PDA

View Full Version : Going Forward



odubhain
May 16th, 2008, 11:55 AM
When do CR folks stop using only the practices and traditions of the past and incorporate the practices of today's worlld? How do we create the future ways without actually living the traditions of our paths? Maybe at some point CR will become CL (Celtic Living)?

Searles O'Dubhain

Seren_
May 16th, 2008, 06:53 PM
When do CR folks stop using only the practices and traditions of the past and incorporate the practices of today's worlld? How do we create the future ways without actually living the traditions of our paths? Maybe at some point CR will become CL (Celtic Living)?

Searles O'Dubhain

Who says CR isn't Celtic Living? Or a living tradition, anyway, because really, the Celtic label isn't such a useful term in many respects. I see what I do as CR but I would certainly hesitate to call myself 'Celtic', 'Gaelic' or 'Scottish' - all of which are pertinent to my path - because I'm most definitely not any of those things. Those things are not my heritage. My ancestry, maybe, but that's different...

I'm at a loss as to how CR practices aren't a part of today's world, or that the practices that are still extant today don't inform CR practice...Perhaps since your path and mine seem to be vastly different (I focus on a more 'hearthy' path, rather than a druidical one as you do, if I'm not mistaken?) we're coming at the subject from different angles, but for me some of the most pertinent sources come from relatively modern evidence that in itself cannot be said to be pre-Christian by any stretch.

In addition, in using these sources as a basis for my own practices, there has to be an element of adaptation and updating because I'm not someone living in the Highlands with my own herd of cattle, flock of sheep, and local community with which I can turn to for support in times of need, and so on...I have a family to look after, but personally I prefer not to include them in my practices because I would like my kids to decide their own path, so as a solitary I have to adapt to those circumstances.

What I'm doing has to be adapted for other reasons too, whether it's how I make and cook the festival bannocks, to the devotional rituals like smooring that I perform, which don't focus on damping down my hearth-fire every night because I don't have a fire burning in my hearth all year round...I have a gas fire, for one, and neither do I use it for cooking and so forth as my ancestors did...And of course the inevitable issues of things like human (or even animal) sacrifice.

Given the fact that I haven't been brought up with these traditions, I can only look to the sources that exist in order to inform my own practices. Unlike a lot of people involved with CR, I live in the country that I culturally focus on in my practices, and my husband is Scottish as well. While I tend to keep my beliefs to myself, I've come across a few bits of lore that are central to my own practices in conversations I've had with people, that I myself have come across in books (such as lore associated with rowan), so to me there's not so much of a disconnect between the past and the present. I'm sure that there are a few people in the diaspora, or more, that have had similar experiences. To me, it's more of a continuum. Sometimes it's been changed beyond recognition, or diluted to the nth degree, but it's still there...Not in its entirety, but it's a good starting point. In understanding those points, that's where I personally try to develop and adapt that continuum to my own circumstances.

If I were to interpret your question as, "how do we get beyond CR as a methodology instead of a religion?", then I'd say, from my own experiences, that reading up on stuff is all well and good (and necessary), but it's the doing and the experiencing that make a path a living tradition. In expressing one's religion, that religion evolves. To me the point (or one the big points) of CR is in being up front and honest about where those expressions evolved from.

Without a centralising authority as the Pope provides for Catholicism (for example), CR becomes something that doesn't necessarily have an orthodoxy or orthopraxy in terms of ritual structures and practice and so forth. To some this is a problem because there's no set guidance (per se); to others it's a definite plus because it allows more flexibility, and personally I can see both sides of that argument...There are negatives and positives to that, and perhaps it ignores the rituals that have been put out there by prominent CR members, like the Tara ritual.

Some feel that the hardliners within CR are holding it back to a certain extent, whereas (to me it seems) the 'hardliners' are simply appealing for particular standards that were set with the inception of what CR was all about...As I said, I can see both sides. Either way CR is a living tradition. Whether it's become a tradition that some members were hoping for is a different matter, I think.

Seren_
May 16th, 2008, 07:38 PM
Very well spoken, Seren. :weirdsmil

Thanks :)

odubhain
May 17th, 2008, 10:33 AM
As far as I'm concerned, CR has always been about creating a modern, living religious tradition rooted in ancient practices, folk customs, and living Celtic cultures. Much of CR is founded upon modern innovation (or, in other cases, complete invention) as what we know about actual ancient practices and traditions is rather inexact.
It seems to me that a great deal of what we do has to be in the present for the future. As such, it must be based on direct experience and innovation rather than 'held back.'

To do these things appropriately means that CR must 'get off the pot' and go forward based on a clear understanding of 'what was.' Without such an understanding, all will be transient and without much meaning (only having one's personal meanings, values and inspirations to uphold it). I guess it's all a matter of maturing and numbers for CR to truly find a voice and become CL.

Searles O'Dubhain

odubhain
May 17th, 2008, 10:50 AM
Some feel that the hardliners within CR are holding it back to a certain extent, whereas (to me it seems) the 'hardliners' are simply appealing for particular standards that were set with the inception of what CR was all about...As I said, I can see both sides. Either way CR is a living tradition. Whether it's become a tradition that some members were hoping for is a different matter, I think.

Based on what you've said then CR seems more like Celtic Renovation or Celtic Replacement than Celtic Reconstruction. To me that's a good thing since the original ways have already evolved throughout history. One of my understandings about the process is that CR is attempting to be a re-evolution of Celtic traditions removing some of the undesirable outside influences and forced changes that have happened to them.

All this means to me that new or revolutionary traditions are being born based on modern interpretation of ancient ways. In the Summerlands, we call this recovering the Old Ways. In every life of a person or a tradition there is a 'finding of truth' at its core involved. It seems to me that CR needs to do this just as a person experiences an initiation into the ways. People and groups are doorways for these Old Ways to reappear from generation to generation.

Searles O'Dubhain

Seren_
May 17th, 2008, 11:42 AM
It seems to me that a great deal of what we do has to be in the present for the future. As such, it must be based on direct experience and innovation rather than 'held back.'

To do these things appropriately means that CR must 'get off the pot' and go forward based on a clear understanding of 'what was.' Without such an understanding, all will be transient and without much meaning (only having one's personal meanings, values and inspirations to uphold it). I guess it's all a matter of maturing and numbers for CR to truly find a voice and become CL.

Searles O'Dubhain

I'm not sure I understand how CR isn't doing these things, or isn't something that's in the present and moving to the future...

It seems to me that CR is quite clearly moving forward. For one, it's becoming increasingly apparent that those within CR aren't necessarily moving in the same direction, but that's largely to do with the variety of different paths within CR - those who would identify as druids, filidecht, warrior-based, home and hearth focused paths, as well as others I'm sure I've forgotten or I'm not even aware of.

Not to mention the fact that Gaelic cultures aren't necessarily going to be very comparable to Gaulish recons, for example, so it's difficult to have any homogeneity and coherence in terms of practice, in some respects. It's inevitable that Gaulish recons are going to have to rely much more on history and archaeology than someone like myself, for example, so they have to be more 'backward looking'.

That said, whatever the focus, it's essential to have an understanding of the history because when looking to the more modern practices, you need to be able to see and interpret which bits are part of the continuum, so to speak. It's not a precise science, or anything, but I think CR will always have to be rooted in the past. There's a perception that CR is all about trying to go back to the Iron Age and all that, and it's just not true. I'm quite happy with my central heating and internet, thanks :)

It's very difficult to generalise about CR in terms of practice because there are so many different factors that need to be taken into account. Whatever the case, when modern innovations take the forefront of CR practice, as you seem to be suggesting, then I don't see how that can be CR. That doesn't mean I don't think innovation shouldn't be a part of CR, though, I hasten to add. I just think it should have roots in the past.


Based on what you've said then CR seems more like Celtic Renovation or Celtic Replacement than Celtic Reconstruction. To me that's a good thing since the original ways have already evolved throughout history. One of my understandings about the process is that CR is attempting to be a re-evolution of Celtic traditions removing some of the undesirable outside influences and forced changes that have happened to them.

I believe some have called it Celtic Restorationist instead of Reconstructionist, and I suppose that makes sense. In some respects 'reconstruction' is a very unsatisfactory word to use because it can imply there's no recognition of the traditions that have survived, but then not all of the cultures that various people are reconstructing are in tact, and neither of course are the pre-Christian beliefs - that's why it's reconstruction, I think, because primarily it's the pre-Christian beliefs that are being reconstructed from what we know of in terms of history, archaeology, and modern survivals.


All this means to me that new or revolutionary traditions are being born based on modern interpretation of ancient ways. In the Summerlands, we call this recovering the Old Ways. In every life of a person or a tradition there is a 'finding of truth' at its core involved. It seems to me that CR needs to do this just as a person experiences an initiation into the ways. People and groups are doorways for these Old Ways to reappear from generation to generation.

Searles O'Dubhain

I don't see what CR is doing as trying to recover the Old Ways...perhaps because I see it as a fairly loaded term that's wrapped up with Wicca, pre-Hutton...

odubhain
May 19th, 2008, 07:12 AM
I don't see what CR is doing as trying to recover the Old Ways...perhaps because I see it as a fairly loaded term that's wrapped up with Wicca, pre-Hutton...

People I've corresponded with and have spoken with from Gaeltacht areas and from the islands have characterized their surviving traditions as the "Old Ways." I'm not much for Hutton or Wicca when it comes to understanding or learning about Celtic "Old Ways."

I recently met a man whose parents came from Iceland and whose grandmother was "Pagan." He remarked that "Old Ways" were still alive in Iceland as well.Many of these ways have a cloak of Christianity about them.

Searles

Faol-chu
May 20th, 2008, 07:41 AM
When do CR folks stop using only the practices and traditions of the past and incorporate the practices of today's worlld? How do we create the future ways without actually living the traditions of our paths? Maybe at some point CR will become CL (Celtic Living)?

Searles O'Dubhain


The 'practices of today's world' have already been incorporated by the living Celtic cultures. Why reinvent the wheel?

I truly do not know how people think they can 'reconstruct' anything without being fluent in the language. There is so much that's been internalized by people who were raised with the language regarding the perception of life and the universe that is completely and utterly missed by the "religious definitions" method of 'reconstruction'.
*I* can see this, and I'm not fluent yet.

History is a great start in trying to understand a culture and it's various aspects, such as religion...but it's not the bottom line.

Le meas,

odubhain
May 21st, 2008, 08:33 PM
I agree with you here, but this is what CRs have (always) been doing. I couldn't imagine CR being any other way.

Direct experience and innovation?

I haven't seen this much in CR.

Searles

_Banbha_
May 21st, 2008, 09:12 PM
When do CR folks stop using only the practices and traditions of the past and incorporate the practices of today's worlld? How do we create the future ways without actually living the traditions of our paths? Maybe at some point CR will become CL (Celtic Living)?

Searles O'Dubhain

I've been living it in quiet satisfaction for some time now.

I second what Seren_ and TomasFlannabhra have said; and it is not very surprising as I agree with much of what I've read in their posts here and elsewhere on this topic. :smile:

Seren_
May 22nd, 2008, 04:41 PM
History is a great start in trying to understand a culture and it's various aspects, such as religion...but it's not the bottom line.

Le meas,

Absolutely. Language is intrinsic, the problem is for a lot of people that learning other languages is a gift they just don't have. I don't have that gift, and I don't think I will be able to ever say that 'I'm fluent' in Gaelic, but I'm damn well giving it a try. Unfortunately at the moment it goes in one ear and out the other, but eventually I'll get the hang of it.


People I've corresponded with and have spoken with from Gaeltacht areas and from the islands have characterized their surviving traditions as the "Old Ways." I'm not much for Hutton or Wicca when it comes to understanding or learning about Celtic "Old Ways."

Searles

What I meant, really, was it smacks of romanticism. I don't like the term because it conjours up so many romantic images that from my experience of its usage (in any context), it's become basically meaningless. Whether one has an unbroken tradition or are reconstructing a tradition, it is what it is. It doesn't need something that implies old=better. Recons, for one, suffer from enough stigmas already.


Direct experience and innovation?

I haven't seen this much in CR.

Searles

How do you define 'direct experience' and 'innovation'? Maybe your definitions are different to those who identify as CR?

CR is a small community and for the most part there's not much out there that's available in terms of a straightforward 'how to' guide. This doesn't mean there haven't been CR rituals written, and this doesn't mean that there are small and relatively isolated groups doing things on their own; in fact, now CR seems to have grown in numbers, there seem to be a lot more groups and communities that are spurring on their own innovations.

As I've said before, CR is moving forward in a variety of directions, it seems, and not all of these directions are exactly apparent. If you're expecting CR as a whole to be moving forward at one particular pace with everyone gladly following behind, doing the same things you're going to be sorely disappointed.

Couple this with the fact that not everyone within CR likes to publicly share their own direct experiences for one reason or another, then you aren't going to see much. It doesn't mean that people as individuals or groups aren't doing it, it just means that they're doing it more or less privately, or sharing it selectively.

odubhain
May 23rd, 2008, 07:34 AM
Not to impugn you, Searles, but as an outsider how would you really know?

Good point Thomas.

As an outsider to the CR movement and as one who has a great interest in Celtic tradition; as a person who has associated with the people who claim to have invented CR, I haven't seen much innovation and direct experience out of them over the years. I say this from being an early member of the Nemeton and Imbas lists.

I've about 16 years of experience dealing with these people, so I think I know more than nothing about them and what they do. Of course, that being said I know next to nothing about you or your experience other than what I read here and on some of your websites. My knowledge of the CR folks is from their own web writings and doings, from emails, from books they've written and from discussions about them with Celtic and Druidic leaders.

In contrast, I have met the founders of ADF and Keltria, done rituals with them, taught classes and seminars to, with and for them. Since it appears that you consider yourself to be CR, how about sharing with us the innovations and direct personal experiences you've had on your own or with others so that everyone can better understand how they and you are innovative and active in your practices and experiences?

Searles O'Dubhain

odubhain
May 23rd, 2008, 07:45 AM
How do you define 'direct experience' and 'innovation'? Maybe your definitions are different to those who identify as CR?

The terms should be self evident. I see no reason to define them beyond what they are commonly considered to mean.


CR is a small community and for the most part there's not much out there that's available in terms of a straightforward 'how to' guide. This doesn't mean there haven't been CR rituals written, and this doesn't mean that there are small and relatively isolated groups doing things on their own; in fact, now CR seems to have grown in numbers, there seem to be a lot more groups and communities that are spurring on their own innovations.

What groups are these? What are their innovations from your observations?


As I've said before, CR is moving forward in a variety of directions, it seems, and not all of these directions are exactly apparent. If you're expecting CR as a whole to be moving forward at one particular pace with everyone gladly following behind, doing the same things you're going to be sorely disappointed.

How is CR "moving forward?" Do you really think that I expect CR to uniformly move forward or that I think everyone should gladly follow behind? Where have I given you this impression?


Couple this with the fact that not everyone within CR likes to publicly share their own direct experiences for one reason or another, then you aren't going to see much. It doesn't mean that people as individuals or groups aren't doing it, it just means that they're doing it more or less privately, or sharing it selectively.

I'm speaking only to the public persona of CR and its self-avowed leaders. If others are being innovative and experiential in their practices, I'd love to know and better understand what these new ways are and how they connect with the Celtic continuum.

That's the reason I posted on this topic.

Searles O'Dubhain

odubhain
May 23rd, 2008, 07:50 AM
I've been living it in quiet satisfaction for some time now.

I second what Seren_ and TomasFlannabhra have said; and it is not very surprising as I agree with much of what I've read in their posts here and elsewhere on this topic. :smile:

So you practice CR in a way that lives? How do you connect your experiential and innovative practices to Celtic traditions? Could you give us some examples?

Searles

Seren_
May 23rd, 2008, 12:51 PM
The terms should be self evident. I see no reason to define them beyond what they are commonly considered to mean.

Fair enough - I just wanted to check to make sure I wasn't missing something.


