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Seren_
September 17th, 2007, 12:48 PM
An oldie but a goodie, I think:

An interview with Kathryn Price NicDhÓna (http://www.thegreentriangle.com/Dec%2006/Interview%20with%20Kathryn%20Price%20NicDhana.htm)

She's one of the early movers and shakers that's helped shape CR as we know today, in case you were wondering ;) I don't think anyone's posted this before but it's been around for a while and I stumbled across it again today.

Thoughts? Comments?

Nitefalle
September 19th, 2007, 11:03 AM
I really appreciated this article. Sometimes, I get myself so caught up in my head about what I *should be* doing as compared to other CR's, that I forget that I'm still allowed to forge my own path within the system. I love her closing statement: "The Gods are real. Everything proceeds from that." I think I need to make a sign and put that on my altar, to remind myself that what I do personally is still valid, still meaningful.

skilly-nilly
September 19th, 2007, 11:35 AM
What a great interview and thanks for posting the link!

What she discusses and my own practices are so close that I found her to be profoundly insightful. Or, to put that in a less egocentric way, I think the point that folklore (although Xianized) represents the living history of what was before is a very important one to make.

odubhain
November 26th, 2007, 07:23 AM
An oldie but a goodie, I think:

An interview with Kathryn Price NicDhÓna (http://www.thegreentriangle.com/Dec%2006/Interview%20with%20Kathryn%20Price%20NicDhana.htm)

She's one of the early movers and shakers that's helped shape CR as we know today, in case you were wondering ;) I don't think anyone's posted this before but it's been around for a while and I stumbled across it again today.

Thoughts? Comments?
I normally do not agree with this person but this interview was spot on in most of the areas it covered.

Searles O'Dubhain

Faol-chu
November 26th, 2007, 09:05 AM
An oldie but a goodie, I think:

An interview with Kathryn Price NicDhÓna (http://www.thegreentriangle.com/Dec%2006/Interview%20with%20Kathryn%20Price%20NicDhana.htm)


Thoughts? Comments?

While I relate to most of what Kathryn had to say in this article, I need to point out, generally (especially since this article mentions the CR FAQ"s) that there are some things which really don't 'jive' with me.

Firstly, while we CAN look at mythology and get a sense of SOME of the things that went on before Christianity, some things are never addressed--partly because what is recorded was recorded (and/or orated) by Christian individuals. Yes, some things DID change. Most CR's I have encountered would prefer to sweep these things wh ich are hinted at, but never expounded upon under the rug, because it is not aesthetically pleasing to them....and they do so in the name of "you can't PROVE it, so it doesn't exist!". :gagged:

Kathryn, herself, who had a big hand in writing the FAQ's has participated in such even while she worked on the FAQ's. Dr. Michael Newton has written several books, one of which is, IMHO, INTEGRAL to getting a really good look at Scottish Gaelic culture. That book is Handbook of the Scottish Gaelic World. Because Kathryn, in particular wanted it so, this book was deliberatedly deleted (initially) from the FAQ list. She did not like it because she thought parts of it seemed 'misogynist'. It did not matter that these things were historically accurate...they did not fit her agenda, and so she was going to throw out the whole book with the part that she, personally, disliked. After much pressure, she agreed to have the book added back to the FAQ, but with 'cautions'.

This whole incident caused me to re-examine the CR movement. As a traditionalist who has had contact with living Gaels, including some tradition-bearers, this type of behaviour offends me to the core. Dr. Newton's book is sanctioned by the Scottish Gaelic community--in the hopes that it will help dispel some of the more 'New Agey' notions about them and their history.
Who are this group of CR's who would promote their viewpoint over the Scottish Gaelic community's opinion of themselves??

My tuppence...

Le meas,

Edited to add...Celtic religion was not (is not) something separate from every day life. It seriously concerns me the degree to which the CR movement (as is represented by the CR FAQ's and those who participated in its creation) would like to perpetuate that it is/was separate by the very burying of those things which some deem to be 'offensive'. It's interesting to me, too, that this very thing is something Kathryn NicDhana has been frustrated by when dealing with the wider neo pagan community.

odubhain
November 26th, 2007, 09:02 PM
While I relate to most of what Kathryn had to say in this article, I need to point out, generally (especially since this article mentions the CR FAQ"s) that there are some things which really don't 'jive' with me.

Firstly, while we CAN look at mythology and get a sense of SOME of the things that went on before Christianity, some things are never addressed--partly because what is recorded was recorded (and/or orated) by Christian individuals. Yes, some things DID change. Most CR's I have encountered would prefer to sweep these things wh ich are hinted at, but never expounded upon under the rug, because it is not aesthetically pleasing to them....and they do so in the name of "you can't PROVE it, so it doesn't exist!". :gagged:

Kathryn, herself, who had a big hand in writing the FAQ's has participated in such even while she worked on the FAQ's. Dr. Michael Newton has written several books, one of which is, IMHO, INTEGRAL to getting a really good look at Scottish Gaelic culture. That book is Handbook of the Scottish Gaelic World. Because Kathryn, in particular wanted it so, this book was deliberatedly deleted (initially) from the FAQ list. She did not like it because she thought parts of it seemed 'misogynist'. It did not matter that these things were historically accurate...they did not fit her agenda, and so she was going to throw out the whole book with the part that she, personally, disliked. After much pressure, she agreed to have the book added back to the FAQ, but with 'cautions'.

This whole incident caused me to re-examine the CR movement. As a traditionalist who has had contact with living Gaels, including some tradition-bearers, this type of behaviour offends me to the core. Dr. Newton's book is sanctioned by the Scottish Gaelic community--in the hopes that it will help dispel some of the more 'New Agey' notions about them and their history.
Who are this group of CR's who would promote their viewpoint over the Scottish Gaelic community's opinion of themselves??

My tuppence...

Le meas,

Edited to add...Celtic religion was not (is not) something separate from every day life. It seriously concerns me the degree to which the CR movement (as is represented by the CR FAQ's and those who participated in its creation) would like to perpetuate that it is/was separate by the very burying of those things which some deem to be 'offensive'. It's interesting to me, too, that this very thing is something Kathryn NicDhana has been frustrated by when dealing with the wider neo pagan community. I've had these doubts and conflicts with Kathryn since our paths first crossed about 14 years ago.

She likes to put her own spin on things and is very biased against differing ways. All that being said, her interview appeared to be offering the world a more moderate Kathryn. Like most of the so-called "CR inventing" crowd, she and the others seem to attempt to appropriate those things (as if they think they've invented them by giving them a specific name) that others have been doing far longer than they.

I don't agree with everything offered by Michael Newton either but he appears to have a more objective approach to scholarship and discussions.

Searles

Seren_
November 27th, 2007, 04:35 PM
While I relate to most of what Kathryn had to say in this article, I need to point out, generally (especially since this article mentions the CR FAQ"s) that there are some things which really don't 'jive' with me.

Firstly, while we CAN look at mythology and get a sense of SOME of the things that went on before Christianity, some things are never addressed--partly because what is recorded was recorded (and/or orated) by Christian individuals. Yes, some things DID change. Most CR's I have encountered would prefer to sweep these things wh ich are hinted at, but never expounded upon under the rug, because it is not aesthetically pleasing to them....and they do so in the name of "you can't PROVE it, so it doesn't exist!". :gagged:

Could you give any examples? By and large I agree with you, but I can't think of any examples off the top of my head...


Kathryn, herself, who had a big hand in writing the FAQ's has participated in such even while she worked on the FAQ's. Dr. Michael Newton has written several books, one of which is, IMHO, INTEGRAL to getting a really good look at Scottish Gaelic culture. That book is Handbook of the Scottish Gaelic World. Because Kathryn, in particular wanted it so, this book was deliberatedly deleted (initially) from the FAQ list. She did not like it because she thought parts of it seemed 'misogynist'. It did not matter that these things were historically accurate...they did not fit her agenda, and so she was going to throw out the whole book with the part that she, personally, disliked. After much pressure, she agreed to have the book added back to the FAQ, but with 'cautions'.

This whole incident caused me to re-examine the CR movement. As a traditionalist who has had contact with living Gaels, including some tradition-bearers, this type of behaviour offends me to the core. Dr. Newton's book is sanctioned by the Scottish Gaelic community--in the hopes that it will help dispel some of the more 'New Agey' notions about them and their history.
Who are this group of CR's who would promote their viewpoint over the Scottish Gaelic community's opinion of themselves??

