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Author Topic: Reformed Celtic Polytheism in practice  (Read 5481 times)
Juni
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« Topic Start: September 03, 2009, 09:45:02 pm »

One thing that has never come together in this SIG is a working practice that could be used by any Celt. We've tried, a few times if I recall correctly, but the fact that the Celts were not even linguistically unified as the ancient Greeks and Egyptians were has made this difficult. In our efforts to revitalize the SIG, Finn and I went back to the beginning: the original article Randall posted about Reformed Hellenic Polytheism. What we've got below is just a prototype for everyone to pick at; our goal was to make something that could be used with any or all of the different Celtic cultures. The individual aspects, like figuring out more specific and relevant holiday practices, when to honor what deities, etcetera, will be explored in other threads (feel free to start them if you feel the urge!)- I'd like this one to focus on the practice in general. The rough draft:

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Beginners interested in Celtic polytheism can have a hard time deciding where to begin. There are so many different kinds of Celtic paths out there that it can be overwhelming for the new student to make an appropriate choice for themselves; many languish in the land of research and never foray into the wonderful wild that is practice. Celtic scholarship is also notoriously lacking in primary sources, given that their traditions were handed down orally, and both informed and uninformed secondary approaches attempt to fill in the gaps. It can be difficult to find the best resources amidst the Roman propaganda, early Christian veneers and Romantic re-imaginings.

To that end, we have constructed a basic form of Celtic polytheism that can be adapted to any of the Celtic cultures, and most importantly, practiced while learning. For the beginner Celt, we propose a simple calendar of four major holidays, two to three minor holidays a month, and a regular daily practice.

The major holidays are well known in the pagan world, even outside the Celtic realm; they are Imbolc, on February 1st, Bealtaine, on May 1st, Lughnasadh, on August 1st, and Samhain, on November 1st. Though the names may change from culture to culture, within the Celtic world they are widespread holidays. The major holidays would include a feast, a sacrifice or offering to the gods, augury, and reading of appropriate myths. These simple (but meaningful) practices are both manageable for the individual, and scale well for larger groups.

The minor holidays would likely be celebrated on Sundays; they are the day most people are likely to be free from work obligations, and it is appropriate to honor the gods on the first day of the week. Minor holidays could be held on two or three Sundays per month, celebrating the gods individually. Smaller feasts would be appropriate, as well as offerings or libations, activities related to the deity being celebrated, and study.

Daily practices would include prayers to the gods, with purification rituals and offerings or libations optional. Regular attention to ancestors and land spirits would also be historically accurate and appropriate, in the form of libations and prayers for the former, and offerings for the latter.

This, of course, is only a springboard into the world of Celtic polytheism, but it's a good start for any Celt with an interest in real, meaningful practice.

A big thanks to Randall, whose Reformed Hellenic Paganism article was the driving inspiration.

Thoughts?
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« Reply #1: September 03, 2009, 10:20:00 pm »

Thoughts?

Eh.  How about questions?  What is our purpose for this Sig?  Are we trying to establish a cohesive working practice for members or for people in general or are we simply a resource or perhaps a framework/example?  Why was the SIG created to begin with?  What do we have to work with as a group?  What is our focus?  Where do we place the most importance?  What do we believe?  What does our practice offer the worshipper?  What is the ultimate goal? 
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« Reply #2: September 03, 2009, 10:25:42 pm »

Eh.  How about questions?  What is our purpose for this Sig?  Are we trying to establish a cohesive working practice for members or for people in general or are we simply a resource or perhaps a framework/example?  Why was the SIG created to begin with?  What do we have to work with as a group?  What is our focus?  Where do we place the most importance?  What do we believe?  What does our practice offer the worshipper?  What is the ultimate goal?

Well we basically addressed the purpose of the SIG in this thread. I should probably link to the original article as well, for those who are unfamiliar (Is It Time For a "Reformed" Hellenic Paganism?).

I think my own goal, at least, is to establish a working practice for members who want to use it. I've adapted parts of the above practice into my own working practice and tweaked it for my needs, which I think is important to be able to do.
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« Reply #3: September 04, 2009, 07:47:46 am »

Thoughts?

I have trouble to create a living practice out of my path.
Often it is time and focus I lack, but to be honest sometimes I lack the ideas.

So I would really appreciate an exchange of practice, or to work out some frames for holidays together.

(I'm not celtic-only of course, so f.ex. I adapted the rather new-pagany wheel of the year, because it makes sense for me and my heritage to include the germanic sun festivals.)

I'd really love to share and develope things like prayers or devotionals together with others here Smiley
Like I wrote in another thread here, for me it is important what helps me to (re-)connect even if it might not be 100% historical correct or backed up by science. But since I wouldn't run around and force feed other folks my path, that is ok I guess Wink
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« Reply #4: September 07, 2009, 09:24:25 am »

I'd really love to share and develope things like prayers or devotionals together with others here Smiley
Like I wrote in another thread here, for me it is important what helps me to (re-)connect even if it might not be 100% historical correct or backed up by science. But since I wouldn't run around and force feed other folks my path, that is ok I guess Wink

This is probably my personal goal. This is basically Juni's goal of putting together a living practice, but with extra emphasis on this: I really want this place to be is a safe place for all of us to exchange ideas, learn about the differences and similarities we have in our paths, and to be a place where, for those who want more ideas or practices, historical or UPG, they can better inform and revitalize their own paths.

