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This web site is dedicated to Faery Wicca as presented by Kisma Stepanich, author of Faery Wicca Books One and Two, and the Faery Wicca Tarot.

The Irish American Faery-Faith Tradition
by Kisma K. Stepanich

From Ireland comes a very old manuscript called Lebor Gabla renn (The Book of the Taking of Ireland), which might be considered the first recordings of the oral Faery Tradition; for we read within its pages of the ancient gods and goddesses of pre-Celtic, Celtic, pre-Christian, as well as Christian Ireland. We are provided with tales that are considered both mythological and historical.

We read of the pedigrees of the Shining Ones, the Tuatha De Danann, and learn from where they originated. We are given accounts of their druidry, knowledge, science, prophecy and magic. We read they were expert in the arts of pagan cunning. In the pages of this five-volume set we are shown a glimpse of the remnants of the Irish cosmology, their creation myth, and the beginning of the Shining Ones now obscurely veiled behind a fantasy term: fairy.

Over the centuries the Shining Ones have left behind a plethora of tales, first recited as the folk-tale of Ireland, and later told as the fairy-tale world-wide. Their traditional ways survived in folk-memory, becoming the "superstitions" of Ireland. And up to modern times, there isnt an Irish country dweller who doesnt believe in the Faery, and perform some superstitious act at least once or twice a year. From these come the modern folk practices known as the Irish Faery-Faith.

However, woven into these folk practices are the more sophisticated bhairdic practices, which include druidry, and which represented the basic societal structure of pagan Ireland.

In the ancient bhairdic system, there were five primary Groves, each Grove was actually a college and contained learning in one particular field of study. The druids were a small sub-group that did the sacrifices, fertility rites, and religious ceremonies. These topics made them famous, while later in history the word "bard" was used to denote singers of songs and poetry, those who were usually traveling minstrels.

These old bhairds acculmulated great amounts of knowledge, and had coded ways of speech. Because of their peoples love of poetry, they tended to speak only in rhymes. In their 20 years of study, individual bards are known to have memorized up to 60,000 different poems, many of them with coded messages within the origin poem.

The word bhaird also meant a priest or priestess, a philosopher, or teacher of any kind. In the Gaelic word aois-dana literally translated is the "old poets." The aois-dana preferred the name ollamh which means doctor today. These were the bards and poets, the rehearsers of ancient poetry and genealogy, and were highly esteemed as late as the seventeenth century, as they sat in the circle of chiefs and nobles. They were remnants of the bardic system in the decline after Christianity and the feudal system took over the roles of religion and governing. These bards still had much power and influence. Even today a seanachaidh (reciteer of tales or stories, or an antiquarian skilled in ancient ore remote history) is retained by some Irish clans.

Modern Bhairds of the Irish Faery-Faith are taught to recognize that their spiritual system is based on the Wisdom of the Trees, and to see this system reflected in the five primary Groves. Each Grove contains three to five trees depending upon the Grove.

Each of the five primary Groves has a head bhaird and an assistant bhiard. Each tree within a Grove also has a head bhaird. Over all these groups, indeed, over all the bhairds, is a triad of bhairds, the chief bhairds or Gold Ollamhs.

Each of the Groves is associated with a direction, a season, and a High Holiday. Each tree is associated to an ogham, a color, and specific dates. Certain trees are associated to the head bhaird of the Grove, Grove assistants, or a ceremony. Each tree denotes what type of Bhaird one is, what each persons primary skill is, the annual functions they are required to handle, and the High Holiday they are connected to and responsible for representing.

Placement in the Bhairdic Structure is based on ones natural affinity toward a specific tree, training in that trees lore, development of their skills, and their ability to pass certain tests. Bhairds can, and often do, find themselves involved with more than one tree and/or Grove.

As one might ascertain from this brief glimpse of the modern Faery-Faith , it is not a religion but a "way of life." Faery practitioners strive to incorporate their spiritual beliefs and teachings into who they are every day of the week. Their professions represent their Groves, their treesand through the Faery-Faith Network they have a connection to a worldwide community of other individuals who are aligned with the same profession, or interests, or hobies. This sense of community is what the Irish American Faery-Faith has always been about.

In one sense, the magickal practices of the Faery-Faith have become a common occurance because they happen daily through the application of personal Grove and tree skills. Each participant enacts their tree lore by living it. They work the energy of magick just by being who they are.

As for spiritual practices, worship is according to the ogham each lunar cycle, pathworking into the other country four times each cycle at:

B Ruadthe Red Cow or new crescent moon

B Finnthe White Cow or full moon

B Donnthe Brown Cow or old crescent moon

B Orannthe Dark Cow or dark moon

Connection to the Faery is very sensitive and as such the Faery become guides, or Spiritual Benefactors. In addition to pathworking, focus is given to the development of specific traditional skills that every bhaird is required to have:

divinatory practices, which focus on psychic development

tuning into the stars within our bodies

understanding of astronomy and astrology

botany and herbology

Community festivals are held at the following High Holidays:

Samhain [SOW-in], 31 October

Nollaig [NULL-ig], 21 December

Imbolc [IM-bulk], 1 February

L Fhile Earrach [law AY-leh ARE-uckh], 21 March

L Bealtaine [law BAL-tene], 1 May

L Fhile Eoin [law AY-leh A-un], 21 June

Lnasa [LOO-nass-ah], 1 August

L Fhile Fmhar [law AY-lee FOE-war], 21 September

The traditional time for undergoing ones rite of passage as a bhaird is at Nollaig, the winter solstice.

Faery Wicca information can also be found by visiting various other faery related websites. Take note that the spelling of the word Fae, Faery, Feri, Faerie, Phaery, Phaerie, etc. will denote the meaning and type of fairy information you are searching for. In general, a good pagan search engine can help you find the faerie tradition you're searching for. You can also find more Faery information by visiting the Irish Faery website that started the Faery Wicca tradition. Additional information on Faery Folklore can also be helpful in your search for the correct Faery lineage and traditions

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