I think one of the problems with the CR FAQ is that it serves to create the impression that everybody within CR a) agrees with everything that's said in it, b) does things in the same way as outlined or alluded to in the FAQ, and c) recognises the authors as 'Elders'. They've made it clear that they don't speak for everyone, to be fair, but at first glance that doesn't always come across. Then again, the authors are stuck between a rock and a hard place, because if the FAQ hadn't been written, there wouldn't be anything that was even remotely accessible as far as finding anything out about CR is concerned. I think the idea was that by making it a joint effort the FAQ would reflect a wider portion of the CR community, but inevitably even with trying to be more inclusive no publication on the subject is going to 'jive' completely with everyone.

To me the term 'Elders' implies that they are instrumental in defining the path and individual practises of people within CR, which is true to a certain extent if only by default - with their experience and prominence within the CR community (and yes, many of them have been instrumental in the path's conception), they are very influential, but I'm leery of what the term implies. There's very little common consensus in practices at a very basic level (such as ritual format) and CR is still a very personal path that most people have to struggle along with and find their own way for the most part. This is one thing that didn't come across in the FAQ so well, I think.

The FAQ is a useful tool but is of limited relevance to me as far as my own practices and geographical situation go in some respects - it's very much geared to an American audience. It's handy to point people to when they have a question that can be answered by pointing them in that direction, but I disagree fundamentally with what's been said about Newton's book.

Speaking for myself, I've relied heavily on sources like The Silver Bough, Carmina Gadelica and The Gaelic Otherworld to inform my own practices but I soon found that they didn't do so much to give an understanding of how these practices fitted into everyday life/society. Newton's book was a good remedy for that and I felt it was a good reflection of how Scottish life really was. We can wish it was all about equality of gender all we want, but it just wasn't so.

For what it's worth, with the discussion on the imbas list a while ago, there are very few people who do seem to agree with Kathryn on this point. They certainly weren't very outspoken, anyway.

_Banbha_
November 28th, 2007, 05:04 AM
I have not fully read the book in question so I can't comment conclusively, but I'm glad it was at least recommended in the end, if only with the qualifier.

I think many reacted to that and the other qualifiers on the reading list (thinking Alexei Kondratiev's "The Apple Branch" especially) as an attempt to marginalize or dismiss the works, and by extension the authors themselves. I found that criticism somewhat overreaching, all the while I don't agree with some of the decisions made either.

Sometimes I feel CR itself seems too focused on the American audience and perhaps the main voices have an American perspective as well. A well schooled perspective, but one which really seems at times to not have lived in or among native Celtic cultures. This has frustrated and/or boggled me on occasion because it seems an odd disconnect that I would have otherwise taken for granted. I've had to readjust (perhaps unreasonable?) expectations and continue on my own way.

I have problems with the expectations that come with the term "Elder." I very much respect knowledge earned and shared. But the concept of having "Elders" hand things down with unquestioned authority is antithetical to my own beliefs and practices. I can agree this might be an issue that lacks a certain clarity.

Faol-chu
November 30th, 2007, 07:05 AM
Could you give any examples? By and large I agree with you, but I can't think of any examples off the top of my head...

Off the top of my head, the issue of human sacrifice comes to mind. It was apparently part of the worldview of at least SOME Celts. The advent of Christianity helped to eradicate it (eventually). Most reconstructionists speak with pure disdain for Christianity, and will not acknowledge that anything we think of as a positive change could have ever come about with the advent of it.




I think one of the problems with the CR FAQ is that it serves to create the impression that everybody within CR a) agrees with everything that's said in it, b) does things in the same way as outlined or alluded to in the FAQ, and c) recognises the authors as 'Elders'. They've made it clear that they don't speak for everyone, to be fair, but at first glance that doesn't always come across.

I agree. And, as a learner of the language, I'd like to add that a lot of the terms that are used by the CR community cease to have that 'mysterious' allure, once a person actually starts learning the language. It seems to me that many are attracted to the exoticism of the whole thing...and I think that several of the book writers in the CR movement are capitalizing on that.


Le meas,

skilly-nilly
November 30th, 2007, 02:07 PM
To me, this discussion reads like everybody's got an agenda, Kathryn Price NicDhÓna included. I think that everybody DOES have an agenda and pointing and accusing are unnecessary; acknowledging and moving on are more fruitful imo.



I normally do not agree with this person but this interview was spot on in most of the areas it covered.
Searles O'Dubhain

Searles disagrees with Kathryn Price NicDhÓna, but Searles often disagrees with other peoples' opinions--I don't see this as a finding.

Here he disagrees more:

I've had these doubts and conflicts with Kathryn since our paths first crossed about 14 years ago.

I don't agree with everything offered by Michael Newton either but he appears to have a more objective approach to scholarship and discussions.

Searles

I so strongly feel that Searles himself could be described "She likes to put her own spin on things and is very biased against differing ways" if you changed the gender.
I think different opinions are valuable and necessary. When I read someone's opinion I take into account their background, what I've read by them before, what they've done.

As well as self describing as one of the "CR elders and long-term practitioners" it is obvious from reading her that Kathryn Price NicDhÓna is a Feminist. So clearly her opinions will reflect this and that bias on her part will have to be taken into account. The fact that she's biased doesn't negate her long-term practice nor disqualify her self-description.

Searles self-describes as "a respected Celtic and Druidic scholar" and I have seen other scholars disagree with the conclusions he makes. This in no way makes him not-a-scholar in the same way as disagreeing with Kathryn Price NicDhÓna's practices makes her not-a-long-term practitioner.

Faol-ch¨ disagrees with Kathryn Price NicDhÓna too:

While I relate to most of what Kathryn had to say in this article, I need to point out, generally (especially since this article mentions the CR FAQ"s) that there are some things which really don't 'jive' with me.

It seriously concerns me the degree to which the CR movement (as is represented by the CR FAQ's and those who participated in its creation) would like to perpetuate that it is/was separate by the very burying of those things which some deem to be 'offensive'.

The lesson that can be learned from this would be that CRish believers tend to be opinionated and have strongly held beliefs, except that's something I already knew. I know this of myself, even.

I think that acknowledging that opinions differ/we all have personal slants/we bring ourselves to our religion in a less accusatory way would further conversation. Rather than 'I discredit Kathryn Price NicDhÓna because she and I have different opinions!!!!!' I think what works is 'here is a different opinion than Kathryn Price NicDhÓna has expressed'.

That is, not "those things which some deem to be 'offensive' " but, as Seren says, examples:



Could you give any examples? By and large I agree with you, but I can't think of any examples off the top of my head...

To me the term 'Elders' implies that they are instrumental in defining the path and individual practises of people within CR, which is true to a certain extent if only by default - with their experience and prominence within the CR community (and yes, many of them have been instrumental in the path's conception), they are very influential, but I'm leery of what the term implies.

The FAQ is a useful tool but is of limited relevance to me as far as my own practices and geographical situation go in some respects - it's very much geared to an American audience. It's handy to point people to when they have a question that can be answered by pointing them in that direction, but I disagree fundamentally with what's been said about Newton's book.



Off the top of my head, the issue of human sacrifice comes to mind. It was apparently part of the worldview of at least SOME Celts. The advent of Christianity helped to eradicate it (eventually). Most reconstructionists speak with pure disdain for Christianity, and will not acknowledge that anything we think of as a positive change could have ever come about with the advent of it.

See, there's an actual point of disagreement rather than 'I discredit Kathryn Price NicDhÓna because she and I have different opinions!!!!!'.
Human sacrifice as a religious offering is a thorny point in the post-modern world and opinions differ.

In many cases (perhaps more in America than in Britain) human sacrifice is the one thing that uninformed people 'know' about 'Druids' so it's an important distinction to make when writing to an uninformed audience that there's more to CR than this.

But I think using disparaging sarcasm is unnecessary:



And, as a learner of the language, I'd like to add that a lot of the terms that are used by the CR community cease to have that 'mysterious' allure, once a person actually starts learning the language. It seems to me that many are attracted to the exoticism of the whole thing...and I think that several of the book writers in the CR movement are capitalizing on that.




Like most of the so-called "CR inventing" crowd, she and the others seem to attempt to appropriate those things (as if they think they've invented them by giving them a specific name) that others have been doing far longer than they.


When I read these statements I hear the posters saying that THEY have personal practices and use a Gaelic language meaningfully but that when OTHERS do these very things those other people are being self-aggrandizing and appropriative.

I think that if one person has a religion that includes personal practices then they must admit that using specifically and so-identified personal practices is a valid path-work. Even if the one person disagrees with the other person's opinions.

I think this argument is outside the stated intentions of the FAQ book:

"This FAQ is meant to provide a variety of viewpoints on CR and an introduction to our community. While no book or website, even a collectively-authored one, can claim to speak for every individual everywhere who identifies as CR, we have made our best effort to be inclusive and representative of our diverse community while still making it clear that there are boundaries and limitations on what is considered CR. We hope it will provide a good introduction to our community and tradition and that you enjoy your visit with us."
http://www.paganachd.com/faq/intro.html

For several years (until someone didn't give it back) I had a little book 'Introduction to Witchcraft' that I liked because it was non-Wiccan in outlook. OF COURSE, some of the expressed opinions differed from mine, and I wrote in amendments. Then when someone expressed a genuine interest in knowing more about my non-Xian religion but had no actual knowledge at-tall I would lend it to them so that they could ask more informed questions after.

