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> Déithe Dhaoibh!, Celtic Reconstructionist
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Breandán 
Posted: 04-Nov-2008, 09:30 PM
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I figured I wouldn't have to go too far into a Celtic site and find pagans. wink.gif

I was wondering if we had any Celtic Reconstructionists here? I consider myself a Gaelic Reconstructionist Polytheist, or sometimes I'll just say Irish Celtic Reconstructionist...both are a mouthful...

I have been an Irish Polytheist for about three years now, though I was pagan for most of my life before that (studying witchcraft and modern Druidism, looking for an authentic "Celtic" polytheist spirituality), as my mother had introduced me early on in my life. My mother is now a liberal Christian, and I have taken my religious studies quite a bit away from Christianity. I am a member of the Gaelic Reconstructionist Polytheist organization An Chuallacht Ghaol Naofa, as well as a member of the GRP temple called Neimheadh an Srutha here in Minnesota.

But yes...that's me. Am I alone, or do we have some among us here? smile.gif

If you're interested, you can check out the CR FAQ here: http://paganachd.com/faq/

Or Gaol Naofa here:
http://www.gaolnaofa.org/
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connor1985 
Posted: 10-Nov-2008, 07:14 PM
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while i am not anything that you were seeking i would like to say i have a strong interest in learning about this and perhaps if others feel the same we could start to line and begin to educate others. just a thought.


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Breandán 
Posted: 10-Nov-2008, 07:37 PM
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Most certainly. I think thats a fine idea. smile.gif
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Ross 
Posted: 13-Nov-2008, 08:05 PM
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Hi Breandá,

We keep bumping into one another. I’ve been engaged in studies of pagan ritual and religion for several years beginning in the early 70’s with the Native American Sun Dance. Most recently I’ve been researching Northern European (Celtic) rituals. Although I’ve endeavored to practice various rituals as appropriate, I wouldn’t consider myself a reconstructionist.

Two issues have become obvious to me over the past forty or so years. The first is that much of what is considered standard knowledge and understanding regarding a religion and its associated rituals is far from accurate or complete. Beginning in the middle ages, many groups sought to confuse, omit and misrepresent the truths. That trend has accelerated today where nearly every demographic that wants to empower itself takes the pieces of ‘ancient wisdom’ it likes, rejects the rest and fills the holes with their own ‘ancient truths’.

The second observation is that ‘the ancients’, be they Celtic, Greek, Egyptian or whomever, lived life on very different terms from us. Almost all of the rites and rituals of the ancient religions point to the aspects and the inner workings of the human psyche. Symbols such as the Sun, Moon, Earth and Stars are metaphorical. The terms of their worship was not practiced in the Judeo/Christian perspective of God(s) that has been dominant for centuries and had a transformational effect on our modern-day perspective of ancient Gods. It is not enough to uncover and reconstruct the implements, words or tasks of a given ritual. One must also understand the social context, timing and effect of the ritual’s meaning and impact on the human psyche of the people with whom it originated… that is the key to its magic and potency. That magic and potency is unquestionably accessible and much needed in our modern age, if truly and completely understood.

If your group is able to reconstruct that, I applaud and envy them. They have my sincere respect. I wish you all the best in your practice with them.
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Breandán 
Posted: 21-Nov-2008, 07:40 PM
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Hello Ross,

I understand where you are coming from, and definately agree with you on time's affect on our understanding of ancient cultures and their spiritualities.

Though I would just like to point out a few things about Reconstructionism.

First, Reconstructionists are not working to leave the entire modern world behind to go back to a time that is long gone. As a Reconstructionist, I work to integrate what we know into a modern context (I am on a computer, after all).

Second, yes, much of what we have has been twisted and changed to fit the agendas of the individual passing the information on. But that is why we look to more than just one source. If we need something to be validated, we will not only look at a text, we will look at living and dead folk traditions (as not all Celtic cultures are dead, though all have changed quite a bit), archaeology, other histories, and the possible needs of the people from which the information may have originated. And then, of course, there is always UPG (Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis) from which we can always fill in holes with our personal "revelations", so to speak.

As for the understanding of divinity, yes this is something I have been contemplating as of late. What makes deity within a Gaelic/Celtic culture?
I have heard a couple of different theories as to who the Gods were (things like powerful nature spirits, to ancestors). I have my own understanding of deity, though none of the perspectives of deity within CR I have heard are anything like the idea of what constitutes a god within Judeo-Christian religion. What we do seem to be sure of, especially from mythologies and traditional stories, is that the Gods are not perfect in any sense of the word. They have flaws, desires, personalities which we humans can relate to. They are not all-powerful, they are individuals (not part of something), and are not entirely beyond us.

