorge themselves on a big feast followed by a tradition many guys still adhere to to this day. They got good and drunk!  The hide from the dog or goat sacrifice was cut into loincloths and leather strips. But that’s not all! The lovely ladies of the town would wait in the streets below for the guys to show up, stumbling down the hillside, smelling of alcohol and burnt goat and dog ready to do what exactly?! Well, give the women a good flailing with the leather strips of course! Ah the good old days right?! And you thought the modern day Americans invented kinky foreplay!

Actually, the flailing would supposedly bestow good fortune and fertility upon the whippee.  The whipping was intended as a form of  purification. As a matter of fact the name of this whip was februa which is where the name of the second month of our year came from. I don’t remember learning about that in school, do you? Go look it up! It’s true, I’ll wait here if you don’t believe me. Another thing practiced by the Romans about this time was a lottery. Young ladies names were placed in a jar or box and the unwed men of the town would draw out a name and they were paired with the named woman for a few months. What this actual pairing entailed is a source of debate among scholars but of course Hollywood  typically goes for the most lurid possible scenario when depicting this event because, after all,  sex sells!

But now, back to the flailing thing. Here’s an interesting side note. Ever since I was a kid I always wondered at the shape of the “hearts” we would give to one another on Valentines Day in various shades of pink and red. It really doesn’t look like the shape of an actual heart at all right? But if you turn it upside down it does bear a striking resemblance to a well spanked woman’s bum does it not? Hmmmmmm, there might be something there!

Some of this lore of the Lupes was still practiced right up in to modern times. Divination was a very popular pastime  in the 1800’s and girls would put the names of their preferable suitors in a bowl. The name drawn was supposed to foretell the perfect match sure to come. In other places, the first eligible man or woman seen on Valentines Day was deemed to be ‘it’. Tag, you’re it! If you were in pursuit you were supposed to give this person a gift.  Much like modern times, if it was a really good gift like say a piece of fine art (Well, I had to put that in there right?!) , you could suppose that one would increase the odds of this person liking you.

Around about the 1860’s Valentines Day went commercial, shortly followed by just about every other holiday. Giving printed greeting cards on all of the holidays became all the rage as printing costs went down due to better printing machinery and techniques. From this grew the modern day cacophony of buying all manner of chocolates, flowers, jewelry and lawn equipment to woo your sweety. What?! Doesn’t everybody give lawn equipment on VD?!

In writing this article I borrowed heavily from the wit and research of Wren Walker from Witchvox.  See her original article here for more details. I also grabbed a few tidbits from Wikipedia in case you want to find out more about this stuff. Yeah, yeah, I know Wikipedia this and accuracy that and throw the baby out with the bath water. Blah, blah, blah. Go look it up in your 1975 Encyclopedia Brittanica collection if you prefer! 😉


Desperately Poor Or Just Not In The System?

So, I happened upon a video a friend of mine posted on Facebook and while the man certainly made some good points regarding the issue he was intending to shed light on, my mind wandered off into other things as it is often inclined to do. In it, he keeps referring to these people the World Bank calls “desperately poor” because they earn less than $2 per day on average in income. But, this assumes those people even live within the system the rest of us do and how relative things can be in terms of living and survival.

The system?
The system?

The dominant culture within our society of the industrialized world has no use for people who are not in the system of exchanging labor for money (which is in fact a certificate of debt) for goods and services (many of which were previously freely available to our ancestors for the taking from the abundance of the land or through their own efforts.) Have you ever seen the 1980 movie ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’? It’s a humorous, campy, obviously eighties flick but with an excellent message, I think, about the differences in cultures.

So, how many among these billions of people Mr. Beck refers to in his gumball analogy come from cultures for whom that $2 per day is neither here nor there because they live a life very much like their own ancestors in which money isn’t necessary? One simply lives off the land, shares with his family and neighbors and thanks the gods for the abundance offered? Not a taker culture but a leaver culture as Daniel Quinn referred to in his novels. The takers take it upon themselves to define how things should be and the leavers leave it up to the gods. Also, even among those who live in the world of money, what $2 may purchase in one part of the world can differ greatly from what it might purchase in another part so as a measure of “wealth” it is rather iffy in its own right. When Europeans first came to the Americas the natives who were living here made less than $2 per day too but did they consider themselves to be “desperately poor”? Probably not. Because theirs was a culture which lived in balance and harmony with the land. Oh, I don’t mean to imply that they did not know struggle and strife. Certainly there was disease and war among them. All human cultures are faced with these maladies. All I am saying is, whether or not $2 per day in income is a sign of “desperate poverty” is relative depending on the way the people live and what is considered valuable.

Just a few thoughts that wandered into my mind and now out through my keyboard. My two cents as it were.

Offerings And DFW Gaelic League

Today’s post is just a couple of offerings from my photo collection and some stories about them. I’m happy to share this glimpse of my life with you. 🙂

These were the offerings to the well which were collected at our Imbolc gathering. Soon we will offer these to the gods at a nearby body of water.
These were the offerings to the well which were collected at our Imbolc gathering. Soon we will offer these to the gods at a nearby body of water.

As part of our ritual in honor of the goddess Brighid last weekend we asked the attendees to make offerings of silver, coins, crystals and other items to the well which will be sacrificed to the gods. To complete this journey they will be taken to a nearby body of water and ceremonially offered to the kindred.