People who already are Celtic Reconstructionists/Gaelic Traditionalists/Druids aren't the target audience of the 'CR FAQ' and they are bound to disagree with at least some of the stated opinions and practices.
The target audience is people who don't already have a religious and research-based grounding and are looking to find out more starting from the beginning.

I would recommend that Searles and Faol-ch¨ obtain their own copy and mark it up harshly wherever they disagree so they can give it out to seekers. (Not that they don't already give out to seekers freely anyway :fpoke:)

As Seren says, it's of "limited relevance" if you've already put in a lot of thought and study. But that's not what it was written for.

And the people who wrote it have personal bias. But they're human.

At least there's an introductory book out there.

Faol-chu
November 30th, 2007, 03:18 PM
To me, this discussion reads like everybody's got an agenda, Kathryn Price NicDhÓna included. I think that everybody DOES have an agenda and pointing and accusing are unnecessary; acknowledging and moving on are more fruitful imo.

Just going to point out that thoughts and comments were asked for...So I gave mine. I've never given them before on this matter...and so, as I see it, I acknowledged my sentiments and moved on...I'm certainly not going to spend hours here debating the issue...because I've got more to do...I just thought another perspective on the matter might be found interesting...perhaps even insightful (for those who may be new to the whole thing, particularly).




Faol-ch¨ disagrees with Kathryn Price NicDhÓna too:Yep..I do...And I did not realize the breaking point until the flap over the book recommendation list...



The lesson that can be learned from this would be that CRish believers tend to be opinionated and have strongly held beliefs, except that's something I already knew. I know this of myself, even.Yep...


I think that acknowledging that opinions differ/we all have personal slants/we bring ourselves to our religion in a less accusatory way would further conversation. Rather than 'I discredit Kathryn Price NicDhÓna because she and I have different opinions!!!!!' I think what works is 'here is a different opinion than Kathryn Price NicDhÓna has expressed'.I'm not really "accusing" anyone of anything, other than having an agenda which offends me personally.



But I think using disparaging sarcasm is unnecessary:And, as a learner of the language, I'd like to add that a lot of the terms that are used by the CR community cease to have that 'mysterious' allure, once a person actually starts learning the language. It seems to me that many are attracted to the exoticism of the wholething...and I think that several of the book writers in the CR movement are capitalizing on that.FYI...These statements were NOT intended to be "sarcastic". The bolded part was a statement of FACT...one which I do not imagine a great lot of people on this board are familiar with...simply because most are not familiar enough with the language to be so. The second part (not bolded, just italicized) is something I have noticed after many years of being involved in the whole thing. The last bit was pure opinion....the truth of which seems pretty clear to me after stepping back and taking note.
None of it was intended to sarcastic in the LEAST...I'd rather it be viewed as "insight". In any case it has become clear to me over time that some of the goals of the CR movement (at least some of the most vocal in it) may actually conflict with the desires of the extant Celtic cultures. THAT is what is a concern of mine....and I have pointed out that I am Traditionalist...and that is the position from which I come.




I would recommend that Searles and Faol-ch¨ obtain their own copy and mark it up harshly wherever they disagree so they can give it out to seekers. (Not that they don't already give out to seekers freely anyway :fpoke:)You know...I rarely post here anymore...mostly because I just don't have the time, and there is little I could add to conversations here that would not be either already known or disputed. Again...opinions were asked for. I took the time to give mine...Maybe it would be better if I did not bother next time.


As Seren says, it's of "limited relevance" if you've already put in a lot of thought and study. But that's not what it was written for.Yep...and I added my thoughts to the mix for consideration by those who MAY be well familiar with it all, and for those who may not be as well.

Seren_
November 30th, 2007, 06:59 PM
Off the top of my head, the issue of human sacrifice comes to mind. It was apparently part of the worldview of at least SOME Celts. The advent of Christianity helped to eradicate it (eventually). Most reconstructionists speak with pure disdain for Christianity, and will not acknowledge that anything we think of as a positive change could have ever come about with the advent of it.

I've seen anti-Christian sentiment from some people in CR discussions but I wouldn't say it's prevalent or a driving force of the path. There are such people in any neopagan path, and usually they grow out of it...I've yet to see outright disdain or refusal to acknowledge the role Christianity has had. After all, it's the Christians who preserved the mythology and the lore that we have today. The role of Christianity is unavoidable in CR.

Perhaps people have mellowed in the time I've been lurking on the various CR places, or maybe I just haven't seen it. I understand that in the past there's been a lot of tension between recons and traditionalists, though I wasn't around while it was all going on, so maybe it's something that came from that...All I can say is, I for one don't have a problem with Christianity, and it seems pointless to me to do so...


I agree. And, as a learner of the language, I'd like to add that a lot of the terms that are used by the CR community cease to have that 'mysterious' allure, once a person actually starts learning the language. It seems to me that many are attracted to the exoticism of the whole thing...and I think that several of the book writers in the CR movement are capitalizing on that.Again I'm not sure I agree, if I've got hold of the right end of the stick for what you're saying...If you're referring to the use of Gaelic words for (and in) rituals and so forth by some people, I'd say anyone attracted to CR for its 'exoticism' is unlikely to stay for long, there's too much work involved for anyone that would be attracted by something so superficial because there's no book out there, and not enough people, to walk them through it in a straightforward manner.

I was under the impression that the use of such words is because few who are new to CR speak Gaelic (usually used) and the aim is to help familiarise people with the language in order to help encourage learning and understanding of the culture. Since such words often have incredibly significant nuances, it's a good place to start trying to understand the mindset...Though personally until I'm able to not butcher the language I shy away from such things unless I'm confident of the pronunciation (but that's probably irrelevant).


People who already are Celtic Reconstructionists/Gaelic Traditionalists/Druids aren't the target audience of the 'CR FAQ' and they are bound to disagree with at least some of the stated opinions and practices.
The target audience is people who don't already have a religious and research-based grounding and are looking to find out more starting from the beginning.

I would recommend that Searles and Faol-ch¨ obtain their own copy and mark it up harshly wherever they disagree so they can give it out to seekers. (Not that they don't already give out to seekers freely anyway :fpoke:)

As Seren says, it's of "limited relevance" if you've already put in a lot of thought and study. But that's not what it was written for.

And the people who wrote it have personal bias. But they're human.

At least there's an introductory book out there.

Absolutely. No member of a religion entirely agrees with another, and inevitably there will be some disagreements within any books as well. There are so few CR books out there (...three?) and the FAQ is an important piece of work. If any 'proper' introductory books ever get published, it will be interesting to see how things develop.



Just going to point out that thoughts and comments were asked for...So I gave mine.

And I for one appreciate them. I don't know much about traditionalism, and differing perspectives are always an eye opener.


In any case it has become clear to me over time that some of the goals of the CR movement (at least some of the most vocal in it) may actually conflict with the desires of the extant Celtic cultures. THAT is what is a concern of mine....and I have pointed out that I am Traditionalist...and that is the position from which I come.That's interesting...(loaded question that this may seem, I don't mean it to be), but what sort of goals do you have in mind?

odubhain
November 30th, 2007, 09:08 PM
To me, this discussion reads like everybody's got an agenda, Kathryn Price NicDhÓna included. I think that everybody DOES have an agenda and pointing and accusing are unnecessary; acknowledging and moving on are more fruitful imo.




Searles disagrees with Kathryn Price NicDhÓna, but Searles often disagrees with other peoples' opinions--I don't see this as a finding.

I was stating my personal opinion of the woman and her actions.


Here he disagrees more:


I so strongly feel that Searles himself could be described "She likes to put her own spin on things and is very biased against differing ways" if you changed the gender.
I think different opinions are valuable and necessary. When I read someone's opinion I take into account their background, what I've read by them before, what they've done.

As well as self describing as one of the "CR elders and long-term practitioners" it is obvious from reading her that Kathryn Price NicDhÓna is a Feminist. So clearly her opinions will reflect this and that bias on her part will have to be taken into account. The fact that she's biased doesn't negate her long-term practice nor disqualify her self-description.

Searles self-describes as "a respected Celtic and Druidic scholar" and I have seen other scholars disagree with the conclusions he makes. This in no way makes him not-a-scholar in the same way as disagreeing with Kathryn Price NicDhÓna's practices makes her not-a-long-term practitioner.,

I do not self describe as "a respected Celtic and Druidic scholar" I am a follower of the Druid way, no more, no less. I am strong in what I've studied and also in what I believe. I hope that more people see me as being fair-minded rather than biased as you seem to indicate.

<snip>


I would recommend that Searles and Faol-ch¨ obtain their own copy and mark it up harshly wherever they disagree so they can give it out to seekers. (Not that they don't already give out to seekers freely anyway :fpoke:)

As Seren says, it's of "limited relevance" if you've already put in a lot of thought and study. But that's not what it was written for.

And the people who wrote it have personal bias. But they're human.

At least there's an introductory book out there.

I have no desire to promote the CR FAQ or its authors for that work alone. It's not more or less important than several other websites and FAQs on the web. If I'm going to recommend someone it will be for what they have done, written or taught that I agree with. Some of the CR FAQ authors do publish and teach worthwhile material. I recommend their work even when I personally dislike the behavior or attitudes of the authors.

Let's not paint a dismall picture however. I find many authors about Celtic and Druidic matters to be wonderful resources and references. The CR FAQ is a small part of the overall universe of knowledge about such things.

There is a lot of bad blood between Kathryn Theatera and myself that goes back a long way. It's a root cause kind of thing. The interview is the *only* thing I've seen by her that looks reasonable, objective and unbiased.

I'm hoping there will be many more book s available soon. I see that as making good spaghetti sauce. The trick is to use cans of tomatoes from many different companies so that they blend and take the caustic edges and sweetness off one another. Having a full body of knowledge from many different sources does the same.

Searles O'Dubhain

Faol-chu
December 2nd, 2007, 09:12 AM
Hello, Seren...:)



Again I'm not sure I agree, if I've got hold of the right end of the stick for what you're saying...If you're referring to the use of Gaelic words for (and in) rituals and so forth by some people, I'd say anyone attracted to CR for its 'exoticism' is unlikely to stay for long, there's too much work involved for anyone that would be attracted by something so superficial because there's no book out there, and not enough people, to walk them through it in a straightforward manner.

Well, herein is the issue...the CR community, by its very publication of books IS making less work for those who are attracted to the outer trappings. While I do not disparage their effort, the effect is going to be more fly-by-night folks involved. I'm not sure this is a good thing.


I was under the impression that the use of such words is because few who are new to CR speak Gaelic (usually used) and the aim is to help familiarise people with the language in order to help encourage learning and understanding of the culture.

Well, while the introduction of the words is better, I guess, than nothing....using certain "special" words in isolation from the rest of the languge does not TRULY help one understand the culture.



Since such words often have incredibly significant nuances, it's a good place to start trying to understand the mindset...

Yes...the key word here is "start", though... It concerns me that the widespread publication of them within a CR context will have the effect of discouraging the continuation.



That's interesting...(loaded question that this may seem, I don't mean it to be), but what sort of goals do you have in mind?

Well, firstly, I guess would be the desire to give VOICE to the extant Celtic communities. Also, I'd say another breaking point would be that, from a Traditionalist perspective, and from the perspective of the communities, the only TRUE elders are those people who have been living in Gaelic communities and speaking the language their whole lives and/or the bards who have actually been living in the communities, sharing their stories and song their whole lives....Although I've met a few people who have learned the language as adults who I might consider to be 'elders'...If not 'elders', certainly 'inspirations', because they, themselves, are able to recite many of these songs and stories. One of them I know even 'beat the natives' (lol) at the Mod in Scotland.

It seems to me that Traditionalists are more inclined to 'apprentice' themselves to the living Tradition....While CR's usually tend to separate the 'religious' aspects out and hone in on that. The catch is that 'religion' in Celtic communities has never really been separate from the rest of life. I think that the use of the terms separated out gives the false impression that it has and/or can be.

Well, that's the only way I know to explain it...:)

Thanks for asking.

Le deagh gach durachd,

odubhain
December 2nd, 2007, 10:50 AM
Some of the things I've learned in my quest to discover or recover information that is lost is that I am only a student in these matters. Within living Celtic culture, there are those who are teachers.

Understanding what these teachers are saying should not be ignored or cast aside just because the names or languages are different (event the religions). As Faol-ch¨ has pointed out, the knowledge lives today within Celtic cultures in every part of life.

One of the few things that I've learned from Kathryn Price's writings is not to place one's personal prejudices in the way of learning. Kathryn reported that she missed out on some great opportunities to learn the traditions fromher grandmother when she likened the folk parctices that her grandmother was sharing with her to Wicca or Witchcraft. They may well have been kindred practices but her Irish Catholic grandmother was offended and would speak little of the traditions to her after that.

When we as CR, CT, GR, GT or neoDruids approach the wise ones of Celtic cultures, we should humbly realize the greatness of the gifts and wisdom that can be shared with us by people who live it on a day to day basis. We have a part of the picture. They are the living picture for their spirituality transcends religions. Modern life is putting those cultures and traditions in great peril right now. All of us should do our utmost to absorb its teachings and lessons for the future.

To honor our ancestral ways, we must help and aid the present Celtic cultures of our kindred and families.

Searles O'Dubhain

_Banbha_
December 2nd, 2007, 09:04 PM
Hey Faol-ch¨!



Well, herein is the issue...the CR community, by its very publication of books IS making less work for those who are attracted to the outer trappings. While I do not disparage their effort, the effect is going to be more fly-by-night folks involved. I'm not sure this is a good thing.

I'm burning with curiosity, to what CR books are you referring?
[/c˙ leabhrßn ]

The rest of your post to Seren I'm pondering and need some time with...in a good way. I think this is an interesting discussion and I value your opinions even when I don't agree with all of them. You have touched on one point I've been struggling with myself lately. :smile:

skilly-nilly
December 3rd, 2007, 01:19 AM
Well, herein is the issue...the CR community, by its very publication of books IS making less work for those who are attracted to the outer trappings. While I do not disparage their effort, the effect is going to be more fly-by-night folks involved. I'm not sure this is a good thing.


Well, while the introduction of the words is better, I guess, than nothing....using certain "special" words in isolation from the rest of the languge does not TRULY help one understand the culture.... It concerns me that the widespread publication of them within a CR context will have the effect of discouraging the continuation.


Well, firstly, I guess would be the desire to give VOICE to the extant Celtic communities. Also, I'd say another breaking point would be that, from a Traditionalist perspective, and from the perspective of the communities, the only TRUE elders are those people who have been living in Gaelic communities and speaking the language their whole lives and/or the bards who have actually been living in the communities, sharing their stories and song their whole lives....Although I've met a few people who have learned the language as adults who I might consider to be 'elders'...If not 'elders', certainly 'inspirations', because they, themselves, are able to recite many of these songs and stories. One of them I know even 'beat the natives' (lol) at the Mod in Scotland.

It seems to me that Traditionalists are more inclined to 'apprentice' themselves to the living Tradition....While CR's usually tend to separate the 'religious' aspects out and hone in on that. The catch is that 'religion' in Celtic communities has never really been separate from the rest of life. I think that the use of the terms separated out gives the false impression that it has and/or can be.


Some of the things I've learned in my quest to discover or recover information that is lost is that I am only a student in these matters. Within living Celtic culture, there are those who are teachers.

Understanding what these teachers are saying should not be ignored or cast aside just because the names or languages are different (event the religions). As Faol-ch¨ has pointed out, the knowledge lives today within Celtic cultures in every part of life.

One of the few things that I've learned from Kathryn Price's writings is not to place one's personal prejudices in the way of learning. Kathryn reported that she missed out on some great opportunities to learn the traditions fromher grandmother when she likened the folk parctices that her grandmother was sharing with her to Wicca or Witchcraft. They may well have been kindred practices but her Irish Catholic grandmother was offended and would speak little of the traditions to her after that.

When we as CR, CT, GR, GT or neoDruids approach the wise ones of Celtic cultures, we should humbly realize the greatness of the gifts and wisdom that can be shared with us by people who live it on a day to day basis. We have a part of the picture. They are the living picture for their spirituality transcends religions. Modern life is putting those cultures and traditions in great peril right now. All of us should do our utmost to absorb its teachings and lessons for the future.

To honor our ancestral ways, we must help and aid the present Celtic cultures of our kindred and families.

Searles O'Dubhain


It seems to me here that both Faol-ch¨ and Searles O'Dubhain are saying (on one level) is that we must look to "people who have been living in Gaelic communities and speaking the language their whole lives" or "people who live it on a day to day basis" for informed opinion. I can't disagree with this, of course, but I do disagree that only those people have the right to voice an opinion. And I don't think that Faol-ch¨ and Searles O'Dubhain, who are both Americans and so are exposed to that modern life which is a non-Celtic culture, must then be mute.

As well, both Faol-ch¨ and Searles O'Dubhain seem perfectly able to express opinions even though their whole lives have not been passed in traditional communities and the more power to them, I say.

I think everyone has a right to both have and express opinions and also to be disagreed with. No one can say that Kathryn Price NicDhÓna cannot express opinions (or write books) because she is less fluent in Gaelic or has been living in a CR community for less time or that her agenda is less pure than one's own--- I think that to disagree with anyone you have to disagree with their statements.

Faol-ch¨ has said that "Most reconstructionists speak with pure disdain for Christianity" (without actually quoting or referencing) and that "CR's usually tend to separate the 'religious' aspects out" (without using any examples). But these are so perfectly general as to really convey nothing more than 'I don't like these other people and wish to separate myself from being grouped with them'.

The only concrete example she uses is that she disagrees with using single Gaelic terms, words, and phrases in otherwise English speech; an example I find exclusionary in the extreme.

It seems to me that she is saying, by describing Celtic-Interest Noobies as "those who are attracted to the outer trappings" and "fly-by-night folks", that they are no better than Green Fluffy Bunnies who don't deserve to know more.

And that by promoting an introductory book the FAQ CR People are "making less work" and that using isolated Gaelic words "does not TRULY help one understand the culture.... [and] will have the effect of discouraging the continuation"

This seems to say that offering an easy point of access to Gaelic culture and spirituality to people with no understanding and only a starting interest will somehow disallow those few people to whom it will become a life-work to begin their studies. Or perhaps that having an access point will stop anyone from researching further. Or possibly that only those people who happened to be born in fundamentally Gaelic countries will ever be qualified to voice opinions (unless they are gifted enough to " 'beat the natives' ").

I disagree. For example, I always try to express my belief in a 3 Realm world whenever the world is presented as being made up of 4 elements in much the same way that many other people express the belief that all Witches are not bound by the Rede when the Rede is described as law----I think that if everyone was able to fully understand the statement 'opinions vary' I think the world (however comprised) would be a better place.

Everyone starts somewhere and finds their comfortable place and no one has nothing left to learn. We all start with one word.

Ot1h, I wish that I never had to listen to ill-informed people express what they think they know about 'the Celts' but I don't think that not having any introductory writings or making it hard to learn about the Celtic cultures is going to stop those people. On the contrary, I think that having valid, accessible information will allow many more people to combat potato fallacies when they are brought forth even if many of those people aren't scholars nor fluent in a Gaelic language.

Otoh, I think it would be great if I could identify myself as an 'Irish ReConstructionist' or an 'Irish Pagan' without having to immediately explain that I'm not Wiccan or to (if I wanted to) identify as a 'Druid' without having to immediately answer the challenge of human sacrifice. The only way I could do this is if the idea that these identifications existed was widely spread.

Otgh, I think that knowledge is power and that power belongs to everyone. That is, everyone should have it within their power to begin to find out about anything. Many people will lose interest but some people will find that learning enough will be their life's work. If they can't start, how can they learn?

odubhain
December 3rd, 2007, 07:57 AM
I'm saying (as I've always said) that one should learn from one's cousins and relatives as a part of the family of Celtic traditions. One should also honor the gods, do no evil and maintain right actions according to the traditions that are known.

Anyone who knows me or who has an understanding of what I teach will never cast aside knowledge from the three sources of tradition, experience and inquiry purely because of its origins. What I teach is that each form of knowledge should be in agreement with the others. Where they are not in agreement, a personal, family, tribal and cultural evaluation and determination should be made as to validity through open debate and challenges.

Generally tradition has the upper hand in this matter as it has stood many tests and trials over the years but things do change and new ideas are discovered so there is a constant evolution of tradition through experience and inquiry.

The most advanced and far-out form of inquiry is the practice of imbas. Knowledge gained or "brought-back" through this source should be tested by both experience and measured through a comparison with tradition before it is considered valid. To live without imbas is to be limited. To live without validation is a fantasy. To live only according to tradition is stagnation. To live only through experience is groundless. To meld all of these together is what I call culture and life.

Searles O'Dubhain

Nitefalle
December 3rd, 2007, 11:10 AM
To live without imbas is to be limited. To live without validation is a fantasy. To live only according to tradition is stagnation. To live only through experience is groundless. To meld all of these together is what I call culture and life.

Searles O'Dubhain

That was really beautiful. I am going to write that down in my journal, if you don't mind.

Seren_
December 3rd, 2007, 06:41 PM
Hello, Seren...:)

Well, herein is the issue...the CR community, by its very publication of books IS making less work for those who are attracted to the outer trappings. While I do not disparage their effort, the effect is going to be more fly-by-night folks involved. I'm not sure this is a good thing.

Hello :)

Exactly. I've seen undercurrents of the same sentiments within the CR community on lists like imbas when the issue of introductory books has come up before now.

But...

As much as there seems to be a basic opposition between the approaches of the CR and GT community, and perhaps especially some of the more prominent members therein, the passion and dedication to those respective paths cannot be denied, nor the cultures involved. All proceeds from the CR FAQ, for example, are being donated to various charities that are aimed at preserving and promoting Gaelic language and society...

Whilst it seems that there is a fundamental difference in approach/methodology, both communities are passionate about the cultures they focus on in their personal paths. Neither want to promote disinformation or just plain wrong information about these cultures, and have worked hard to find reliable books from which to learn.

I agree that it's inevitable that there are going to be more fly-by-night folks that associate their name with the CR path as it becomes more 'accessible', and there have already been laments to this effect in the CR community even without such introductory and easily accessible books - it seems odd that some folks would want to associate themselves with the path when it has such 'negative press' or perception in so many quarters, but that's by the by, I guess.

And yet without any introductory books where are people going to go? More than likely your average pop-pseudo-Wicca section (which doesn't do justice to either Wicca or the cultural paths, IMHO, when such books claim historicity as an over-riding factor in the book, but are really based i nothing much more than fantasy) in the Mind, Body and Spirit area of your local bookstore...And it's well known how good the reputation for historical accuracy is there...What would you (general) prefer? The outlining of a path, that you may not agree with on some fairly fundamental points, admittedly, or a modern version of Edain McCoy's Witta? One of them at least gives fairly good pointers to some decent further reading...

Ultimately, should we not give people more credit? On the one hand, I don't believe that any book can replace the need for self-study, no matter the subject. On the other, shouldn't we try and help people that don't have the same resources that many of us do have?


Well, while the introduction of the words is better, I guess, than nothing....using certain "special" words in isolation from the rest of the languge does not TRULY help one understand the culture.And to be fair, that's not the intention (TRUE understanding). It's a starting point, because introducing a whole ream of words in a different language would be truly overwhelming to your average joe. I consider myself to be an intelligent person in terms of being able to remember useless facts by rote, but learning languages is not one of my talents because it involves much more understanding of how language actually works, which I don't have at the moment. So a gentle start is beneficial to me, in terms of helping to familiarise and slowly immerse myself in the language, perhaps. That's what an introduction is supposed to be.

Learning the language is encouraged in CR, but, from my own perceptions, it seems to be one of the last things for people to learn, myself included. Perhaps this is one of the fundamental differences in emphasis and approach between CRs and GTs? Also the issue of which language to learn...for me, as a 'Scottish Recon' on the one hand it would be helpful to learn Old Irish in order to understand the myths...then again, Scots Gaelic would of course be the language of choice...At one and the same time I'm interested in the past as well as preserving and continuing the present...perhaps it's CR's perceived emphasis on the past that creates such a wide divide between CR and GT?


Well, firstly, I guess would be the desire to give VOICE to the extant Celtic communities. Also, I'd say another breaking point would be that, from a Traditionalist perspective, and from the perspective of the communities, the only TRUE elders are those people who have been living in Gaelic communities and speaking the language their whole lives and/or the bards who have actually been living in the communities, sharing their stories and song their whole lives....Although I've met a few people who have learned the language as adults who I might consider to be 'elders'...If not 'elders', certainly 'inspirations', because they, themselves, are able to recite many of these songs and stories. One of them I know even 'beat the natives' (lol) at the Mod in Scotland.I think there's a difference in terminology here...Would the people within the CR community who claim (or have been given...) the title of Elder claim such a title within Celtic communities? As far as I'm aware many of them, if not all, speak Gaelic with some degree of proficiency at least, but I couldn't say whether or not they'd claim the same if they ever nipped over to the Highlands or wherever. From what Kathryn said in the interview I linked to, I'd think not.

I think this touches on a point you make in the next paragraph, so I'll return to it later on...

