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Miss.Annabelle
June 13th, 2009, 03:38 PM
Hi all!
I'm still pretty new to MW and I've been narrowing down paths that I find very interesting. I was reading the threads and trying to piece things together. I don't know how well the Adopt a Newbie program works, although I have been talking to someone because of it. Anyway, I was just wonderin' if there was someone who is strong in the Celtic beliefs who would love to help me get started in learning more about Celtic Recon. Just PM me if you'd like. Thanks! :)

Seren_
June 14th, 2009, 07:02 AM
CR is an umbrella term for a variety of different cultures that fall under the term 'Celtic', so first off, which one are you interested in? Most people tend to be interested in Irish reconstructionism but there's also Scottish, Welsh, Gaulish, Brythonic...I have a fair idea of Irish and Scottish practice, but not so much the others, and most people here are of the Irish and Scottish variety.

For starters, I think the CR FAQ (http://www.paganachd.com/) is a good place to start to get an idea of what it's all about, and the Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtic_Reconstructionist_Paganism) makes for something a bit shorter and sweeter, I guess.

I know it can be daunting asking questions on a public forum, but I think it would be good to stimulate some discussion round here, and you can get a variety of perspectives on the things you want to know, so a more rounded view. If you'd like to PM me about anything, then feel free as well :)

To be honest, as the forum guide here I've been meaning to get round to doing a beginners thread but keep procrastinating...There's very little out there for beginners (apart from, Go read these books!), and it's difficult to know how to pre-empt the most pertinent questions someone might have when they're interested in looking into CR. So what is it you want to know? Are you looking for a general overview of what CR's all about, or do you need specifics like beliefs, practices and so? If you break it down, then it's easier to give you a decent answer instead of lots of waffle...

Fairy Disturbed
June 14th, 2009, 10:11 AM
I have been looking for information on CR/IR beliefs, practices, etc.

Seren_
June 14th, 2009, 12:13 PM
OK then, I'll see what I can do...

I'll keep it culture specific and focus on Irish practice, and then if you have any questions we can take from here.


Approach

Firstly, there are a variety of approaches to reconstructionist practice (these can apply to both Irish and Scottish practice):



Filidecht
Druid reconstructionists
Hearthy (for want of a better word...)
Warrior path


Loosely speaking, filidecht covers the sacred practice of poetry/poetcraft. Druid recons are fairly self-explanatory (though it's often a hotly debated issue). The hearthy types are like myself, focusing on practices that centre on the home. Warriors identify as such not necessarily in the sword-wielding, literal sense, but can include or concentrate on activism as well (to be honest, this one I'm least sure of).


Beliefs

Regardless of the approach, beliefs generally include:


Hard polytheism - seeing the gods as distinct individuals rather than along the lines of "all the gods are one god…"
Animistic - recognising that places and objects have a spirit, or spirits, which are acknowledged and honoured in our practices
Reverence of our ancestors - along with the gods and spirits of the place, our ancestors form a sort of triad which are honoured an acknowledged in ritual
Cosmology of the three realms of land, sea and sky as opposed to the Classical four elements as the basis of the world around us, along with nine (or more) elements
The bile and the sacred well - the sacred tree and well as representative of this world’s connection to the Otherworld, our relationship with the gods
Traditional values such as truth, hospitality, courage, valour, honesty, generosity, judgement and the importance of kin and family

(In addition to this, my personal practices regard the hearth as the sacred centre of the home, around which daily life revolves. This isn't necessarily unusual in CR, but different paths may lay a different emphasis on such a view as I do.)

The gods of Ireland were very localised in nature. Many came to be grouped together as the Tuatha Dé Danann as the myths were written down in Christian times, and some came to have wider influence across Ireland - like Lugh.

Some recons develop personal relationships with certain deities, or one in particular; this can take some time to figure out, so otherwise the gods in general may be honoured in ritual practices, until such a time as a deity, or several, make themselves known. Some might find a pull to certain gods through the myths they read, or else they might look at their own Irish heritage and where they came from and what the localised deities might have been in that area. In addition, some deities may be honoured at specific times of the year as appropriate - Lugh at Lúnasa and so on.


