sophiacatherine: Ruined church, County Cork, Ireland (ruined-church)
[personal profile] sophiacatherine
There's been a lot of talk of privilege online recently. No one's talking about what, in my humble opinion, is one of the biggest forms of privilege in online Paganism. Forgive me if I rant about privilege for a little bit. I'm not trying to be mean to anyone, or to put anyone's back up. I'm trying to say what it feels like to be non-American in internet-based greater Pagandom.

Most Gaelic/Celtic recon is, if we're really honest, very North American. (I suspect that most recon in general is very American.) It's not even just Irish-in-diaspora -- it's Irish-in-American-diaspora. This makes a lot of it seem very odd to me as Anglo-Irish, and no doubt it seems even more alien to people who are home-grown Irish. Here are just a few things that I find entirely alien in American Gaelic polytheism:

- A non-land-focused approach. My CR/GP is about the land. Well, lands, plural, really. It could never put mythology before land.
- A highly literalist approach that elevates myth to the position of a bible. (Medieval myth. That was written by Christians.) That's incredibly American, and (in my opinion) quite alien to many Europeans.
- An approach that tries to unify pre-Christian Ireland into one country, and (even worse) tries to unify pre-Christian Irish belief into one set of beliefs. That's so far from the evidence, it's ridiculous. Yet I get shouted down if I argue that, no, we cannot be sure whether ancient Gaels believed they were going to Tech Duinn or Manannan's realm, because the question is utterly nonsensical to start with.
- A majority of believers who have never been to Ireland or Britain, but who don't acknowledge that there are therefore some things they will see VERY differently to people in Ireland and Britain.
- An approach that privileges academia over mysticism in a way that doesn't work for me at all. I'm very academic. I want my religion to be rooted in good scholarship. But there are other things besides academia.

The path that feels most Brythonic to me (although definitely not Gaelic) is modern British druidry. The 'British' qualifier is necessary because British druidry is TOTALLY different from US druidry - something that is rarely acknowledged over on the other side of the pond. (I'm always being told what druidry is like. The assertions usually come from a place where the speaker is familiar with exactly one kind of druidry - ADF druidry. That is by no means the only kind of druidry out there. OBOD is *much* bigger than ADF, if we're just playing a numbers game. But still the assertions are made, using terminology that comes from Americans and based in situations that I don't recognise.) British druidry is incredibly flexible and fluid. It is NOT 'mesopagan' or whatever Isaac Bonewitz called it (presumably without having met many British druids), but it's nothing like American neopagan druidry. It is very Pagan, but it's very uniquely *British Pagan*. Modern British druidry is becoming its own thing, its own tradition almost - a new generation that has followed *after* revival druidry, rooted in it, but going in entirely different, entirely new directions. It is often very Brythonic, with a peculiarly British kind of polytheism that defies theistic definitions, but which ultimately doesn't have to be about the gods (and often isn't), because these are gods who emerge from the land, and you can believe in the land (and have relationship with it) without worrying about your theology. A lot of this is what I sort of imagine the Brythonic tribespeople were like - especially the non-priests among them. Ironic that a very real-life hearth-and-land spirituality has emerged from something called 'druidry', but it strikes me that that's what it is for most practitioners. A few are on more of a priestly path, but only with the constant consent of their community. It is very non-hierarchical, very modern Pagan, very British.

Druidry is my larger community. But I'm not sure if I can call myself a modern druid. Not yet, anyway. Partly that's because of the misconceptions the term engenders, but that's not the only reason. But that would be another journal entry entirely. The point is that I'm looking for a Gaelic path that works with this modern Brythonic one. And I'm not sure the answer is American-style Gaelic reconstructionism. So what is it?

Could there ever be a European form of Gaelic reconstructionism? What would it look like?

Date: 2014-03-11 06:48 pm (UTC)
mdehners: (thor)
From: [personal profile] mdehners
There's a number of reasons this is so. A big one is that of Selective Memory. Most Immigrants and their Descendants do it. It always amuses me with 1st Gens because if "The Olde Countrye" was as great as they present it as....NO ONE WOULD EVER LEFT;>!!!!.
Most Americans under 50 have moved so much they really don't have a Feeling of Belonging to ANY Place...in fact, many consider this a STRENGTH. I personally don't but then again, that's one of the many reasons folks don't like me;>. Personally? I've had 2 places I loved enough that I'd Wish to spend my life on, one had that Feeling destroyed by a very bad relationship, the other simply because my health wouldn't allow me to move back. I've always had a good relationship with the Landwights wherever I've lived but this is more to my Botaniphilia(Gardening, growing Indoors and love of Hiking the Woods and Meadows)than Spirituality.
My problem with ADF was(when I was a member back in the late 80's early 90's) was that Issac was a Ceremonial Magician and saw the world in that "Plug&Play" view. The man was all "Head" and no "Heart". 'Course, when he stepped down the guy who replaced him was as bad but in the opposite....so I left. I'd gone TO ADF for a more authentic Ancestral Way from Celtic Wicca, within a few months of Issac's replacement I felt I was back in my old coven.
Unfortunately, even in the British Isles folks tend to think "Catholic";>. You used the term "Gaelic", selecting out (to their members who tend to be "tetchey" about such things;>)the other Celtic nations, the Anglo-Saxons and the Dublin Irish.And that's just Britain;>!
With the mobility of most Americans under 50 they tend to practice Ways that they can, well Practice everywhere they move.
A personal Example is my Heathenry. Even though I've used Nordic terms my Practice has been more AS, esp. that dealing with the "lesser" Wights, because, let's face it, most of those involved with American agriculture and Homelife Came Over with mostly British Immigrants. They got a hold 1st, though later Immigrants had the Wights of their Homelands come with them as well. In most of the USA the Native Wights are not Involved with our Lands and Homes except in a Woeful Way(exceptions are regions where 1st people's practiced Agriculture and so Those already had a foothold.I seldom See in our local Wildwoods ANY European Wights.The Native Wights tend to me Neutral mostly with a few Woeful to Non-1st Nationfolk. Seldom Wealful. That's in this region with it's history of Blatent Woeworking of the Europeans to ANYTHING NOT. The "Trail of Tears" is north of us. The Spanish Explorors and Missionaries brought disease which cleared the original folk here, later 1st Nationfolk who moved in were killed and driven West by later Euro's. Needless to say, when Out,I'm VERY Polite and try to fix what others have messed up(nowadays, mostly trash removal.).
I'd be Interested in a purely European look because OBVIOUSLY those I've physically met are NOT those who've remained all their lives within a day's drive from their birthplace;>!
Cheers,
Pat(whose Mower has died....AGAIN. At least dowing so after the edges of the property along the public roads were done so the PTB's don't ticket me)

Date: 2014-03-12 06:21 am (UTC)
savveir: star (Default)
From: [personal profile] savveir
I think you were pretty clear. It was very interesting to read, and as some one from a third party I guess(neither European or American), I've noticed that British Druidry and American Druidry are quite different. I'd be inclined to say the European Paganism and American paganism are also quite different, but umbrella terms make it tricky. Maybe it's a reflection of cultural differences?

Date: 2014-03-12 08:47 am (UTC)
mdehners: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdehners
Ah...exclusive to the Irish and Scottish Gaelic Peoples. Understood.
Cheers,
Pat

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sophiacatherine: (Default)
Naomi J./Leithin Cluan/Sophia Catherine

July 2014

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