As for community rites and rituals, that is something that I personally believe will have to form organically and over time, according to the traditional practices, views, and needs of each group and household.

Meanwhile, I will continue working to live in harmony and in contract with the Gods, because that is where I feel I should be at the moment. Whether with historically traditional methods, or my own UPG, I feel that the Gods will guide us when necessary and that Gaelic/Celtic Polytheism can again be a valid, living, and thriving way of life.

I feel there is definately more to Reconstructionism than what many people I have been speaking to seem to think. It is a valid, working, and meaningful spirituality, and not void of true spirituality as some seem to be assuming...

But we are still big history nerds...can't help it. wink.gif

~Breandán
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stoirmeil 
Posted: 21-Nov-2008, 08:37 PM
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QUOTE (Breandán @ 21-Nov-2008, 07:40 PM)
And then, of course, there is always UPG (Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis) from which we can always fill in holes with our personal "revelations", so to speak.

. . .

As for community rites and rituals, that is something that I personally believe will have to form organically and over time, according to the traditional practices, views, and needs of each group and household.

. . .

Whether with historically traditional methods, or my own UPG, I feel that the Gods will guide us when necessary . . .



Please excuse me -- I will certainly defer to Ross's comments, with pleasure, since you have addressed your comments to him, and I don't want to be nattering to one who is raised in the tradition as I surely was not -- but I would suggest that the practice (for lack of a better word, really) as lined out in these three passages is working to create a sound, common-sense framework for you that you yourself don't have to work so hard to justify. The "UPG" designation sounds just a little diffident or apologetic, and I think maybe needlessly so -- what else have you got right down the middle to move forward with but your reponses to the world and your meditations? Particularly because there is (thankfully) so little in the way of hard, received canon. Most people would probably agree you'll get a better or clearer sense of how to proceed by moving moderately first on your intuitions and listening for confirmation, than standing stock-still and waiting for instructions -- but you already have that insight in place. What could community rites and traditions ever have been besides a collective of "UPGs" accruing over time? And you have that insight too -- they'll come out of the more fluid personal level and start to crystallize at the communal as your communal life grows and ages.

If you then have confidence that you'll have guidance, or as I think of it, confirmation when it is going well and doing good -- well, maybe it's even easier than that to express. As Ross has wisely pointed out, a lot has changed; but I would also say, without disagreeing with him at all, that a lot more has remained the same at the level of human need; the world is still the world to be responded to, under the more recent damage, with wonder and reverance; and one of the recurrent human needs that keeps resurfacing is to heal the artificial split between the two, and regardless of the overlay of any particular theology, or so I deeply believe.

Beyond that -- historical nerdism not only keeps you honest, it keeps you fed and delighted, more power to it. beer_mug.gif
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Ross 
Posted: 22-Nov-2008, 06:36 PM
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Well said Stoirmeil. I agree completely with your take on the nature of community rites and traditions.

What I hear from you, Breandán, is really pretty refreshing. It sounds like, as a group, Celtic Reconstructionists make every attempt to be broad, balanced and well validated. I like very much what I hear.

I have occasion to sit in and listen to the conversations of some young pagans (15 – 25 y/o) in our community… Celtic, Goddess, Druid, etc. What I frequently hear is a mix of historic information, fantasy Sci-Fi, New Age Spiritualism and various agendas. I get concerned because these very serious young people are liable to form lasting dysfunctional perspectives about religion, life, the world, themselves, etc. It’s like watching people living on a constant diet of junk food.

I have no struggle with UPG, (quite the opposite really). I have a great deal of respect for it as a viable source of spiritual information, guidance and context… if it’s derived in an honest and untainted guest for knowledge. It’s more the tendency I witness for some (not applying this to you or CR) to extrapolate a ‘truth’ from a collection of disconnected and often misunderstood or misrepresented bits of information. It makes me shudder… like fingernails on a chalk board.

You sound like you have an admirable perspective and depth of knowledge, as well as a substantial and balanced support community. We could do well with such influences in our section of the country.
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Breandán 
Posted: 28-Nov-2008, 05:57 PM
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Very well stated, both of you.

Just a sidenote...I do tend to be a bit wary when bringing up the subject of UPG. Because it is that, Unverified Personal Gnosis. But as you, Stormeil, said what are community rights and traditions but a collective of UPG's, or rather SPG, Shared Personal Gnosis. I agree with you completely.




And on another, entirely unrelated, subject...where else have I had the pleasure of running into you, Ross? smile.gif
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Sìmeag 
Posted: 26-Feb-2009, 05:30 PM
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I follow a celtic/brythonic polytheist path where history and UPG are combined to ascertain SPG. wink.gif


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