Friday, 22 April 2016

New video! New(ish) article! Daily Rites in Gaelic Polytheism

So as we announced over on the Gaol Naofa site last week (yes I'm way behind on things...), we've got a new video out:

And also a new (or at least improved) Daily Rites article to accompany it, which now has a number of prayers offered in both Gaelic and English translation. To be honest, there was no particular rhyme or reason in choosing to do this particular subject right now, aside from the fact that it seemed like a good idea to continue the more practical theme like our last video on Offerings in Gaelic Polytheism had.

I'm really not sure when the original Daily Rites article was written (I'm pretty sure it was before my time as a member of the GN council), but for the sake of those who prefer the original prayers given there, we've archived that version of the article on the site, and it's cross-referenced to the new version, too. Kathryn took charge of the article's overhaul of the piece, and I think the contrast between the prayers given in the original version, and the ones that Kathryn chose to adapt from the Carmina Gadelica in the new version, gives a good contrast and illustration of how different people have different styles.

When I was first starting to explore CR and then Gaelic Polytheism specifically, the idea of daily prayers seemed kind of restrictive and off-putting. Coming from a completely secular background it was a concept that was alien to me, and it seemed kind of dull... Wouldn't it get boring and become rote? But I kept coming back to the idea for reasons I've never really fully understood, aside from the undeniable urge that I should, and eventually I started looking at the kinds of prayers that were out there, that maybe I could adapt or work with in coming up with some of my own. After a bit of fiddling around I found a routine that felt like it was a good fit, and since I started I've not stopped, really. It was a gradual process as I figured things out, but now I say the same prayers every day (or night...) – at the very least I will pray each night, just as I've got into bed and I'm lying down, since that's most comfortable for me – and it's become an integral part of my bedtime routine now. Even when I'm absolutely exhausted I find it hard to get to sleep until I've said them now.

I think it's important that the prayers we say as part of our practice have meaning to us, and they flow from the heart. My preference is for the more traditional, like the ones we've given in the new article, and the ones I have over on Tairis, but I also tend to add in prayers of my own making, too – off the cuff prayers that aren't poetic, perhaps, but they're no less heartfelt or meaningful. But the traditional types of prayers – the same words I say over and over again from year to year – form the barebones of my daily routine.

I'm sure the idea of a daily routine of prayer doesn't appeal to some people and I don't think it's the only way things should or can be done. For one, there are simple traditions and customs that can become a part of your day, too... It doesn't make anyone lesser, or greater, just because of what they do or don't do, though. Religion isn't a competition or a pissing contest, you know? Or it shouldn't be. I'm sure a lot of people do maintain a daily routine of some sort, even if it doesn't follow a particular outline or isn't even a conscious thing. Maybe somedays or most days the sum total is little more than a mental "hey."

What matters is that it works for the individual, and that – at its core – it helps maintain that connection with An Trì Naomh. It's about being mindful of who you are, who you honour. I've seen some people say they try to keep up a daily routine of some sort but somedays, for whatever reason, it just doesn't happen and then there's a sense of guilt or failure, and it becomes hard to get back into the routine because the sense of whatever starts to snowball... But we're only human, after all. We all have our limits and if it happens, it's OK. If it keeps happening, maybe it's better to scale things back a bit and go easier; don't bite off more than you can chew. At the end of the day... Just do you.