Meet the Gentleman

A Southern gay man writing about my experiences on my religious journey. Largely influenced by my Irish heritage, my faith heavily leans on Irish Celtic Reconstruction: an attempt to bring what we know of pre-Christian Irish religion into the modern age in a way that it might have naturally evolved over time. Iā€™m also a practitioner of Southern folk magic, mainly charms and trinkets, for health and protection. My practice of magic is sometimes related to my religion, sometimes not.

I’m also an academic scholar of religion focusing on non-Christian religions of the Americas, so you’ll find things here that I find generally fascinating or that I think are good things to be disseminated into the greater Polytheist and Pagan communities that may be completely unrelated to my own practice. Building a stronger sense of unity within these communities is important to me as well, so knowing a bit about each other’s paths can be nothing but useful.

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9 thoughts on “Meet the Gentleman

  1. Hello! Wow! Thank you for sharing this. Also before I forget thanks for explaining the image with the image. As a disability rights activist, I try to remember that people with sight impairment often have a program read the web out loud to them. When the image is especially so essential understand the post, this type of description is read to the person and they are included. You reminded me to not forget that!
    Grainne I have felt as the scorching midsummer sun. From the burning wheels rolled into rivers. Like “Not too harsh now, ok?” Ireland tends to stay nice and cool, 60 degrees F in summer often. When two weeks f 80 degrees F came all my friends complained like they’d die.
    I do pagan prison support. Right now I’m working with LGBT prison group Black and Pink. B&P makes a newsletter and mails it to incarcerated members, filled with LGBT news. For many it’s the only way they knew about Orlando. They alsoshare writing and poetry from those inside and their opinions about LGBT news. There’s coming out help too. And an erotic zine and a spirituality zine written by those imprisoned and this month an art show opened in NYC. They have a penpal program. Over 400 members inside said they’re Wiccan/Pagan. I have 50 page Handouts about different traditions like British Druidry, Celtic polytheist, Wicca, animism, African Diaspora Religions (that’s about 100 pages as there’s many), etc. It’s not writing by me but taken online and books so there are at least four different writers giving different opinions and rituals. Because prison is so expensive the handout needs to cover as much as possible .
    B&P asked me if I could put together an LGBT collection about Pagan spirituality. You have a wide range of information and I know people are really interested in hoodoo and Celtic polytheism a lot. I wondered if you have anything that you would like to share for LGBT pagans in prison. As they cannot go online they are rather cut off from anything currently happening which is one reason I like to get some more cutting-edge or off the beaten track information to them. Do you have any rituals, essays or whatever about being gay and pagan that you think would be the most helpful? Unfortunately the LGBT community is targeted the most for sexualized and physical violence but when they receive mail it is in public and it creates a sort of harm reduction because the guards and inmates see that someone on the outside is paying attention. Also the LGBT community is targeted more than a lot of other communities for incarceration. Quite a few people are imprisoned because of radical self-defense when being gay bashed by a group and fighting back. The people attacking don’t go to prison or even have any fines but the person attacked and fought back ends up in prison. I’m doing the handout as a way to let them know that they are not forgotten

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  2. Also it’s really cool what you said about learning from different traditions . I been thinking that paganism might need to have interfaith discussions because there are so many different traditions and religions right now and I hear people slam ones other than their own but they don’t really know anything about them. In making all of these handouts I’ve learned about a lot of different traditions that I didn’t have a lot of experience with and every single one there was at least one person writing where I could really connect and felt like it was really beautiful. I’m personally not someone who likes debating spiritual experiences and I see a lot of groups talking about this is a welcome place for debating and I’d rather see welcome place for discussing. Debating implies someone wins and somebody loses.

    The Appalachian Pagan Ministry is Pan-Pagan, Rev Donna Donovan who started the Celtic Reconstructionist magazine with the name I can never spell LOL started the organization. To show that pagans from different traditions can work together. Part of that is in prison. But also weddings and creating community gardens . And having diversity for the prisons and also for doing weddings makes it different. There’s a root doctor, Wiccan, ADF Druidry member, Gaelic Reconstructionist. That’s really cool.

    Donna and I are the main writers for a Celtic polytheist book for people in prison . It will be published by Asphodel Press already put out a great book for pagans in prison on the northern tradition that is over 400 pages and is sold wholesale to people in prison . I found that it’s peoples favorite. No matter what tradition they are it applies to their lives more . There’s a series being done for Celtic, Hellenic Greek, and Kemetic Egypt polytheists in prison.

    This is the only ritual I’ve seen ever for this holiday. I was blown away. There is a woman in Wales with that is a priestess of Rhiannon for 40 years and is doing her PhD in Rhiannon who is writing some rituals and Donna has covered the four-quarter days, I’ll probably do The Cailleach Lady’s Day and Hogmanay. As you are the only person I’ve ever seen mention this holiday and those goddesses are definitely in the book I wondered if you would be willing to write something a little bit more about the day and something that people in prison can do . In the minimum and medium security prisons they can have candles usually. The maximum-security prisons we try to come up with things using origami . If you don’t feel comfortable writing something short or long about it for the book do you mind if I work with what you have written and create something for the book? Any writing you do or share for anything in which I am involved you would have credit using whatever name you feel comfortable using. If you have any other rituals that are Celtic that you would like to share either as submissions for the editor or that I could use as a basis that would be wonderful . They don’t have to be seasonal they can be other kinds of rituals . You can be pretty sure that they at least have access to paper and the sink. Not a lot of tools . And most do get to go into the yard, although there are usually not any trees that they can touch they can often see them. We’ve been talking about possible walking meditations to do in the yard working with the division of Ireland or land sea and sky.

    Unfortunately I cannot pay you anything because nobody writing is getting paid. For me it’s a devotional offering.

