Can Reconstructionism and Traditionalism work?

Discussion in 'Pagan' started by iBrian, Sep 8, 2003.

  1. Sisetekh

    Sisetekh Queer Kemetic

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    Re: Scots?

    My personal view on this is that if there is only one divine being, it came to us in different forms for a reason. There are a lot of religions, ancient and modern, who hold a belief that all gods and goddesses are one larger being... but they aren't usually treated as such.

    What do you mean by "hearing" them, though? There are instances where this would be somewhat acceptable, and in times past this did happen. People would have dreams that told them that a god wanted a specific thing, and that person would do it. And I also feel that you can take some license with your worship. But I also think it's almost reckless to do things that are completely different than what was done historically. For example, I offer my gods chocolate. They didn't have chocolate... so why offer it to them? Because it is something sweet, there is no historical evidence to suggest they wouldn't have offered chocolate, and chocolate is easy for me to get. However, were there some giant taboo that worshipers of my gods followed, I wouldn't go against that taboo based on my "gut feeling." And if I couldn't handle it, I'd worship a god who didn't have those taboos.

    And that's why it's Reconstructionism, and not an unbroken tradition. It's not exactly easy to Reconstruct anything. That's why we study, and why we study from a variety of different sources to try fitting the puzzle together the best we can.

    Exchange of ideas isn't a bad thing, necessarily, and every culture does it. Even most Reconstructionists, like I said, we have no actual connections with those cultures. The way I practice looks highly American (in some cases, German American). But at the same time, I'm constantly juggling. I don't want to do things that anger my gods, so I'm not willing to allow gut feelings and contemporary ideals to change anything that my own research tells me will do that.

    To use your parent analogy, you're right: People will have different relationships with the gods. But at the same time, aren't there things that your dad wouldn't like from any of his children? This is the line that I try not to cross. Sure, there is some room for personal experience, but it's still not doing whatever I want.

    And this is the difference between the Reconstructionist and the more eclectic. I just plain don't feel right doing whatever I want. I'm a studier, it's something I love to do, and whether I believed in it or not I would be studying as many academic sources as I could, just for fun. Some people can't do that, and as much as I don't like it (and I won't lie to you, I don't like it), it is better for their own person that they do things for themselves, or do things based on their own feelings rather than what history tells them.

    Well, not all polytheisms are made alike. For many polytheistic religions, ancient and modern, it probably was seen as "One True Way." My personal view on it is that there are many ways, but that not every way is right.
     
  2. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Some people worship a specific deity or group of deities because they decided those were the ones that were most attractive for whatever reason. There are also many people who worship a particular deity or group of deities because they feel those deities chose them, not the other way around. We humans aren't always in the position of choosing the deities. Sometimes our choice is whether or not to acknowledge the call from a specific deity. (Sometimes the call is so clear, and so obvious, and so repetitive, that we'd be awfully mule-headed to ignore it!)

    I like the example of chocolate as an offering. It brings up one of my concerns about attempts to be historically accurate with a religious path. Since the worship of a deity (and deity we want to look at, it doesn't matter which one) has changed over the history of its reverence, it strikes me as rather arbitrary and artificial to pick a particular point in time, in a particular place, with a particular group of people identified as the perfect example, and then insist that this is the ideal form of that deity's worship which should be emulated today. People "back then" a few generations before or after the ideal time period might argue that the modern reconstructionists were doing things "wrong." It just seems to be rather arbitrary to me, and a very shaky reason to be looking down at those today who don't claim to be reconstructionists but who happen to worship the same deities.

    The other thing that I wonder about is why, in a relationship a person is trying to build with a particular deity, they should consider historical accuracy to trump personal revelation. It seems to me that the personal revelation, whether it comes in the form of a dream, a gut feeling, an omen, or whatever, would be worth paying attention to as it is the living communication with the Divine rather than the words written down on paper by other people who had their own agendas and interpretations. Getting advice from other people about our relationships with the Divine is fine but in the end we have to learn to trust ourselves and those messages that we seem to be getting directly from the Divine. I can't live my personal relationships with other humans based primarily on what others tell me I should do; I'm not sure why a relationship with the Divine should be restricted that way. Do we need the "middlemen" to handle the relationship with the Divine on our behalf?