I consider myself a member of the CR community, and yet I don't claim the title of being Celtic myself. Culturally, according to my upbringing, I'm not, and no matter how much I study or learn, nothing will change that, because what I learned in my youth is fundamental to my being. I may be adopted into another culture, and gain a huge understanding from learning the language etc, but to my mind, I may live in a 'Celtic country' now, and I may soon be moving to a nominally Gaelic-speaking area of the country, but I'm not 'Celtic' - even if I learn the language - because at the end of the day it's not something that will ever be a part of my being. I may have a degree in the subject, even, but all that gives me is an academic understanding of the field, not an instinctive, cultural, one.

My husband on the other hand, who was born and raised in Scotland claims his Celticness and yet has no (or very little) Gaelic. Even without the language his family has preserved many of the traditions found within what's commonly perceived as Gaelic society, perhaps because up until his father, his family were bakers. A few weeks ago, Mr Seren lamented the fact that yet again there'd be no black bun for Christmas, which hasn't been made since his Aunt Molly had died...It's not like he even likes it...And yet this is just one of the peculiarly Scottish, or even Gaelic, traditions he grew up with. In particular, I hope that as our children grow up, they learn the songs and music that my husband grew up with.


It seems to me that Traditionalists are more inclined to 'apprentice' themselves to the living Tradition....While CR's usually tend to separate the 'religious' aspects out and hone in on that. The catch is that 'religion' in Celtic communities has never really been separate from the rest of life. I think that the use of the terms separated out gives the false impression that it has and/or can be.This is pretty much how I perceived the differences to be, and on the one hand, I can see where you're coming from in a Gaelic context, though specific examples would be helpful, and yet...

From a personal perspective I don't see a difference between my 'everyday' life and my 'religious' life. I identify as CR and I try to live my path everyday in terms of the practises I know have been preserved, as well as the practises I've found that augment my beliefs/practises. For example, most days I go for a walk to see the Firth of Forth that's at the top of the road I live on in order to meditate and commune (for wont of a better word) with the gods to whom I'm dedicated. In addition, I perform the daily rituals to start and finish the day that can be found reflected in the Carmina Gadelica, for example...My current situation allows for me to do so.

Underneath it all, what makes me vaguely uncomfortable in these discussions is the sense of 'ownership' that so many people have for the modern Celtic cultures, who aren't even of these Celtic cultures, because it means that essentially I, who has no 'Celtic' upbringing, has no right to approach the gods to whom I'm called in what I perceive to be a culturally appropriate manner...as well as live my life.

All too often, and I do believe it's not always intended, it seems like being able to speak and understand the language confers some sort of Celticity that those who don't will never have...My husband, for one, would disagree, as would his friends (and honestly, in somewhat more derisive tones than my other half, so I tend to keep schtum) and I think he raises an interesting point that perhaps warrants further discussion...Rather I see it as a protectiveness, or defensiveness, towards the culture(s) more often than not, that comes across as something else from the passion and fervour that is often engendered in such discussions. Maybe I'm wrong, but this discussion is certainly proving food for thought for me.

I hope that made some sense, I have a lot of thoughts I'm trying to get across, here...

odubhain
December 3rd, 2007, 09:52 PM
That was really beautiful. I am going to write that down in my journal, if you don't mind.


Thank you. It would be my pleasure if you liked it. I don't think it can be said enough times. Life and culture are all of the forms that knowledge, existence and awareness can take. They are a triad and a constant and linked stream of beautiful moments (even when they seem to bring anguish at times).

Searles

Kathryn NicDhana
December 4th, 2007, 01:21 AM
Feasgar math a h-uile duine (Good evening, everyone),

Moran taing (many thanks) for your kind words and feedback about my interview, and tapadh leibh a-rithist (also thank you) to the forum members who emailed to tell me about this discussion. Though I have to say, reading people complaining about CR's relationship with Christianity, the living Gaeilge agus GÓidhlig (or Gaeltacht agus GÓidhealtachd) cultures, languages, and the FAQ, I get the impression that not everyone commenting here actually read it. ;-)

One thing I would like to say up front is that the CR movement is diverse. I care deeply about the living cultures and languages, but I know that, sadly, not everyone who calls themselves CR upholds that. I've done my best for many years now to try to educate people about these things, but I don't think it's fair to blame me for the fact that, like in any religion, there are people out there who don't get it but want to call themselves CR. Again, "Not the same person." ;-)

I also sometimes worry that writing rituals that only give people a Gaelic word or phrase here and there might encourage dabblers to only engage in a superficial manner with the culture(s), or engage in cultural appropriation. It's a legitimate fear. I have seen it happen, sad to say, and it's made me hesitant to share very much of what my group does. But for others who are exposed to small bits of the cultures this way, it will be the start of a journey towards becoming a part of a Celtic culture. I've also seen that happen, and it's for that reason that I don't just share these things with my family and friends. In sharing things publicly, we do risk them being abused. That's why I've been slow and careful about what I share. And believe me, I have literally lost sleep over whether sharing stuff is the right thing to do.

One way I've dealt with this problem, which is so rampant among Neopagans, is that I have turned down numerous requests to write phonetic rituals for those who say they have no interest in going any further with the language. Doing these things would have raised my public profile (a mixed blessing/curse ;-) ), but I alway turned them down.

I have also turned down paid offers to teach Neo-druidic or other Neopagan types to pronounce Gaelic invocations. My policy is that if they don't want to learn the language from the ground up, with one of my friends who is fluent and more grounded in the GÓidhealtachd culture as the teacher, I'm not interested in taking their money. If any of them want to sign up for actual classes, they can pay my friends. On a similar note, when I do offer rituals for the public, I often risk alienating newbies by including whole sections in Gaelic, Irish or OI. Though this hasn't made me the most popular among the Pagan types (on the rare occasions we cross paths), I'd rather serve the language preservation effort than cater to those who want it easy.

Though there's a lot in this, at times rather... odd, thread I could take on, two points stand out as particularly bizarre:

Searles wrote:
Kathryn reported that she missed out on some great opportunities to learn the traditions fromher grandmother when she likened the folk parctices that her grandmother was sharing with her to Wicca or Witchcraft. They may well have been kindred practices but her Irish Catholic grandmother was offended and would speak little of the traditions to her after that.

What?! Um, my grandmother never refused to speak to me about anything. Nor was she Catholic. You're confabulating /making stuff up, O'd. If it was unclear in the interview, I'll restate: My parents and grandparents all thought Wicca was pretty odd. When I made the mistake of mentioning "Witchcraft" to my grandmother, she did go silent for a few moments, as she was taken aback. But it was only for a few moments. She never, ever stopped speaking to me. Not about family traditions, not about anything. Thatĺs patently ridiculous.

The point is not that anyone in my family "refused to speak to me". (Geez...) But that, until I got ahold of good, Gaelic folklore books and studied on my own, I didn't realize that the customs I'd learned from my parents and grandparents were Gaelic.

I have never had anyone in my family refuse to answer my questions. The point is that, when I was being misled by the Wiccan stuff, I didn't know the right questions to ask to get more detail about the customs in our family. That was the possible missed opportunity.

So, I do take offense at my relationship with my Grandmother being insulted that way. She loved me and would not appreciate that. She also wouldnĺt appreciate being called Catholic (read the interview, that's not what I said, either). This is the woman who taught us apple peel divination, who kept the Harvest and May bonfires, who sang the Irish songs and recited our genealogy for me, who chose to re-Irishize my name (um, yeah, I know the spelling she chose is more Welsh, but it's also used in Ireland and she meant well. Her intention was to return it to a more Irish form from the anglicized versions our immigrant ancestors had gotten stuck with). My point with saying in the interview that I probably could have learned more is that I just wish I'd asked more questions while she and my grandfather were still alive, just in case there were any things that they had forgotten to teach us, or forgotten to explain. Thankfully, my mother remembers a lot. I was on the phone with her this morning, actually, discussing some of the traditions I've practiced since childhood, trying to figure out if thereĺs anything weĺve forgotten, or whether some of the things I started doing at a young age were based on my intuition vs learned from others in the family or neighborhood.

The thing is, some of the customs in our family we just don't know the origins of unless we find it confirmed in a folklore book or by another family. This is because we learned them in a cultural manner, and when we were very young. So neither my parents nor I remember being told "This is an Irish (or Scottish) custom." Because it just didn't work that way. These are just things "the way we've always done them." So, I learned all the customs that were kept in my family, but I just wish I'd had more of a chance to discuss what my Grandmother felt about them personally, or if there had been any info she didn't volunteer because, as so often happens with older people, she may have just assumed I wouldn't be interested. My mother and I miss my Grandmother all the time; we have a lot of things we wish we could ask her. But she never stopped speaking to me (not even after she died ;-))

So, yeah, completely different from how Searles tried to characterize it.

"Faol-ch¨"'s stories about the writing of the FAQ are also completely wrong. For one thing, s/he wouldn't know, as s/he was not part of the project. For another, it was the consensus of the entire group that Newton's book only be included with a caveat. While I guess I should be obscurely flattered that FC sees me as that powerful, everything in the FAQ was done by consensus. I only co-wrote the caveat. There were others on the project who wanted to be far less kind to Newton, or not include him at all.

