sophiacatherine: Ruined church, County Cork, Ireland (ruined-church)
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?

sophiacatherine: (firetree)
Three parts - meditation, offerings, affirmations.

We don't know if we can continue to use the grove that the group has been meeting in for dozens of years. We gave offerings in thanks to the spirits who have hosted us there for a long time.

Anonymous cards for each other. Mine: "You are strong enough to walk your own path."

Highly appropriate, when I don't feel like I even know where to start looking for it (although 'hold things in balance' is the advice that keeps turning up). The card is going on the altar so I can contemplate it in this more think-y half of the year.

It's been a really bad week of frustrating doctor's appointments and not feeling well enough to do the enormous piles of work that just keep growing. I'm not really in a spiritual mood - at all. But tonight I want to try dedicating the dark half of the year to Bui, giving my about-once-yearly offering to Aengus mac Og and Boann, and starting to bring the Morrigan back into my consciousness (I have red wine and whiskey for her) before I honour her in a major way at Samhain. I think that's enough not-at-all-reconstructionist-enough offerings for one Equinox!

I promised a fellow polytheist an offering to Lugh on his behalf, and I keep getting flashes of things that Lugh would appreciate, but I want to give him his own ritual. Soon.
sophiacatherine: A sign to Tir na nOg (25 km away if you swim) (Tir na nOg sign)
I'm not really new on dreamwidth, but my fandom journal fell into disuse (a few years ago now). Still, I remembered dreamwidth when I wanted to set up an online journal. I have lots of places where I write about spiritual things, including my (paper) Druidry journal and my blog (not very often updated). I need somewhere where I might be inclined to write more often - things happen that disappear into the ether, thanks to my ridiculously poor memory. One discipline that I've kept up since the beginning of my Pagan spiritual journey, a couple of years ago, is taking photos - but they need commentary that I forget to add.

So here I am. I'm a Celtic polytheist (mainly Gaelic), a neo-Druid-in-training (exact flavour of Druidry currently undecided), and I've been Pagan for a bit less than a couple of years. I still have Christian influences in my spiritual awareness (including Celtic Christianity and Gnosticism) - although I'm mainly focused on the Paganism at the moment, and haven't decided whether, or to what extent, to include elements of Christianity. I'll work it out, one of these days.

In the 'rest' of my life, I'm a PhD student in the fields of sociology of religion and disability studies, and I also teach sociology. I've been involved in disability rights campaigning for about eighteen years, although I'm not particularly active with that at the moment, between the PhD and trying to get my head around a (fairly) new religious path. I'm married to my Girl and we have four furbabies (but the Girl calls them cats and hamster. She's heartless).

Online, I post at The Cauldron and UK Pagan messageboards. I co-host a podcast called Divine Community - we don't have time to produce it very often, but we enjoy it when we do. I'm on twitter as SophiaCandle - I'm there a fair bit. (Occasionally I have time for an offline life, too!)

I'll write an actual post with real content shortly.

Profile

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

July 2014

S M T W T F S
  1 2345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 23rd, 2017 02:31 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios