An American’s Approach to Gaelic Polytheism

Like many modern Americans, I am the child of immigrants. I don’t know why all my ancestors came to this country, but I do know that our family has not preserved their cultural practices and beliefs. And even outside of America, other countries are feeling some of that cultural loss, as the result of conquering armies, religious conversions, and push for industrialization, both recently and in the distant past. In seeking a deeper spirituality, I found Celtic Reconstructionism, and while I may never be able to passably speak another language or understand all of the factors contributing to a culture’s development, here are three concepts I keep in mind while I work towards forming a personal and familial practice.

Embracing Ancestral Cultures

If you go back far enough, everyone is related. We all evolved from the same group of humans that split out of Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago. Eventually, religion and spirituality comes down to choice, what path will you choose to follow and what is your reasoning behind it? And then you live it. Like many Americans, my ethnic identity is a hodgepodge, and Irish is not the most predominant. But I choose to embrace a Gaelic Polytheist approach, honor my ancestors in that manner (whether or not they came from Celtic lands, which is about half), and use the reconstructionist research to inform my foundational practices.

Recognizing Limitations

I would argue that my research skills are moderately acceptable. But history and anthropology are not my primary areas of academic pursuit; that would be family life education, social and behavioral health, and studio arts. I also only speak one language, and have trouble learning new ones (Duolingo is a wonderful app). I may butcher the language, not fully grasp the cultural context, and pull from less than the best resources.

Forging New Practices

When I think about it, I am a maker. I make art, organizations, tiny humans. I am not intimidated by hard work, I enjoy challenges, and even though I worry (sometimes excessively) about outcomes and opinions, I don’t allow these things to keep me from trying something new. I like the things I do to fit me in very personal ways, so I tweak and modify to get it just right. And I want to share this initiative with you, because maybe you’ll get something out of it from me and I will learn something new from you.