Myths and Symbols of Pagan Europe by H.R. Ellis Davidson


This book is an absolute goldmine for those following an Irish or an Icelandic path.  There is so much about the practices of the people living in those times which has been extrapolated from texts.

It is especially good for someone like me, who worships trees and waters.

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Staying True to my Path


On a message board I’m on someone asked how we stay true to our path and not become eclectic.  Being an Irish practitioner, there is no one path laid down to follow, no prescribed route to take and no holy book that hasn’t been tampered with.

I read the texts and other books associated with my path.  Some of them are useful and some of them have little or no clues to my path.  I give the books marked “pagan” a miss unless someone else has recommended them.  A lot of them have inaccuracies I can spot a mile off and aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

I tend to stick to books which are in the archaeology and myths & legends sections or a translated Irish text.  The Irish texts I usually order from the library.  In my local library it costs £1 if they buy the book or the book is in the county, but the Irish texts normally come from a university and cost £2.50 because they’re out of the county.

I also meditate weekly, using Immramic meditation (see http://eblannaraven.com/intro.htm) and meeting one of my deities who is teaching me.  And most importantly, I think about things and ask questions, one of which is : “is this correct for my path?”

Some things, like charm bracelets and Graeco-Romanic astrology I have to bring in from outside, as there is nothing in the Irish ways to fill the gap.  The charm bracelet holds any spells I need on a day-to-day basis and the druids did consult astrology, so there is a legitimate reason to fill the gap with things from other cultures.

Unfortunately there is no record of what astrology the Irish druids used.  The Celtic Tree astrology is not astrology, as astrology needs to be a lot more complex than which tree you were born under.  It also only dates as far back as Robert Graves.

Other things, like spirit guides, I don’t need.  I have my deities to guide me and teach me things.  Some lessons come easier than others, but I am grateful for the time these deities are putting into me.

This path is a long, hard slog to find the crumbs that we have been left with and make them into a whole path.  But it’s been rewarding doing it and if I gave it up tomorrow, I still would not regret it.

Tenets


As part of my sorting season (Sorting Season) I was sorting out the files on the computer; deleting ones I didn’t want to keep and organising the rest into folders.  During it I came across a list of my tenets or beliefs.

I meant to go over these each Autumn Equinox, but I forgot about them.  However, I plan to do this as I may add new ones in.

1. Don’t believe or do things unless you know why – and “because we’ve always done it” or “because X does it” is not a reason.

2. Beliefs are not set in stone – experiences or talking with other people may change them.

3. Other people’s beliefs may be different from mine.  This does not necessarily mean they’re wrong.

4. Don’t try and convert people.

5. Scholarship is the backbone of my practice.  However, if the scholarship is not used, it is useless.

6. Paganism is not just something to be done at the weekends, it’s part of my life.

7. If you don’t know the answer, either go away and think about it and then come back to the person who asked the question and answer them or tell them you don’t know.

8. Be patient with newbies and people who are ignorant.

9. Always do what you say you will do, unless you forget, are prevented from doing so or have done it under duress.

London Aquarium


Last weekend we went to the London Aquarium.  It was lovely to see the fish and turtles swimming around in the tanks.  The rays in particular seemed to enjoy buzzing the visitors and in one case the ray was balancing on its tail out of the water for a few minutes.  We weren’t allowed to touch the fish – probably because we’d pass diseases on to them.

It’s a wonderful place, but expensive at £19.00 per adult.  They have sharks, activities for kids to do and information on all the sea life that are in their tanks.  It’s not just fish and turtles, they have starfish, different varieties of sea anemones and other sea creatures.

If you can afford it, it’s well worth going to have a look.  It reminded me how much I still have to learn about the natural world.

Every Day


On forums I have heard people say that they’ve gone a long time without doing anything for their path.  These are usually people who are new to their path, as we who have been there a while know that not a single day goes by without us doing something.

It’s a 20th century invention that people can separate off work, religion and home from each other, whereas all three affect each other.  For example, if you’ve slept badly because something in your home life is bothering you, then your work life will be affected.  Your paganism can be used to affect both work and home.  And if the boss has been on your back at work you will come back home grumpy and this will affect your interactions in the home.

Every day I do things for my path.  At the start of the day, I check my diary for which planets are transiting to my natal birth chart, which is the planets in the sky when I was born.  This gives me a forecast of what the day will be like and tells me where and when I need to be careful and what is best to do on that day.

At the end of every day I give an offering to the land, which is basically for any spirits/fairies/whatnot that happen to be there.  If miss doing this too often, then my telly programmes either don’t record at all or don’t record properly.

Between times I may work in the garden, or talk to trees or read a book relevant to my path or go for a walk in the wood or meditate.  It just depends on the time of year and what day it is.  Every day I usually have some messages to read on forums or message boards.

My view is that you’re not really a pagan until your paganism is integrated into everyday life so far that you can’t separate your pagan life from your mundane life.

Celtic Pantheon


There is no such thing as a Celtic pantheon, but unfortunately that doesn’t stop people from saying that they follow it.  Usually they say : I follow X Irish deity, Y Welsh deity and Herne the Hunter.

Since Herne goes back to an English woodsman who was hanged in Windsor forest in the 15th century, there is no way that either the Irish or the Welsh deities would work with him.

There is no guarantee that deities in the same pantheon will get on with one another, never mind deities of other pantheons, so if you are mixing deities from different pantheons, you need to do a lot of research and also ask the deities if they will work with one another.

The word “Celt” first appeared when European tribes banded together to fight Rome.  The Romans called these tribes the Keltoi and over the years this became Celts.  These tribes would have different languages and have followed different deities.

Sorting Season


My sorting season begins after January 1st.  It’s the time when I go through what I have got and throw out anything that I don’t want.  This is mainly books and clothes, but I also go through my mobile, deleting contacts I haven’t used for ages and messages that have built up on my phone.

I do the same with my email and private message boxes on forums and also clear out the computer, burning anything I want and haven’t used for ages to CD, deleting anything I don’t want and for the rest I review the folders I have.  I also sort out the bookmarks I have on the computer.

Apart from that, I sort the files I have, only keeping anything under two years and shredding or throwing out the rest.