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This is the main blog for the fellowship Comhaltacht na nGaedheal: Cairdreabh nan GĂ idheal. Edited and managed by Rob Barton

Of wolves and hounds

Gaelic culture and religion.Posted by Rob Barton Fri, January 20, 2017 01:42PM
The mystique of the wolf..... the ancient Gaelic and European werewolf...... the wild running warrior bands..... the Diberga..... the shape shifters.... protectors.... even sometimes reavers - when reaving is called for....

An attractive idea to many of our young warriors..... I was young and wild once..... I was alone with no tribe - it was a time to howl..... and many of the young warriors feel the attraction.... but very very few are cut out to run those snowy trails.... far fewer than those who think that they would be a perfect wolf..... funny thing is that of the few who are perfect for it many of them carry it well beyond their youth and only begin to excel when maturity settles onto them....

A great deal has been written about this phenomenon of that world long ago..... and increasingly a world and phenomenon that is reappearing..... most of it has been crap some of it has been very good ...... I recommend starting with these by Saigh Kym Lambert and by Faoladh.

Yet most, actually the overwhelming majority of the Laochra (Warriors) of ancient Gaelic society were more akin to the hound for most of their lives..... and it is the hound that most of us today should embrace..... these laochra were not wild though they could take to the wilds when needed..... they were like the hound that sits at the edge where firelight meets darkness..... where wildness meets order...... they could hear the wild howls, and may even answer them...... but their place, their home was with the folk.... protecting order.

The greatest of our ancient heroes was a hound..... The Hound....... and he too would shape shift...... and he defended order and he was part of the people...... one of the greatest animals in our myths was a hound and it defended a province and it was said that Ireland was full of the fame of the hound...... even Fionn Mac Cool (Mac Ubhall) had two hounds though he led a band in the wilds....

Wolfing is returning - just as our people are returning to the ways of our gods an our ancestors...... and as the tribes return and reform an rebuild so the warriors are again being honoured and recognised for their role in protecting..... there always have been few wolves... and we honour them and are in awe of them.... and we should likewise honour and be in awe of the hounds of which there always have been more among the people.

If you are given to wolfing then celebrate that and we will celebrate you....Do not lament if you are not a wolf...... do not struggle to be something that you are not...... yes that is something special - and beautiful to be and to see..... but it is a rare path....
be that tribal laoch ...... be the hound..... respond to those howls but stand at the edge to protect... be among the people yet able to run into the night and the wild.... our tribes and our folk will honour you as you stand among us and between our order and things which would break it.... better to be a good hound than to try to be something that we are not..

Of wolves and hounds... they are cousins..... they are mirrors for one another in many ways...... they stand across from one another at the line.... the strand or shore where one world meets another the hounds stands among the folk on the firelight side while the eyes of the wolf glow just their beyond it in the dark..... but they both howl..... they both can hunt and fight and protect...... may they both be honoured and appreciated.