What groups are these? What are their innovations from your observations?There are a variety of area specific lj communities set up, along with culture specific ones (there's a Gaulish one, and a Welsh one just set up, I think, off the top of my head). I don't know how lively they are, seeing as none of them are relevant to me in terms of culture or location, but they're there and they help people find each other.

There's a few actual, physical, groups being set up as far as I'm aware, and I can think of at least one CR schmooze that's being organised regularly in the Seattle area. And of course, there's Tomas' own Gaol Naofa. I'm sure there's more, but these are just things I've come across.

In terms of innovations, you'd have to ask the groups, I guess. I'm not sure I'm qualified to speak for them, seeing as I'm either not involved or not running them, but there have been some group rituals written, performed in physical groups, and let's not forget the Tara ritual that was written for last Samhain that was open to anyone who wanted to join in.

There's been the CR FAQ, Erynn's book (and some other work she's done this year), at least one article about CR, and interviews published with some members, all in the last year...That's a damn sight more than was happening when I started seriously getting involved about four years ago, and they're all available on the net.


How is CR "moving forward?" Do you really think that I expect CR to uniformly move forward or that I think everyone should gladly follow behind? Where have I given you this impression?You seemed to be possibly implying it from generalising about CR as if it was a single entity - I realise you kind of have to, in order to have a discussion like this, but it wasn't entirely clear how you meant it (because it's difficult to read what people actually mean without seeing facial expressions), and seeing as that's how I thought it could be interpreted it, I thought it needed to be said because it seems to be a common misconception by other people who aren't necessarily as understanding of CR (and who might be reading).

My point also was that (IMO) looking at CR's public persona, as you put it, won't really get you anywhere...I think looking at individuals and what they're doing would be more fruitful - while many CRs do write about what they do more publicly, you won't necessarily find it in places like the lj-crr community. There are the more public documents already mentioned, but on the whole, since CR involves very individual paths, I'm not sure how 'innovation' and 'direct experience' can be clearly evidenced to the extent that you seem to be looking for, in something that on the whole refers to a variety of paths that are often expressed, experienced and trodden in very different ways. I'm not sure if I'm making myself clear...


If others are being innovative and experiential in their practices, I'd love to know and better understand what these new ways are and how they connect with the Celtic continuum.Well I touched on a few of the things that I do myself, and maybe I should reiterate and add a few more things that spring to mind just now...

I've had a go at reconstructing a ritual for making the festival bannocks, for example, and I know others have done this too. My daily practices are based on many of the songs you can find in Carmina Gadelica and I've been looking into things like how offerings were made, and traditions like the right-hand turn that I've tried making into a more formal ritual as has been implied from things I've read (which I'm still not entirely sure about), though generally I don't feel the need to formalise my practices in those terms and my celebrations at festivals tend to be fairly unscripted.

I make the charms of rowan and red thread to protect my house; I've planted rowan in my garden for protection (as one of my husband's friends said should be done, after I bought the tree); I've recently moved and I'm working on building a relationship with the spirits of the place, and often go to the sea to make offerings. I've recently had a go at making some ogam fews to help me become more comfortable with the more mystical aspects of my spirituality and I'm working at finding their meanings for myself...

I'm attempting to start over again with learning Gaelic beyond a few phrases, but as I said, it's slow going. And I try to learn as much as I can in general, to help inform and build on what I do. I find that writing about it helps me get it all straight in my head, and it's something I enjoy doing anyway. Once I have all the referencing done, it's going on a website I'm working on.

Are those the sorts of things you're looking for as examples? I hope that helps. They're all things that I've done myself as I've developed and found my own way of CR...I can't say if I'm doing it right.


That's the reason I posted on this topic.And I'm glad it's stimulating some discussion - things were getting very stale in here!

Seren_
May 23rd, 2008, 05:25 PM
Thanks, Tomas, but I should point out that the old site is no longer available. I'm working on a proper site, with a proper domain name and ev'ryfing...which will take some time to happen properly depending on Mr Seren's whim, seeing as he's the one that will make it look pretty and all. Plus the fact that editing oneself is very difficult. I know what I'm saying most of the time, but that doesn't mean everyone else does...

I look forward to the developments within Gaol Naofa, I should add :)

odubhain
May 24th, 2008, 08:59 AM
So far I believe Gaol Naofa, its members, and our collective efforts have done rather well in being innovative and constructive in the advancement of GR/CR.

As for direct personal experiences, I'd just like a little clarification on exactly what you mean by that before I go on a long spew that actually has little to do with that you asked for. Do you simply mean personal revelations, ritual experiences, UPGs, etc?

I'm encouraged by your work and words. New energy in the CR movement can only be good for enlivening it.

What I mean by direct personal experience are the two other legs of knowledge that lead to wisdom:

One of these is the knowledge that comes from doing things in one's life. The other type of knowledge comes from inquiries. revelations, dreams and visions. Each of these forms of knowledge starts as a seed and then reveals itself through its growth and its ability to either withstand testing/inquiry or to extend and validate the traditions and truth of the people.

The Declaration of Independence of the United States was such a new form of knowledge at one time. It was improved through experiences in the growth of a new country while it's precepts have been tested over and over again.

The role of a leader in a Celtic community is to identify and embrace truth in new forms of knowledge and experiences while upholding the traditions that have withstood the tests of trials and time. Being one's own leader means discovering the truth within revelation and imbas and connecting these new truths to the truth and spirit of one's tradition.

Some times this verification is as easy as predicting a naked man will approach the gathering from the west at the dawn of a new day. At other times, it's as difficult as placing a thorn at the base of a tree of seven directions and waiting for the Earth to decide.

Searles O'Dubhain

odubhain
May 24th, 2008, 09:37 AM
Fair enough - I just wanted to check to make sure I wasn't missing something.

There are a variety of area specific lj communities set up, along with culture specific ones (there's a Gaulish one, and a Welsh one just set up, I think, off the top of my head). I don't know how lively they are, seeing as none of them are relevant to me in terms of culture or location, but they're there and they help people find each other.

These efforts seem to happen in waves. I think that we are almost out of Coire Goriath in the birth of what is called CR by some.


There's a few actual, physical, groups being set up as far as I'm aware, and I can think of at least one CR schmooze that's being organised regularly in the Seattle area. And of course, there's Tomas' own Gaol Naofa. I'm sure there's more, but these are just things I've come across.

I've belonged to a few such groups over the years and have formed lasting friendships with some of the people I've met in them. They are sometimes a lot of work so it's important to be in a group where the work is a joy to do with like minded (but independent) folks.

I've also belonged to a few groups where the leaders lost their truth and the results were more cult-like. These groups generally (in my experience) are those where differences are not tolerated or respected. In general, the dying groups of this type seem to feel so insecure that one is either booted out for heresy or imagined slights. That's happened to me twice in 20 years. I can't wait to see what the next 20 years bring. :-)

I will sing a song of stems and branches seeking a sound that heralds success for those who go on and beyond the safe places. It will be music that is heard by the beings who hear the years as notes that span more than a measure.


In terms of innovations, you'd have to ask the groups, I guess. I'm not sure I'm qualified to speak for them, seeing as I'm either not involved or not running them, but there have been some group rituals written, performed in physical groups, and let's not forget the Tara ritual that was written for last Samhain that was open to anyone who wanted to join in.

There might be hope in such efforts. I'll keep looking and asking as you suggest.


There's been the CR FAQ, Erynn's book (and some other work she's done this year), at least one article about CR, and interviews published with some members, all in the last year...That's a damn sight more than was happening when I started seriously getting involved about four years ago, and they're all available on the net.

The CR FAQ is a start and will be better if it is responsive to the truth of the people.

Though I have my differences with Erynn, her work is generally an inspiration. This is especially true when imbas takes her to the heights or lifts her out of the depths. There are others I admire in the CR movement while there are some (less than an aicme's worth) that I consider to be a curse on anything they touch but that's just my own demons speaking. :-)

The judgment of worth will be based on deeds and not words so I look forward to the deeds of heroes and the tales about them.


You seemed to be possibly implying it from generalising about CR as if it was a single entity - I realise you kind of have to, in order to have a discussion like this, but it wasn't entirely clear how you meant it (because it's difficult to read what people actually mean without seeing facial expressions), and seeing as that's how I thought it could be interpreted it, I thought it needed to be said because it seems to be a common misconception by other people who aren't necessarily as understanding of CR (and who might be reading).

My point also was that (IMO) looking at CR's public persona, as you put it, won't really get you anywhere...I think looking at individuals and what they're doing would be more fruitful - while many CRs do write about what they do more publicly, you won't necessarily find it in places like the lj-crr community. There are the more public documents already mentioned, but on the whole, since CR involves very individual paths, I'm not sure how 'innovation' and 'direct experience' can be clearly evidenced to the extent that you seem to be looking for, in something that on the whole refers to a variety of paths that are often expressed, experienced and trodden in very different ways. I'm not sure if I'm making myself clear...

Well I touched on a few of the things that I do myself, and maybe I should reiterate and add a few more things that spring to mind just now...

I've had a go at reconstructing a ritual for making the festival bannocks, for example, and I know others have done this too. My daily practices are based on many of the songs you can find in Carmina Gadelica and I've been looking into things like how offerings were made, and traditions like the right-hand turn that I've tried making into a more formal ritual as has been implied from things I've read (which I'm still not entirely sure about), though generally I don't feel the need to formalise my practices in those terms and my celebrations at festivals tend to be fairly unscripted.

I make the charms of rowan and red thread to protect my house; I've planted rowan in my garden for protection (as one of my husband's said should be done, after I bought the tree); I've recently moved and I'm working on building a relationship with the spirits of the place, and often go to the sea to make offerings. I've recently had a go at making some ogam fews to help me become more comfortable with the more mystical aspects of my spirituality and I'm working at finding their meanings for myself...

I'm attempting to start over again with learning Gaelic beyond a few phrases, but as I said, it's slow going. And I try to learn as much as I can in general, to help inform and build on what I do. I find that writing about it helps me get it all straight in my head, and it's something I enjoy doing anyway. Once I have all the referencing done, it's going on a website I'm working on.

Are those the sorts of things you're looking for as examples? I hope that helps. They're all things that I've done myself as I've developed and found my own way of CR...I can't say if I'm doing it right.

And I'm glad it's stimulating some discussion - things were getting very stale in here!

Thanks for your strong threads of weaving and your sharing of new ways that bring life to old ways.

I think that discussion is a song worth singing with respect because it is the right arm of inquiry. You've given me many things to consider and much that can become a lesson to an open mind. Hopefully, the energy of Sun. Moon and stars will join with the power of wind, wave and tree to build up the places of assembly within the stones of the apron. When all these things form and gather between depths and heights, the meaning of Ebadh will open every door. As the 'Dragon' would have said, "it's not *the* meaning but it is *a* meaning."

Searles O'Dubhain

childofbast
May 24th, 2008, 11:21 AM
As someone who has a lot of interest in CR, this thread has been most helpful and interesting.

That said, since starting to read about CR, I've felt that ADF leans in that direction and, in my opinion, has what the OP was talking about - Celtic Reconstructionist leanings/practices with modern innovations/inventions. It has become a living tradition and is very active. Because CRs are so private and often family oriented, and because I don't personally know any CRs, ADF has been a refreshing spiritual home for me. I know there are a lot of others who identify with CR that have gone to ADF because it's one of the few organizations out there that comes close.

I'm not saying that ADF truly represents CR ideals. Obviously they allow you to focus on any IE religion within a Druidic framwork... But all I'm saying is that it's the next best thing to an actual CR group.

~Melanie

odubhain
May 24th, 2008, 11:42 AM
As someone who has a lot of interest in CR, this thread has been most helpful and interesting.

That said, since starting to read about CR, I've felt that ADF leans in that direction and, in my opinion, has what the OP was talking about - Celtic Reconstructionist leanings/practices with modern innovations/inventions. It has become a living tradition and is very active. Because CRs are so private and often family oriented, and because I don't personally know any CRs, ADF has been a refreshing spiritual home for me. I know there are a lot of others who identify with CR that have gone to ADF because it's one of the few organizations out there that comes close.

I'm not saying that ADF truly represents CR ideals. Obviously they allow you to focus on any IE religion within a Druidic framwork... But all I'm saying is that it's the next best thing to an actual CR group.

~Melanie

I'm glad that you are finding a home in ADF. I belong to Keltria which evolved out of ADF seeking a more Celtic focus. ADF has the advantage over Keltria right now in terms of maturity of its study program but recently Keltrian study is catching up in the quality of its materials. Let me suggest that you try Keltria to see how it compares:

http://www.keltria.org/

I like them both and find little difference between the two Druid groups when ADF focuses on Celtic ritual and tradition.


Searles O'Dubhain

childofbast
May 25th, 2008, 12:44 AM
Thanks! I will have to give Keltria a look. I'm lucky in that Muin Mound, the ADF grove in my area, is generally Celtic-focused. Sometimes they do a Norse-inspired ritual, but my interest is in Irish Paganism.

odubhain
May 25th, 2008, 10:48 AM
Thanks! I will have to give Keltria a look. I'm lucky in that Muin Mound, the ADF grove in my area, is generally Celtic-focused. Sometimes they do a Norse-inspired ritual, but my interest is in Irish Paganism.

IIRC Muin Mound is in Syracuse then the Keltrian grove of the Golden Horse is near you. They are the grove of my friend Topaz Owl who is currently President of Keltria.

Searles

childofbast
May 26th, 2008, 12:03 AM
I tried looking for Keltrian groves but had a really hard time navigating the site. Does that grove have a website?

odubhain
May 27th, 2008, 12:28 AM
I tried looking for Keltrian groves but had a really hard time navigating the site. Does that grove have a website?

Try this:

http://home.twcny.rr.com/goldenhorse/

Searles

_Banbha_
May 27th, 2008, 11:08 PM
So you practice CR in a way that lives?

Did I not just say I did? :weirdsmil


How do you connect your experiential and innovative practices to Celtic traditions? Could you give us some examples?

Searles

My experiential practices come from "Celtic" traditions. I'm not one who compartmentalizes spirituality from being. Interconnectedness is key and it is not about visiting during certain hours.

My experiences are largely internalized and started early in life and grew from there. Stressing what Seren said about CR not being singular....I'll say when I found out about CR it enhanced my experiences in certain ways, because as different as people who identify as CR can be, there is a core value system most seem to relate to and respect. This lends a certain clarity and understanding with others that has enabled me to go deeper into my own vision.

My practice is my life and my life is a private one. I belong to no CR or Pagan groups per say. When you ask me for examples I can only think my stories have meaning to me, not so much to others. I'll tell one on occasion, but in context.

Things that I do and have done: I read birdsong and other signs from other animals, trees, plants, the weather and the tides. I've sought out intense life changing and challenging experiences that are not safe emotionally and/or physically (or sometimes they've found me). Other experiences were quit homey and warm. I'm an intuitive like my mother and Grandmother before her but don't expect that to have value beyond my life or to anyone else. It's like having blue eyes, just another trait I have.

I'm a part of things in a way a mystic could understand. I identify with deity and spirits of who in some cases I view as my ancestors. I'm an animist and have my own way of relating to deity. I'm not into formal ritualism with scripts from others minds. I can be inspired by others but do not follow anyone by rout. For me formal ritual gets in the way rather than opening doors. It bears little meaning to me. I respect that's different from what others might want, need, or seek.

I am curious what you mean by innovative practices in this context. I could see it meaning something different from my perspective.

odubhain
May 28th, 2008, 12:27 AM
Did I not just say I did? :weirdsmil

I was just expressing my surprise and appreciation in this day and age.


My experiential practices come from "Celtic" traditions. I'm not one who compartmentalizes spirituality from being. Interconnectedness is key and it is not about visiting during certain hours.

My experiences are largely internalized and started early in life and grew from there. Stressing what Seren said about CR not being singular....I'll say when I found out about CR it enhanced my experiences in certain ways, because as different as people who identify as CR can be, there is a core value system most seem to relate to and respect. This lends a certain clarity and understanding with others that has enabled me to go deeper into my own vision.