Practices

There are no set practices, rituals and liturgy per se...CR as a whole is still relatively young and the numbers are relatively small, so it's something that's evolving.

Most people seem to agree on:


Daily and/or regular devotions and offerings
Celebrating the four Cross Quarter Days - Bealtaine, Lúnasa, Samhain and Imbolc

The Irish and the Scots ritualised much of their daily activities; they had prayers on going to bed, as they smoored the fire at night (to keep it smouldering safely, without needing to be tended, and as they got up and rekindled the flames, and so on. They left milk out to the Good Folk each night, and so most recons do the same.

The Quarter Days are celebrated according to the practices that can be gleaned from the myths and lore. The four festivals are attested to in the oldest literature, but there are also other days that might be observed as well - Midsummer (June 24th, so around the summer solstice) was the traditional time for rents to be paid to Manannán, for example - that might be observed as well. I think there's a specific day associated with Áine as well(?).

Other practices might depend on the kind of approach being taken - a filid might concentrate on reconstructing rituals as part of their sacred poetcraft, for example. I've heard of rituals being done for CRs about to go on active duty in the army as well.

Groups like Gaol Naofa also have their own regular rituals, each new moon (thought to have been the start of the new month in pre-Christian Ireland).

Some people are interested in pursuing things like herb lore or cunning-craft, and divinatory arts as well, and look to traditional sources for this.


Ritual

As I said, there's no set liturgy or ritual practice in CR, although there does seem to be an effort to move in this direction. Some formal rituals have been written and made publicly available, but many recons seem to prefer a more fluid practice with no set ritual or liturgy that needs to be memorised or read by rote.

Examples include:

Gaol Naofa's rituals (http://gaolnaofa.org/rituals.html)
Examples from Erynn Rowan Laurie (http://www.seanet.com/%7Einisglas/ritualsmain.html)
The Tara Ritual (http://www.paganachd.com/tara/ritual.html)
Examples from Path of Eire (http://www.pathofeire.org/Writings.php)

I'm a Scottish Recon, but I've also developed my own sort of ritual that I use as a devotional rite on its own, (http://www.tairis.co.uk/index.php/practices/the-deiseal-ritual) or as an opening to festival occasions, here. For festivals, I start with this, then do a ritual saining (a type of warding/protective ritual using water set aside for this purpose, collected at Bealltainn and then saved) and at some point feasting takes place, with further devotionals and a ritualised making of bannocks (oatcakes). I take omens and divination for the future, and often my celebrations involve making something - protective charms of rowan and red thread, or carving turnip lanterns (at Samhain), for example. In Irish practice, people might make Brigid's crosses at Imbolc and leave out cloth, ribbons or clothing for blessing by her, and so on.

I think I'll stop there :p I hope that helps as a start...Other people might want to add stuff I'm sure I've forgotten, or whatever :)

childofbast
June 16th, 2009, 11:28 AM
I don't know if this is the right thread for this or not, but I'm still a beginner so...

In my research on CR I seem to be finding more and more of a split between schools of thought. There are some websites/groups that specifically state that they are against male flame keepers. Much of the other information they share is similar to what you posted, Seren, but they make a big point out of emphasizing that and their "traditionalism." Do you find that there are two schools of thought based on strict traditionalism and then one on tradition with cultural evolution?

Thanks for any thoughts on the matter. It can be quite confusing and even disheartening to a beginner.

~Melanie

Seren_
June 16th, 2009, 01:05 PM
Do you find that there are two schools of thought based on strict traditionalism and then one on tradition with cultural evolution?

Yeah, I think that's about right.


Thanks for any thoughts on the matter. It can be quite confusing and even disheartening to a beginner.

~Melanie

I saw on another forum somebody say about heathenism that there are only two rules: 1. You're doin it wrong, and 2. You ain't the boss of me!

It made me laugh because that pretty much sums up the crux of many of the heated debates that break out in CR from time to time, too.

zombi
June 16th, 2009, 02:20 PM
I saw on another forum somebody say about heathenism that there are only two rules: 1. You're doin it wrong, and 2. You ain't the boss of me!

It made me laugh because that pretty much sums up the crux of many of the heated debates that break out in CR from time to time, too.

I just spit my coffee out. That was hilarious to me!