Sunday, 30 October 2011

Beannachtaí na Samhna (Samhain Blessings)

Dé Luain 31 de Mhí Dheireadh Fómhair 2011

Well Happy Halloween&Samhain to all! There are indeed numerous articles that can be written about this ancient pastoral and agricultural festival that marked the passing of summer, and preparation for winter. From the role it played into the evolution to Halloween, and the folk customs that spread from the Gaelic, to the New World, and celebrated by pagans throughout the world. I think I'll spare another Halloween origin post by reason of there being countless others out there around this time of year. Having already went through the end of autumn anticipation stage, and celebrated our coven Samhain Sabbat, I've decided to share a couple of writings themed for the occasion. For how can a blog exist without poetry eh? Had to happen sooner or later.

Here's one I wrote a couple of years ago.


Deireadh an tSamhraidh
Summer scented serenity Falls into crisp Autumn memories
Transformation, the cold air around the fields shedding vitality brings me tranquility
It’s this fresh breeze that brings my mind to ease

Deireadh Fómhair, Transformation, Reflection, Warmth, Indulgence. My affection follows the path of least resistance
Mo Bhean Chéile, Mo Thuath, Mo Chairde
To these my affection as warm in my stomach as the burn of Cider
As equal the fruits reaped as the deeds done unto me. Compassion the wine of this Season.

For we are never as alive, as before we Die
This is no lie, at the stars is the answer to find
As active the ocean of blackness above, as the rolling colours below
Alive in the frenzy of the bees, in the Red Giant’s rays on my face
Alive until the peak of fury in that clear Starlight night
Transformation. The First Frost

Stillness, Reflection, Dark, Regeneration
We’re from Black, before we fade to Black
In the womb yet once again
The womb of Hearth among family and friends
Tis this Season I adore. For Meán Fómhair was when I was born
A celebration not only to the start of my life
But of that with grá mo chroí agus m’anam, the love of my heart and soul, my wife

The still of the dormant night and howl of the wind is where I find Comfort
At home in the tradition all around me
Alive not only here in their homeland, but my native country
For when there became but one king
“Anocht Oíche Shamna Mongfhinne banda” a chant the children to this day continue to sing

Samhain, Fáilte an Gheimhridh"

And from a recent adoration I wrote to An Mhór-Ríoghain, who we know from myth mated with an Daghdha on the Unshin riverbanks on Samhain before the Cath Tánaiste Maige Tuired.

"Adhartha Morrígna

Go mbeannaítear duit a Mhór-Ríoghain, a bhandia máthair mhór na talún,
Great Queen of do thuatha, and protectress of our clanns.
Oh powerful Goddess known by many names throughout the lands,
At your choosing rain gifts of plenty, or strike fear into the hearts of man.

For you I bring tribute, dispensed from Cóiced na hÉireann,
To the Great One who is also called Danu, Macha, and Badhbh throughout Ireland.
With your Will our kin protect, and enemies' intent plunder,
As I pledge my love and praise to you mighty mother.

From fertility born at Unshin, and patroness of the battlefields of Ulster,
I give to you my undying loyalty, and service mo mháthair.
By my free soul with the blood of my heart I make this oath,
And I do swear my allegiance by the flight of the Crow.

Oh exalted one who has captured the hearts of many,
I kneel at you shrine and inhale the ecstasy of your beauty.
I ask for your blessing offering this awe projecting before me,
Aiding in your worship, the divine act that sets me free.

From your sacred waters, to Uaimh na gCat,
Take my sacrifice and hear my chant.
Under your intoxication, my profound deity,
Great Queen of Sovereignty, An Mhór-Ríoghain I call unto thee!"

Tír gan Teanga, Tír gan Anam

Dé Domhnaigh 30 de Mhí Dheireadh Fómhair 2011

It can be noticed that I feature some of the Irish language on my pages. Although I do have a few Irish speaking personal friends on my social networking sites, including a couple Native Speakers, why else would I put it up if no one else can understand it, especially if the English is usually featured beside it? Well I received my GCSE in Irish courtesy of Belfast's Ceathrún na Gaeltachta, and it's becoming a strengthening 2nd language of mine, that I choose to include in my personal sites. My teachers have also emphasised the need to live a language, and extend it further from the classroom. So...

"Why would a yank want to learn Irish?"

Well other than knowing if people are talking about you in the Gaeltacht, and being able to tell someone else off who doesn't know their national language that calls you a foreigner, there are further interests. Even though I'm a born and bread American, I also happen to be a Gaelic Polytheist, and have an affinity for traditions associated with Gaelic culture on a personal, and religious level. Although Gaeilge-Ársa, and Sean Gaeilge would have been the languages of pagan Ireland, Modern Irish is a living continuation that still carries the ancient's mindset. Besides, I'm a Traditionalist, so what better way to do my part to preserve traditions native to the land in which I currently reside.

"But no one even speaks it."

Even though Irish is an official language of the Reublic of Ireland, and an official recognised regional language of the United Kingdom, English remains the dominant language of the island outside of the small Irish speaking bilingual districts of the Gaeltacht. Although it's mandatory to learn in public schools in the ROI, few other than native speakers continue its use outside of the class room. As a modern Western society Ireland is, some even believe the language contributes to the stigma behind traditional Irish culture, due to old, negative stereotypes .

With this said, it's believed 1 out of every 10 students forced to learn it actually develop a passion for the language, which has lead to an increasing number of Urban speakers outside of the Gealtacht. In Northern Ireland, Belfast itself has the highest concentration of Irish speakers outside of the Gaeltacht, currently with 44 Naíscoileanna(nurseries), 32 Bunscoileanna(primary schools), and 2 Mheánscoileanna(secondary schools) that teach specifically through the medium ship of Irish. It has it's own Gaeltacht quarter, An Cheathrún Gaeltachta, and with community radio stations such as Raidió Fáilte, and spreading Irish culture centres like An Chultúrlann, and An Droichead, it's easier now to become familiar with the language than ever before. Because of this, Irish is a language that I hear and use on at least a weekly basis, and can be heard anywhere in na Ceathrún Gealtachta, that also extends to Bank Square in the City Centre.

Outside of NI, and the ROI, there has also been an increased interest in the language in countires such as England, the USA, Canada, Australia, and France. Many people from these countries can be found online trying to learn the language on Irish networking sites. This may be because of these country's history of diaspora Irish immigrants, and
as a matter of fact, it was in my home town of St. Louis, MO that I first heard the language spoken. This all makes for a promising future(hopefully) for an teanga Ghaeilge.