Category Archives: Living Liminally

Living Liminally: Reflections on Reconstructionist Polytheism

Recommended Translations of Irish Myths

 Responding to a social media question: What are my favorite translations of [old/middle] Irish material?I don’t know that I necessarily have favorite translations, per se, so much as favorite translators. So if I have a choice I tend to look for work by Kuno Meyers or Elizabeth Gray when possible because they are two of my favorites. Meyers because he footnoted like nobody’s business and he’s…

Continue reading…

Co-Walkers, Fetches, and Fylgja

 I often see a lot of confusion in modern paganism between three related but distinct concepts: the co-walker, fetch, and fylgja. These three concepts come from different cultures and can be described by some contemporary writers as equivalents however when we look more closely at the concepts within the root cultures it becomes clear that they are not so much equivalents as loosely similar…

Continue reading…

10 Red Flags in Spiritual Books

 I’ve written before about 7 Warning Signs of a Bad Fairy Source but I wanted to expand a bit here and look more generally at red flags of books that may be problematic. Some of these things will overlap with the previous list and many won’t but I think they all are important criteria for judging whether a book or other source might not be solid, especially in today’s world where material is…

Continue reading…

Imcallaim na Morrigan: the Morrigan, Cu Chulainn, and love?

 There is perhaps no other scene from Irish mythology that causes more confusion than the imcallam na Morrigna or so-called ‘Buan’s Daughter’ section of the Táin Bó Cuailgne [TBC]. This is the scene where the Morrigan in disguise as the daughter of a king named Buan [literally ‘lasting’ or ‘enduring’] goes to Cu Chulainn and first tries to tempt him then threatens him. This is the Faraday…

Continue reading…

The Power in a Name

 There is a lot of power in names and naming, so today I want to look at the way we see that played out in mythology and folklore. I thought this would be a good topic to discuss in particular because of the confusion I sometimes see around the idea of True Names and magical names within modern paganism. So let’s look at what True Names and magical names are, and the difference between them, with…

Continue reading…

Urine & Dirty Water: Fending Off Fairies With Filth

   The Good Folk across several cultures are well known for their preference for cleanliness and their strong dislike of people and places that are unclean as well as things, like urine and dirty water, that are similarly unclean. They avoid humans who they judge not to meet their cleanliness standards and on the same side of that coin may be warded off by using the things they dislike.  I’ll…

Continue reading…

Critical Reviews: Why They Matter and How to Spot a Good One

 Critical reviews are important but are often misunderstood or maligned, particularly in communities which emphasize harmony or focusing on the good over the bad. While I can understand this desire the truth is that a critical review can be an important way to address misinformation presented in nonfiction books or various issues in fiction. These issues are important to address because without a…

Continue reading…

7 Warning Signs of a Bad Fairy Source

 I am often asked for direction on finding good sources on the subjects of fairies, which is fair because there is a lot of material out there and it ranges from good to terrible. I thought today it might be helpful to offer a very basic outline of what can indicate something is a bad source, or at least one that needs further vetting. Of course these are only my opinions and other people may…

Continue reading…

Excerpt: Pagan Portals Lugh

 My new book Pagan Portals Lugh comes out the beginning of May and so today I’d like to share an excerpt from it for everyone.“After
the death of Nuadu and of those men, Lug took the kingship of Ireland, and his
grandfather Balar the Strong-smiter fell at his hands, with a stone from his
sling. Lugh was forty years in the kingship of Ireland after the last battle of
Mag Tuired”

<!–[if !…

Continue reading…

Darn It Yeats, You Had One Job: A Look at the Popular Rewriting of Irish Folklore

 This title is taken from something I often say when talking about the Echtra Nera: "Darn it Nera you had one job". Its a reference to the fact that in the story Nera is given the job of watching his son’s cow by his wife and when he falls asleep the cow is ‘borrowed’ by the Morrigan, resulting in not only the Táin Bó Regamna immediately but ultimately the Táin Bó Cuiligne as well. In other words…

Continue reading…