My practice is my life and my life is a private one. I belong to no CR or Pagan groups per say. When you ask me for examples I can only think my stories have meaning to me, not so much to others. I'll tell one on occasion, but in context.

Things that I do and have done: I read birdsong and other signs from other animals, trees, plants, the weather and the tides. I've sought out intense life changing and challenging experiences that are not safe emotionally and/or physically (or sometimes they've found me). Other experiences were quit homey and warm. I'm an intuitive like my mother and Grandmother before her but don't expect that to have value beyond my life or to anyone else. It's like having blue eyes, just another trait I have.

I'm a part of things in a way a mystic could understand. I identify with deity and spirits of who in some cases I view as my ancestors. I'm an animist and have my own way of relating to deity. I'm not into formal ritualism with scripts from others minds. I can be inspired by others but do not follow anyone by rout. For me formal ritual gets in the way rather than opening doors. It bears little meaning to me. I respect that's different from what others might want, need, or seek.

I was looking for hints on everyday practices and activities that folks could try using themselves to better their own practices.


I am curious what you mean by innovative practices in this context. I could see it meaning something different from my perspective.

By innovative, I mean *new* practices that are based on the new knowledge that surrounds us (and is increasing rapidly). At the same time these innovative ways need to have threads of being that attach and connect them to tradition. For CR to truly be CL it must address and integrate these ways into Celtic life and establish new traditions that add to experience and withstand the trials of inquiry. Life goes on and CL grows if it is alive in innovative ways while preserving the old.

Searles O'Dubhain

_Banbha_
May 30th, 2008, 12:02 AM
I was just expressing my surprise and appreciation in this day and age.

:falloffch _wedgie_



I was looking for hints on everyday practices and activities that folks could try using themselves to better their own practices.

*scratches head*

But that is not what you asked me for, it was this:

How do you connect your experiential and innovative practices to Celtic traditions? Could you give us some examples?

Searles

I thought this thread was about the discussion: 'When do CR folks stop using only using practices and traditions of the past and incorporate the practices of today's world? How do we create the future ways without actually living the traditions of our paths? Maybe at some point CR will become CL (Celtic Living)?" I think these questions have been addressed to a certain extent and with some important clarifications by some Reconstuctionists who post here.



By innovative, I mean *new* practices that are based on the new knowledge that surrounds us (and is increasing rapidly). At the same time these innovative ways need to have threads of being that attach and connect them to tradition. For CR to truly be CL it must address and integrate these ways into Celtic life and establish new traditions that add to experience and withstand the trials of inquiry. Life goes on and CL grows if it is alive in innovative ways while preserving the old.

Searles O'Dubhain

Thank you for clarifying how you were using the term innovative practices. From your perspective would these innovative practices include cross-cultural references? If so, could you elaborate on it. I like that you say these things need to have threads that connect to tradition but I wonder if you and I would have different definitions of what these threads consist of.

To give an example from my perspective, I incorporate new information from different scientific disciplines as I value the knowledge and it deepens my understanding and appreciation of the natural world. For me there is no supernatural. Just things we do not comprehend yet.

Well on your closing words, I can only say again CR is about living "Celtic" traditions in the modern world. These contentions about 'CL' are somewhat redundant from my perspective as someone involved with and at home in Celtic Reconstructionism. CR is not for everyone and I respect that too.

odubhain
May 30th, 2008, 12:12 AM
:falloffch _wedgie_




*scratches head*

But that is not what you asked me for, it was this:


I thought this thread was about the discussion: 'When do CR folks stop using only using practices and traditions of the past and incorporate the practices of today's world? How do we create the future ways without actually living the traditions of our paths? Maybe at some point CR will become CL (Celtic Living)?" I think these questions have been addressed to a certain extent and with some important clarifications by some Reconstuctionists who post here.

I thought that most everyone here understood and embraced the idea that everyday life and ritual were not separate items among the Celts.

I guess I'm not expressing myself clearly. I wanted to know what people do now in their own ways that connect to the Old Ways in new and innovative ways.

Searles

_Banbha_
May 30th, 2008, 12:26 AM
I thought that most everyone here understood and embraced the idea that everyday life and ritual were not separate items among the Celts.

I don't understand where you could be getting that in this thread. If you've been reading my last three posts, it's a point I've been stressing.


I guess I'm not expressing myself clearly. I wanted to know what people do now in their own ways that connect to the Old Ways in new and innovative ways.

Searles

I was keeping your quoted words in mind when I posted. :)

childofbast
May 30th, 2008, 01:04 AM
Try this:

http://home.twcny.rr.com/goldenhorse/

Searles

Thanks, I will check this out!

odubhain
May 30th, 2008, 06:53 AM
I don't understand where you could be getting that in this thread. If you've been reading my last three posts, it's a point I've been stressing.



I was keeping your quoted words in mind when I posted. :)

I guess that you and I have a "Cool Hand Luke" understanding then. I've pretty much said the same things myself in most of the posts of this thread. Where it seems we've failed to communicate is on the topics of new and innovative practices. My experience is that CR folks don't seem to do this very much while Celtic folks have done it throughout history YMMV.

Searles :uhhuhuh:

Seren_
May 30th, 2008, 07:26 PM
By innovative, I mean *new* practices that are based on the new knowledge that surrounds us (and is increasing rapidly). At the same time these innovative ways need to have threads of being that attach and connect them to tradition. For CR to truly be CL it must address and integrate these ways into Celtic life and establish new traditions that add to experience and withstand the trials of inquiry. Life goes on and CL grows if it is alive in innovative ways while preserving the old.

Searles O'Dubhain


Ok, I get the 'threads', I think we're on the same page there, but what qualifies as the new knowledge you speak of? I'm not sure I understand. Could you give examples?

Thanks.

odubhain
May 30th, 2008, 11:13 PM
Ok, I get the 'threads', I think we're on the same page there, but what qualifies as the new knowledge you speak of? I'm not sure I understand. Could you give examples?

Thanks.

New knowledge is everything that is not old but deemed worthwhile.Our ancestors had no problems embracing and incorporating new knowledge into their art, their language or their practices.

Why is this difficult or confusing?

Celtic knotwork was 'new knowledge' at one time but now it's a part of Celtic tradition and culture.

I'm also thinking about knowledge returned to the people through imbas that is put to the test to see if it has truth in it. Most knowledge came to us through inquiry, inspiration and serendipity. It's all a matter of what works, what supports the culture and that which has the creative power of truth within it.

Searles

Seren_
May 31st, 2008, 05:04 PM
New knowledge is everything that is not old but deemed worthwhile.Our ancestors had no problems embracing and incorporating new knowledge into their art, their language or their practices.

Why is this difficult or confusing?

Celtic knotwork was 'new knowledge' at one time but now it's a part of Celtic tradition and culture.

I'm also thinking about knowledge returned to the people through imbas that is put to the test to see if it has truth in it. Most knowledge came to us through inquiry, inspiration and serendipity. It's all a matter of what works, what supports the culture and that which has the creative power of truth within it.

Searles

Yes, I get that; it's an obvious definition but as I see it there are more ambiguous nuances to the answer as well. For one, what qualifies as being 'worthwhile', by your definition? That strikes me as being a very subjective answer that not everyone will agree on, CR or not. What are these new things, because frankly, I can't think of any and I'm wondering if I'm missing out :) Are you talking from a scientific perspective, or in terms of incorporating elements from modern spiritualities, perhaps?

I think my confusion on this largely comes from the fact that as a recon I focus on the pre-Christian beliefs of Scotland, largely from its Gaelic heritage. I recognise the fact that there are many elements that have evolved and survived, in a different context, up to the present day, in one form or another and I recognise the value in incorporating and continuing them - or reviving such practices that have only recently died out, even - in my own practices. From there I see my own practices evolving, according to my continually evolving understanding of those practices and understanding of my beliefs.

It seems evident from the sources that there were many different localised customs that all shared a certain thread, let's say; I don't see why I can't continue to evolve these threads in my own way if I wish, and that I have.

In terms of scientific understanding, then I agree with Banbha; examples of 'new knowledge and customs' from modern spiritualities, as an alternative example, is a knottier issue to answer. Some clarity on these points would be helpful in discussing it further.

_Banbha_
May 31st, 2008, 09:40 PM
I guess that you and I have a "Cool Hand Luke" understanding then. I've pretty much said the same things myself in most of the posts of this thread. Where it seems we've failed to communicate is on the topics of new and innovative practices. My experience is that CR folks don't seem to do this very much while Celtic folks have done it throughout history YMMV.

Searles :uhhuhuh:

My mileage is run on geothermal, hydro, and wind energy, as such it's both green and renewable. :D

I don't think we should concede failure after such a brief conversation but if you are set in your view of CR, I will respect that it is your opinion.

I would address your post to Seren as well; but she has answered so eloquently anything I say would be meager and redundant. Suffice it to say I'm curious as well and would appreciate a further and more nuanced discussion on "New knowledge is everything that is not old but deemed worthwhile." :)

Twinkle
June 1st, 2008, 02:26 AM
Pardon me for stepping in, as I'm not a CR...but rather a Hellenic Recon.

I believe that new and innovative practice is not necessarily in conflict with orthopraxy...in fact, innovation would absolutely have to occur if Celtic Reconstruction is going to be a thriving religion in the modern world.

The question then becomes how much innovation turns a practice into something other than correct practice...which turns into quite a sticky wicket among those who want to "do what they want", rather than practice correctly.

For example, in my offerings to Hermes I give caramels. Are caramels a traditional offering given to Hermes by the ancients? No. It's an innovation that is perfectly acceptable as an offering in Hellenismos, because an offering is giving what you have to give...and so I give it. It is absolutely orthopraxic, but a new and innovative offering.

The purpose of Reconstruction is to adapt ancient cultural practice so that it functions in the modern world. It is not Traditionalism in the sense that we are not trying to *be* the ancients, but practice correctly while keeping in mind that we live in the 21st Century.

I hope I haven't repeated anything, and I thank you for allowing me to comment.

Seren_
June 1st, 2008, 05:23 AM
Pardon me for stepping in, as I'm not a CR...but rather a Hellenic Recon.

I believe that new and innovative practice is not necessarily in conflict with orthopraxy...in fact, innovation would absolutely have to occur if Celtic Reconstruction is going to be a thriving religion in the modern world.

The question then becomes how much innovation turns a practice into something other than correct practice...which turns into quite a sticky wicket among those who want to "do what they want", rather than practice correctly.

For example, in my offerings to Hermes I give caramels. Are caramels a traditional offering given to Hermes by the ancients? No. It's an innovation that is perfectly acceptable as an offering in Hellenismos, because an offering is giving what you have to give...and so I give it. It is absolutely orthopraxic, but a new and innovative offering.

The purpose of Reconstruction is to adapt ancient cultural practice so that it functions in the modern world. It is not Traditionalism in the sense that we are not trying to *be* the ancients, but practice correctly while keeping in mind that we live in the 21st Century.

I hope I haven't repeated anything, and I thank you for allowing me to comment.

I think you've touched on an important point - how much new stuff, how many changes, is too much?

In terms of the examples you've given with types of offerings, there's something similar in CR, too. I've heard of some people giving rum as an offering, which obviously isn't traditional but seems to be always well received.

And of course, potatoes have been a modern staple of the Irish diet in particular, and forms the focus of many relatively modern customs in ensuring their abundance in the next year (putting a potato out to Brigid for blessing at Imbolc, for example; or big bowls of mashed potato full of charms for Samhain divination). I don't think anyone would say that these things are 'incorrect,' even if potatoes come from the Americas and aren't native to Ireland; they carry on the thread.

You might even argue the use of pumpkins for carving, instead of turnips, do the same at Samhain; they continue a thread.

The sticking point for many recons comes with the addition of things that conflict with orthopraxy as you say, and the question of how much new stuff qualifies as too much. I think that by its nature reconstructionism (and not just CR) tends to be a little more conservative on that issue, but the line that gets crossed is largely an invisible one that's difficult to pin down where exactly it might have been drawn in the sand.

odubhain
June 1st, 2008, 08:36 AM
The sticking point for many recons comes with the addition of things that conflict with orthopraxy as you say, and the question of how much new stuff qualifies as too much. I think that by its nature reconstructionism (and not just CR) tends to be a little more conservative on that issue, but the line that gets crossed is largely an invisible one that's difficult to pin down where exactly it might have been drawn in the sand.

The Celts embraced innovations in art, language, agriculture, warfare, science and philosophy as they found advantage or admiration for new ideas, ways and innovations.

The primary thrust of my questions is how they did this as a people or culture. My understanding of Celtic culture leads me to believe that these sorts of changes occurred because the noble or learned classes accepted or encouraged them. The roles of the kings and Druids were uppermost in this area.

It's my sense that modern CR has difficulties in accepting changes or innovations because there is not yet an established *code* or generally accepted learned class in it (if there are any classes within it). As such, there will continue to be large gray areas and items of contention about what is or isn't CR or CL.

Maybe in the long run, change will persist that is effective and useful for CR just as it has for Celtic culture and other cultures. The groups that survive in such a future will be those who are in a position to define new changes or who can point to older changes and innovations they have brought to the matter.

Searles O'Dubhain

odubhain
June 1st, 2008, 08:59 AM
My mileage is run on geothermal, hydro, and wind energy, as such it's both green and renewable. :D

I don't think we should concede failure after such a brief conversation but if you are set in your view of CR, I will respect that it is your opinion.

My view of CR runs on renewable opinions and ideas that come from a natural mind. As such, it is very much alive and based on what I see happening in CR and with people from CR I meet (or with whom I discuss the movement such as you).

I don't know what else I can say but to repeat what I've already said which is that we are saying much the same things from very different POV's.


I would address your post to Seren as well; but she has answered so eloquently anything I say would be meager and redundant. Suffice it to say I'm curious as well and would appreciate a further and more nuanced discussion on "New knowledge is everything that is not old but deemed worthwhile." :)

I'm enjoying discussing these matters with Seren as she brings new and innovative ideas and understandings to the discussion.

Hazarding a guess as to why you are still asking me to define or identify what I mean by new knowledge or "worthwhile" I suppose you are focusing on the process whereby these ways are accepted into CR or other Celtic traditions. To answer those questions I suggest looking at Audacht Morainn and the idea of "fírinne."

It is the truth of the leaders that brings prosperity to a people. That is how new ideas are viewed and accepted into any traditional Celtic society. That is how they are "deemed."


From the Free Online Dictionary:

deem (dm)
v. deemed, deem·ing, deems
v.tr.

1. To have as an opinion; judge: deemed it was time for a change.
2. To regard as; consider: deemed the results unsatisfactory. See Usage Note at as1.
v.intr.

To have an opinion; think. See Synonyms at consider.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Middle English demen, from Old English dman; see dh- in Indo-European roots.]

One can also look at history among Celtic peoples to see which ideas have been accepted into them based on fírinne and which were done based on expediency or personal advantage. The one's that brought prosperity to the people should be obvious.

On a more local level of Celtic tradition, I would suppose that new and innovative ideas would have been accepted or rejected based on family leadership and local religious leader's acceptance or rejection.

Look to the leaders to define the fírinne of CR or of other forms of Celtic tradition. The world is constantly changing and new knowledge is always being discovered. That is why knowledge had three names for Druids:

Fios, Eolas and Fochmarc.

Searles

odubhain
June 1st, 2008, 09:08 AM
Pardon me for stepping in, as I'm not a CR...but rather a Hellenic Recon.

I believe that new and innovative practice is not necessarily in conflict with orthopraxy...in fact, innovation would absolutely have to occur if Celtic Reconstruction is going to be a thriving religion in the modern world.

The question then becomes how much innovation turns a practice into something other than correct practice...which turns into quite a sticky wicket among those who want to "do what they want", rather than practice correctly.

I think the acceptance of new ideas in a Celtic context is based on a concept called "fírinne" (in Irish). There is also an accepted code within most societies that clearly identifies what is acceptable on a gut level. CR's difficulties with this may be that it has a developing leadership and generally accepted code. It's not there yet.


