Celtic Polytheism, Paganism, Prayer

A Funerary Prayer to Lugh

Lugh Samildánach, God with Many Talents,
One of your devotees has ended [his/her/their] earthly cycle.
Borrow again that swift-sailing boat, the coracle Wave-Sweeper,
From your foster-father Manannán Mac Lir.

Bear [name] away in the boat, over the sea to the West,
Where [he/she/they] might rest a while.
Look over [him/her/them], Lugh Lámfada, Warrior of the Long Arm,
And see that no harm comes to [him/her/them] on [his/her/their] journey.

Take our blessings and love with you, 
Across the sea in that swift boat,
To sustain [him/her/them] until [he is / she is / they are] wrapped in the loving arms
Of [his/her/their] Ancestors and Beloved Dead.

This we would ask of you, Lugh, foster-son of Tailtiu,
In whose honor you dedicated the funeral games of Lughnasadh.
We honor [name] now as you honored her,
And we celebrate [his/her/their] memory.

by me, Alexandra Nic Bhe Chuille, 2021

I wrote this prayer for the funeral of a friend-of-a-friend who was a devotee of Lugh. I spoke to Lugh as I wrote it, and then changed words and phrases until we were both satisfied. There aren’t a lot of funerary prayers available online for either Irish Polytheists specifically, or for Pagans generally, and I thought I would share this one for Lughnasadh. Please feel free to use it, with proper attribution.ibution.

Bright Moon, Kemetic

Kemetic Bright Moon 7/23

This is the last full moon before the festival of Wep Ronpet, the Kemetic new year, timed locally by the heliacal rising of the star Sirius over Washington, DC. So the message this time was somewhat about that.

As you prepare for the return of Sopdet, the star that heralds the flooding of the Nile, as you prepare for your celebration of Wep Ronpet, you also must examine your inner tides. Are you aware of the flow of your own emotions, or have you distanced yourself from them? If there is too much distance, you will lose the ability to feel joy as well, and will not be able to truly give yourself over to the New Year’s celebrations. So be brave for the moment, and let yourself feel deeply: the good and the bad.

So – Wep Ronpet! By my calculations for DC (and thus for the local area, or potentially for anyone living in the USA who wants to use the capital city’s date), Sopdet, the star Sirius, will be visible before sunrise on August 9th this year. Working backwards, that gives us the following timeline for the Epagomenal Days:

  • Timeline:
    • Aug 4th: Birth of Wesir (Osiris)
    • Aug 5th: Birth of Heru-Wer (Horus the Elder)
    • Aug 6th: Birth of Set
    • Aug 7th: Birth of Aset (Isis)
    • Aug 8th: Birth of Nebthet (Nephthys)
    • Aug 9th: Wep Ronpet!

I’ll be reblogging my usual votive images and prayers on the Tumblr E-Shrine, so you can follow along there. And I’ll be doing my yearly execration in the evening on August 8th, the night before Wep Ronpet, so if you have anything you’d like to request me to ritually destroy for you, let me know in an email please and I’ll add it to mine. I’ll probably write up a blog about the execration and my Wep Ronpet celebration, but if I manage to launch my new website and blog it will be on that one (though I’ll be sure to leave a link on this one so you can find it! I have a new prayer I’ll be sharing, too.

The next full moon is August 22nd. If you have any questions, or if you would like to request a personal message or heka for August, please email the shrine here. And if you are interested in supporting the shrine, I have a tip jar set up here. Thanks!

Celtic Polytheism, Paganism

Crow Folks: The Season of Harvest Begins

This Dark Moon, I was instructed to return to the more poetic form, and deliver the message for our preparation for Lughnasadh in that manner. A few of these lines owe inspiration in part to Morgan Daimler’s translation of the Cath Maige Tuired, as I cannot read it in the original Irish, but the English translation rang in my head as I communed with Na Morrigna, and drank inspiration from their cauldron.

The season of harvesting begins
Beginning of a transition
A death that sustains life.

