Sunday, 27 July 2014

New videos...

Since we released a bunch of videos earlier this month, which took us up to Midsummer in the festival year, Kathryn and I have been working hard on the next batch so we can get them out in time for Lùnastal.

Picking up where we left off, then, now have a new video for Lùnastal (Lúnasa):

And then tying in with that we have a video on the Prophecy of the Morrígan - Badb's Prayer for Peace:

Following on from that, we get to Là Fhèill Mìcheil, which roughly coincides with the autumnal equinox:

As with the other videos, Lúnasa and Là Fhèill Mìcheil are intended to be a short introduction to the festivals, giving an overview of the historical roots, lore, and practices associated with them. Là Fhèill Mìcheil is primarily celebrated in Scotland, but we also touch on the broader points of the significance of the solstices and equinoxes in Gaelic belief, as well as the customs that are observed in some parts of Ireland at this time. For more information on the festival, you can always take a look at the article I've done on Tairis (link to the archive, because the site is still down - hopefully not for much longer...).

The music we've chosen for the Lúnasa are two different versions of a traditional reaping song, called Buain a' Choirce (lyrics and translation are at the link). The first version, by Martyn Bennett, is a fusion of a more modern musical arrangement, with the song itself sung in the traditional style by his mother, the Scottish folklorist Margaret Bennett, and the rhythm track uses a sample of an old 1920s threshing machine. The second version, by Síleas, is a more traditional rendition over all.

The second video, on Badb's prayer for peace, is intended to tie in with Lúnasa, as well as Samhain, as we explain in the announcement we released over on Gaol Naofa. Lúnasa is the one time of the year where peace is an essential condition of the celebrations and gatherings that are held in honour of Taillte, as Lugh instituted the festival in her memory. We've chosen this particular prayer, as sung by the Morrígan from Cath Maige Tuired, because the tale has many elements that fit in with what Lúnasa is all about, as well as Samhain. Historically, a failure to uphold the peace at Lúnasa would have risked being thrown out of your túath, which was a serious consequence in a time when your legal rights were heavily tied in with your status and standing amongst your people. Without a túath you effectively had no legal rights, making you fair game, basically. Given the seriousness of all this, it's something that we, as Gaelic Polytheists, should think about too.

More videos are still to come, at some point. All that remains to say is another big thank you to everyone who's helped us produce the videos, from those of you who've helped us find music we can use, given us feedback and general support, and those of you who've very generously given us permission to use your photos. In particular, I'd like to thank Ali Isaac for allowing us to use her photo of Taillte's assembly site in our Lúnasa video. Mòran taing!