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Erebos
August 14th, 2010, 07:22 PM
I've been doing some Youtubing, and I've come across some videos by people who consider themselves recons (or have in the past), who have used the term "hardcore" and similar expressions to describe reconstructionist practice.

I admit it does require a certain level of scholarly study of ancient culture, history and religious worship, but reconstructionism is far from a rigid, restrictive practice. It can be hard to be culturally authentic at first, but after time functioning within a cultural worldview comes naturally. I just get the impression ancient polytheistic reconstruction of all types just generally have the reputation of being limiting and difficult, especially in comparison to more mainstream eclectic neopaganism where anything goes. It's unfortunate, because I wouldn't say reconstructionism of any type is more difficult or more rigid than any other specific tradition, it's just that paganism in general tends to have a more eclectic method than recon traditions.

Twinkle
August 14th, 2010, 08:44 PM
I would agree. I don't really like the term "hardcore" in relation to reconstructionism.

There are Reconstructionist religions, and there aren't. The negative connotation of being "hardcore" is not something that I think is very helpful in terms of talking about religion.

wyrd_dottir
August 14th, 2010, 11:06 PM
Speaking as someone who is a reconstructionist, I agree as well. Because no matter how much source material you have, ultimately there are more things we don't know, then what we do, and at some point you've got to fill in the gaps with something.

People of that 'hardcore' mindset have too much arrogance, and it usually gets in the way of their own spiritual growth. They worry more about I'm better than you in their practices, and forget all about the real reason they're a recon in the first place, i.e. the religious connection to our Gods, the ancestors and the land vaettir.

Phoenix_Falls
August 15th, 2010, 12:24 AM
as a recon myself, I really don't like the term "hardcore recon" for the sole reason that if a religion/spirituality/faith movement/whateeeever doesn't change and adapt with its adherents as the world around them changes, it'll never survive. Even the Catholic Church has changed with the times (not as progressively as others of course, but if the Catholics of three hundred years ago met the Catholics of today, they'd probably freak out). To me, hard reconstructionism is just far too rigid to be anything other than a pantomime of spirituality with no room for a personal relationship with the Divine.

Of course, I mean no offense to people who consider themselves hardcore recons and I'm not saying that people shouldn't obsessively study the history of their path and the culture it sprang from, these are just my personal opinions. In the same vein, I don't exactly appreciate people who don't do any research at all and just take everything they read on the internet as truth when it comes to reconstructionism either.

Micheal
August 15th, 2010, 04:47 AM
Just like anything, there are people that will loosely follow something, and people that will rigidly follow something, and like everything, you get what you put into it. There are many labels out there, and as mentioned, if one chose to call themselves "hardcore", I'm assuming there's a reason for it. I would still view hardcore as "staunch", which is different than fundamental or extreme.

Some Recon paths are fairly new in comparison to others, so I could understand an emphasis on being selective in order to keep the criteria and purpose from blurring into that of others. However, for extremists and fanatics, too far in that area is borderline radical, and even delusional. I don't like to see these elements present in any path, and as far as Reconstructionism, one thing I've noticed in the Irish/Celtic side, is a false ideal of "cultural purity." Another thing that has caused much discord are notions that the Irish somehow ceased being Irish with the advent of Christianity, disrespecting the same contemporary culture, and a lack of understanding from people reconstructing a faith from a country lacking the same Iron Age past or cultural traditions.

Twinkle
August 15th, 2010, 07:29 AM
My whole thing is this -

You've got people that don't understand Reconstructionist religions in the first place - and then you have someone saying they are "hardcore" Asatru.

Since many uneducated people equate the Asatru with skinheads - what's just happened is people now think that the Asatru are militant skinheads.

Not so great in terms of educating people on Reconstructionist religions.

Erebos
August 15th, 2010, 02:17 PM
Here are the videos I was referring to. Both seem kind of flaky, and they look like haven't delved deeply enough into these paths to really understand them. They just go with the common stereotypes within the pagan community that Reconstructionism is "hardcore" restrictive, and Wicca is eclectic. I can relate to the first person's confusion, but I get the feeling she hasn't studied Reconstructionist traditions too deeply. The second one makes me want to yell, "Glory hallelujah, y'all!" He seems to be still in in the conservative southern Christian mindset, with the superstition and the idea that the gods have saved him as if they were the baby Jesus. He's even wearing a pentacle, showing he may not be as "hardcore" into Hellenism as he says. Not to tear these videos apart, but they show the misconceptions and problems within paganism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9RF8tW9p7c
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eta-nfQnJPI

Brunhilda
August 17th, 2010, 02:57 PM
I have watched both their channels and read their blogs. The woman's completed the Kemetic Orthodox Beginner's class, which means she at least went in and learned about the faith she is entering.