I just got my t-shirt yesterday from DFW Gaelic League. One of the offerings in their Cafe Press shop.
I just got my t-shirt yesterday from DFW Gaelic League. One of the offerings in their Cafe Press shop.

On the top it reads “Conradh na Gaeilge” which is Gaelic League of course and below is “Craobh Chairdeas Texas” or Friendship Branch Texas. I’ve known about our local DFW Gaelic League for some time and have even been a member of their Facebook group for awhile. But due to the class schedules and places not meshing with my work (for a living) schedule and my temple work schedule I have never been able to attend any of their classes. They do have some excellent online resources available though which I very much appreciate and I wanted to do something to support them and their efforts. So, I did some poking around on their site and found that they have a Cafe Press store in which they sell some products to raise funds. I thought, “Go hiontach!” and ordered this shirt as well as a sticker which I hope to receive soon. They usually set up an information table at North Texas Irish Festival which my family, friends and I typically go out to every year. Unfortunately though, this year my vacation plans fall on the very same weekend so I will only be able to attend the opening festivities on Friday night this year. But, we will get to see Williamsburg, Virginia at least and there’s always next year for N.T.I.F.!

Side note: There are similar organizations throughout the world. See if there is one near you at: Conradh Na Gaeilge.


Beware Of A Bunch Of Nuts Falling Out Of Trees

It takes all kinds of nuts to make up this crazy world and not all of the nuts are in candy bars either.

I shook my tree and a bunch of nuts fell out.
I shook my tree and a bunch of nuts fell out.

True story. Some of them climbed back up in there though so if you hear a rustling above your head….duck!

Beware of the....well, just beware.
Beware of the….well, just beware.

This looks like it might be much more effective than the old fashioned Beware Of Dog sign.

"This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever." - Sigmund Freud on the Irish
“This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.” – Sigmund Freud on the Irish

Well, this explains a lot.

Is minic a bhris béal duine a shrón. - Many a time a man's mounth broke his nose.
Is minic a bhris béal duine a shrón. – Many a time a man’s mouth broke his nose.

Cad é an chraic?

I used to care what people thought about me until one day I tried to pay my bills with their opinions.
I used to care what people thought about me until one day I tried to pay my bills with their opinions.

Very true. People are going to talk about you know matter what you do so you might as well enjoy your life and be yourself. Because at the end of the day, it’s your life, not theirs.

Here's to you and here's to me. I pray that friends we'll always be. But if by chance we disagree, to heck with you and here's to me. - An Irish Toast
Here’s to you and here’s to me. I pray that friends we’ll always be. But if by chance we disagree, to heck with you and here’s to me. – An Irish Toast

Two Irish nuns have just arrived in USA by boat,
and one says to the other, “I hear that the people
in this country actually eat dogs.”

“Odd,” her companion replies, “but if we shall live
in America , we might as well do as the Americans do.”
As they sit, they hear a push cart vendor yelling,
“Hot Dogs, get your dogs here,” and they both walk
towards the hot dog cart.
“Two dogs, please!,” says one. The vendor is very pleased to oblige,
wraps both hot dogs in foil and hands them over. Excited, the nuns hurry
to a bench and begin to unwrap their ‘dogs.’

The mother superior is first to open hers.

She begins to blush, and then staring at it for a moment, leans to the other Nun and in a soft brogue whispers……

“What part did you get?”


Look for some more Irish humor here.

Food, Friends, Games, Music And Good Times

Wildcraft is unique among games. Learning and cooperation are key elements.
Wildcraft is unique among games. Learning and cooperation are key elements.

I played this game with my son this past weekend and it’s a great way to teach kids (and adults) about useful herbs that might be growing nearby. I also like the fact that it encourages cooperation rather than cut throat competition to win the game. The setting is that you’re at grandma’s house and she wants you to hike up the mountain to fetch her a couple of pails of huckleberries. Each player starts with four herbs in their backpack in case they need them for troubles along the way. The troubles might be a headache, cuts, a sprained ankle or maybe a bee sting. You’ll have opportunities to gather more herbs, take shortcuts or deal with set backs. You also get to help your friends catch up or deal with the troubles which come their way. By the time everyone makes it back to grandma’s house before nightfall everyone will have learned a thing or two and had some fun. Last Yule we bought extras of this game and gave them as gifts. Find out more at Learning Herbs

We had some delicious food at our Imbolc gathering. Our friend Jenni is a trained chef and she turned this into a marvelous stew and herb roasted leg of lamb.
We had some delicious food at our Imbolc gathering. Our friend Jenni is a trained chef and she turned this into a marvelous stew and herb roasted leg of lamb.

Every time we get together, the food my friends and I come up with is always amazing. Maybe that’s why I’m always struggling with my weight? Oh well, first world problems I guess.

Guinness chips. These things are awesome! I have shared this addiction with my friends at work, my spiritual family and beyond.
Guinness chips. These things are awesome! I have shared this addiction with my friends at work, my spiritual family and beyond.
See? Even at our jam sessions. Because, why not, right?
See? Even at our jam sessions. Because, why not, right?
Happy housewarming Jay and Stevie!
Happy housewarming Jay and Stevie!

We had some truly magical vibes that night playing a mix of styles from all over the world on the fly.