Just a rant... In modern Western societies there seems to be a general over-romanticising of Western European "paganism", both in terms of pre-Christian Celtic beliefs, and rural beliefs during the predominantly Christian Mediaeval era. This isn't aimed at pagans as much as general social attitudes in general - through British Victorian Era the Romans were seen to have "liberated" the island of Britain (Albion) from terrible "heathens", by giving us culture. Nowadays history has corrected that mistake - but it seems as if the bridge swings too far - as if over-compensating. The Celts were not a bunch of peace-smoking hippies, but a normal group of people, who were ingrained in superstition, recorded as fickle and greedy by the Romans, and had a habit of stomping across Europe to claim themselves new territories (it should be immediately noted that the "Celtic Britain" of Iron-Age Britain was actually an invasive culture from mainland Europe, which in itself displaced a prior migration of European peoples - and this was repeated when the Anglo-Saxons (a mixture if Germanic lore and heretical Arianism) moved into Roman Britain from the continent - and that's before we come to the Vikings - whom people from the Isle of Man regard as pleasant culture founding sea-farers who happened to pop by by a drink one day...and then rattle on hysterically against the English for sticking some bloke in a castle over there!) In terms of beliefs themselves - although some people are happy to read up commentaries on Celtic Mythology, I don't see a rush to read the actual recorded literature, such as the Ossianic Cycles of Ireland. NEither do I see a rush to rediscover ancient pagan practices such as Morrise Dancing! Flippancy aside, I guess the world and our relationship to it has profoundly changed. We no longer live lives that face death on a daily basis, and the continual prospect of starvation. We live in a world generally rationalised and conquered, and the original fears of original pagan systemns and general peasant lore are no longer the fears of our cozy modern living. But somehow there's a danger of arrogance - that "we know better", therefore Neo-Paganism can afford to ignore the original peasant classes who carried the very ideas being laid claim to. Essentially, there's the danger that doing so is just as bad - if not worse - than ignoring them completely. Because in doing so those original people are not simply misrepersented, but also dismissed outright. And that's precisely where they have always been left. Perhaps it's time for modern European culture to stop imposing its own judgements on these peaple - and for Neo-Paganism to get a better grasp of the real roots of the original pagans. Because if we allow the heavy romanticising of non-Christian Europe to continue, we don't just do a disservice to them - but also, to ourselves.