    I heartily endorse thorough research and knowing where our ideas and practices come from. Reading how others interpret ideas and actions helps to shed light and spark new insights. It's all a part of learning.

    Attempting to reconstruct a tradition that has been interrupted by history is undoubtedly a difficult task. I think it is also a very noble task. Sometimes I wonder though if the important part of the religion is the reconstruction and the historical correctness, or the living re-linking (re-ligion is after all re-linking or re-connecting or re-binding) with the Divine in whatever form that tradition recognizes. Is the Way (or the Word) being revered at the expense of the Spirit?

    It's not just a problem for reconstructionists, but a problem for any "system" of spirituality. It's very easy to fall into revering the leaders or the scriptures or the organization and forget all about the Divine that it's supposed to be all about. We get dazzled by the visible outer things and forget why we're there in the first place.

    Again, I wonder about dismissing those gut feelings, those direct communications, in favour of what other people are telling us. Is the authority being placed in the right spot? That's something each of us has to decide for ourselves.

    And you know what? My dad would tell me if he didn't like something. I don't need my brothers to tell me. They can let me know, but it's up to me to decide if it makes sense (and perhaps learn the hard way!)

    People change all the time too. As an adult I have different likes and dislikes than when I was a kid. Some things I used to hate as a kid now don't bother me, or I might actually like now. And I'm sure that my preferences will change as I get older.

    Why should deities remain static? It would certainly be easier for us mortals if the deities were easily defined and established, eternal and unchanging. But those are rather selfish needs and don't necessarily reflect anything about what the deities are actually like. As we've discussed in previous posts, historically deities do change. War gods become gods of agriculture, or gods of love too. Goddesses grow from lesser deities of small tribes into vast Great Goddessses worshipped by many cultures using a wide range of rites. And that's all in recorded history prior to 150 CE!

    We each follow our own paths. And I guess that's my main point in the discussion about reconstructionism v eclecticism -- we all need to decide for ourselves where our hearts are drawn, and be true to that inspiration. At the same time we need to be careful to not assume that the decisions other people have made are inherently wrong. They might be wrong for us, but they aren't for others. And our choices are not right for others either no matter how comfortable it would make us if everyone else just buckled down and admitted we're always right!

    I'm not convinced of that. In the Roman era, for instance, they went to great lengths to welcome other religions into the Empire. Isis was welcomed and Her temples spread across Europe and into the UK. The problem in Rome came when cults started cropping up (I won't name them out of deference for the guilty) that insisted they wouldn't play nice with the rest of the kids on the block and started badmouthing everyone else and saying theirs was the One True and Only Way, and everyone else was going to burn in hell.

    Polytheist religions weren't all interrupted by the Christian era, so we have examples to look at for confirmation. In Hinduism, for instance, they worship a huge number of deities. There is also a popular theory that all the deities are really just manifestations of a larger supreme and singular deity (Brahman) that is essentially unknowable by mortals, thus the need for all the more limited manifestations. And it's apparently quite common for Hindu temples to be home to a multitude of deities, all who receive due worship in that common space. That would belie the claim that polytheists were routinely prejudiced against those who worshipped deities other than their own. I'm sure some polytheists felt that while other deities exist their preferred one is the "best," but there are millions of Hindus who seem quite happy respecting a diverse constellation of gods and goddesses.
     
  3. Sisetekh

    Sisetekh Queer Kemetic

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    This really doesn't have much to do with which deity or pantheon one worships. I don't feel like I chose my gods, per se, I felt a "pull" based on how well our personalities link. But at the same time, if a deity does choose somebody, I don't think this automatically gives that person the freedom (for lack of a better word) to worship that deity however the person wants.

    There is no possible way to reconstruct a religion or culture perfectly, and we realize that. We also realize that there will be things that we'll need to change, simply because our culture won't allow us to do otherwise. The point is to try.