The man was a exorcist, who claims that Apollo got rid of a spirit the Christian God couldn't. He's married to a former Wiccan, Bluefirewitch.

Agaliha
August 20th, 2010, 11:33 AM
You know, reconstruction never seemed hardcore to me. It has this beautiful simplicity, at least from my understanding of it. I think many people think it's rigid and takes too much time to learn or understand. Plus, unlike Wicca for example, there aren't a lot of easy how to guides and resources to get at the book store.

NefertSatSekhmet
August 20th, 2010, 11:58 AM
You know, reconstruction never seemed hardcore to me. It has this beautiful simplicity, at least from my understanding of it. I think many people think it's rigid and takes too much time to learn or understand. Plus, unlike Wicca for example, there aren't a lot of easy how to guides and resources to get at the book store.

I think it depends on if you are talking about solitary Recons or people who have joined a group. Groups tend to be more rigid, they have reconstructed certain practices that a group member must do to be part of a group.

I think a solitary person reconstructing their own form of an ancient religion is more what you describe.

I also do think reconstructionism takes much more reading and researching, however if you really have a love for an ancient culture you would be doing the reading and researching anyway.

Phoenix_Falls
August 20th, 2010, 12:21 PM
I think it depends on if you are talking about solitary Recons or people who have joined a group. Groups tend to be more rigid, they have reconstructed certain practices that a group member must do to be part of a group.

I think a solitary person reconstructing their own form of an ancient religion is more what you describe.

I also do think reconstructionism takes much more reading and researching, however if you really have a love for an ancient culture you would be doing the reading and researching anyway.

Agreed. I think that's how a lot of people get into recon paths in the first place, if not having outright cultural ties to whatever culture.

Twinkle
August 20th, 2010, 12:23 PM
I think it has a lot to do with what you prefer in ritual style, as well.

If one is more Traditionally based, then Recon religions are really much more appealing than free flowing everything goes in terms of ritual, as well.

Twinkle
August 20th, 2010, 12:51 PM
I think it depends on if you are talking about solitary Recons or people who have joined a group. Groups tend to be more rigid, they have reconstructed certain practices that a group member must do to be part of a group.

I think a solitary person reconstructing their own form of an ancient religion is more what you describe.

I also do think reconstructionism takes much more reading and researching, however if you really have a love for an ancient culture you would be doing the reading and researching anyway.


I don't know about that. For Hellenismos - we have three phases of worship - the public religion, the home religion, and then the cult practices.

We are *supposed* to be practicing as part of a community. Ritual style would be the same for at least the first two - public and home. Cult practice is initiatory, and has it's own thing going on, but doesn't trump the public and home practice.

Orthopraxic religions such as Hellenismos require correct ritual style...style that doesn't deviate.

We're not like Solitary Wiccans that get to do their own thing based on what they think is best.


I'm not trying to be a butt here....but there is already enough Neopagan thought being confused with Reconstructionist religions I had to make the clarification.

C. Iulia Regilia
April 13th, 2011, 12:45 PM
I think there is room within traditional practices for innovation. There are limits and those limits are discribed by orthopraxy. Reconish practice is the equivelent of the old Latin Rite Mass catholics. Nothing can change, it has to be the same down to the Latin Language that no one understands. That is the "hardcore" end of things. I don't think it's good or even desireable that everyone take the practice to the same level. The religion must be true to itself, but it also must live for the community. All religions exist for both the gods and the humans who worship them.