For example, in my offerings to Hermes I give caramels. Are caramels a traditional offering given to Hermes by the ancients? No. It's an innovation that is perfectly acceptable as an offering in Hellenismos, because an offering is giving what you have to give...and so I give it. It is absolutely orthopraxic, but a new and innovative offering.

The purpose of Reconstruction is to adapt ancient cultural practice so that it functions in the modern world. It is not Traditionalism in the sense that we are not trying to *be* the ancients, but practice correctly while keeping in mind that we live in the 21st Century.

That's been the thrust of my questions here in this thread. I want to know how CR can adopt or accept new ideas. The mechanism for this type of living in the 21st century and being alive is what I'd like to have identified.


I hope I haven't repeated anything, and I thank you for allowing me to comment.


Your post is very well received by me. IMO, it clearly identifies the issues without being seen as a threat or opposition by most reasonable people.

Many thanks for the ideas and inputs.

Searles O'Dubhain

Seren_
June 1st, 2008, 09:58 AM
I'm enjoying discussing these matters with Seren as she brings new and innovative ideas and understandings to the discussion.

Thanks. I'm enjoying the discussion so far as well :)


One can also look at history among Celtic peoples to see which ideas have been accepted into them based on fírinne and which were done based on expediency or personal advantage. The one's that brought prosperity to the people should be obvious.

On a more local level of Celtic tradition, I would suppose that new and innovative ideas would have been accepted or rejected based on family leadership and local religious leader's acceptance or rejection.

Look to the leaders to define the fírinne of CR or of other forms of Celtic tradition. The world is constantly changing and new knowledge is always being discovered. That is why knowledge had three names for Druids:

Fios, Eolas and Fochmarc.

SearlesI think the sticking point, or lack of common understanding, in this discussion here comes (at least partly) from a much different attitude that seems to be prevalent in the surviving Celtic cultures, as opposed to what was once the case in history...

I don't think anyone would argue that Celtic cultures have never been eclectic to one extent or another, or that they aren't open to happily incorporating 'outside' influences into their daily lives today. Neither would anyone say that these things don't happen within CR. Modern scientific innovations, medicine and so forth are an obvious example. But as the Celtic cultures themselves are increasingly struggling to survive, they seem to be becoming more insular in some respects.

An example I can think of is the criticism of the use of loan words in Gaelic; some people argue against using words, like brand names, because they do nothing to help maintain the vitality of Gaelic as a modern, living language. Others argue that such words can't be ignored because they're common identifiers; forcing the use of Gaelic words when there's a perfectly apt one seems a little pointless. I have to say, I once heard a news report in Gaelic and heard the reporter talking away and then suddenly there was a 'Sony Walkman' thrown in. It does sound quite jarring, but what else can you call it? It is a brand name.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that there seems to be a much greater caution applied to the acceptance of some elements into Celtic cultures - linguistic influences being an obvious example. Music is another example - some embrace efforts like AfroCelt Sound System that mix and meld a variety of musical influences, and see it as a natural development of music in a modern world that's becoming increasingly small. Some purists, on the other hand, recoil in horror at the thought of such mixing (my father-in-law being one example of that).

I think this modern tendency towards caution and relative conservatism is reflected in the attitudes found within CR as well. This is not to say that I'm arguing against incorporating outside elements - for a start, I think ones practices should acknowledge and honour one's own heritage, whatever that may be, as well as the heritage of the place you're practicing in. But I do think careful consideration should be given to what, specifically, gets added. That's why it would be helpful if you could give explicit examples of such innovations that you have in mind.

One example I can think of is that I've read in the CR FAQ that some folk in the US prefer not to pour alcoholic libations on the ground so as not to offend Native American/First Nation spirits (since it was/is considered it a tabu to them). Instead, libations can be poured into fire if it's felt necessary to make them at all, where the alcohol can be burned to the gods instead of given by the usual means. It's an evolution of the practice, determined by outside factors, if you will, but it continues those threads I've been banging on about. I'm not sure if it's the sort of thing you're talking about, though.

What I'm trying to say is, so long as these 'new innovations' are compatible with a Celtic worldview (of whichever culture you might focus on), then that can be seen as a natural evolution. There comes a point when something becomes so diluted that it becomes neither one thing or another, but something else entirely.

There's also a question of whether it's relevant on a personal level. More subjective 'innovations' like personal spiritual practices might evolve elsewhere within the modern Celtic cultures, but in terms of my own CR practices, and my own spiritual views, they aren't necessarily relevant to me. I'm not going to tell those people they're wrong, and neither would I feel it incumbent on me to incorporate those things into my own practices just because someone else - a real live Celtic person - does. Just like CR, there's room for a wide variety of beliefs and practices in modern cultures that don't have to affect me.

odubhain
June 1st, 2008, 10:40 AM
Thanks. I'm enjoying the discussion so far as well :)

I think the sticking point, or lack of common understanding, in this discussion here comes (at least partly) from a much different attitude that seems to be prevalent in the surviving Celtic cultures, as opposed to what was once the case in history...

I don't think anyone would argue that Celtic cultures have never been eclectic to one extent or another, or that they aren't open to happily incorporating 'outside' influences into their daily lives today. Neither would anyone say that these things don't happen within CR. Modern scientific innovations, medicine and so forth are an obvious example. But as the Celtic cultures themselves are increasingly struggling to survive, they seem to be becoming more insular in some respects.

I guess there should always be a role for preserving shrines as well as change in Celtic societies. The Tale of the Two Vessels seems to be a case in point whereby the new religion (Christianity) was using the old gods and the Sídhe to justify a connection between new ways and old ones through the device of having Ethné lose her connection to her people (through a violation of her honor/person and the resulting hunger and unhappiness it caused her). In a search for a solution, Manannán and Oenghus tried to provide for her with Otherworldly cows from as far away as India. Eventually she lost her veil of invisibility and along with that she could no longer see her kindred (though it is said she could still hear them).

A loss of identity in Celtic society threatens the society with a limbo much like Ethné's. There are two worlds and more in which one seeks to exist, yet only one in which one can fully live. Understanding and watching the basket is the key to preserving the eggs and the Egg-beater (which leads me to the next idea in your post).


An example I can think of is the criticism of the use of loan words in Gaelic; some people argue against using words, like brand names, because they do nothing to help maintain the vitality of Gaelic as a modern, living language. Others argue that such words can't be ignored because they're common identifiers; forcing the use of Gaelic words when there's a perfectly apt one seems a little pointless. I have to say, I once heard a news report in Gaelic and heard the reporter talking away and then suddenly there was a 'Sony Walkman' thrown in. It does sound quite jarring, but what else can you call it? It is a brand name.

This is a problem in most any language. It is jarring on the ears to hear things like that. However, Bearla seems immune to this effect pretty much (maybe its nature is so much Heinz-57 or a blend that nothing is strange when used in it?).

I think the key to any relationship (whether that is a marriage or belonging/living within a culture) is to know one's self and to have a strong sense of identity as a culture and an individual. The 'Celtic Tiger' may well give the lie to this thought as it seems all consuming.


Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that there seems to be a much greater caution applied to the acceptance of some elements into Celtic cultures - linguistic influences being an obvious example. Music is another example - some embrace efforts like AfroCelt Sound System that mix and meld a variety of musical influences, and see it as a natural development of music in a modern world that's becoming increasingly small. Some purists, on the other hand, recoil in horror at the thought of such mixing (my father-in-law being one example of that).

Celtic culture has always been defined by its center and its boundaries as well as its codes and traditions. The role of the warrior class was to patrol the boundaries and guard the people/land. Only the learned could cross boundaries between tribes/people with relative impunity. Maybe a similar filter will work today? OTOH maybe CR and even modern Celtic society is too much like Ethné, with feet in multiple worlds and a loss of identity? Eventually, old things that are disused or neglected die and new ways take over whether better or not. The roles of the learned and the preserving shrines are to preserve as well as to synchronize knowledge and ways. Is it the universities that fill this role today? One wonders if maybe CR universities need to establish themselves in this role.


I think this modern tendency towards caution and relative conservatism is reflected in the attitudes found within CR as well. This is not to say that I'm arguing against incorporating outside elements - for a start, I think ones practices should acknowledge and honour one's own heritage, whatever that may be, as well as the heritage of the place you're practicing in. But I do think careful consideration should be given to what, specifically, gets added. That's why it would be helpful if you could give explicit examples of such innovations that you have in mind.[quote]

In the flux of change and the constant reevaluation of what is known about the past, folks interested in Celtic and Druidic ways need all the help they can get.

[quote]One example I can think of is that I've read in the CR FAQ that some folk in the US prefer not to pour alcoholic libations on the ground so as not to offend Native American/First Nation spirits (since it was/is considered it a tabu to them). Instead, libations can be poured into fire if it's felt necessary to make them at all, where the alcohol can be burned to the gods instead of given by the usual means. It's an evolution of the practice, determined by outside factors, if you will, but it continues those threads I've been banging on about. I'm not sure if it's the sort of thing you're talking about, though.


I've shared libations with the land and river deities in the United States that have been well received. I've also shared tobacco, sage and cedar with them in ritual to the same degree. I'm not Native American but I am Irish American so my ways will be different. One should go to the gods to see what is acceptable to them while also having dialog with the people who have others ways in one's area (this goes for the Christians as well and their gods).


What I'm trying to say is, so long as these 'new innovations' are compatible with a Celtic worldview (of whichever culture you might focus on), then that can be seen as a natural evolution. There comes a point when something becomes so diluted that it becomes neither one thing or another, but something else entirely.

The question is where is that point and how/who definies it? I guess this is a growing pain for cultures as well as people. Society needs to be more social in order to have some form of mutual agreement.


There's also a question of whether it's relevant on a personal level. More subjective 'innovations' like personal spiritual practices might evolve elsewhere within the modern Celtic cultures, but in terms of my own CR practices, and my own spiritual views, they aren't necessarily relevant to me. I'm not going to tell those people they're wrong, and neither would I feel it incumbent on me to incorporate those things into my own practices just because someone else - a real live Celtic person - does. Just like CR, there's room for a wide variety of beliefs and practices in modern cultures that don't have to affect me.

I hope there will always be individuals and real people within every society and culture. It is when many different people within a culture discover they have separately but almost identically embraced changes that a society also changes. Sometimes this change is overnight like a fire of an idea in the head while at other times it is like slowly moving ice that reshapes the landscape and the environment. Maybe this is why the Druids taught that the world would always continue but that fire and ice would at times prevail?

Searles O'Dubhain

Twinkle
June 1st, 2008, 08:35 PM
The Asatru are no longer really considered a Recon religion, and have moved forward into a thriving modern religion...Hellenismos is a bit behind them, and Celtic Reconstruction is a bit behind us.

What you are dealing with now in CR is something that Hellenic Recons have been battling over for years. The main source of adversity is what you are discussing here...how much modern innovation makes it something other than Reconstruction.

The things that Hellenic Recons think about when adapting something "modern" into an Ancient practice is (among others), this:

What is the intent of this adaptation?

Is it still in line with what we know about correct practice?

How much is based on personal gnosis? And if it is based on gnosis, does it trump practice? If it does...it is not an appropriate adaptation.

skilly-nilly
June 1st, 2008, 10:39 PM
I was looking for hints on everyday practices and activities that folks could try using themselves to better their own practices.

By innovative, I mean *new* practices that are based on the new knowledge that surrounds us (and is increasing rapidly).
Searles O'Dubhain


The Celts embraced innovations in art, language, agriculture, warfare, science and philosophy as they found advantage or admiration for new ideas, ways and innovations.

The primary thrust of my questions is how they did this as a people or culture. My understanding of Celtic culture leads me to believe that these sorts of changes occurred because the noble or learned classes accepted or encouraged them. The roles of the kings and Druids were uppermost in this area.

It's my sense that modern CR has difficulties in accepting changes or innovations because there is not yet an established *code* or generally accepted learned class in it (if there are any classes within it). As such, there will continue to be large gray areas and items of contention about what is or isn't CR or CL.

Searles O'Dubhain



Celtic culture has always been defined by its center and its boundaries as well as its codes and traditions. The role of the warrior class was to patrol the boundaries and guard the people/land. Only the learned could cross boundaries between tribes/people with relative impunity. Maybe a similar filter will work today? One wonders if maybe CR universities need to establish themselves in this role.
Searles O'Dubhain

It seems to me that you are saying something here that I've heard from other Celticists, that the various 'Celtic' societies were top-down structures led by "the noble or learned classes" and that "CR universities" could lead modern ReConstructionists.

I disagree with this idea as a modern system and also with the idea that Ancient Irish people used a system like this for their religious/societal practices.
'Kings' were chosen on the basis of suitability by the agreement of the derbfine and maintained only by the support generated by successful kingship.
'Warriors' went on raids and competed in heroic derring-do in order to be remembered in song and story but were actually cow-less and so outside the actual structure of society.
Druids were extremely learned and so the court of last resort---but how often does the Supreme Court write speeding tickets?

I think that the folk practices of Ancient Times and the practices of the folk today were and are what connects us to the Timeless Land. I am more in agreement with your first definition, "everyday practices and activities" but I wholly reject the idea that a believer will institute and follow those practices at the dictate of some learned person.

My ancestors (and I believe most people's ancestors as well) lived in very small and largely self-sufficient communities that had very little contact with the outside, little say the Warriors, Druids, and Kings. Does this mean they were unable to have a living culture all on their own get-go? I soundly think not!
'Where I am standing' is the Centre of the World, and where I am standing is just my own 2 feet supporting my own head. What I do is my living culture.

I think that mindfulness of action and support through research are far more important than attending CR Uni.
Take smooring, fr'example. Ordinary Irish women smoored their hearths for (likely) millennia without any Druid ever telling them how to do it. I don't burn turves nor have a kitchen fire, so I make that last turn around the house when you turn out the lights, check the stove, and lock the doors be a ritual activity with the same mindful intent of protection that my ancestors employed.
Mindful intent, imo, is more meaningful than knowing exactly what words in what Gaelic language were used in the past. Although knowing those words facilitates the connection, the connection is one of belief and action.

For encouraging discussion, I personally found the introductory statement
"When do CR folks stop using only the practices and traditions of the past and incorporate the practices of today's worlld? How do we create the future ways without actually living the traditions of our paths? Maybe at some point CR will become CL (Celtic Living)?"
not at all likely to cause me to jump out with an explication of my innovative practices. The implicit 'beating-your-wife' phrasing discourages revelation.

Twinkle's post about offering caramels made me want to answer.

odubhain
June 2nd, 2008, 01:15 AM
<snip>
For encouraging discussion, I personally found the introductory statement
"When do CR folks stop using only the practices and traditions of the past and incorporate the practices of today's worlld? How do we create the future ways without actually living the traditions of our paths? Maybe at some point CR will become CL (Celtic Living)?"
not at all likely to cause me to jump out with an explication of my innovative practices. The implicit 'beating-your-wife' phrasing discourages revelation.

Twinkle's post about offering caramels made me want to answer.

That's fine by me. You and I haven't had many productive discussions between the two of us anyway and others seem to have added their own thoughts to the topic making it worthwhile to most folks.

It's obvious to me that some folks will not appreciate my way of posting while others will see such things as opportunities to expand and clarify issues. One can't be on good terms or in sync with everyone and I completely accept that truth.

Your terming a request for information by me as 'beating-your-wife' speaks volumes to me and is probably not at all what you think you've intended.

Searles O'Dubhain

_Banbha_
June 2nd, 2008, 01:24 AM
My view of CR runs on renewable opinions and ideas that come from a natural mind. As such, it is very much alive and based on what I see happening in CR and with people from CR I meet (or with whom I discuss the movement such as you).

I don't know what else I can say but to repeat what I've already said which is that we are saying much the same things from very different POV's.

I'm not sure how some of this can be about me or how you can know my personal views and practices in a CR context as I rarely discuss them, no less on a forum. Regarding your second thought: on some things, yes; but the rest remains to be seen.