    People back then would also argue that other people at that same time were doing things wrong. I debate with other Reconstructionists quite a bit as to what's right and what's wrong, and in fact it's basically what we're doing here. As for those who don't claim to be reconstructionists, and worship the same gods as me, I do feel they are wrong, in a way, because they seem to ignore things in that god's history. It has nothing to do with them being imperfect, because everybody is imperfect, but I just can't understand why one would worship a deity without even trying to recreate the circumstances in which that deity was worshiped. Again, it has to do with the fact that we have different worldviews. And there will always be people who think other people are wrong... just as I think the above is wrong, there are plenty of people who think I am. And we have the right to disagree.

    The thing is, we do trust personal intuition... but I also feel that if I were to have some sort of "revelation" that involved something that seems incredibly out of character for my gods, I probably did something wrong. Again, there's a line... you can use your personal intuition, but there's a point where it becomes (from my point of view) dangerous. If you're driving down a road, and notice that everybody is driving down that road in the opposite direction as you... it's not them that got it wrong.

    On the other hand, however, is linking with a god really worth it if you sacrifice all the culture and history that goes along with it? I like to think I have a balance. I wouldn't do things that I like better if it completely contradicts what the culture I emulate believed in, I think that would be silly. And I definitely wouldn't try fitting those gods into a completely different system, even if I did think those gods were part of something bigger.

    I really don't see anything wrong with revering scripture. Writing and scholarly learning is incredibly important to me, sacred even. I also would feel that, if I didn't do things the way I believe they should be done, which is the way they would be done in the past, I would be being lazy. I never forget my gods, they are in my head all the time. Actually, most of my "practice" comes from simply acknowledging the gods where they appear. Eclecticism can have the same problem with being dazzled by the outer things, simply by an overload of stuff to choose from. Somebody who is extremely eclectic might spend more time looking for stuff to jam into their religion than time connecting with their deity/ies.

    Like I said above, writing is very important to me, and so is archaeology and history. I feel that these are the authority, and my belief of this in itself was formed from just that: a gut feeling. Although it didn't really manifest itself as such, I put a lot of thought into it and came to my own conclusions.

    Deities are not static, and you're right, they do change... even historically. And as a Reconstructionist I recognize this. Like my example with the chocolate, things are discovered, things are invented, relationships change. But oftentimes it seems to me that things are changing, not because the gods changed, but because the people want them to change. My own experience tells me that the gods haven't changed as much as eclecticism allows. It seems more of a way to make it easier on the practitioner, and not a way to appease the gods or even to connect with them on a personal level. Like I think I said with Tameran and Hellenic Wicca, they seem to be more for ease than faith or gut feelings. You're fitting Egyptian and Greek gods into a Wiccan ritual setting, into Wiccan holidays, and it just makes me wonder why!

    That's the main point of an eclectic point of view. I definitely don't think one should ignore inspiration, but at the same time I do think that some people trust their own intuition way too much. Or, an even worse scenario, they use "inspiration" as an excuse to do what they want rather than a sincere belief.

    I definitely don't assume I'm always right (as much as I like to think I am), and a more conservative path isn't for everyone, but at the same time I do advise people to look into it.

    Christians not wanting to play nice in the Roman empire really doesn't mean that believing there is only one way is necessarily wrong. The problem is really how they went about it, and I don't know that many Reconstructionists or Traditionalists who would try to stop them by force or become violent over it (although some do get quite preachy, but so do eclectics).

    That's a common belief in Kemetic Reconstructionism, too. I am definitely open to the possibility, but I feel that each "manifestation" would have its own personality, likes, and dislikes. Also there is the fact that different cults to different gods oftentimes became "politically involved" with each other, each trying to discredit the other. I don't feel that any god is evil or wrong to worship, and I recognize that politics are... well, politics, but this tension tells me that they aren't as connected as many Wiccans would portray them as. That's not even counting the tensions between different cultures and their gods.

    I don't think my gods are the "best," I think they are the best for me. I believe that all the gods worshiped are real, including ones "unpopular" to neopagans like the Christian God. I respect them, and I think there are proper ways to worship them. I don't think doing whatever you want is right.