Courage falters,
Fear rises,
Insecurity holds us down.

Remember your power:
Power from strength,
Strength from conviction.

Why do you do this work?
Not hard, we say.
You are called to it.

Answering volley with volley,
Shielding those without shields,
Pursuing to strike with bloody destruction,

Many fields of battle:
Stand firm in yours,
Your squadron surrounds you.

Standing shoulder to shoulder,
No wedge between you,
Focused, taut, ready.

The season of death begins,
A time of community-sustaining harvest,
A transition back into a passionate life of service.

Hopefully that message with resonate with some of you! As for me, I’ll be using this to make plans for Lughnasadh, and to confirm another year in service to Na Morrigna.

Bright Moon, Kemetic

Kemetic Bright Moon 6/24

Earlier today, I did my usual Bright Moon Ritual to Bast and Sekhmet, and this is the message they gave me, to share with my community:

Many of you are standing at a precipice: take care how you fall. If you stand there, you will fall, for there is no longer a way to stay where you are. But you can choose how far and how painful an experience your fall is. You may be tempted to prepare a swansong and leave your destination to chance, but this is a beginning as well as an ending. Those of you who feel isolated may find compatriots where you land. Be more proactive than reactive — be careful what you reflect. Contribute to illumination, not misapprehension and obscurity. Grief swirls around each of you, and if you get caught in an eddy of that grief, you must learn to steer your emotions — do not let them control you. Move like water, and dance like flame: not all feelings can be processed in stillness and silence. Your struggles are the microcosm reflecting the macrocosm, and the doubts you have for yourself are also doubts for the victories of ma’at. Isfet is persistent, and the war is ongoing: we fight at night so that you may enjoy the day. Stand in the sun — let us warm you.

The next full moon is July 23rd, and after that we’ll be heading into the Epagomenal Days at the beginning of August. If you have any questions, or if you would like to request a personal message or heka for July, please email the shrine here. And if you are interested in supporting the shrine, I have a tip jar set up here. Thanks!

Paganism, Spiritwork

Building Ethical Relationships with the Land

I read a blog by Hecate Demeter recently that I thought asked a very good question at the end: “Do you ever introduce yourself to the land? If you travel and will be somewhere for a few days, do you ever bring an offering to the new land?”

My immediate answer was “Yes, of course I do,” but my very next thought was – “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do that at an event who wasn’t doing it with me.” That doesn’t mean people aren’t doing it, of course – doing it privately is much better than attempting to show off to your fellow attendees – but it did make me wonder. How many people actually do this? Do they always do it, or only at witchy/pagan events? Do they do it differently if they’re visiting in different contexts?

And then I reflected on my own practice. I tend to default to the ceremonies and prayers of the indigenous tradition from my mother’s side of the family. Tobacco, a self introduction that includes the place I was born, murmured words of thanks to all friendly spirits. When I’m at witchy or pagan events, or anywhere I’m likely to do magic, I also seek out the Local Fair Folk. As part of my work with the Fairy Queen I serve, I am supposed to check in at the local consulate, in a manner of speaking. However, If I’m somewhere only briefly, or if I’m not on Turtle Island*, my introductions are more likely to be silent and meditative, seeking brief connection and energetic exchange. In general, I consider friendly relations with the local land wights, body-of-water wights, nature spirits, and otherworldly beings to be an important exchange of hospitality.

If there are Dead around, you can try reaching out to them, too, if you can do it in a way that is respectful and not dangerous to you or to them. If they have very different life experiences or spoke very different languages or practiced very different spiritual systems to yours, they may not want to hear from you. That goes double if your bloodline ancestors wronged them or were their enemies. However, knowing who not to bother or ask a favor of is also an important part of getting to know your neighbors! Also it can sometimes be a good idea to leave the Dead – especially the Unquiet Dead – to a witch who specializes in deathwork.

