The Development of Ethics by Terence Irwin

The Development of Ethics is a three volume set written by Terence Irwin. The books are a selective historical and critical study of moral philosophy in the Socratic tradition with special attention paid to Aristotelian naturalism, its formation, elaboration, criticism and defense.

The author begins by describing his criteria and how he chose the people and ideas he wrote about. This description really helps when you look at the rest of the volumes since the people he wrote about aren’t always the ones we are used to reading about in that time period.

The books are not comprehensive by any means and they do not look for a causal explanation at all to the theories put forward. They were not written only for people who are familiar with the texts talked about so beginners in philosophy will have no trouble following along. However, I think that if a person has a working knowledge of the works involved, it will help a lot. The books are a little dense but then they are a critical history of philosophy…

The books are in chronological order but the author did not divide them in the usual manor of ancient, medieval, and modern periods but rather by people. The first volume starts with Socrates and ends with the Reformation, volume two begins with Suarez and ends with Rousseau, and volume three begins with Kant and ends with Rawls.

The books were a treasure trove of information, but I needed to stop every now and then to breath a little and check out a little more about the people and works involved. The volumes are really long but are very informative and the way the author is not afraid to share his views is very refreshing. Some times in a history presentation the authors can seem unengaged and that makes the work pretty dry especially if it is a history of philosophy. The author is very knowledgable of his material and obviously loves it, it shines right through in his writings. The volumes are very much worth having if you want to study philosophy and ethics.


By Land, Sea and Sky by Morgan Daimler

I’ve been saying for a long time that when it comes to worship of deities the pagan community is way behind.  We look at the word worship as a bad word mainly, I think, because of the baggage we all carry from the religions we grew up with.

This book is a step in the right direction.  This is only the second book that I have read on prayers to the deities (not from the Wiccan perspective) and so far the only one that I have read which is geared toward Irish Polytheists.

The author uses prayers from volumes I and II of the Carmina Gadelica.  She re-paganized them using the appropriate deity that makes sense with the prayers. The book has two parts prayer and magic.  The prayers and charms are grouped by subject, which makes them easier to find.

What I loved the most about the book is the explanations before the prayers and charms that the author provides.  She takes the time and puts in the effort to make it all make sense to the reader.  This is a book that most Irish polytheists should have in their library and perhaps this will encourage her and more authors like her to provide us with more books of this nature.  The people who came before us left us a wealth of literature, which we are just now starting to really tap into.

Gaol Naofa Gealach Úr Rite

Being part of a tribe is a wonderful thing, even if it is an online tribe (or in the case of Gaol Naofa, an organization).  Being a member of a tribe of course comes with its obligations and one of mine to my tribe is the New Moon Rite that I perform every month.

It is a wonderful habit that keeps me close to my tribe and the Gods of the tribe. From the Gaol Naofa (GN) site: “On the new moon of each month, members of Gaol Naofa join together in spirit to honor the gods and spirits, and to celebrate our ancestral heritage thereby fostering solidarity and the blessings of the dé ocus andé.”  I thought I would share with you this month’s rite.  The ritual itself comes from GN and is written by GN Founder, Tomás Flannabhra.  The rite also has some tweeks from me to make it my own.

What is needed: four candles (three for representing the gods, ancestors, and spirits, and one to represent the central or ‘hearth’ fire), offerings, a drinking vessel, a vessel to hold offerings.

Opening Prayer

The fertile land below,
the blue sea about,
the vast sky above,
their blessings here tonight.

“Hymn to the New Moon” (Carmina Gadelica 303)

Hail to thee, thou new moon,
beauteous guidant of the sky;
hail to thee, thou new moon,
beauteous fair one of grace.

Hail to thee, thou new moon,
beauteous guidant of the star;
hail to thee, thou new moon,
beauteous loved one of my heart.

Hail to thee, thou new moon,
beauteous guidant of the clouds;
hail to thee, thou new moon,
beauteous dear one of the heavens!

Kindling the Fire

(light a candle)

I shall kindle this fire this evening
in the presence of radiant Bríd,
golden-flame of our hearth and home.
May she bless and preserve it,
this fire of warming,
fire of wisdom,
fire of hospitality
that is here;
She, the branch with blossoms,
red-cheeked Bríd.

Hail to the Hosts

(light a candle)

A fire for the gods is here,
Excellent Hosts,
proficient in wisdom and skill,
splendid and hardy troupe,
generous patrons,

Morrígan, great warrior goddess, prophetess, and sorceress, I raise my voice in praise of you with wonder and awe.  I sit in your presence, oh great source of terror and comfort.

Lugh Lamhfhada, great warrior and god of many arts, I praise you.  Bright and shining god and flaming spear out of the chaos I honor you.


(give offering)

(light a candle)

A fire for the ancestors is here,
for those whose graves we rest on
and whose fame we seek to follow.
A lamp to guide your way
through the mists
from Tech Duinn.

(give offering)

(light a candle)

A fire for the Fair-Folk and land spirits is here,
auspicious and kindly denizens,
hosts of the abundant land,
gentry of the hills and mounds,

Spirits and guardians of the desert,
People of Peace,

(give offering)

Hail and Greetings to
The Three that are here,
Excellent Gods,
Beloved Ancestors,
and Kindly Spirits;
the three eternal fires
that illuminate the world.

Main Offering/Sacrifice

To the Ever-Living Three
I give this raw meat and bread
in honor and in gratitude and in love,
honoring the ancient and ancestral
contract that binds us.

(give offering)

Peace to sky,
sky to earth,
earth beside sea,
strength in each.

Hail to the gods,
love to the dead,
peace to the Good-Folk,
noble is each.

Personal Prayers

I pray for the strength and courage  to fight my daily battles, to live my life to the fullest, and to seek knowledge and wisdom.

Prayer for Gaol Naofa

Ancient and noble Three of the Gael, of kin and contract, illustrious Patrons, Hosts, and Progenitors! Guide, preserve and inspire our tribe, uphold us into the world as we rekindle the blazing ancestral fires that shall illuminate the way to the future. In health, in honor, in courage, in wisdom, in justice, in truth, in generosity, we go forth into the light of day and onto the roads with your blessings upon us and with victory to be ours.


(take a cup, quaich, bowl, horn, or other drinking vessel and fill it with a beverage of your choice (perhaps mead, ale, milk, juice, water…) Raise the vessel before the shrine:)

To the Beloved Dead!

(libate and sip)

To the Excellent Gods!

(libate and sip)

To the Fair-Folk and land spirits!

(libate and sip)

To my kindred!

(libate and sip)

To Gaol Naofa!

(libate and sip)

To health, wisdom, and prosperity!

(libate and sip)

From my journal:

This was the first month in which I did the New Moon rite after the formal contract with my household deities.  It was very different then before.  I felt a very powerful current go through me through out the rite.  I usually feel it but this time it was very pronounced and very strong that there is no way I can say to myself that I had imagined it.  I’m very pleased with how things have been moving along lately.