FC is also incorrect in saying Newton or Newton's work is universally supported by those in the Gaelic-speaking communities. Newton has done some good work, but he's also done things not everyone approves of. Like many other Americans in the field, some people like him and some don't. What we endeavoured to do in the caveats on the book (note, on the book, not the person) was speak to particular points in the text, not comment on the personality of the author. There is nothing controversial about a book review, and it's been FC who seems to think it's about the person.

As with O'd, in FC's depiction of the writing of the FAQ, we have someone speaking in detail and flourishes as if they were a part of something they simply were not. Correct me if I'm wrong, "Faol-ch¨", but I believe I know you under another name (and gender) on another message board or two you were kicked off of (same ones Searles was kicked off, IIRC), so, unless you have another identity I am unaware of, I don't recall you even participating in the feedback we called for on cr_r and other message boards and listserves. And I know for a fact you weren't part of the group of authors who actually did the writing, as (besides being pretty clear on who you actually are) you don't seem to have the slightest idea what we really discussed.

FC, if I am wrong that your very familiar writing style and particular pet peeves are merely a coincidence, I apologize for saying you've been kicked off other boards. But I have to say, the resemblance is uncanny.

Anyway.

I do thank the rest of you for your kind and thoughtful comments. And again, for the heads-up on the misrepresentations.

SlÓn,

-Kathryn

Faol-chu
December 4th, 2007, 08:26 AM
"Faol-ch¨"'s stories about the writing of the FAQ are also completely wrong. For one thing, s/he wouldn't know, as s/he was not part of the project. For another, it was the consensus of the entire group that Newton's book only be included with a caveat. While I guess I should be obscurely flattered that FC sees me as that powerful, everything in the FAQ was done by consensus. I only co-wrote the caveat. There were others on the project who wanted to be far less kind to Newton, or not include him at all.

FYI...I've commented on nothing that did not play out openly on the Imbas Public list....Oh, and one other list that I did not habitually frequent (don't remember the name, but you were regularly posting there at the time), but I searched it out to try to get my mind around what was going on.


FC is also incorrect in saying Newton or Newton's work is universally supported by those in the Gaelic-speaking communities. Newton has done some good work, but he's also done things not everyone approves of. Like many other Americans in the field, some people like him and some don't. What we endeavoured to do in the caveats on the book (note, on the book, not the person) was speak to particular points in the text, not comment on the personality of the author. There is nothing controversial about a book review, and it's been FC who seems to think it's about the person.

The SCOTTISH Gaels with whom I've had conversation (including those of the Canadian stripe), and those with whom I've interacted in a class situation have openly SUPPORTED Newton's work...
And I NEVER implied that the decision of HOW to include his work was 'about the person' . I really don't know where you get that.


As with O'd, in FC's depiction of the writing of the FAQ, we have someone speaking in detail and flourishes as if they were a part of something they simply were not.

Never implied that either. I was making a comment about something I OBSERVED and then thought about. Comments and opinions were asked for here (I say AGAIN) and I gave mine.



Correct me if I'm wrong, "Faol-ch¨", but I believe I know you under another name (and gender) on another message board or two you were kicked off of (same ones Searles was kicked off, IIRC), so, unless you have another identity I am unaware of, I don't recall you even participating in the feedback we called for on cr_r and other message boards and listserves. And I know for a fact you weren't part of the group of authors who actually did the writing, as (besides being pretty clear on who you actually are) you don't seem to have the slightest idea what we really discussed.

FC, if I am wrong that your very familiar writing style and particular pet peeves are merely a coincidence, I apologize for saying you've been kicked off other boards. But I have to say, the resemblance is uncanny.

Consider yourself "corrected". I did NOT participate in the feedback...I only read, as the whole thing gave me pause. I do not believe I have ever even posted to you directly on any list, as I rarely posted anyway. I am decidedly FEMALE and have never tried to convince anyone otherwise. (I've even corrected people when they've bee mistaken.) And I've NEVER been kicked off of any list...Probably because I have mostly READ, and not posted.

I have my opinions about what I read. The whole thing made me rethink a lot of my feelings about the CR movement, in general. Since the converations on IMBAS and the other list I read regarding this issue involved people who DID take part in the creation of the FAQ, I have no reason to believe that they are uninformed.

It might behoove you to consider that the decisions you make and your work, in general IS subject to scrutiny by people who may never say anyting directly TO you about it.

For the record (again), it was NEVER my intention to somehow 'get the decision changed' or to make anyone look 'bad'.
I WA S GIVING MY OPINION...to which I think I am entititled...and I am entitled to discuss.

Le meas,

Faol-chu
December 4th, 2007, 07:17 PM
Hello...:D



And yet without any introductory books where are people going to go? More than likely your average pop-pseudo-Wicca section (which doesn't do justice to either Wicca or the cultural paths, IMHO, when such books claim historicity as an over-riding factor in the book, but are really based i nothing much more than fantasy) in the Mind, Body and Spirit area of your local bookstore...And it's well known how good the reputation for historical accuracy is there...What would you (general) prefer? The outlining of a path, that you may not agree with on some fairly fundamental points, admittedly, or a modern version of Edain McCoy's Witta? One of them at least gives fairly good pointers to some decent further reading...

Actually, I'd recommend they go to the 'history' section, and the 'folklore' section...:) I see no real sense in reinventing the wheel...lol

Honestly, when I started looking into this, there was absolutely PRECIOUS little available that wasn't some shade of Wicca. I'd never heard of "CR". I still knew that something was not 'right' with all the 'Wiccaesque' stuff I was seeing. (The first book I bought was DJ Conway!) Interestingly, I knew very little about history, but I know that what was largely available wasn't right.
I think that if people pay close attention, they will figure out that what's easy is not necessarily what's real. I found a good reading list (and it wasn't IMBAS!) and started reading....It's just that simple.


Ultimately, should we not give people more credit? On the one hand, I don't believe that any book can replace the need for self-study, no matter the subject. On the other, shouldn't we try and help people that don't have the same resources that many of us do have?

Anybody can get ANY of the books relating to Celtic history from a library in the States. I was driving 3 hours (one way) to go to Gaelic classes. Some really amazing things happened to me (eerie, even) as I was genuinely SEARCHING...including and especially for my Gaelic classes. I really think that where there is a will, there is a way.



At one and the same time I'm interested in the past as well as preserving and continuing the present...perhaps it's CR's perceived emphasis on the past that creates such a wide divide between CR and GT?

I'd say you might be onto something...Except that there IS an emphasis on history in CT....It's just that CT acknowledges that modern people in the cultures have knowledge to pass, as well...And we can learn from them how to incorporate it into modern life.


I think there's a difference in terminology here...Would the people within the CR community who claim (or have been given...) the title of Elder claim such a title within Celtic communities? As far as I'm aware many of them, if not all, speak Gaelic with some degree of proficiency at least, but I couldn't say whether or not they'd claim the same if they ever nipped over to the Highlands or wherever. From what Kathryn said in the interview I linked to, I'd think not.

I don't know about CR...but the people I know involved in Traditionalism, including (but not limited to) the fellow I know (a teacher of mine, btw) who won at the Mod in Scotland, are HIGHLY respected by those IN the Scottish Gaelic communities...both in Scotland and Canada. Whether or not they'd be considered to be 'elders' or not might be another story....And they'd DEFINITELY defer to the natives, anyway.



I consider myself a member of the CR community, and yet I don't claim the title of being Celtic myself. Culturally, according to my upbringing, I'm not, and no matter how much I study or learn, nothing will change that, because what I learned in my youth is fundamental to my being. I may be adopted into another culture, and gain a huge understanding from learning the language etc, but to my mind, I may live in a 'Celtic country' now, and I may soon be moving to a nominally Gaelic-speaking area of the country, but I'm not 'Celtic' - even if I learn the language - because at the end of the day it's not something that will ever be a part of my being. I may have a degree in the subject, even, but all that gives me is an academic understanding of the field, not an instinctive, cultural, one.

Here, here...:)



I hope that made some sense, I have a lot of thoughts I'm trying to get across, here...

Yes, you made great sense, Seren...I really do understand where you are coming from.

Thanks for your interest and polite conversation...:)

Le deagh gach durachd,

odubhain
December 4th, 2007, 07:25 PM
What?! Um, my grandmother never refused to speak to me about anything. Nor was she Catholic. You're confabulating /making stuff up, O'd. If it was unclear in the interview, I'll restate: My parents and grandparents all thought Wicca was pretty odd. When I made the mistake of mentioning "Witchcraft" to my grandmother, she did go silent for a few moments, as she was taken aback. But it was only for a few moments. She never, ever stopped speaking to me. Not about family traditions, not about anything. Thatĺs patently ridiculous.