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  3. If you’re interested in any of this please feel free to email me at sorchalefay@gmail.com. I have had Lyme disease with babesiosis (malaria) for seven years without it being positive with the testing so I’ve gotten very ill (the Western blot test is only 55% accurate unfortunately can attest that does work is $600) and also was heavily poisoned with chemicals making my mild chemical sensitivities very severe so I live in one room and I’m bedridden . Everything I’m doing this with dictation in case there’s weird spellings of any kind or words are missing. I might not be able to email back right away because there are a lot of times with fevers and being really out of it so I try not to interact with people I don’t know very well when I’m not conscious šŸ™‚ just letting you know that it’s not personal .

    And we would welcome submissions of different medications, guided visualizations, rituals, chants, etc. both solo and also for groups that could be done in a prison setting with no real tools. Candles are okay for some of them but I want to make sure that a lot of them are inclusive for everyone. Some prisons allow incense and drumming. People are very creative! It’s really cool how hard they work to find ways to do things ā€“ it’s one of the places where people are really grateful to read what people have written and everything is shared because there’s very little to read in prison .

    I’ve been up all night so I hope that this wasn’t filled with rambling šŸ™‚

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  4. BTW I originally tried to make a comment about the Aine ritual. But it wouldn’t let me. So if the beginning part of all of this doesn’t make any sense it’s because it was written as a comment to something else entirely šŸ™‚

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      • Hello, I have my official call for submissions . If there’s anything you would like to work on go for it! The deadline is in six months. If you know anyone who might be interested in writing please feel free to pass along the call for submissions. Thank you so much!

        And of course anything for the LGBT Pagan community in prison is always welcome šŸ™‚

        Call for Submissions: Steel Bars, Sacred Waters: Celtic Paganism for Prisoners

        Seeking Celtic Reconstruction-based rituals, guided meditations and deity information rooted in Celtic tradition and creatively tailored for polytheists in prison.

        Rituals solo & group for:
        Samhain
        Epona’s Day
        Hogmanay
        Imbolc (they make a paper Brigid’s Cross)
        La na Caillich
        Beltane/ Calen Mai
        Midsummer (Aine perhaps)
        Lughnasadh/ Festival of Carmun
        Harvest practices
        Moon phases
        Daily devotions
        Blessing children (perhaps not knowing where they are, like foster care)
        Preparing to die
        If someone dies (and you can’t be at the funeral)
        Parole hearing success
        Preparing to reenter outside world (with no money, clothing, home, job, but a stigma)
        For healing

        Guided meditations, stationary and walking. Some examples but please don’t feel limited!:
        The Spoils of Annwn
        Shapeshifting based on poem or myth
        Land, sea and sky
        St Brennan’s Voyage
        The three internal cauldrons
        Using the Ogham
        Imbas or awen
        Grounding
        Protection

        Deities, the Good Neighbors and Culture Heroes. 2 or 3 paragraphs summarising the mythology. If they overlap like Finn, Sadb and Oisin in one story, you can group together.

        Intro to the Tuatha De Danann (explain Lebor Gabala Erenn concisely, focus on Tuatha De Danann. Several pages. Remember individual deities will be covered elsewhere)

        General intro to the Fianna (can be a few pages, explain their role, training, stories)

        Information about the Fairies (can be several pages. Include protection from, offerings to, different types, from where they come, where they live, myth, how to treat them)

        Aine
        Elen of the Ways
        Manannan Mac Lir
        Dian Cecht
        Airmid
        The Morrigan
        The Dagda
        Brigid
        Lugh
        Macha
        Cu Chulain
        Fand
        Nuada
        Babd
        Maeve
        Amairgen
        Finn Mac Cumall
        Bodb Derg (and any of his children important to you)
        Sadb
        Oisin

        Special limitations: Some readers will have access to candles, some type of incense, and perhaps their own art supplies like colored pencils. Assume most will only have access to this book (no Internet or library), notebook paper, pen, tap water and basic Ogham knowledge. Most will have access to the yard or running track, but no trees. Some Pagan Circles are allowed to meet outside, while others cannot have any type of rituals without clergy from the outside. Writing style must be clear for low literate people. Nothing academic. Provide pronunciation guide for any words not in English. Black and white visual directions for dances, making origami, etc welcome. No shaming. We do not want to reinforce an identity as criminal. The focus is on people.

        Why participate? 1% of Americans are in prison. The US incarcerates more of its population than any other nation. One and 27 children have a parent in prison. 80% of people in prison are there for drug related offenses. In the United States addiction is considered a disease, but there is rarely any treatment offered in prison. One in eight people are there for cannabis. The number of Pagans in prison is growing very quickly. Many learn about Paganism in prison ā€“ but unfortunately the most active pagan groups are white supremacists. We need quality materials for Pagans in prison. Already the Northern Tradition Paganism book Candles in the Cave has been well received and a Hellenic polytheist book is scheduled next.

        As this book will be sold at no profit to people in prison, none of the writers are paid. (Contributors in prison will receive a copy of the book.) Your name will be included with any writing accepted. The book is an offering to the Deities and ancestors.

        Send submissions as Word attachments to RhiannonRestoration@gmail.com. Email if you have book-related queries. No racism, sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism or Celtic genetic or cultural superiority allowed. Deadline: May 15 2017

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      • There are several things here I’d like to write somethin for! I’m gonna get started soon.

        Is it ok to pass this along to a few trusted friends to see if they might like to contribute? Most come from an Irish/Gaelic perspective, but I also know a few folks from Gaulish and Brythonic backgrounds and it would be nice to cover some of these traditions, too. Or if the scope is specifically Gaelic, I do think the title should reflect that rather than the broader “Celtic” label.

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