Occasionally Deities/Divinities** may show up as well. One time I was in Puerto Rico talking to the waves on a beach, and a Divine Spirit associated with the sea — in the shape of a Black woman with blue hair — touched my mind, leaving me with a brief experience of divine awe. (I think she was probably Yemaya, but she didn’t give me a name — just the vision, and a sense of welcome.) When they show up, though, they are not usually invitations to a deeper relationship. These brief experiences are the energetic equivalent of getting a friendly wave from a Head of State who is currently in a motorcade that just happened to be going by wherever I am.

Most of Hecate Demeter’s blog series, however, is a call to ground your practice in the place you are, and to build relationships with the land, water, and nature spirits who live nearest to you. She says (and I very much agree) that we don’t need to “re-enchant” anything. The land is still enchanted, still inspirited. What we need to do is to rekindle our relationship where we are, wherever we are Right Now. Lots of modern USian*** people feel like they don’t have roots because as a culture we move around a lot, but population movements have always happened. Even if you’re only going to be around somewhere for six months, it’s still a good idea to get to know your neighbors – corporeal and otherwise.

In my own practice, I try to build conscientious and respectful relationships with the spirits I encounter as I go about my daily life. A lot of those are Otherworldly beings of various types that largely fall into the broad category of “fae”, or they are spirits of specific “objects”, like trees, cars, houses, creeks. But I find that when I reach out to the land itself, there are what feels like layers of spirit, like the layers of a nesting doll. The deeper and larger I go, the harder it is to communicate, though I have had pretty good results with rivers and cities as singular units. For example, I wrote this quarter call that calls upon rivers local to me for use in a group rite I helped lead:

Tonight we create sacred space by grounding ourselves deeply in our natural surroundings.  We live here, in a landscape dominated by the Appalachian mountains to the West, and the Atlantic ocean to our East, beneath the dome of the Sky.  But tonight we call on powers more local, better known to us.

In the North we call to Lady of the mighty Potomac, River of Swans, Lifeblood of this area.  We offer you sweet smelling incense, and soothing herbal waters, if you will stand as Guardian to our ritual tonight.

In the East we call to the Great Lady of the Chesapeake Bay, Grave of a Meteor and Mother of Rivers.  All waters in this area come home to you.  We offer you sweet smelling incense, and soothing herbal waters, if you will stand as Guardian to our ritual tonight.

In the South we call to the Lady of the majestic Rappahannock, River of Tides, Quick-Rising Waters.  We offer you sweet smelling incense, and soothing herbal waters, if you will stand as Guardian to our ritual tonight.

In the West we call to the Lady of the beautiful Shenandoah, River of Spruces, Daughter of the Potomac. We offer you sweet smelling incense, and soothing herbal waters, if you will stand as Guardian to our ritual tonight.

(c) 2019 by the author, Alexandra Nic Bhé Chuille. Please ask for permission before using.

Hecate Demeter says in the second blog that being in relationship with your landbase will make both your spiritual practice and your magic stronger, and I couldn’t agree more. I also find that cultivating relationships with your hyper-local land and neighborly spirits helps a lot with ward maintenance, and some of them may even be willing to enter a sort of agreement that if someone else intrudes into your shared space, they’ll let you know.

The third blog in the series has a few good ideas about how to begin this work, but it’s a bit like any spirit work, really – just go introduce yourself and see what happens. It’s hard to go wrong with a shared drink of water, as long as your water bottle isn’t made of steel. (Most land wights and nature spirits won’t mind that, but the Daoine Sidhe and some of the Huldufolk certainly will!) Use divination or ask for an omen, however it is that you normally talk to spirits. And get to know your land and its inhabitants!


*The continent of North America.

**I have seen Yemaya and others referred to with a distinction made between Deities and Divinities, and as I am both not sure what the distinction is, and also unsure who I was interacting with, I just put both. I occasionally use the term “god-level” for interactions like this, to describe an unknown entity who seems to have the level of power and vastness usually attributed to deities, but who is either someone I cannot identify, or is someone not known in any surviving lore.

*** I use “USian” here as shorthand for “US American”, to differentiate between citizens of the USA versus people who live in the Americas more generally.


