Friday, 11 November 2011

New article

It's been a while since I've had anything of substance to add to the website, but I've finally managed to get back into the writing groove for long enough to finish another article.

After finishing the series of articles on the gods, spirits and ancestors I've been feeling a little lost and aimless in terms of what else I can add to website - not so much in the sense that I'm running out of things to write (there are plenty of things I've yet to even touch on, I'm fairly sure of that) - I've just been lacking an idea of where to go from here.

There's not much I can do to force inspiration; I've found the best thing to do is just relax and let myself stumble across it as it happens, so instead I've channelled most of my energies into reworking bits and pieces, here and there; a bit of reorganising and additions. But recently I've been thinking more and more about one subject in particular, and so I decided that I had my next article to be getting on with...

As ever things haven't quite worked out as I was expecting; one article has turned into two, so I've got one of them finished, and the other is in progress as we speak. Fermenting in my head, if not literally being typed, anyway. The finished article is on:

Gessi and Buada

Or, 'prohibitions and prescriptions' (there are so many different spellings to choose from - I know geis, singular, is the Old Irish spelling but the variety of plural options is confusing, so I ended up picking one and just running with it; not being a linguist I'll make no claims about my choice of plural spelling being the best one, but if I'm wrong on either count then at least one academic is as well. And at least I'm consistent...).

Mostly I've concentrated on the geis side of things, because I didn't find much to go on for buada, in spite of the fact that they seem to go hand in hand. I've tried to be as thorough as I can, and in the process I found a good few sources are available freely online - always handy! I've listed these on the Article Downloads page already, and I've tried to give links to as many of the tales I refer to as possible. Yesterday I found a book on that will be really handy for the next article as well. I've yet to add it to the website but it's worth noting here anyway, since it's a modern translation (1999) of a wisdom text I've spent ages trying to track down:

Old Irish Wisdom Attributed to Aldfrith of Northumbria: An Edition of Bríathra Flann Fhína maic Ossu - edited and translated by Colin Ireland

There's a good discussion of wisdom texts as a whole there, so it's worth a read if that's your kind of thing.

Anyway, all that remains is a few confessions (nothing juicy, though, so don't get your hopes up for anything good). Firstly, this wasn't the article I intended to write, but it's the one that apparently had to come first before I could concentrate on writing about values and virtues, my original topic of choice. Once I get the second article finished some things might have to be tweaked or moved around with this article, so they both still make sense, and I hesitated a bit before deciding to publish it right now. For some reason, I get impatient if I have to sit on something finished, though, so my impatience won out.

I thought at first that gessi would be something that I could look at in the process, but then my research ended up concentrating more and more on gessi than anything else, and then when I started writing I ended up with four pages of an article, three of which were about prohibitions and prescriptions. So it seems they wanted their own page. Who am I to disagree?

My second and main confession is that I've stopped short of really going into any details about how gessi and buada might apply in modern practices. I can't help but feel this might be a bit of a cop out, in one sense, but I decided that it wouldn't be right for me to go on about it. I'm not sure if I've really seen much discussion of them in a modern - Celtic Reconstructionist/Gaelic Polytheist - context, even though I do see the occasional query about them. But without much to go on in that respect, I decided it would be better to leave the question unanswered than fudge it.

So errr...Enjoy...