I've noticed we don't see eye to eye on the "sun god" debate (on which I'm on the side of innovation) and that I don't respect the work or opinions of Robert Graves a la The White Goddess (again because of innovation). I cannot state with honesty that these differences are merely some CR sticking points between us because they are definitely not exclusive to Celtic Reconstructionism. The ideas I agree with in the examples are accepted by many who identify as Hard Polytheists and other Celtic Pagans.


I'm enjoying discussing these matters with Seren as she brings new and innovative ideas and understandings to the discussion.

Hazarding a guess as to why you are still asking me to define or identify what I mean by new knowledge or "worthwhile" I suppose you are focusing on the process whereby these ways are accepted into CR or other Celtic traditions. To answer those questions I suggest looking at Audacht Morainn and the idea of "fírinne."

It is the truth of the leaders that brings prosperity to a people. That is how new ideas are viewed and accepted into any traditional Celtic society. That is how they are "deemed."

You have guessed correctly and I find your point here to be enlightening.

To go further...anything "deemed" these days is open to inquiry and discussion. I think this is an organic process and the healthiest way to proceed in a vibrant contemporary Celtic culture while maintaining, exploring, and in some cases reviving the threads from (and to) our ancestors.


One can also look at history among Celtic peoples to see which ideas have been accepted into them based on fírinne and which were done based on expediency or personal advantage. The one's that brought prosperity to the people should be obvious.

On a more local level of Celtic tradition, I would suppose that new and innovative ideas would have been accepted or rejected based on family leadership and local religious leader's acceptance or rejection.

Look to the leaders to define the fírinne of CR or of other forms of Celtic tradition. The world is constantly changing and new knowledge is always being discovered. That is why knowledge had three names for Druids:

Fios, Eolas and Fochmarc.

Searles


The ideals fírinne as written of have evolved and opened to innovation as well. The social order of medieval Ireland is something that that cannot be reconstructed, revived or reborn; nor does anyone I know want a class (or better named 'caste') system revived to define and maintain in the name of 'order' for or from others...anymore than wanting to go out head hunting...in a literal manner.

And as has been stressed so well before me, the concerns of contemporary Celtic cultures have evolved to suit the times. This is one of the main foundation principles in CR as well.

I've noticed those who identify as CR or who are CR influenced are innovators in unique ways. To be immersed in the desire for learning and inspiration, going ever more deep...can and is for anyone who will seize it and live it by continuing traditions. I don't adhere to the idea of being spoon feed what is 'deemed' acceptable information from an authority from any sector by writ and in the name of 'order.' That is for perhaps for the rare closed group where some members are willing to cede some kind of personal power and they're usually pretty conservative politically; either way not my particular idea of innovative.

At times, some natural chaos in varying degrees is a price of living freely and a benefit is learning to be more adaptable to changing situations. It can be both a sharpener and a humbler. If someone presents a new idea it will thrive by it's accuracy and authenticity, it's ability to inspire and a connection that is felt. It can stand to the challenge of discussion and the test of time. If it has substance and truth, the idea or the practice will grow. It seems more commonsense than anything.

odubhain
June 2nd, 2008, 01:48 AM
I'm not sure how some of this can be about me or how you can know my personal views and practices in a CR context as I rarely discuss them, no less on a forum. Regarding your second thought: on some things, yes; but the rest remains to be seen.

I've noticed we don't see eye to eye on the "sun god" debate (on which I'm on the side of innovation) and that I don't respect the work or opinions of Robert Graves a la The White Goddess (again because of innovation). I cannot state with honesty that these differences are merely some CR sticking points between us because they are definitely not exclusive to Celtic Reconstructionism. The ideas I agree with in the examples are accepted by many who identify as Hard Polytheists and other Celtic Pagans.



You have guessed correctly and I find your point here to be enlightening.

To go further...anything "deemed" these days is open to inquiry and discussion. I think this is an organic process and the healthiest way to proceed in a vibrant contemporary Celtic culture while maintaining, exploring, and in some cases reviving the threads from (and to) our ancestors.




The ideals fírinne as written of have evolved and opened to innovation as well. The social order of medieval Ireland is something that that cannot be reconstructed, revived or reborn; nor does anyone I know want a class (or better named 'caste') system revived to define and maintain in the name of 'order' for or from others...anymore than wanting to go out head hunting...in a literal manner.

And as has been stressed so well before me, the concerns of contemporary Celtic cultures have evolved to suit the times. This is one of the main foundation principles in CR as well.

I've noticed those who identify as CR or who are CR influenced are innovators in unique ways. To be immersed in the desire for learning and inspiration, going ever more deep...can and is for anyone who will seize it and live it by continuing traditions. I don't adhere to the idea of being spoon feed what is 'deemed' acceptable information from an authority from any sector by writ and in the name of 'order.' That is for perhaps for the rare closed group where some members are willing to cede some kind of personal power and they're usually pretty conservative politically; either way not my particular idea of innovative.

At times, some natural chaos in varying degrees is a price of living freely and a benefit is learning to be more adaptable to changing situations. It can be both a sharpener and a humbler. If someone presents a new idea it will thrive by it's accuracy and authenticity, it's ability to inspire and a connection that is felt. It can stand to the challenge of discussion and the test of time. If it has substance and truth, the idea or the practice will grow. It seems more commonsense than anything.

As I've said before and will say here again, We are basically saying the same things though we have different attitudes about it.

For instance, fírinne is merely a truth that is so to the point and universal that all acknowledge and accept it. It has nothing to do with authority or a ceding of personal power and everything to do with the perception of reality by the people, the tribe and the world itself.

I get the distinct impression that you think I mean something else when I talk about fírinne or anything else to do with Celtic tradition. I like the idea of natural chaos as in my own beliefs this is the role of the Fomorii among us and the worlds. The Tuath Dé bring order while humans are a mix capable of learning from both. These are not new ideas for me.

The Druids taught that truth is the central power that creates and supports everything, even chaos. That's fírinne.

Searles O'Dubhain

_Banbha_
June 2nd, 2008, 02:04 AM
Pardon me for stepping in, as I'm not a CR...but rather a Hellenic Recon.

I believe that new and innovative practice is not necessarily in conflict with orthopraxy...in fact, innovation would absolutely have to occur if Celtic Reconstruction is going to be a thriving religion in the modern world.

The question then becomes how much innovation turns a practice into something other than correct practice...which turns into quite a sticky wicket among those who want to "do what they want", rather than practice correctly.

For example, in my offerings to Hermes I give caramels. Are caramels a traditional offering given to Hermes by the ancients? No. It's an innovation that is perfectly acceptable as an offering in Hellenismos, because an offering is giving what you have to give...and so I give it. It is absolutely orthopraxic, but a new and innovative offering.

The purpose of Reconstruction is to adapt ancient cultural practice so that it functions in the modern world. It is not Traditionalism in the sense that we are not trying to *be* the ancients, but practice correctly while keeping in mind that we live in the 21st Century.

I hope I haven't repeated anything, and I thank you for allowing me to comment.

Twinkle, your insights are always welcome ones. I'm glad to see you posting in this section. :smile:

I know of many who offer the 'new world' delicacy of chocolate to an Morrígan. It is something that was done with a great deal of thought and consideration and it is absolutely an innovation. It is not one I share in personal practice but it's one can understand and accept. There are 'innovations' like developing class system I'm less eager to endorse. This is backwards from my perspective and not innovative or even entirely accurate viewed from one individuals perspective.

As I expressed in my posting before this one, innovation is key and what I always viewed as a foundation principle long within Celtic Reconstructionism. Perhaps it is one that needs to be stressed and find expression more often!

_Banbha_
June 2nd, 2008, 03:05 AM
I think the sticking point, or lack of common understanding, in this discussion here comes (at least partly) from a much different attitude that seems to be prevalent in the surviving Celtic cultures, as opposed to what was once the case in history...

I don't think anyone would argue that Celtic cultures have never been eclectic to one extent or another, or that they aren't open to happily incorporating 'outside' influences into their daily lives today. Neither would anyone say that these things don't happen within CR. Modern scientific innovations, medicine and so forth are an obvious example. But as the Celtic cultures themselves are increasingly struggling to survive, they seem to be becoming more insular in some respects.

An example I can think of is the criticism of the use of loan words in Gaelic; some people argue against using words, like brand names, because they do nothing to help maintain the vitality of Gaelic as a modern, living language. Others argue that such words can't be ignored because they're common identifiers; forcing the use of Gaelic words when there's a perfectly apt one seems a little pointless. I have to say, I once heard a news report in Gaelic and heard the reporter talking away and then suddenly there was a 'Sony Walkman' thrown in. It does sound quite jarring, but what else can you call it? It is a brand name.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that there seems to be a much greater caution applied to the acceptance of some elements into Celtic cultures - linguistic influences being an obvious example. Music is another example - some embrace efforts like AfroCelt Sound System that mix and meld a variety of musical influences, and see it as a natural development of music in a modern world that's becoming increasingly small. Some purists, on the other hand, recoil in horror at the thought of such mixing (my father-in-law being one example of that).

I think this modern tendency towards caution and relative conservatism is reflected in the attitudes found within CR as well. This is not to say that I'm arguing against incorporating outside elements - for a start, I think ones practices should acknowledge and honour one's own heritage, whatever that may be, as well as the heritage of the place you're practicing in. But I do think careful consideration should be given to what, specifically, gets added. That's why it would be helpful if you could give explicit examples of such innovations that you have in mind.

One example I can think of is that I've read in the CR FAQ that some folk in the US prefer not to pour alcoholic libations on the ground so as not to offend Native American/First Nation spirits (since it was/is considered it a tabu to them). Instead, libations can be poured into fire if it's felt necessary to make them at all, where the alcohol can be burned to the gods instead of given by the usual means. It's an evolution of the practice, determined by outside factors, if you will, but it continues those threads I've been banging on about. I'm not sure if it's the sort of thing you're talking about, though.

What I'm trying to say is, so long as these 'new innovations' are compatible with a Celtic worldview (of whichever culture you might focus on), then that can be seen as a natural evolution. There comes a point when something becomes so diluted that it becomes neither one thing or another, but something else entirely.

There's also a question of whether it's relevant on a personal level. More subjective 'innovations' like personal spiritual practices might evolve elsewhere within the modern Celtic cultures, but in terms of my own CR practices, and my own spiritual views, they aren't necessarily relevant to me. I'm not going to tell those people they're wrong, and neither would I feel it incumbent on me to incorporate those things into my own practices just because someone else - a real live Celtic person - does. Just like CR, there's room for a wide variety of beliefs and practices in modern cultures that don't have to affect me.

QFT +

On music- I've heard some Traditionalist complain The Chieftains are not truly Irish because of their more eclectic projects, despite their foundation and abilities in traditional music, with traditional instruments.

I think my father would recoil at Afro-Celt sound system too but not so much The Chieftains going afield, as he has most of their CD's. :hehehehe:


As a side note: I'd like to address skilly-nilly's and odubhain's posts in a timely manner but the hour is late and I must sleep!

skilly-nilly
June 2nd, 2008, 08:37 AM
Here's point 1
It seems to me that you are saying something here that I've heard from other Celticists, that the various 'Celtic' societies were top-down structures led by "the noble or learned classes" and that "CR universities" could lead modern ReConstructionists.

Here's point 2
I disagree with this idea as a modern system and also with the idea that Ancient Irish people used a system like this for their religious/societal practices.
'Kings' were chosen on the basis of suitability by the agreement of the derbfine and maintained only by the support generated by successful kingship.
'Warriors' went on raids and competed in heroic derring-do in order to be remembered in song and story but were actually cow-less and so outside the actual structure of society.
Druids were extremely learned and so the court of last resort---but how often does the Supreme Court write speeding tickets?

Here's point 3
I think that the folk practices of Ancient Times and the practices of the folk today were and are what connects us to the Timeless Land. I am more in agreement with your first definition, "everyday practices and activities" but I wholly reject the idea that a believer will institute and follow those practices at the dictate of some learned person.

Here's point 4
My ancestors (and I believe most people's ancestors as well) lived in very small and largely self-sufficient communities that had very little contact with the outside, little say the Warriors, Druids, and Kings. Does this mean they were unable to have a living culture all on their own get-go? I soundly think not!
'Where I am standing' is the Centre of the World, and where I am standing is just my own 2 feet supporting my own head. What I do is my living culture.

Here's point 5
I think that mindfulness of action and support through research are far more important than attending CR Uni.
Take smooring, fr'example. Ordinary Irish women smoored their hearths for (likely) millennia without any Druid ever telling them how to do it. I don't burn turves nor have a kitchen fire, so I make that last turn around the house when you turn out the lights, check the stove, and lock the doors be a ritual activity with the same mindful intent of protection that my ancestors employed.
Mindful intent, imo, is more meaningful than knowing exactly what words in what Gaelic language were used in the past. Although knowing those words facilitates the connection, the connection is one of belief and action.

Here's the only point you addressed
For encouraging discussion, I personally found the introductory statement
"When do CR folks stop using only the practices and traditions of the past and incorporate the practices of today's worlld? How do we create the future ways without actually living the traditions of our paths? Maybe at some point CR will become CL (Celtic Living)?"
not at all likely to cause me to jump out with an explication of my innovative practices. The implicit 'beating-your-wife' phrasing discourages revelation.

Yay, personal practices!
Twinkle's post about offering caramels made me want to answer.


That's fine by me. You and I haven't had many productive discussions between the two of us anyway and others seem to have added their own thoughts to the topic making it worthwhile to most folks.

It's obvious to me that some folks will not appreciate my way of posting while others will see such things as opportunities to expand and clarify issues. One can't be on good terms or in sync with everyone and I completely accept that truth.

Your terming a request for information by me as 'beating-your-wife' speaks volumes to me and is probably not at all what you think you've intended.

Searles O'Dubhain

I feel strongly that dismissing both the folk culture of the past and the present in favour of referencing a 'kings, warriors, druids'-led system is dismissive of the principles of living culture. Even in the hero stories, those led are always questioning the dictates of the leaders and arguing their own opinions. forming (I believe) a template for Right Action. Discussion, appeal for opinion, counter-proposal is clearly valued in the Ancient Ways and should be a part of the New Ones.

odubhain
June 2nd, 2008, 07:39 PM
I feel strongly that dismissing both the folk culture of the past and the present in favour of referencing a 'kings, warriors, druids'-led system is dismissive of the principles of living culture. Even in the hero stories, those led are always questioning the dictates of the leaders and arguing their own opinions. forming (I believe) a template for Right Action. Discussion, appeal for opinion, counter-proposal is clearly valued in the Ancient Ways and should be a part of the New Ones.

I'm not dismissing any part of Celtic culture but I am definitely emphasizing what is known about its structure from scholarly works. Celtic culture was family centered and tied together through basically genealogy, fosterage and clientship. It was also a class and multi-leveled hierarchy much like academic, corporate and military organizations in modern times.

In spite of the apparent rigidity of Celtic society from a cursory outside viewpoint, it was actually much more fluid and flexible. People could be better than their birth and fírinne assured that right was actually right and correct. Rights were earned and not inherited. What was inherited was cattle and land and that was inherited in common within the extended family.

That some held positions within Celtic society based on their work, study and ability is my point despite what others may or may not be attempting to say my point is (or points are). It's very counterproductive and tiring for the overall discussion when personal agendas or misunderstandings are projected onto what people have actually said or presented.

A great example of this is that some folks seem to think that when I talk about kingship or a king's truth I am somehow embracing a hereditary "right of kings" after something like the British model. Nowhere have I said that. If the society of the learned were a democracy then we would have a body of learning based on the lowest common denominator of understanding. Is that what we desire? In the military, do we want privates leading? In business do we want the hot-dog vendor establishing our trading policies? The simple truth is that sometimes excellence is strongly upheld within a culture or a society. Celtic society and culture has a lasting tradition of doing just that.

Searles O'Dubhain

skilly-nilly
June 2nd, 2008, 11:24 PM
Celtic culture was family centered and tied together through basically genealogy, fosterage and clientship. It was also a class and multi-leveled hierarchy much like academic, corporate and military organizations in modern times.

I talk about kingship
Searles O'Dubhain

But there's only one King at any time, and lots of folk.

