[Editor’s Note: Please welcome Morgan Daimler to the Agora! Morgan will be writing a column entitled Irish-American Witchcraft here on alternate Tuesdays. Subscription links are at the bottom of the post, as always. Welcome, Morgan!]
Déithe dhaoibh, Patheos Pagan! I’m excited to have the opportunity to blog here and I thought it would be best to start with a little introduction, so we’re all on the same page, so to speak, with where my perspective comes from and what sort of topics you’re likely to see from me in the future.
My name’s Morgan. I was the sort of kid who talked to fairies and saw ghosts; raised a secular agnostic my family neither encouraged nor discouraged me when I talked about these things. Looking back I realize how lucky I was to be in a situation that allowed my personal beliefs, even if only subtly. Although a devout Catholic, my father had been raised with family traditions which included respecting the Good Neighbors, and he passed that belief and respect on to me, so that the Fairy Faith was always an integral part of my life.
I got intopaganism in ’91 after being exposed to it through a friend and finding it very much in line with my own already existing beliefs. Within a few years my focus had become Irish paganism and specifically older forms of Irish polytheism and the more modern expressions of the Fairy Faith and Irish witchcraft. My approach to religion is a reconstructionist one but my spirituality itself is very experiential. In 2006, I was drawn to start honoring the German side of my heritage and started practicing Heathenry, but I never found a comfortable way to integrate it in with everything else. My spirituality today is a complex thing, influenced by Irish polytheism, German Heathenry, witchcraft, and the Fairy Faith.
Currently I’m a Druid in the Ord na Darach Ghile (the Order of the White Oak) and a member of Ar nDraiocht Fein; I’m also a member of the Troth. In 2010, I co-founded a witchcraft tradition with a friend, Crossroads Witchcraft. I started teaching locally about Fairy beliefs around 15 years ago. I also teach workshops about Irish mythology, magic, and related topics and have been lucky enough to do so at some really wonderful events, mostly in the northeast United States. I enjoy writing and have written fiction and non-fiction books, all on subjects relating to Irish mythology in one way or another. It would be entirely fair to say that Irish mythology is a driving passion of mine and specifically the myths and stories which feature the old Gods. I’m also an outspoken advocate of the Celtic Reconstructionist (CR) methodology, and have written and spoken about that subject frequently, as well as writing for the CR journal Air n-Aithesc.
I am dedicated to Macha and also often serve the Morrigan and Badb, as well as Nuada. My other household Gods include Flidais, Brighid, Airmed, and the Dagda as well as Wodan and Frau Holle. Although the Gods are a major part of my spirituality, probably the biggest focus for me is on the spirits – the aos sí (fairies), land spirits, house spirits, and the like. My system of witchcraft includes worshiping what I term the Liminal Gods, beings of Faery who may or may not be Gods in the traditional sense but are certainly powerful fairy beings.
I suspect I have some of the most boring hobbies ever, which include studying old languages and translating Old and Middle Irish texts. My personal blog, which I write for a couple times a week, has been taken over in the past few months by reflections of my hobby, so I’m going to try to keep things different here; more esoteric and more about the witchcraft I practice instead of the Irish Reconstructionist spirituality side of things. While I’m sure you all would enjoy a good semantic discussion of the variety of words for “red” in older forms of Irish and the significance of their other meanings, I think here we’ll just stick to fun stuff.
So, that’s who I am, but what is Irish-American Witchcraft? Good question. The short answer is: one name for what I do. The long answer is that what I do really doesn’t have a name but since I have to call it something Irish-American Witchcraft works as well as Fairy Witchcraft (another name I use for it) or anything else. It’s my modern Irish-American reconstruction of older Irish folk magic practices, based heavily in the Fairy Faith, with neopagan religion blended into the non-religious magical practices. The things I’m reconstructing off of are traditions and practices from Ireland during the last several hundred years and from the mythology. Basically, it’s the form of witchcraft I’ve developed piece by piece over the last 24 years or so, and I find it to be effective and spiritually moving.
I’m excited about blogging here and would love to get some good discussions going. You’ll probably see everything from me, from discussions of the nature of the Fair Folk to working with spirits, from theology of witchcraft to my favorite spells and prayers, from ethics to the numinous. I like to blog as if I’m having a conversation, and I hope you enjoy it enough to join me.
Images above courtesy of the author.