    One Wiccan asked a Hindu friend of hers to bring her a statue of Kali for her altar. The Hindu friend became very agitated with this request, saying things like "You can't just light a stick of incense once a week to please Kali, she demands blood!" This was her view of the right way to worship Kali, and the Wiccan friend didn't qualify for it.

    There are gods who are vegetarians. Would you offer them meat? There are gods who subsist almost entirely on blood. Would you offer them vegetables? There are gods who abhor weapons, would you allow an athame into a circle with them? There are gods who hate homosexuality. Is it right for a homosexual to worship them? Sometimes gut feelings and intuition go completely against the known character of a god, and I wonder why people would take that chance.

    Although to clarify a bit, these are extreme examples. For the most part, eclectics aren't being too offensive. But when you don't even look into it, it's easy to screw up.
     
  4. Erynn

    Erynn Professional Madwoman

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    Just a note for those interested:

    Some friends and I have recently started a new Reconstructionist discussion board, called the Multicultural Polytheistic Hearth. We've been in and out of various Reconstructionist discussion boards in the past, and found that there has been a lot of expression of racism, flamewars, and other unfortunate tendancies in many of them. The MPH is deliberately designated as a hate-free zone, and moderators will remove people for flaming others or for posting racist and other types of offensive materials, or for slamming other religions.

    It's our hope that folks from many different Reconstructionist/Traditionalist backgrounds will join us for serious (and fun) discussions of different topics and pathways with mutual curiosity and respect. We hope that if you're interested, you'll come check us out, and that you'll pass the word along to friends with similar interests.

    You can find us at the Multicultural Polytheistic Hearth. We wish to be welcoming to all respectful people with a genuine interest in Reconstruction religions, We welcome curious newbies, folks from other Pagan traditions who would like to learn more about Recon religions, and folks from other religions who are interested in our ways and philosophies. The space isn't about converting others, but about dialogue, sharing, and education.

    We've been up for almost 2 weeks now, and are gaining new members every day. Please join us!
     
  5. spiritman51

    spiritman51 New Member

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    I believe that a lot of knowledge can be recovered. I believe that connection with ancestor energy can truely give you a solid frame work . I also believe you have to adapt to the modern world. If you pine away for the past you will lose the present and the future. In this flux we call NeoPaganism I follow an electic Magickal path based upon the Hermetic Qabalah with a witchy twist. Over the years I have had many contacts ( read run ins) with The Keltic Reconstructionists mostly of the Scots flavor. I lived and traveled in Scotland for four years ( US Navy Communications Base at Thurso). My mother's grandfather came from Wigtownshire in the 1850's. I loved Scotland and was very emotional when I had to leave. I felt a bond with the land which I can only call spiritual. But, it did not make me want to wear a clan kilt and badges I was not entitled to wear. It did not make me desire to invent an unbroken druid linage back to the pre Christian era. And it did not make me into an Anglophobe or want to speak mock Gaelic. Yet, I think it is possible to engage that ancestral energy. I think you can reconstruct a magickal system based on the ancestral energy. The magickal system you construct can then guide you into a meaningful and modern life.
     
  6. Erynn

    Erynn Professional Madwoman

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    I don't think this alone can give a person something truly solid to work with. The nature of visionary/dream work is very personal, and prone to fantasy. In CR, we refer to this kind of information (from any dream or vision source) as UPG, or "unsubstantiated personal gnosis." We do think of it as inspired, as imbas, but it needs to be backed up with history and research so that we don't have people with "past life memories" of neolithic "Celtic" ancestors practicing what looks for all the world like modern Wicca.

    UPG can be very important, if others find they are getting the same type of information, and things are checking out with historical type sources. We're starting to get some of that here and there, as we compare notes. It's sort of a checks and balances system within the CR movement, though this really just starting. There is a difference between what we regard as useful for personal practice and what we regard as useful for the growing community as a whole.

    Absolutely. I have no desire to be an Iron Age Irishwoman living in a wattle and daub hut, thank you. I have no interest in human sacrifices, nor in trial by combat, or measuring wealth in terms of cattle or slaves. I'm quite fond of indoor plumbing and many forms of modern medicine, without which I'd probably have died in childhood.

