Monday, 28 December 2015

Tairis has (finally) been updated...

Tairis: Gaelic Polytheism
As I mentioned a few posts ago, I was hoping to – finally – get on with fixing Tairis. It was obvious, by this point, that "fixing" it meant basically starting from scratch, and (ta da!) that's exactly what I've had to do.

Over the last two or three weeks (I've honestly lost track...) I've been moving everything over onto a brand new Wordpress. The new site is now live and you should find the following fixes and improvements:

Front page blog

Instead of a static home page I've decided to use a blog format so I can post and keep track of any updates as necessary. You'll find a bit of waffle about the changes I've made there, too. I'll still do my main blogging here, though.

New pages and some overhauled/re-written pages

It's hard to resist fiddling about with stuff, especially given the fact that some of the articles were first written almost ten years ago now. In those ten years I've had a bit more practice at writing, learned a whole lot more about Gaelic Polytheism, and the internet has opened up a huge amount of resources that I didn't have at my fingertips way back when. Because of that, some of the pages have simply been smoothed out and given a bit of spit and polish – editing out the clunkier bits of writing – while others have been almost completely rewritten or at least majorly overhauled. Some of the pages I feel could still do with scrapping and starting again but I just don't have the time to tackle them given everything I've got going on. Maybe that will happen in future.

The major overhauls/rewrites that are worth noting:

  • The Celebrations section has been majorly rewritten
  • As has the Offerings page
  • The Types of Offerings has been overhauled
  • The Gaelic has been added to the prayers in the Daily Practices section (and the 'thees and thous' removed from the translations)
  • Updates have been made to the liturgy outlined in the Practices section, too

New pages include:

Making a cros Bríde – including an overview of the history and practices associated with them
Celebrating Yule – now in addition to Hogmanay

For the cros Bríde page, this includes an example of an Irish prayer that's traditionally used in hanging up the crosses, which I was pretty excited to find in an article I stumbled across. Before now I've only seen such prayers referred to in passing, with no specific examples given.

I've also removed the Article Downloads page from the Resources section. Given the fact that Google Scholar and JSTOR have opened up so many more articles than I can ever keep up with, it seems pointless to maintain this one.

Slightly different ordering and new sections/names

This one's fairly minor but I've changed around the order of some of the sections. The section on Life Passages comes after Festivals and Celebrations now (I feel like it flows better, from the day to day stuff, to the seasonal stuff, to life events), and the section named Gods is now called An Trì Naomh to reflect the fact that it encompasses not just the gods but also the spirits and ancestors.

I've also added in a completely new section – Values – where I've moved the four-part article on Values, and the article on Gessi and Buada. These were originally housed in the Cosmology section, but that was rather large and unwieldy so splitting things up seemed to make more sense. The Values section now follows on from Cosmology.

Fixed footnotes

Updating the site has been a big job, mainly thanks to the huge amount of footnotes I've got on there. While I'd rather err on the side of caution and make it easy for people to look up stuff if they want to (never take my word for it, right?) there are a lot of footnotes. Which is never more apparent than when you're having to code every single one by hand. Now, however, in addition to actually working again, you can also hover over the footnote number and you'll get a preview of what the footnote says below. You'll still have to click down for any links there, but it should be a lot more convenient now.

A more consistent focus

Seeing as it's been nearly ten years since I started the site, a lot's changed in that time. In particular, identity politics and labels have evolved within the wider Celtic Reconstructionist community and those labels are something I struggled with in the beginning. To start with, when I first began writing stuff for Tairis, I used "CR." Then I began to use "Scottish Reconstructionism" as well as CR because I wanted to be more specific. And then, when Gaol Naofa was founded and they began using "Gaelic Polytheism," I came to feel that was the better term and switched to that. Apparently I didn't change everything on the site to make it all consistent, though, so I've gone through everything and tweaked the bits that needed tweaking: Gaelic Polytheism it is.

New links

Unfortunately this isn't an improvement per se, but it is a necessity. Moving the site over to Wordpress means that all the link paths are different now, so if you link to any articles on the site I'm afraid they're going to be broken now. I'm very sorry for the inconvenience!

*   *   *   *

I hope you find these changes are (mostly) for the better. If you don’t, older versions of the site can be accessed on, where you’ll be able to find the original versions of rituals or articles. So there's always that...

There's still a bit to do, however. I'm not entirely happy with the menu system, but with almost 115 articles on the site there are just too many to make the current menu bar house them all with drop-down sub-menus. I think it cuts off after a hundred articles, and then it shows everything in alphabetical order instead of the order I want to appear in (and it does with several themes I've tried so I think Wordpress is basically telling me that I talk too much). So my resident webmonkey husband is looking into finding a widget or something that might help with that. In the meantime, I'll work on putting up a site map.