I guess it's what you're interested in reconstructing; if you want to reconstruct " a class and multi-leveled hierarchy much like academic, corporate and military organizations in modern times" then fine. But when I ritually wash my face and hands every morning, is the High King holding the bowl?
No.

I think that "scholarly works" show us that every member of society (most of them not noble or warriors) practised their completely intertwined culture and religion every day of their fairly ordinary lives. So that's what I am doing as an Irish ReConstructionist---being present to my Gods as much as possible in everything I do.

odubhain
June 3rd, 2008, 07:59 AM
But there's only one King at any time, and lots of folk.

I guess it's what you're interested in reconstructing; if you want to reconstruct " a class and multi-leveled hierarchy much like academic, corporate and military organizations in modern times" then fine. But when I ritually wash my face and hands every morning, is the High King holding the bowl?
No.

I think that "scholarly works" show us that every member of society (most of them not noble or warriors) practised their completely intertwined culture and religion every day of their fairly ordinary lives. So that's what I am doing as an Irish ReConstructionist---being present to my Gods as much as possible in everything I do.

In Ireland, the saying was "Every man is a king."

There were literally hundreds of petty kingdoms all over ancient Ireland. By 'petty kingdom' is meant what might be called a township nowadays and the 'king' would be the elected mayor. Beneath these 'kings' would be the family chieftains and the extended family heads. Just for clarity, I do not think that most ancient Celtic people lived in towns but that they lived in family holdings and households (or they wandered with their herds across the land).

In Celtic society things were like giant families rather than what most modern people seem to think a kingdom is: some huge, impersonal entity. In Celtic society it was up, close and personal.

As to the structure of the society and what scholarship shows and tells us, the society was structured as I've said. There was also a personal level of practice and an ongoing and living body of folk beliefs even as there is today. I've not said there wasn't, nor has me saying one thing excluded another.

For the life of me, I can't understand why some people seem to think discussions of societies and cultures (or anything else) is an all or nothing topic. Celtic society was not uniform and was definitely diverse. My opinions and thoughts on Celtic society are similarly diverse and rich with inclusiveness rather than separation or isolation.

Searles O'Dubhain

_Banbha_
June 4th, 2008, 12:48 AM
As I've said before and will say here again, We are basically saying the same things though we have different attitudes about it.

Yes, we do have very different Points of view. I've been trying to explore some of them.


For instance, fírinne is merely a truth that is so to the point and universal that all acknowledge and accept it. It has nothing to do with authority or a ceding of personal power and everything to do with the perception of reality by the people, the tribe and the world itself.

Yes, and it comes from _at the very, very least_ as much from the people up and not the leaders down. That is how traditional Irish society established itself, it's not from the top down. You seem to be trying to have it both ways on the class structure; yeah, I just read through the thread again. I'll offer quotes from your previous posts and if the meaning has been mistaken it can be addressed reasonably because the quote I'm replying to above and these below seem to me to be at cross-purposes:


On a more local level of Celtic tradition, I would suppose that new and innovative ideas would have been accepted or rejected based on family leadership and local religious leader's acceptance or rejection.

Look to the leaders to define the fírinne of CR or of other forms of Celtic tradition. The world is constantly changing and new knowledge is always being discovered. That is why knowledge had three names for Druids:

Fios, Eolas and Fochmarc.

Emphasis mine.

I know you're only supposing something here but it is a distinct POV. A small centralized authority telling people what is acceptable and what cannot be done in ideas or practices. "look to the leaders to define fírinne"



I think the acceptance of new ideas in a Celtic context is based on a concept called "fírinne" (in Irish). There is also an accepted code within most societies that clearly identifies what is acceptable on a gut level. CR's difficulties with this may be that it has a developing leadership and generally accepted code. It's not there yet.

Emphasis mine...Not that we don't have any, I can't say we have the difficulties as you outline them and the others here who are involved in CR agree with me from what I've read in their replies here.


The primary thrust of my questions is how they did this as a people or culture. My understanding of Celtic culture leads me to believe that these sorts of changes occurred because the noble or learned classes accepted or encouraged them. The roles of the kings and Druids were uppermost in this area.

It's my sense that modern CR has difficulties in accepting changes or innovations because there is not yet an established *code* or generally accepted learned class in it (if there are any classes within it). As such, there will continue to be large gray areas and items of contention about what is or isn't CR or CL.

Emphasis mine.

Okay, these are your opinions and your sense of things. I think there are reasons there is not a class structure in CR...no one wants one that I've ever heard of...so I guess that is why that point is not specifically a problem with us. If anyone in CR knows differently about establishing a class system, I'd like to be let in on it!



I get the distinct impression that you think I mean something else when I talk about fírinne or anything else to do with Celtic tradition. I like the idea of natural chaos as in my own beliefs this is the role of the Fomorii among us and the worlds. The Tuath Dé bring order while humans are a mix capable of learning from both. These are not new ideas for me.

I think it's the POV thing.

I did not suggest or imply chaos was a new idea to you, I was just incorporating a new idea into the discussion. While I understand this perspective you bring, I do not much share in it. The Fomorii and the Tuath Dé are full spectrum beings not two separate polarities expressing some kind of duality of chaos and order for our edification. I find that idea curiously and seemingly post-Christian and sanitized. You can consider this UPG out of respect for my ancestors. :)

I'm also considering forces of chaos from beyond the human having effect. Any Rí or Druid in reality would learn quickly, if he or she didn't know already which is unlikely, that you cannot control nature but live with it and try to appease it even as you try to make your place in it. Every person had the knowledge of how to appease the forces of nature they didn't understand through offerings and daily rituals. They made effort to live with it, not against it. An innovation is we know more now about how and why forces in nature react and do things like destroy crops or cause cattle to sicken. We still make offerings and daily ritual, perform devotions and celebrations too, it was life/it is living.


The Druids taught that truth is the central power that creates and supports everything, even chaos. That's fírinne.

Searles O'Dubhain

Nothing supports or controls chaos, it is value neutral and has no cares.

_Banbha_
June 4th, 2008, 02:01 AM
A great example of this is that some folks seem to think that when I talk about kingship or a king's truth I am somehow embracing a hereditary "right of kings" after something like the British model. Nowhere have I said that. If the society of the learned were a democracy then we would have a body of learning based on the lowest common denominator of understanding. Is that what we desire? In the military, do we want privates leading? In business do we want the hot-dog vendor establishing our trading policies? The simple truth is that sometimes excellence is strongly upheld within a culture or a society. Celtic society and culture has a lasting tradition of doing just that.

Searles O'Dubhain

Excellence does rise to the top on it's own merit and does not require a class structure to support it. I've already commented further on this before in an earlier post here and don't want to become redundant.

I suggest the use of tuatha/tuath for family group/s and also Rí/Ríg instead of the English word 'King' as it's not really a direct translation in any case. :)

I don't look at history the same way you do either, though we might have read the same books. I'd hesitate to compare anything in old Irish culture to the modern military or business and government. /observation.

_Banbha_
June 4th, 2008, 02:14 AM
The Asatru are no longer really considered a Recon religion, and have moved forward into a thriving modern religion...Hellenismos is a bit behind them, and Celtic Reconstruction is a bit behind us.

What you are dealing with now in CR is something that Hellenic Recons have been battling over for years. The main source of adversity is what you are discussing here...how much modern innovation makes it something other than Reconstruction.

I agree it is a big factor but I think an issue with what some eclectic-minded are calling innovation is taking elements that are foreign to the culture at hand (not necessarily modern at all) in order to "fill holes" they see. Or to clean the "dingy strings" from our ancestors...yeah, someone actually said that. When I hear things like that I think it is not really about modern innovations or adaptions; but something else entirely that is more about the individual than anything else.

Thinking about the Asatru example, there are still Germanic Reconstructionists and Heathens. If you ask them I'm sure they'll say they are thriving; just not much interested in what outsiders have to say about them.

I don't know enough detail about what is going on within the three Reconstructionist movements to comment specifically but a neat progression of so goes Asatru (and I feel more akin to Heathens and Germanic Reconstructionists from what I know about that) and then goes Hellenismos, then lastly goes Celtic Reconstructionism?

I think from the little I know of them there are distinctions in the cultures themselves that might make for differing outcomes. But it's a subject I could learn more about. :)



The things that Hellenic Recons think about when adapting something "modern" into an Ancient practice is (among others), this:

What is the intent of this adaptation?

Is it still in line with what we know about correct practice?

How much is based on personal gnosis? And if it is based on gnosis, does it trump practice? If it does...it is not an appropriate adaptation.

These are some excellent questions to consider when considering adapting a modern element.

Twinkle
June 4th, 2008, 07:13 AM
Banbha -


but I think an issue with what some eclectic-minded are calling innovation is taking elements that are foreign to the culture at hand (not necessarily modern at all) in order to "fill holes" they see. Or to clean the "dingy strings" from our ancestors...yeah, someone actually said that. When I hear things like that I think it is not really about modern innovations or adaptions; but something else entirely that is more about the individual than anything else.


I could not agree with your above comment more. There are many that would try to "re invent" an ancient cultural religion into something else entirely, and then try to call it "modern innovation." What they really are is eclectic....they just don't want to be *called* eclectic. :)

It's more about egos and a sense of authority than it is about the Gods.

Excellent point.

odubhain
June 4th, 2008, 07:30 AM
Yes, we do have very different Points of view. I've been trying to explore some of them.



Yes, and it comes from _at the very, very least_ as much from the people up and not the leaders down. That is how traditional Irish society established itself, it's not from the top down. You seem to be trying to have it both ways on the class structure; yeah, I just read through the thread again.

Fírinne flows out of the creative power of the universe very much like imbas. It is not owned by anyone though it is recognized when is is exhibited in the thoughts, words, actions and deeds of others.

In the tales, fírinne is sought and recognized in kings, Druids and just about anyone, anywhere and any time. The Irish king has no power but his fírinne and the support of his people. If he has no truth as recognized by prosperity and justice for all, then he is no king.


<snip>
I'm also considering forces of chaos from beyond the human having effect. Any Rí or Druid in reality would learn quickly, if he or she didn't know already which is unlikely, that you cannot control nature but live with it and try to appease it even as you try to make your place in it. Every person had the knowledge of how to appease the forces of nature they didn't understand through offerings and daily rituals. They made effort to live with it, not against it. An innovation is we know more now about how and why forces in nature react and do things like destroy crops or cause cattle to sicken. We still make offerings and daily ritual, perform devotions and celebrations too, it was life/it is living.



Nothing supports or controls chaos, it is value neutral and has no cares.

Anything can come out of chaos, even value and cares though that's not what I meant about it. Look up Monte Carlo theory in solving problems. Study Chaos Theory. Learn How (and why) to Kill a Dragon. There can even be patterns in chaos. In fact, there can also be patterns in nothing, but now I'm getting mystical.

I didn't say that people had no power or fírinne on their own or that personal ritual was not a part of the life of the Celts. Fírinne is the ultimate power of the universe according to the Druids.

I disagree that people did not attempt to control nature and I also disagree that the ritual and magic of the Celts sought to appease nature. Fírinne is doing the right thing because you know it's the right thing to do. It's a harmony with not a control over. It's sympathetic magic rather than a magic of opposition. When one is in tune with something, one becomes that thing and hence it does what it does because of one's own fírinne.

I've probably worded this poorly since it's not an idea that is obvious. Amergin understood it when he chanted his "Mystery."

Searles O'Dubhain

odubhain
June 4th, 2008, 07:39 AM
If we're talking about the same group in which this was said, I have to say I was quite shocked when I read that. It's a shame people think like that. Our ancestral heritage is not a "dingy string", but a flowing river from the past into the future.

And Searles, I haven't forgot about you. Just been busy. I'll get to your question sometime this afternoon.

That's ok Tomas. I'm actually very busy myself and haven't had the chance to post as much on this topic as I'd like. I do check it from time to time.

Seeking truth was what brought me to the Druid way long ago. It is what still drives me in my search as I investigate the relationships between everythings and nothings. That is to say, how all things are created from nothing yet appear to be something due to what we call laws of Nature.

Characterizing the boundaries for perception and experience seems tribal to me but now I'm personifying things that are not. Myth and deity, spirit and self come out of this well as well.

Searles

_Banbha_
June 4th, 2008, 10:01 AM
It is interesting you choose to pass up the opportunity to clarify your own statements on the idea you've been pressing on leaders being the definers and the ultimate acceptors or rejectors of innovation.


Fírinne flows out of the creative power of the universe very much like imbas. It is not owned by anyone though it is recognized when is is exhibited in the thoughts, words, actions and deeds of others.

Yes, and by your own words you suppose what it was accepted or rejected by leaders which has been my point of disagreement. Now that you've said this I can see you would understand my point well then but for some reason are seem to be avoiding it or have perhaps misunderstood it.


In the tales, fírinne is sought and recognized in kings, Druids and just about anyone, anywhere and any time. The Irish king has no power but his fírinne and the support of his people. If he has no truth as recognized by prosperity and justice for all, then he is no king.

Yes, again, see above. :)


Anything can come out of chaos, even value and cares though that's not what I meant about it. Look up Monte Carlo theory in solving problems. Study Chaos Theory. Learn How (and why) to Kill a Dragon. There can even be patterns in chaos. In fact, there can also be patterns in nothing, but now I'm getting mystical.

Yes, anything could come out of chaos but I was going by your own words in that post:


The Druids taught that truth is the central power that creates and supports everything, even chaos. That's fírinne.



I didn't say that people had no power or fírinne on their own or that personal ritual was not a part of the life of the Celts. Fírinne is the ultimate power of the universe according to the Druids.

Again, going back to your words on who is accepting and rejecting innovation which includes inspiration, it is at odds for this. Emphasis mine.


I disagree that people did not attempt to control nature and I also disagree that the ritual and magic of the Celts sought to appease nature. Fírinne is doing the right thing because you know it's the right thing to do. It's a harmony with not a control over. It's sympathetic magic rather than a magic of opposition. When one is in tune with something, one becomes that thing and hence it does what it does because of one's own fírinne.

I've probably worded this poorly since it's not an idea that is obvious. Amergin understood it when he chanted his "Mystery."

Searles O'Dubhain

And anything on it would be your personal interpretation and opinion. :)

On my bolded emphasis this is pretty much what I've been saying. I'm just wondering at the mystery of your earlier words and why they have shifted like sand underfoot with no explanation.

_Banbha_
June 4th, 2008, 10:07 AM
If we're talking about the same group in which this was said, I have to say I was quite shocked when I read that. It's a shame people think like that. Our ancestral heritage is not a "dingy string", but a flowing river from the past into the future.

I was shocked (and also appalled) by it too. And I couldn't agree with your vision more!

_Banbha_
June 4th, 2008, 10:12 AM
Banbha -


but I think an issue with what some eclectic-minded are calling innovation is taking elements that are foreign to the culture at hand (not necessarily modern at all) in order to "fill holes" they see. Or to clean the "dingy strings" from our ancestors...yeah, someone actually said that. When I hear things like that I think it is not really about modern innovations or adaptions; but something else entirely that is more about the individual than anything else.


I could not agree with your above comment more. There are many that would try to "re invent" an ancient cultural religion into something else entirely, and then try to call it "modern innovation." What they really are is eclectic....they just don't want to be *called* eclectic. :)

It's more about egos and a sense of authority than it is about the Gods.

Excellent point.

Thank you and how you've fleshed it out rings true to me as well!

Seren_
June 4th, 2008, 10:18 AM
The primary thrust of my questions is how they did this as a people or culture. My understanding of Celtic culture leads me to believe that these sorts of changes occurred because the noble or learned classes accepted or encouraged them. The roles of the kings and Druids were uppermost in this area.

It's my sense that modern CR has difficulties in accepting changes or innovations because there is not yet an established *code* or generally accepted learned class in it (if there are any classes within it). As such, there will continue to be large gray areas and items of contention about what is or isn't CR or CL.

