Thursday, 9 September 2010

Yup, another update...and some other thoughts

After getting the last few articles on the festivals finished off, I've put together some thoughts on celebrating Midsummer and Là Fhèill Mìcheil, which you can find here:

Celebrating Midsummer
Celebrating Là Fhèill Mìcheil

And after some moderate success with my attempts at making a modern version of the traditional strùthan, I've added the recipe to the long list of other varieties of bannocks. If I ever manage to get hold of some barley meal I'd like to try some barley bannocks, but otherwise that section is finished for now as well, I think. Purty picture included:


While I was doing the article on Là Fhèill Mìcheil I got to thinking about how to go about ritualising it - there's a lot to work with in terms of maybe trying to back-engineer some sort of ritual based on Carmichael's description of it in particular, but I have some reservations about that and I've run into a bit of a dead end with my attempts. In particular, it kind of feels a little bit like I'm trying to 'pick' a deity to fit the festival, but it really does seem that Manannán is a good fit. He and Michael seem to share a lot of similarities - associations with horses, the sea, a shield....Maybe that's just my personal bias, seeing as he's a god I tend to have a lot to do with, and I've been reading about him a lot lately. It kind of raises a few questions, though (assuming I'm onto something), especially considering his firmer associations with Midsummer. Perhaps my biggest problem in attempting anything like this is that I don't really emphasise the 'lesser' festivals in my practices, so I'm probably not the best person to try. And liturgy has never been one of my strong points.

In the meantime, though, I've got to thinking about cheery things like death and the afterlife...So I started working on an article about that, during my kid-free mornings, and realised that it really needed to be two articles. Surprisingly, I got long winded. How unusual.

The first one I've done is called:

Afterlife and Ancestors

I've tried to look at as many sources as I possibly can, as I usually do, but I'm sure there's a lot more I could've added, and hopefully will over time as things come to my attention. For once, it's sadly lacking in anything specifically Scottish, so it would be good to think more on that, but what little there is that I found is almost identical to the Irish sources anyway (not exactly shocking). 

Gàidhlig lessons will be starting again soon, so I really need to start going over my last year's worth of lessons before they start. I've been a thoroughly bad and neglectful student over the summer, it has to be said. Bad Seren.