Links to the blogs:

Bright Moon, Kemetic, Paganism

Kemetic Bright Moon 5/26

I returned to my full ritual this month, though I was careful not to do it during the eclipse, as those energies don’t align well (and besides, I had other work to do then). The message this month builds on the one from last month, so if you don’t remember you may want to glance at that one again here.

As you emerge from isolation, do not rush too quickly back into so much busyness that you find yourself burning faster than a lamp wick. That will lead you to burnout faster again than before. Burning so quickly only leaves more ash. Ease in slowly to new social arenas, let the scent of the oil in your lamp rise and fill your atmosphere. Emerge slowly from your solitude, scented and captivating, to meet with those who will best fill your life, and to do what will best bring you contentment. Although others may rush, you shall not. Be steady as the Apis Bull; do not join the stampede. Let their chaotic energy pass you by, and leave you unaffected in your bliss, as you begin to enjoy the things you have missed. Their eddies make pretty trails to look at, but bad paths to follow. Stay on your own road, where we walk beside you.

The bit about the Apis Bull was unexpected, but the imagery and message were clear. It does make me wonder if there was a proverb of sorts about its steadyness. Hopefully this message reaches those who need to hear it most. I’ll be back next full moon with another message, but the summer is here, and I’m beginning to think about Wep Ronpet (Aug 9th in DC this year!)

The next full moon is June 24th. If you have any questions, or if you would like to request a personal message or heka for June, please email the shrine here. And if you are interested in supporting the shrine, I have a tip jar set up here. Thanks!

Celtic Polytheism, fae, Paganism

Crow Folks: Send Out Ripples

This month’s Dark Moon, when I journeyed to see Na Morrigna, another of my allies came along, one of the Fair Folk who often takes the shape of a white horse, and as we five stood around the great cauldron, she bent forward so that her white hair fell into the water of the cauldron, and it filled with visions that she had seen, both Otherworldly wars and human carnage, in a sort of dreadful symmetry. I began to feel overwhelmed by it all, when the Three Morrigna spoke to me as if in one voice. This is the wisdom they would have me share:

The Cauldron of the World is too large for you to control, though you can create small ripples. Focus instead on the Cauldron of your heart. That is small enough for you to work changes within. When you have wrought change in yourself, send ripples out into your sphere of influence. Focus not on sorcery but on mundane workings, this summer.

I have been told to skip June to focus on my own work, and to return with another message or poem at the dark moon in July, in preparation for the Lughnasadh harvest.

fae, Holiday Celebration, Paganism, Spiritwork

Bealtaine with the Local Fair Folk

As frequent readers of this blog might guess, my upcoming Bealtaine* plans will revolve around the Fair Folk. While most folklore tells us to ward and protect against Them on festival days, here in faery-witchcraft-land, it’s a holiday to celebrate connections with Them, instead. I plan to do a simple solitary ritual on Oíche Bealtaine (May-Eve), and give offerings to a Local Fairy Queen who is an ally of mine. I call her the Rosegay Queen, since she seems to be associated with wild roses. I’ll also be paying my respects to the royal couple she has claimed descent from, Úna and Fionnbharr. To that end, I have some mead, and I’m thinking about making some of the Fairy Cakes Morgan Daimler learned to make in a dream. Perhaps I’ll top them with hawthorn jelly (it is SO GOOD), and maybe I’ll get some rose flavored tea or floral lemonade.

I was hoping to buy a young hawthorn tree this spring, but was warned not to because of the 17 year cicadas, which are due any day now. (Apparently they can stress and kill young shrubs!) So my May Bush this year is probably the rhododendron out front again – but I suppose that’s in keeping with the rose theme, as another name for those is the rosebay!

I’m still planning the menu for the family dinner, which usually is the bulk of the household observation of holidays. I tend to stick to dishes with ingredients that are in season locally. I have in the past made a strawberry-filled salad, but I think the strawberries are going to be a little later this year. The wild violets are coming up, though, and those are edible! I may do a side salad with violets and a quiche with local eggs, goat cheese, and fresh herbs. My herbs are all regreening in the bed out front, and I should have plenty. Maybe I’ll use some of the baby green onions, too – those will need thinning soon!