The thing is, most CRs are on a fairly solitary path, which means imposing any sort of class or caste structure is pointless and irrelevant to most people. I've heard of a traditionalist group attempting something like what you're suggesting (at least I think it was traditionalist), and it's not something I can get my head round to be honest. Smells like organised religion to me.


One wonders if maybe CR universities need to establish themselves in this role.

I couldn't disagree more strongly. The idea of a 'CR university' seems to imply the imposition of someone else's dogma, someone else's vision or truth, on a path that's only mine to walk. As I've been stressing, CRs are largely solitary and individualistic at present. While some groups may be evolving, these groups evolve on common consensus, and that consensus applies only to that group. I'm strongly against some sort of lofty authority that doles out things for me to learn and dictates what I should know. Granted, a proper university would encourage self-learning and the forming of one's own opinions, but from what you seem to be suggesting, I get the impression that such a body would be more about establishing an orthodoxy - that isn't necessary or wanted.

I agree with the idea of there being a core of truth in a path, but as I see it the interpretation of that truth, and the way it's incorporated into one's life and one's path can be vastly different from someone else.


The things that Hellenic Recons think about when adapting something "modern" into an Ancient practice is (among others), this:

What is the intent of this adaptation?

Is it still in line with what we know about correct practice?

How much is based on personal gnosis? And if it is based on gnosis, does it trump practice? If it does...it is not an appropriate adaptation.

I couldn't agree more with these points :)


For instance, fírinne is merely a truth that is so to the point and universal that all acknowledge and accept it. It has nothing to do with authority or a ceding of personal power and everything to do with the perception of reality by the people, the tribe and the world itself.

And now I'm confused. You seem to have been suggesting the ceding of personal power and authority in some of your previous posts...I know you've addressed this to other posters, but I'm still trying to get to grips with what you're saying here.

As I said before, a truth may be universal, but how that truth is interpreted and applied is entirely subjective; it may not even be relevant to some. From what you seem to be saying it would be the king or druids who would expound on this truth and the people who would accept it...That seems to me to leave very little room for personal truth and individual responsibility, and I don't think that's how things worked in early medieval Ireland, either.


I'm not dismissing any part of Celtic culture but I am definitely emphasizing what is known about its structure from scholarly works. Celtic culture was family centered and tied together through basically genealogy, fosterage and clientship. It was also a class and multi-leveled hierarchy much like academic, corporate and military organizations in modern times.

In spite of the apparent rigidity of Celtic society from a cursory outside viewpoint, it was actually much more fluid and flexible. People could be better than their birth and fírinne assured that right was actually right and correct. Rights were earned and not inherited. What was inherited was cattle and land and that was inherited in common within the extended family.

I have to point out here that you're arguing about Irish society, not Celtic society - and early medieval Irish society for the most part at that. 'Celtic society' has never existed, and what may be true for early medieval Ireland isn't necessarily true for the rest of the Celtic cultures.


The Irish king has no power but his fírinne and the support of his people. If he has no truth as recognized by prosperity and justice for all, then he is no king.

A king's rule was based on the concept of fír flathemon, 'truth of kingship/king's justice'. It was linked to his ability to give true judgment, commonly evidenced in tales by his ability to recognise the sovereignty goddess (by sleeping with her even though she was hideous) and so showing the Otherworldly nature and source of his sovereignty. I think firinne is a somewhat separate concept here, since the fír flathemon has a much more narrow focus in terms of what its truth is, and where it comes from specifically.

I realise this is probably bordering on the sort of nitpicking that makes anyone wandering into this subforum start to lose the will to live and switch off completely, and for that I apologise...it's an affliction I try to keep under control, honest :)

_Banbha_
June 4th, 2008, 10:43 AM
As I said before, a truth may be universal, but how that truth is interpreted and applied is entirely subjective; it may not even be relevant to some. From what you seem to be saying it would be the king or druids who would expound on this truth and the people who would accept it...That seems to me to leave very little room for personal truth and individual responsibility, and I don't think that's how things worked in early medieval Ireland, either.

Your point on subjectivity is well taken. One can expound like a preacher on the one truth but the relevance lies with the individual. I think being valued and having staying power within a community is evidence of acceptance, not being told what is or what is not.

skilly-nilly
June 4th, 2008, 12:25 PM
Any Rí or Druid in reality would learn quickly, if he or she didn't know already which is unlikely, that you cannot control nature but live with it and try to appease it even as you try to make your place in it.




I disagree that people did not attempt to control nature and I also disagree that the ritual and magic of the Celts sought to appease nature.
Searles O'Dubhain

I think that 'control' and 'appease' are button-pushing words, but I agree that Irish folklore shows us that the Irish historically (and lore-ically) tried to avoid being acted on by inimical Nature and also tried to avert ill-feeing from the OtherWorld.

Any pastoral people try by any means possible to have timely rain, good sun, no hail, etc in the same way that fishing people try to avert storms and call fish while acknowledging that in the end what will happen, will.

I think that "the ritual and magic of the Celts [Irish]" wasn't so much an appeasement of Nature or the Gods but as an acknowledgment of the lesson being taught---disastrous events indicate something being wrong.




A king's rule was based on the concept of fír flathemon, 'truth of kingship/king's justice'. It was linked to his ability to give true judgment, commonly evidenced in tales by his ability to recognise the sovereignty goddess (by sleeping with her even though she was hideous) and so showing the Otherworldly nature and source of his sovereignty. I think firinne is a somewhat separate concept here, since the fír flathemon has a much more narrow focus in terms of what its truth is, and where it comes from specifically.

In this, the rôle of the Rightness of the King is an enlargement of the rôle of the every-day person. If the small-farmer didn't protect hir cows they might be elf-shot; if the King was inhospitable there might be a crop failure. This also reflects the bottom-up structure of the society; the well-being of the family reflects the actions of the family head and the well-being of the nation that of the High King.

But no leader is making judgements nor pronouncements for their 'followers' instead the 'people' are displaying inadvertently the qualities of the leader.



I realise this is probably bordering on the sort of nitpicking that makes anyone wandering into this subforum start to lose the will to live and switch off completely, and for that I apologise...it's an affliction I try to keep under control, honest :)

http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/headlice/images/nit.jpg
Pick away, imo!! I think that the small reflects the large, as I have just argued.

_Banbha_
June 4th, 2008, 01:59 PM
I think that 'control' and 'appease' are button-pushing words, but I agree that Irish folklore shows us that the Irish historically (and lore-ically) tried to avoid being acted on by inimical Nature and also tried to avert ill-feeing from the OtherWorld.

Any pastoral people try by any means possible to have timely rain, good sun, no hail, etc in the same way that fishing people try to avert storms and call fish while acknowledging that in the end what will happen, will.

I think that "the ritual and magic of the Celts " wasn't so much an appeasement of Nature or the Gods but as an acknowledgment of the lesson being taught---disastrous events indicate something being wrong.

Yes, the word appease can be button pushing because it could imply a certain type of relationship that is based on or in fear. In the modern sense it could mean something else in political circles but that was not my meaning. And while I think there were most definitely fears and stresses for people living off the land in early medieval Ireland, it wasn't my intent to stress it was inherent in the motivation. Think more of a sense of peace or as natural as appeasing one's thirst. It was a mutual thing imo as well. :)


I realise this is probably bordering on the sort of nitpicking that makes anyone wandering into this subforum start to lose the will to live and switch off completely, and for that I apologise...it's an affliction I try to keep under control, honest:)


http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/headlice/images/nit.jpg[I]
Pick away, imo!! I think that the small reflects the large, as I have just argued.

I concur on both points and am :giggle: at the nit pic!

odubhain
June 5th, 2008, 12:43 AM
<snip>

And now I'm confused. You seem to have been suggesting the ceding of personal power and authority in some of your previous posts...I know you've addressed this to other posters, but I'm still trying to get to grips with what you're saying here.

I'm talking about truth being the central power in the universe. This has nothing at all to do with ceding personal power and everything to do with finding one's truth.


As I said before, a truth may be universal, but how that truth is interpreted and applied is entirely subjective; it may not even be relevant to some. From what you seem to be saying it would be the king or druids who would expound on this truth and the people who would accept it...That seems to me to leave very little room for personal truth and individual responsibility, and I don't think that's how things worked in early medieval Ireland, either.

Obviously truth in governance is evidenced the most by the actions of the governed just as truth in knowledge is most strongly upheld by those who are knowledgeable. Just as obviously (at least to me) the truth of a people is most strongly to be found in a people and their surviving traditions.


I have to point out here that you're arguing about Irish society, not Celtic society - and early medieval Irish society for the most part at that. 'Celtic society' has never existed, and what may be true for early medieval Ireland isn't necessarily true for the rest of the Celtic cultures.

I'm arguing points about Celtic society based on the best surviving evidence of those societies. I use Irish society because more information has survived from that society than from any other Celtic society. I'm perfectly willing to sit back and learn from others if they have evidence or information from other Celtic societies about these topics. I haven't heard much from others in the way of facts and information about other Celtic societies in this discussion.


A king's rule was based on the concept of fír flathemon, 'truth of kingship/king's justice'. It was linked to his ability to give true judgment, commonly evidenced in tales by his ability to recognise the sovereignty goddess (by sleeping with her even though she was hideous) and so showing the Otherworldly nature and source of his sovereignty. I think firinne is a somewhat separate concept here, since the fír flathemon has a much more narrow focus in terms of what its truth is, and where it comes from specifically.

A king's truth was much more than tales about a sovereignty goddess. It was judges and evidenced by prosperity for his people based on his decisions, actions and judgments. Fírinne is epitomized by a king's truth. It is the best example available on the concept that survives to us from the ancients.


I realise this is probably bordering on the sort of nitpicking that makes anyone wandering into this subforum start to lose the will to live and switch off completely, and for that I apologise...it's an affliction I try to keep under control, honest :)

It's difficult at times to understand the difference between a desire to know more and what might be construed as 'nitpicking' or bothersome. I think that fírinne may well determine which is which. :-)

Searles O'Dubhain

odubhain
June 5th, 2008, 12:52 AM
I, too, do not feel comfortable with the "social class" idea in our modern practice. Why do we need to "reconstruct" social classes when they already exist? That is leading out of the realm of reconstructionism and into the realm of re-enactments.

Celtic living is not re-enacting. Reconstruction is all about discussing the relative merits of the Celtic traditions of past, present and future. If one is to carry the ways of the past into the present in Celtic tradition then one has to at least address the importance or harmful influences of the class structures.

Such structures have continued from the past in various disciplines such as education, military, politics and even the family to a lesser extent.

Melding ancient Celtic ideas about class structures with modern ideas about social structures is something that needs to be addressed if one is to "reconstruct" Celtic tradition. The ways that modern tribal societies have done (or not done) this should be used as a talking point for comparison IMO.

I realize that such a discussion has a lot of IED's in its roadways and byways. Hopefully, safe passage will come to those who are sensible, sensitive and truth seeking in the endeavor.

Searles O'Dubhain

odubhain
June 5th, 2008, 12:59 AM
And anything on it would be your personal interpretation and opinion. :)

On my bolded emphasis this is pretty much what I've been saying. I'm just wondering at the mystery of your earlier words and why they have shifted like sand underfoot with no explanation.

This is of course your opinion and is based on your misunderstandings of what I've said (which is my opinion). :-)

What I've said has not shifted like sand at all and I've been saying it for years now without shifting but hopefully with greater understanding and clarity for most.

Searles O'Dubhain

odubhain
June 5th, 2008, 01:18 AM
It is interesting you choose to pass up the opportunity to clarify your own statements on the idea you've been pressing on leaders being the definers and the ultimate acceptors or rejectors of innovation.

For the sake of clarity and to aid my understanding on the matter, will you please quote the words that you say I've used in this discussion where I've been pressing on "leaders being the definers and ultimate acceptors of innovation?"

Leaders do lead and leaders in knowledge are usually seen as being those whose knowledge is outstanding, but you seem to be implying something else which is something I certainly haven't said at all.

Now, there is a can of worms that exists in the jurisprudence of Celtic ways that has survived for all to study in the Irish Brehon Laws that may be similar to what you are maybe saying (but which I have neither said nor implied). That is the idea and practice of overswearing wherein the testimony of a higher classed member of society was given greater importance and relevence regarding truth and relevance than that of a lower classed person's testimony. For example: maybe two or three people of the next lower class's testimony would be needed to overturn the testimony of a noble or warrior. This idea was codified in Irish Celtic society in the Brehon Laws. It's supposed to be prohibited in modern legal proceedings but has a bit of *de facto* survival in our modern supposedly enlightened societies none-the-less.

Class is a word that can be objective or subjective in its subjected objections and its objectionable subtleties however one classes it or sees it as classy or classless.

Searles O'Dubhain

odubhain
June 5th, 2008, 02:15 AM
I've reviewed my postings in this thread to see where what I've said could have been misleading or could have contained confusing/contradictory information. This seems to be one case where that may have occurred and I quote the relevant paragraphs here:


The Celts embraced innovations in art, language, agriculture, warfare, science and philosophy as they found advantage or admiration for new ideas, ways and innovations.

The primary thrust of my questions is how they did this as a people or culture. My understanding of Celtic culture leads me to believe that these sorts of changes occurred because the noble or learned classes accepted or encouraged them. The roles of the kings and Druids were uppermost in this area.

It's my sense that modern CR has difficulties in accepting changes or innovations because there is not yet an established *code* or generally accepted learned class in it (if there are any classes within it). As such, there will continue to be large gray areas and items of contention about what is or isn't CR or CL.

There's nothing (that I can see) wrong with these ideas in what I've said to this point in the discussion. It's what I did not say but was assumed by some that may be the source of the confusion. I did not say at that point in the discussion that fírinne was necessary for any idea to be universally accepted by Celtic people and tribes. I assumed that this was understood by those with whom I was discussing the ideas of innovation and change.

In Irish Celtic society, the kings and nobles (i.e. Druids and others) did in fact lead the society. Is there anyone who would dispute this statement? I've used Irish society as a talking point for Celtic tradition since much more is known about it than most others. Fírinne is the idea wherein the truth and prosperity evident in the actions and decisions of the leaders would be judged or evaluated by the members of a Celtic tribe or family. The leaders would lead (innovate, introduce new ideas and teach new ways, formulate treaties and contracts, etc.) The truth or value of such decisions on the part of the leaders would eventually become apparent in the prosperity brought to the people or the disasters that befell them. If there were too many disasters then a leader would be deposed and replaced through tribal decisions and counsel resolutions (varies by Celtic tradition).

The thrust of what I'm saying and have been saying is that in Celtic society, the leaders made decisions and led and the people followed based on that leadership to a point. Change occurred based on the ways of the leaders because they were the mechanism whereby new ideas and innovations came to Celtic society. Sometimes bad decisions could be corrected if a leader's fírinne was false. Other times, the people were stuck with the consequences of bad leadership decisions even if they did replace the erring leaders. One can look at the process of how Padraig is said to have brought Christianity to the Irish to see this working as I think I've expressed it to work.

Padraig sought the support of the kings and learned people of an area before preaching or traveling in an area. This was wise of him as he knew from his previous experiences in Irish society that such support was necessary. Sometimes, he had to pay for this support while at other times it seems it was freely given (by the leaders). When a sufficient number of kings and learned class members supported Padraig's new religion, it gained a foothold among the Irish. This only happened because the leaders supported it and the people saw it as fírinne (at the time). I'm not arguing that Christianity is a better religion than pre-Christian religion but I am saying that the Irish of Padraig's time saw some advantages to allowing its practice.I don't think their understanding of "allow" meant "exclusively" practicing only Christianity. My personal opinion and understanding is that the Irish of that time saw Christianity as augmenting their religion (adding more deities and a few concepts). The course of history marks how the changes to Christianity (as practiced by the Irish and the Celts of other countries) were changed by local and increasingly by foreign leadership over time.

So what am I saying?