Basically I want this to be a place for exploration of diversity and a place for discovering similarities. I know that I am taking this opportunity of re-examining my own path in terms of being a "Celtic one," and am trying to revitalize my own (non-existent) practices.
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« Reply #5: September 07, 2009, 10:42:10 am »

This is probably my personal goal. This is basically Juni's goal of putting together a living practice, but with extra emphasis on this: I really want this place to be is a safe place for all of us to exchange ideas, learn about the differences and similarities we have in our paths, and to be a place where, for those who want more ideas or practices, historical or UPG, they can better inform and revitalize their own paths.

Basically I want this to be a place for exploration of diversity and a place for discovering similarities. I know that I am taking this opportunity of re-examining my own path in terms of being a "Celtic one," and am trying to revitalize my own (non-existent) practices.

All of this, for me. This particular thread I probably should have named differently, but I didn't want to name it the way I had when Finn and I were chatting ("for Beginners") because it's not just for beginners on the path- it's for anyone who doesn't know where to get going, who knows what they believe but doesn't know how to put it into practice and make the leap from armchair pagan to an active, practicing pagan. I know very well what that's like, and how disheartening it is.
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« Reply #6: September 07, 2009, 10:44:41 am »

All of this, for me. This particular thread I probably should have named differently, but I didn't want to name it the way I had when Finn and I were chatting ("for Beginners") because it's not just for beginners on the path- it's for anyone who doesn't know where to get going, who knows what they believe but doesn't know how to put it into practice and make the leap from armchair pagan to an active, practicing pagan. I know very well what that's like, and how disheartening it is.

Maybe I should retitle the thread with a note in the top post- something like "An RCP Path Template"? Not very poetic. Undecided
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« Reply #7: September 07, 2009, 11:07:52 am »

One thing that has never come together in this SIG is a working practice that could be used by any Celt. We've tried, a few times if I recall correctly, but the fact that the Celts were not even linguistically unified as the ancient Greeks and Egyptians were has made this difficult. In our efforts to revitalize the SIG, Finn and I went back to the beginning: the original article Randall posted about Reformed Hellenic Polytheism. What we've got below is just a prototype for everyone to pick at; our goal was to make something that could be used with any or all of the different Celtic cultures. The individual aspects, like figuring out more specific and relevant holiday practices, when to honor what deities, etcetera, will be explored in other threads (feel free to start them if you feel the urge!)- I'd like this one to focus on the practice in general. The rough draft:

Thoughts?
My first thought?  "She's been spying on me!"  lol  Pretty much you've got down here exactly what I've been doing for the past couple of decades, plus or minus.  Fabu. 
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« Reply #8: September 07, 2009, 12:51:35 pm »


I'm really glad I'm not the only one who's got that problem.  Cheesy
I always think, that I'm such a lazy pagan  Wink


Maybe it would make sense, if the there would be kinda brain storm threads for different matters.
Like 'Basic Ritual Outlines', 'Offerings and Sacrifices', 'Prayer and Devotionals' and so on. Maybe with the prefix 'Developing...'

Oh and thanks to you both. I really love what you do with the SIG =)
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'You had to repay, good or bad. There was more than one type of obligation. That’s what people never really understood.….Things had to balance. You couldn’t set out to be a good witch or a bad witch. It never worked out for long. All you could try to be was a witch, as hard as you could.' Terry Pratchett 'Lords and Ladies'

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« Reply #9: September 14, 2009, 03:43:23 pm »


OK, how you go about the practice part at the moment?

I wandered to and fro the bookshelves this weekend, getting one book out, thumbed through it, put it back, got another, thumbed through it, put it back and so on....

None gave me the input I needed.
I found out, that I will not find a connection to Sucellus or Aericura for ex., but that Belenus might be possible - but then I'm not sure I even should call on the other continental celtic deities. *sigh*

Finally I came to the books of R.J. Stewart I've got.
And this feels like something I can start from. The Otherworld is a most important part of my path.
I don't know what you guys think about his work, or if you think that this will be a workable solution, but I think I should give it a try.

Well, that's it for now Wink
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'You had to repay, good or bad. There was more than one type of obligation. That’s what people never really understood.….Things had to balance. You couldn’t set out to be a good witch or a bad witch. It never worked out for long. All you could try to be was a witch, as hard as you could.' Terry Pratchett 'Lords and Ladies'

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« Reply #10: September 14, 2009, 06:21:08 pm »

Maybe it would make sense, if the there would be kinda brain storm threads for different matters.
Like 'Basic Ritual Outlines', 'Offerings and Sacrifices', 'Prayer and Devotionals' and so on. Maybe with the prefix 'Developing...'

 Threads like these would be immensely helpful.   Smiley

Juni & Finn - the draft at the beginning of the thread was very helpful.  Thank you.
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« Reply #11: October 01, 2009, 10:09:53 pm »


I'd change that part about offerings/libations being optional. As I study with the ADF, it seems as though those things are a required part of forging a relationship with the Gods. And I'd agree with this... things seem to go better for me when I'm giving offerings and praise.

Karen
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