My own personal approach is much less recon than Tim, though it's probably much much closer to Tim than Hellene Neopagans. Basicly, if the sacrifice and the ritual preceding it matches up to the general principals of the orthopraxic rites and sacrifices, it's reasonable, though in theory we should be doing things like in Greece, Rome or Eire, I think that we have to recognize our own times as well. I have no objection to minor rites to modern day "heros". The people made daimons in Greece were cultural heros. We live in different times and have our own alongside the old daimons. I don't know how orthopraxic the idea of honoring Cloumbus or Washington is to the strict recons, but it fits the culture and the practice of the people. Aeneas founded the modern Roman state -- how is that different from what Washington and Jeferson did? Jason sailed into the unknown -- as did some of the early explorers. That's not so much innovation as continuation, but I don't know that such things are "reconstructionist" enough.

Tobias
April 13th, 2011, 07:59 PM
Reconish practice is the equivelent of the old Latin Rite Mass catholics. Nothing can change, it has to be the same down to the Latin Language that no one understands. That is the "hardcore" end of things.


Catholicism is centralized, and there is but one book of rites printed for all Catholic churches worldwide. In the ancient religions, wasn't there a lot of diversity between the practices at one location, compared to another? At least that is what I've understood.

If there was one standard set of rituals that took place at every one of the temples dedicated to Zeus, or any of the other gods, then what you say makes sense. But Zeus has numerous different epitaphs, many of them based on location, I presume because the different people worshiped him in different ways.

Twinkle
April 13th, 2011, 08:30 PM
Catholicism is centralized, and there is but one book of rites printed for all Catholic churches worldwide. In the ancient religions, wasn't there a lot of diversity between the practices at one location, compared to another? At least that is what I've understood.

If there was one standard set of rituals that took place at every one of the temples dedicated to Zeus, or any of the other gods, then what you say makes sense. But Zeus has numerous different epitaphs, many of them based on location, I presume because the different people worshiped him in different ways.


I don't believe that is why. He was worshipped under different aspects of Zeus based on location and so on, but he was still was worshipped by the Hellenes as Zeus, in the standard way. That isn't to say that there weren't some localized rituals and festivals, but the ritual format stayed the same:

1. Ritual Clothing
2. Purification
3. Initial offering of barley
4. Barley on the altar, offering, and into the sacrificial fire
5. A snippet of the offering into the fire
6. The offering itself
7. The first offering always goes to Hestia
8. Another portion for the god/gods
9. Any liquid offerings offered
10. Any consumable offerings offered
11. Anything consumable left will be eaten after the ritual at the ritual site.

Doesn't really deviate from that. Personal innovation obviously would need to be required even in the different city states, but practice didn't change.

Depending on the epithet - if one is worshipping Hermes as a Chthonic Deity, for example, then yes, the ritual style would change for that...but the ritual style for Chthonic Deities didn't deviate, either.

I want to add here that I'm talkiing about basic ritual format. It doesn't change.

C. Iulia Regilia
April 14th, 2011, 08:15 AM
Catholicism is centralized, and there is but one book of rites printed for all Catholic churches worldwide. In the ancient religions, wasn't there a lot of diversity between the practices at one location, compared to another? At least that is what I've understood.

If there was one standard set of rituals that took place at every one of the temples dedicated to Zeus, or any of the other gods, then what you say makes sense. But Zeus has numerous different epitaphs, many of them based on location, I presume because the different people worshiped him in different ways.

That's not the point, the point is the approach. Yes Catholics have a Missal book. What I'm talking about specificly is the degree to which a congregation is allowed to innovate based on the needs or feelings of the congregation. The Latin Rite Mass from what I understand is virtually unchanged from the medieval era. The Pentecostal service is much less structured, much less formal, and varies wildly based on where you are. That's the point I was making.

I think Tim and Twinkle have the goal of practicing the religion in such a way that sould some ancient Greek come to the ritual, perhaps other than language, nothing much would have changed. That would indeed be like Latin Rite -- theoretically, any Catholic from the medieval era could walk into a Latin Rite church and recognize every element. It's a valid and useful approach. Mine is a bit less conservative, but I think the place to start rebuilding a good Hellenistic religion is from a fairly conservative orthopraxy.

Meadhbh
April 14th, 2011, 09:08 AM
As a reconstructionist I agree its not the best idea to use the word hard core, as sadly it tends to attract some people who are looking for the wrong things. The other problem is we can never know everything about an ancient religion thusly no religion can ever be revived in its complete form. I agree that belief systems need to change with the times, with in their own frame work. Going head hunting in the park for example is just not going to end well. But theres a diffrence between changing with the times and cherry picking hence the concept of recontrusctionism in the first place.