I'm saying that leaders lead and people follow them. If the truth of these leaders is shown to be good and prosperous then changes introduced by the leaders eventually is embraced and included in the understood code of life in a Celtic society. It's not usually the person in the trenches that makes decisions or who guide the development of a society (emphasis on usually). Some ideas do have a life and power of their own. That's fírinne. It's the ultimate power in the universe. This was taught by the Druids. The ultimate of fírinne was the king's truth. There was none higher in Celtic society (except that of the gods). The fírinne of the king was judged and accepted by the fírinne of the people and the gods. Evidence of this was seen in the results obtained by following the "truth of the kings."

This idea should not be difficult to grasp as it is what drives modern society. The leaders of modern society lead and the people either support them or not based on the results or the wisdom seen in their actions. The same can be said for the advice of the advisers and the lessons of the teachers in modern society. Still more the innovations of modern society come from the inventors and forward thinkers of that society. The Druid filled this role in ancient Celtic society as the learned class. That is why I've said that the roles of the kings and Druids were uppermost in this area. I'm discouraged that my words on this topic seem to have created confusion and opposition when they were meant to be points for discussion to gain a better understanding of Celtic tradition and the ways that it can be skillfully reconstructed and lived.

It seems that no good deed or intention goes unpunished.

I'll sit back and let the discussions return to a less contentious and innovative level now that I've had my say. The lesson for me in all of this is to choose my venues more wisely for the time and energy that is available to me for posting my thoughts and realizations.

Searles O'Dubhain

odubhain
June 5th, 2008, 09:02 AM
Exactly, and that is what I'm getting at. These social positions (most of them, anyway) still exist today and have evolved within their cultures.

We should be concerned with reconstructing the social offices that are relevant to us today. The druids/ filidh would be excellent examples. They are a class that that is relevant to our modern spirituality and our communities, however didn't exactly survive to the current day. They are worth reconstructing.

That's what I have been concerned with for the past 15 years. Some would do away with Druids and Filidh in their reconstruction efforts. I know one group where such was a forbidden topic to even discuss. I got kicked out of that group for the transgression of posting a triad about the truth, one's oaths and the gods.

Searles

skilly-nilly
June 5th, 2008, 12:49 PM
For the sake of clarity and to aid my understanding on the matter, will you please quote the words that you say I've used in this discussion where I've been pressing on "leaders being the definers and ultimate acceptors of innovation?"

I've bolded those statements that seem to be saying that.


Leaders do lead and leaders in knowledge are usually seen as being those whose knowledge is outstanding, but you seem to be implying something else which is something I certainly haven't said at all.
Searles O'Dubhain

HERE WE GO
So here it is; I've quoted you with bolding and blue to select out some of your points.




I'm also thinking about knowledge returned to the people through imbas that is put to the test to see if it has truth in it. Most knowledge came to us through inquiry, inspiration and serendipity. It's all a matter of what works, what supports the culture and that which has the creative power of truth within it.
Searles

In this early quote, you seem to be saying that Imbas (necessarily a personal revelation) is the means by which we achieve breakthrough innovations in cultural and religious practice, a statement that I completely agree with as long as the caveat (which you also mention) of testing is applied as well.

But then you go further into exploring the means by which innovation is applied:



The primary thrust of my questions is how they did this as a people or culture. My understanding of Celtic culture leads me to believe that these sorts of changes occurred because the noble or learned classes accepted or encouraged them. The roles of the kings and Druids were uppermost in this area.
Searles O'Dubhain

because of the support of the "noble or learned classes", you say. But if Imbas is personal revelation, then what is revealed by Imbas has to work in a personal context; kings and druids aren't involved.




A king's truth was much more than tales about a sovereignty goddess. It was judges and evidenced by prosperity for his people based on his decisions, actions and judgments.
Searles O'Dubhain

What you keep referring to is a top-down fairly autocratic society, that the "kings and nobles" were empowered to make religious and culturally innovative decisions. This point is what I disagree with; I believe that the "kings and nobles" were empowered to lead in actions but only if they could convince the "followers" that each specific plan was a good one. The tales are full to bursting with examples of followers arguing a proposed plan with their leader.

There is cultural support for this as well, in Cattle Lords and Clansmen Nerys Thomas Patterson (citing Brehon Law and societal practices) says that part of the process of inheritance (after the derbfine made its decision) was the act of the new lord convincing the old lord's out-farmed cow-holders that they (the cows) really were held by the new lord and not by the owner of the herd they were in.

It's not a top-down process, it's more what you mention in this next post (my blue)
"the actions and decisions of the leaders would be judged or evaluated by the members of a Celtic tribe or family"; that's not a 'leaders decide, druids teach' society, that's an 'individual decision' society.



In Irish Celtic society, the kings and nobles (i.e. Druids and others) did in fact lead the society. Is there anyone who would dispute this statement? I've used Irish society as a talking point for Celtic tradition since much more is known about it than most others. Fírinne is the idea wherein the truth and prosperity evident in the actions and decisions of the leaders would be judged or evaluated by the members of a Celtic tribe or family. The leaders would lead (innovate, introduce new ideas and teach new ways, formulate treaties and contracts, etc.)

The thrust of what I'm saying and have been saying is that in Celtic society, the leaders made decisions and led and the people followed based on that leadership to a point. Change occurred based on the ways of the leaders because they were the mechanism whereby new ideas and innovations came to Celtic society. Sometimes bad decisions could be corrected if a leader's fírinne was false. Other times, the people were stuck with the consequences of bad leadership decisions even if they did replace the erring leaders.
<snip>
When a sufficient number of kings and learned class members supported Padraig's new religion, it gained a foothold among the Irish. This only happened because the leaders supported it and the people saw it as fírinne (at the time).

So what am I saying?

I'm saying that leaders lead and people follow them. If the truth of these leaders is shown to be good and prosperous then changes introduced by the leaders eventually is embraced and included in the understood code of life in a Celtic society. It's not usually the person in the trenches that makes decisions or who guide the development of a society (emphasis on usually). "

I think (and I think that the Ancient Irish thought) that "introduce[ing] new ideas" and "formulate[ing] treaties and contracts" are two completely separate things; one being the mechanism of governance and the other being personal belief.

The example you use (the conversion of Ireland) is a good example. I was interested to see, in reading A History of Pagan Europe by Prudence Jones & Nigel Pennick, how different the conversion of Europe in general was from that of Ireland. European societies (generally lead in a top-down way) used the template you posit (with fighting and suppression) and Ireland generally used a bottom-up conversion process with very little fighting or suppression until centuries later.

So this statement "the leaders ... were the mechanism whereby new ideas and innovations came to Celtic society" isn't really valid.

If you look at the points you made that I highlighted in blue, you can see a very different process in action. In my belief system (innovatively based on CR) new ideas come from the Gods by means of Imbas. Thanking Them, I go on to test and examine the innovations to see where and how they're applicable.

So, yes, in this case the "person in the trenches" decides policy.

As well, as touched on in your quote "A king's truth was much more than tales about a sovereignty goddess" it is the interaction of the Gods with both us and Nature that upholds the king's truth. The decision of the Sovereignty Goddess is the Supreme Court judge here, not the druids.

Seren_
June 5th, 2008, 05:01 PM
http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/headlice/images/nit.jpg
Pick away, imo!! I think that the small reflects the large, as I have just argued.

:lol: Well alright then :p


Just as obviously (at least to me) the truth of a people is most strongly to be found in a people and their surviving traditions.

This statement I broadly agree with. But on the whole what you seem to be saying is that there are truths that should be imparted by an appointed spokesperson and accepted by the masses, so to speak. I think Skilly has pretty much made the points I was wanting to make on that in her last post, and a lot more succinctly than I could...


I'm arguing points about Celtic society based on the best surviving evidence of those societies. I use Irish society because more information has survived from that society than from any other Celtic society. I'm perfectly willing to sit back and learn from others if they have evidence or information from other Celtic societies about these topics. I haven't heard much from others in the way of facts and information about other Celtic societies in this discussion.

Then the sticking point for me here is that such an approach doesn't account for the nuances and differences between the different Celtic cultures. There never has been a 'Celtic society' or one homogenous Celtic culture. The cultures that fall under the Celtic umbrella share many commonalities, but the differences are important as well. Just like modern scholarship emphasises these differences, I think most CR folk do as well.

If CR were pan-Celtic then I think such an approach could work, but since it's not, the differences needed to be accounted for as much as the similarities.


A king's truth was much more than tales about a sovereignty goddess. It was judges and evidenced by prosperity for his people based on his decisions, actions and judgments. Fírinne is epitomized by a king's truth. It is the best example available on the concept that survives to us from the ancients.

It wasn't my intention to imply that sovereignty goddesses were the be all and end all, but I was trying to use the example to illustrate my point...I suspect that the idea of 'truth' in general has an Otherworldly source. The king's truth has a much more specific Otherworldly focus/source than firinne does in general.


Melding ancient Celtic ideas about class structures with modern ideas about social structures is something that needs to be addressed if one is to "reconstruct" Celtic tradition. The ways that modern tribal societies have done (or not done) this should be used as a talking point for comparison IMO.

But again, there is no Celtic tradition, culture, society. There are Celtic traditions, cultures, societies.

odubhain
June 5th, 2008, 06:28 PM
:lol: Well alright then :p



This statement I broadly agree with. But on the whole what you seem to be saying is that there are truths that should be imparted by an appointed spokesperson and accepted by the masses, so to speak. I think Skilly has pretty much made the points I was wanting to make on that in her last post, and a lot more succinctly than I could...

That's entirely incorrect. What I was saying is that the leaders lead and the people follow if the leaders have truth. If not, then the people got a new leader. It's as simple as that. It's called government.


Then the sticking point for me here is that such an approach doesn't account for the nuances and differences between the different Celtic cultures. There never has been a 'Celtic society' or one homogeneous Celtic culture. The cultures that fall under the Celtic umbrella share many commonalities, but the differences are important as well. Just like modern scholarship emphasises these differences, I think most CR folk do as well.

There are obviously nuances between Celtic societies due to all the factors that influence any society. There are also broad social structures that persisted for thousands of years in Celtic and IndoEuropean societies.


If CR were pan-Celtic then I think such an approach could work, but since it's not, the differences needed to be accounted for as much as the similarities.

There are lots of CR movements so they don't have to individually be pan-Celtic. They can be CR specific (keeping in mind the things in general that classify or characterize them as being Celtic).



It wasn't my intention to imply that sovereignty goddesses were the be all and end all, but I was trying to use the example to illustrate my point...I suspect that the idea of 'truth' in general has an Otherworldly source. The king's truth has a much more specific Otherworldly focus/source than firinne does in general.

It sure sounded that way to me. Truth was (as I've said) the central power in being for the Celts as taught by the Druids.


But again, there is no Celtic tradition, culture, society. There are Celtic traditions, cultures, societies.

They have their similarities or they wouldn't be classified as Celtic.

Searles

odubhain
June 5th, 2008, 06:44 PM
I've bolded those statements that seem to be saying that.


HERE WE GO
So here it is; I've quoted you with bolding and blue to select out some of your points.

In this early quote, you seem to be saying that Imbas (necessarily a personal revelation) is the means by which we achieve breakthrough innovations in cultural and religious practice, a statement that I completely agree with as long as the caveat (which you also mention) of testing is applied as well.

But then you go further into exploring the means by which innovation is applied:

because of the support of the "noble or learned classes", you say. But if Imbas is personal revelation, then what is revealed by Imbas has to work in a personal context; kings and druids aren't involved.



Only Druids and a few exceptional individuals performed or experienced imbas in Celtic society. This means that imbas was accepted as a valid means of gaining new knowledge (especially hidden knowledge). Imbas was not equated with UPG types of experiences by the Celts.


What you keep referring to is a top-down fairly autocratic society, that the "kings and nobles" were empowered to make religious and culturally innovative decisions. This point is what I disagree with; I believe that the "kings and nobles" were empowered to lead in actions but only if they could convince the "followers" that each specific plan was a good one. The tales are full to bursting with examples of followers arguing a proposed plan with their leader.

The leaders led. What more can I say?


There is cultural support for this as well, in Cattle Lords and Clansmen Nerys Thomas Patterson (citing Brehon Law and societal practices) says that part of the process of inheritance (after the derbfine made its decision) was the act of the new lord convincing the old lord's out-farmed cow-holders that they (the cows) really were held by the new lord and not by the owner of the herd they were in.

It's a society where the leaders led and the people supported them or they got new leaders. It's really that simple.


It's not a top-down process, it's more what you mention in this next post (my blue)
"the actions and decisions of the leaders would be judged or evaluated by the members of a Celtic tribe or family"; that's not a 'leaders decide, druids teach' society, that's an 'individual decision' society.

Every relationship has two sides to it. Truth flowed from the king as he governed and influenced the gods to gain prosperity for the people. The king was the connection to all that. Local matters were decided by chieftains and Brehons/Filidh. Family matters were decided by families.


I think (and I think that the Ancient Irish thought) that "introduce[ing] new ideas" and "formulate[ing] treaties and contracts" are two completely separate things; one being the mechanism of governance and the other being personal belief.

Celtic society was tribal. This means that everything within it was covered by the codes and traditions. Everything outside the tribe was foreign,. Hence new treaties and agreements were innovations and an expansion of the tribal ways/boundaries/awareness.


<snip>

So, yes, in this case the "person in the trenches" decides policy.

As well, as touched on in your quote "A king's truth was much more than tales about a sovereignty goddess" it is the interaction of the Gods with both us and Nature that upholds the king's truth. The decision of the Sovereignty Goddess is the Supreme Court judge here, not the druids.

The person in the trenches dug trenches and did not decide policy in Celtic society. They waited on results and hoped that the decisions and actions of the leaders brought prosperity. If they didn't receive prosperity then they sought new leaders or they supported those who fought to replace the existing leaders.

There is a subtle difference between this and the person in the trenches deciding tribal policy. They most definitely did not. The leaders of Celtic society (kings and nobles) decided policy (after much discussion like any good and true leader would do).

Searles O'Dubhain

odubhain
June 5th, 2008, 11:45 PM
Concerning leadership in CR...

I really don't see that becoming a reality in the larger general CR community, especially after a recent debacle that took place on the cr_r LJ. Many weren't even keen of the idea of having "CR Elders/ Founders."

These social offices would probably best function within a small community.

Some of them were doing ok by just leading and doing, without getting stuck on titles.The best leadership occurs when one's fírinne is acknowledged rather than when one attempts to get annointed. :-)

Searles

skilly-nilly
June 6th, 2008, 12:27 PM
Only Druids and a few exceptional individuals performed or experienced imbas in Celtic society. This means that imbas was accepted as a valid means of gaining new knowledge (especially hidden knowledge). Imbas was not equated with UPG types of experiences by the Celts.

I singled out this specific point to answer. I don't agree with this 'a few speshul leaders' pov. Most of the people in the Celtic Lands millennia ago lived very local rural lives that involved no contact at-tall with noble classes, little say kings and druids. To imply that they had no means of communication with the OtherWorld impugns our ancestors, imo. They had full rich wonderful lives deeply rooted in where they were a that we can only hope to emulate.



There are obviously nuances between Celtic societies due to all the factors that influence any society. There are also broad social structures that persisted for thousands of years in Celtic and IndoEuropean societies.

They have their similarities or they wouldn't be classified as Celtic.
Searles



The leaders led. What more can I say?

It's a society where the leaders led and the people supported them or they got new leaders. It's really that simple.

Searles O'Dubhain

It's really not that simple.
OT1H, the cultures that are classified as 'Celtic' have similar languages. That's the reason for the classification.

OTOH, English-speaking governments (that is, the ones you are familiar with) are largely modelled after the imported Norman-based legal system. That's what you are describing in your "the leaders led and the people supported them" template.

Ancient Irish society followed the Brehon Laws, a completely different structure than the Norman one, and one that takes some understanding. In the Norman structure the leader is paramount and in the Irish one the tribe is, making the leadership process much different.

OTGH, even closely related societies vary enormously. I grew up in the United States and emigrated to Canada where the language (or at least one), social structure, and government are fairly similar. But the countries are vastly different. Noticeably so--- when I was on vacation with my sister in N.H., I could successfully pick out the Canadians from the Americans in the Outlet Mall just by their behaviour.