    I am interested in ancient visionary techniques, the folk practices that may lead us to a better understanding of the ways people may have worshipped the deities, ancestors and spirits, and in poetic, spiritual, and magical practices from pre-Christian times. I'm interested in the music and dance. I'm interested in early medical practices that also contained working with charms and verse, as well as herbal knowledge.

    I have had a few run-ins with the same sort, possibly even some of the same individuals. There is an unfortunate racist current in some "Gaelic Traditionalism" and CR, but many of us are trying to express the original ideas we had for CR back in the 1980s and early 1990s, which included the idea that we can't and really don't want to be silly pseudo-Gaels, and that we are not interested in racism or bringing back the Iron Age. I am very firmly anti-racist, anti-homophobia, and anti-sexism.

    I have no interest in moving out to some tribal homesteading complex where I have to bow down to some arrogant idiot warrior-king of the tribe. I don't like the idea of attempting to institute and force "castes" on people. I don't do well out in the country, and happen to like associating with people who don't do and believe the same things I do -- hence my membership on boards like this ;)

    I don't own a kilt, though I admit I'd like to for dress events (yes, I'd go in Guy Kilt Drag). I've seriously studied both Old and Modern Irish. I've studied a little Scots Gaelic and sung in a Gaelic language choir for several years, some of which included contact with native Gaelic speakers. I've gone as far as attending Celtic Studies conferences to learn from the acknowledged scholars in the field.

    I'm very curious about what you mean by "pseudo-Gaelic" and would like to hear about your experiences with that.

    I have no desire to be anybody's tribal chieftain, nor do any of the folks I regularly associate with. We are interested in working with the past, with an eye to what Pagan Gaelic culture and religion might have looked like had it survived intact through Christianity. All Pagan cultures change with the times, as one can see very plainly when looking at Hindu India. The traditions have moved forward to include all aspects of modern life, while retaining the reverence for the deities, and daily practices and traditions that reach back into the far distant past.

    Not one person I take seriously makes any claim to having some unbroken Druidic lineage. None of them. In fact, we regard people who make such claims with deep suspicion and generally disregard anything they have to say about "druidism." For the most part, I think I can safely say that our first reaction to such folk is to laugh at their claims, and our second is to debunk them as having any "unbroken" lineage to anything other than possibly some Druidic Revival material from the 1700s.

    My "unbroken" lineage to Scotland goes back to my father's father, whom I can name. I don't even know the names of my great grandparents, who apparently originally immigrated to Massachusetts from Scotland -- but I don't even know if that is the case. They may have been born here too. What I can authoritatively state is that they were Catholic, thank you very much ;)

    Those of us who are seriously engaging in CR tend to study the language of the culture we're working with, whether that be Scots Gaelic, Old Irish, Gaulish, Manx, Welsh, or other Celtic languages. We go to the scholars and the original texts for our research. If we have the knowledge and skill, we attempt our own translations. Then we go to our own personal work, and compare notes with others as often as possible. We understand that we are creating something new, based as much as possible on old sources and ways, but intended for modern people living in a modern era. Those of us who are doing it in what I'd consider the "right" way are honest about what we draw from tradition and scholarly sources, and what we derive from our own comparative and internal work.

    We're not Anglophobes, though we do have an understanding of what the English did to the Welsh, the Scots, the Irish, and other Celtic peoples. I don't hate or fear the English. The English folks I know tend to be quite pleasant and a lot of fun to hang with and talk to. We tend to talk about Science Fiction fandom for the most part.

    Something based entirely on "ancestral energy" isn't a reconstruction, though. It's an exercise in UPG, and an eclectic path. This is very effective when designing a personal spiritual path for an individual -- but it's not "reconstructing" anything with an historical basis, or reference to any historical period. There is nothing invalid in creating ones own spiritual path through personal inspiration. In fact, it can be a wonderful, extremely powerful thing, and is much to be encouraged. I wish more people would, and that they'd be honest about the source of their material. I have immense respect for folks who say "yes, this is my own inspiration, and it works really well for me" instead of trying to lie and label it some ancient unbroken historical tradition back to the Paleolithic caves of Europe. I delight in their creativity and inspiration, and always wish them well.