I stand by my understanding and statement that you expressed regret when you characterized some of the things your grandmother was talking about as being Wiccan or Witchcraft. Your regret was to the point that she did not share those kinds of things with you later. I never implied that she quit speaking to you but that she quit sharing occult kinds of things with you. I don't need to read the interview again to know what you said about this point:


After my Christian grandmother told me about her great-grandmother the Scottish psychic and healer (from whom she thinks we've inherited our psychic gifts), because I was a stupid teenager who'd been reading Wiccan books, I asked her to tell me more about the "Witches" and "Wiccans" in our family. She freaked out.


I would have learned a wealth of things. But because I thought Christians wouldn't understand my Great, Secret Occult Powerz, I didn't notice that my grandparents actually knew more about my religion than I did.

Admittedly you did not say your grandmother was Irish Catholic. That was an error on my part but the way you expressed yourself about the occasion led me (at least) to believe that your grandmother did not share more Celtic cultural things with you because of that. If I'm wrong about that also, then I'm glad for you.

As to the FAQ, I've read it and it has its flaws like everything else. Some of it is good but in general it seems to be trying to say that the way y'all do things is the correct CR way. Some of what y'all do is correct and some of it is just personal preferences like everyone else who goes about reconstructing their family's and people's traditions.

I don't much like you nor do I like the way you tend to blow things out of proportion. The major thrust of my comments were that your interview was the best statement by you that I have seen so far. How someone can get in a snit about that is beyond me.

Searles O'Dubhain

Faol-chu
December 4th, 2007, 07:26 PM
Hey Faol-ch¨!

I'm burning with curiosity, to what CR books are you referring?
[/c˙ leabhrßn ]

A bheil thu a' ciallachadh "De leabhraichean"?
(Do you mean?...)

No specific books, other than the 'FAQ' book...though over time, I've heard calls for and discussion about "possible" books.


The rest of your post to Seren I'm pondering and need some time with...in a good way. I think this is an interesting discussion and I value your opinions even when I don't agree with all of them.

Well, thanks...:)

It's good to know that my posting here has not been ALL about me inadvertently offending folks...:)


You have touched on one point I've been struggling with myself lately. :smile:

Now, you've got me curious...Care to discuss??

Slan,

odubhain
December 4th, 2007, 08:00 PM
FWIW, I'm currently working toward a submittal deadline for a major publishing house in New York City for a series of books. Hopefully, they will like what they see.

Searles O'Dubhain

odubhain
December 4th, 2007, 09:30 PM
What will be the subject of your books, if you don't mind me asking?The books are ordered according to the D˙ile and discuss concepts and qualities associated with them within Irish, Celtic and Druidic traditions. They will use the Ogham as building blocks and links to traditional tales and techniques. They willalso include techniques that I've developed and perfected based on this knowledge.

The major topics are:

Ogham Forms and Cyphers
Methods of Imbas
The Three Cauldrons
The D˙ile
Magical Techniques
Sky Lore and Astrology
Ritual and Traditional Forms
Ogham Divination
Celtic Values
Wisdom Texts and Laws
Lots of Traditional Tales

Searles

odubhain
December 11th, 2007, 07:29 AM
It seems to me here that both Faol-ch¨ and Searles O'Dubhain are saying (on one level) is that we must look to "people who have been living in Gaelic communities and speaking the language their whole lives" or "people who live it on a day to day basis" for informed opinion. I can't disagree with this, of course, but I do disagree that only those people have the right to voice an opinion. And I don't think that Faol-ch¨ and Searles O'Dubhain, who are both Americans and so are exposed to that modern life which is a non-Celtic culture, must then be mute.
In reviewing this thread the above comment caught my eye. It's amazing how a single word can change what was actually said. I never said that only those in Gaelic communities have the right to voice an opinion about the culture.

I'm always amazed when people read a positive about some topic as excluding other positives (thereby making it a negative).

Let me restate the point I was attempting to make:

One should respect the practices, people and cultures of present day Gaelic communities and people as these people are the surviving Gaelic cultures. As such, they are a direct connection to the cultures and the traditions of the past that many are attempting to reconstruct or join. Nowhere have I said that these are the only valid ways to study or connect to such things but they are extremely important in the process. They are in fact essential parts of Gaeltic culture and tradition.

A good analogy would be that air is essential to life but it's not the only thing that is essential. Food, shelter, sanitation and family are other important parts of life. So it is with Gaelic communities and people. They are an essential part of reconstructing and being a part of Gaelic cultures and traditions. Language is the "air" of a culture. Its food are its traditions and practices. Its shelters are the communities where it is being practiced (whether there or here). Its sanitation is its scholarship. Its family is everyone who is connected to Gaelic tradition through intention and shared culture.

Searles O'Dubhain

skilly-nilly
December 11th, 2007, 01:02 PM
I'm saying (as I've always said) that one should learn from one's cousins and relatives as a part of the family of Celtic traditions.
Searles O'Dubhain



As to the FAQ, I've read it and it has its flaws like everything else. Some of it is good but in general it seems to be trying to say that the way y'all do things is the correct CR way. Some of what y'all do is correct and some of it is just personal preferences like everyone else who goes about reconstructing their family's and people's traditions.

I don't much like you nor do I like the way you tend to blow things out of proportion.
Searles O'Dubhain



Let me restate the point I was attempting to make:

One should respect the practices, people and cultures of present day Gaelic communities and people as these people are the surviving Gaelic cultures. As such, they are a direct connection to the cultures and the traditions of the past that many are attempting to reconstruct or join. Nowhere have I said that these are the only valid ways to study or connect to such things but they are extremely important in the process. They are in fact essential parts of Gaeltic culture and tradition.


Searles O'Dubhain


Then, by your own definition, what Kathryn NicDhÓna and you are doing are equally valid;
you both are learning from "one's cousins and relatives".

The fact that your opinions and interpretations are different "is just personal preferences like everyone else who goes about reconstructing their family's and people's tradition".

So (it seems to me) that when you say "I don't much like you" what you are engaging in is character assignation rather than a discussion of ideas.
You don't point to any expressed opinion nor practice and say (with references or attributions) 'my interpretation is different'; what you say is 'we've had issues' as if that somehow invalidates Kathryn NicDhÓna's Path......which would only be the case if you had some authority different from hers. But if you are "a follower of the Druid way, no more, no less" then your authority is the same as hers and I think you should be discussing facts and interpretations rather than personalities and personal histories.

odubhain
December 11th, 2007, 07:01 PM
Then, by your own definition, what Kathryn NicDhÓna and you are doing are equally valid;
you both are learning from "one's cousins and relatives".

The fact that your opinions and interpretations are different "is just personal preferences like everyone else who goes about reconstructing their family's and people's tradition".

So (it seems to me) that when you say "I don't much like you" what you are engaging in is character assignation rather than a discussion of ideas.

When I say I don't like a person it's my personal opinion based on their behavior. If I disagree with points they've made I outline my disagreement. I mainly don't like her because she blows things out of proportion.


You don't point to any expressed opinion nor practice and say (with references or attributions) 'my interpretation is different'; what you say is 'we've had issues' as if that somehow invalidates Kathryn NicDhÓna's Path......
That's completely untrue and unfair on your part. I expressed my opinion about her as you are merely expressing an opinion here.

which would only be the case if you had some authority different from hers. But if you are "a follower of the Druid way, no more, no less" then your authority is the same as hers and I think you should be discussing facts and interpretations rather than personalities and personal histories.
Well thank you for expressing your opinion. You've presented no facts here yourself other than your opinion of what I've said or done.

Searles O'Dubhain

Seren_
December 11th, 2007, 07:40 PM
When I say I don't like a person it's my personal opinion based on their behavior. If I disagree with points they've made I outline my disagreement. I mainly don't like her because she blows things out of proportion.

And yet such an opinion is entirely irrelevant to the thread and I don't feel it has any place here. Your feelings have been made clear on the matter and I don't see why they need repeating.

The point of the thread was to discuss the issues Kathryn raised in the interview I posted a link to, not whether or not people like her.

odubhain
December 11th, 2007, 07:49 PM
And yet such an opinion is entirely irrelevant to the thread and I don't feel it has any place here. Your feelings have been made clear on the matter and I don't see why they need repeating.

The point of the thread was to discuss the issues Kathryn raised in the interview I posted a link to, not whether or not people like her.

I've expressed my opinion about the interview already as well. I said it was the best thing I'd ever seen her do.

The only reason I'm discussing my opinion about her is that people keep bringing it up or misrepresenting it.

I'm perfectly willing to let it be otherwise.

Searles O'Dubhain