After dinner we’ll probably have a fire in the pit outside, and do a short round of offerings and prayer, like my household does for most holidays. My kiddo really likes to watch the fires, and even though he’s not really clear on what’s going on yet, he’s keen to be involved! As he gets older, he’ll understand more and can decide how much he wants to participate but for the moment he likes to toss things in the fire whenever he’s allowed to!

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll do my solo ritual after the rest of them go to bed, or earlier, at sunset, but I’m leaning towards earlier rather than later. None of the rest of the people in my household really interact with the Fair Folk much. Not on purpose, anyway, though sometimes They follow me home or come in to deliver a message, or some such. I try to keep “office hours” as best I can, but serving a Fairy Queen is a full-time job! Still, there are some perks, and with any luck I’ll be dreaming of celebrations in the Otherworlds on Oíche Bealtaine, as I have sometimes in the past. (And returning home in the morning, Gods willing!)


* Yes, I know this isn’t how a lot of people spell it, but I think it’s important to use the Irish spelling when I’m going to be honoring Irish Fairy Monarchs, and this is the modern Irish spelling. Living culture and all that. See Also: Úna and Fionnbharr, both of which have other Old Irish spellings.

Bright Moon, Kemetic, Paganism

Kemetic Bright Moon 4/26

I was not well enough this past weekend to do my full ritual, so this month I did an abbreviated ritual, and have received a shorter message.

When I spoke with them, Bast and Sekhmet stressed that this was not a good month to start new things: new travel plans, new ventures, or new gatherings. This is a period of careful transition, not a time for leaps of faith, or of reckless return to old patterns, as though the past year had not happened. We can’t go back to exactly the way things were before – we need to plan a new way forward.

So: plan carefully, friends. Try to smooth the transition, and look where your foot will fall before you commit to stepping forward.

The next full moon is May 26th. If you have any questions, or if you would like to request a personal message or heka for May, please email the shrine here. And if you are interested in supporting the shrine, I have a tip jar set up here. Thanks!

Celtic Polytheism, Paganism

Crow Folks: You Fight to Protect What You Value

This time, when I went to see Na Morrigna, they were gathered already around the cauldron and waiting for me. When I arrived, and handed over the bottle of wine, they poured it into the cauldron, stirred it clockwise, and then all three of them transformed into crows, and dove into the the shimmering water. I was pulled along with them, face first, and emerged through that watery portal to a vantage point on a cliff, above what appeared to be a large camp, with tents and people milling about. I was told to compose a poem describing what I saw, and to convey their message to my fellow devotees.

On a ridge above a war-camp
Stand the Morrignae and I
People stirring below

Awakening from slumber
Tending the wounded
Preparing to fight

Fairy Wars rage
Over Land, Sea, and Sky;
Humans also struggle
Against invisible enemies.

Do not give up the fight;
Your battles are not yet won.
The War lingers.

We fly as scald-crows over the camp
To the scene of yester-eve’s battle
To cleanse the dead who lie still.

Find joy in the calm moments
To fortify yourself for continued struggle.
You fight to protect what you value.
You fight to protect those you love.


I got the sense that the “invisible enemies” we are fighting against are both physical things that are too small to see (like the covid virus), but also abstract things like injustice, so you should read that with both meanings.

Also, I clearly saw the crows we became when flying over the camp, black and grey, and I also heard them say what sounded to me like “skald crow”, but I didn’t write that at first, because what does a Norse poet have to do with a hooded crow? Though apparently I’d misspelled it – “scald” crow is apparently another name for the hooded crows I saw, and that was a strange little moment for me. “Yester-eve” was almost “yesterday evening”, but I was told that was not smooth enough, and that this poem needed to be pared down to the sharpness of just the few most necessary words.