    CR isn't trying to be eclectic, though eclectic elements can and do make their way into it when there are gaps in historical knowledge that need to be covered. Many of those elements come from nearby and fairly closely related cultures, like the Norse. There is currently a lot of work being done by several people to incorporate group ecstatic work based on Seidhr and Afro-Diasporic models with Celtic deities and spirits. And yes, we're all well aware that this is not an authentic historical expression of ancient Celtic worship from anything we've yet been able to discover, nor are any of us trying to claim it is. We do think it can become a valid method for use in CR though.

    Without being able to confirm any of what a person gets through interacting in spirit or dreamworld in other sources, there is no way to show any authenticity or relation to any actual historical path. I am in no way saying one is better than another. All I'm doing is trying to illustrate that there is a difference.

    To put it in terms of well known modern work, Carlos Castaneda's books are a valid spiritual path. They discuss a methodology and philosophy that works well for many people. Unfortunately, he's been completely debunked regarding any contact or study with the Yaqui he was allegedly writing about. It was adequately demonstrated that Castaneda was a plagiarist, and that Don Juan never actually existed -- so while it is a valid path, it is completely unauthentic regarding Native tribal practices of the Yaqui or other Mesoamericans he supposedly is reporting about.

    Conversely, human sacrifice may be an authentic practice in many cultures, but in a modern ethical and moral sense, it is an extremely invalid way to go about the practice of one's religion.

    Going out to study with the Lakota elders and taking on the Red Road and the Sun Dance way through that contact and in a respectful, tribal way is an example of a path that is both authentic in what it claims to be and valid as a legitimate spiritual path.

    What reconstructionists in general are searching for are ways to be as authentic as possible to a pre-Christian culture where sources exist, and valid as a modern spiritual practice as well. To that end, we study history and language and culture to find out what we can. Then we go to other cultures and to personal visionary work, that is then compared to what others are doing and the results we are all getting.

    Once we (in CR at least) pare down the other culture material to something that seems to fit the patterns we've discovered through our research, we try to embed that into our work in as Celtic a manner possible and then compare notes on our results. If it works and gets consistent results, at least some of us will incorporate it. If it doesn't, we toss it out and try again with different materials.

    We do the same with what we get through UPG, and what survives that comparative process in the community and works in a spiritual and magical sense in private and group ritual, eventually disseminates and becomes a shared pattern within at least some of the variants of CR. It's not like we're taking random material and tossing it in just because we like it or it sounds cool. Some of the really cool stuff just doesn't work in context, so we have to find other things that feel more authentic to us.

    Doing reconstructionist religion tends to be a lot of work. Most people aren't really suited to it, but that's okay. You sort of have to be a bit of an academic by nature to really get into it, and that kind of time and effort isn't to everyone's liking. For those of us who do engage in it, we find it a deeply rewarding, challenging path. We tend to be folks who don't accept easy answers, and who are deeply curious and driven. We're fascinated by history and culture. We can be somewhat curmudgeonly. To be honest, most of us don't fit in well with the overculture, which is why we're seeking in the first place.

    It's not a path where you can read one or two books and have a year's worth of ritual celebrations, and a convenient compilation of cosmologies, philosophies and theologies, or a list of deities and their properties to work with. People coming to us to have it all handed to them on a silver platter aren't going to find what they want. Most of us don't suffer fools gladly, though we're willing to share what we know and are learning with those willing to do their own work.
     
  7. Lady_Selune

    Lady_Selune New Member

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    I have read all the wonderful posts here and let me applaud all of you for your well thought out and presented ideas.

    When I think about the time I spent with my grandfather learning about the path of my people I wondered even then what was missing. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that things are for a variety of reasons. As I have mentioned in other posts I seek out that addition knowledge. It is unfortunate that I will never find it in a book anywhere and even though I do speak with the other shamans of my tribe it is still hard to compare notes when all of us tend to have different pieces and missing pieces.

    Can the two live together today, absolutely. Most native tribes in the US do it on a daily basis. There are some things that are just not done even on a reservation because it would violate federal law. For example, the Micosokee tribal Chief will be getting out of prison this year because he killed a Florida planter. It is part of their ritual for anointing a chief, he chose to do it the old way, he went to jail.

    My Grandfather taught me the complete ritual for a Ghost Dance, will I ever use it, well chances are I won’t but I know it. Am I missing other rituals that were perhaps more important to me in the modern day, most likely but the wonderful thing it that it encourages me to stay in contact with others like me.

    Myself, most of what I do is done in the old way. It is important to me to preserve the tradition, however, when the breaks occur (and they happen more often then I would like at times) I am left with either hoping one of my peers has the answer or looking inside myself for the answer. Ok, so I tend to do both and trust myself more then I do some of my peers, but you get the point.

    The best example I can give you of this is herbs. My grandfather taught me a lot about herbal use. However, his knowledge was limited to those herbs that could be found in the tribal range. I figured what the heck, I already have a good start so I set about learning everything I could about every herb I could get my hands on. I currently keep a closet full of herbs, large count 482 different varieties. Why? Because I use them all. I can’t say that expanding herbal usage is traditional or reconstruction but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if my ancestors would have had access to all the herbs I do that they would have discovered the wonderful properties of them and used them just as much as they did the herbs that they did have access to.

    I simply can't help but wonder if there are not people wandering around with alot more knowledge that has been passed down to them then we know of. Just because they have not chosen to write a book about it does not mean they don't have it, heheh and in some cases I am sure its all about "guarding" the knowledge.
     
  8. spiritman51

    spiritman51 New Member

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    Hello, I hope people don't think I am hostile to reconstructionists and their effort to reconnect to the energy of their ancestors. There are some very sucsessfull groups.
     
  9. Erynn

    Erynn Professional Madwoman

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    I don't think you're hostile at all. BTW, I'm intending to get to your email, but I've been both busy and under the weather recently. I've apparently finally come down with whatever kind of head/sinus crud has been making its way around here lately.

    Thanks for the clarification. It does make a big difference in how I can interpret what you've said. I do agree that having the background makes an immense difference, and this is what we in CR are also attempting to achieve.

    These are good questions. Yes, it's hard to learn Gaelic, but it does give an insight into the ways of thought and the philosophies of the people who speak the langauge. Yes, Pictish (which is now considered a form of q-celtic) was certainly spoken there, and probably others as well, including Norse languages. The question then becomes, which culture or tribe or region is the person's reconstruction focused upon?

    I acknowlege fully and completely that there are bozos in CR, and that we're as prone to confabulation and self-puffery as any other group of human beings. The big difference is, within Paganism, there seems to be a larger proportion of the credulous, people who don't want to ask questions or explore. I try very hard not to be either credulous or a bozo ;)

    Yeah. It's more like pseudo-Lallans, really, since it's largely English with Border dialect thrown in. It's very silly, I agree.

    Yes, but just because we do feel rootless doesn't mean we are always doing something inappropriate by attempting to recreate and/or rekindle the ways of a possibly ancestral culture. I say "possibly" because not everyone the Celtic deities call is going to be of discernable Celtic descent -- and I do believe that it's far more important to follow the call of one's deities than to philosophies of purity and bloodline that can be turned into something truly nasty when we're not looking.

    I'm not saying you're suggesting that, merely that I've encountered that attitude in a number of places before.
     
  10. spiritman51

    spiritman51 New Member

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    Hey Erynn, What a good point about "the Celtic Deities" calling certain individual to rekindle the traditional Celtic spirituality. I didn't understand the calling of these individuals . That wisdom would have saved me a few arguments. Don't get me wrong I'm still friends with most of these people but a little understanding would have gone a long way.

    I hate to tell you this, but the lads were doing the mock Gaelic side by side with just terrible Lallan renditions of "Tam O'Shanter" and the "Selkirk Grace".
     

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