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Author Topic: Pantheons and Narratives...  (Read 4244 times)
Gonner
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« Topic Start: November 27, 2009, 07:53:28 am »

This is another reformed recon question. Sorry for the 20 questions, reformed recon just seems like a cool idea and Im curious. Hopefully I wont share the fate of the cat sating my curiosity with these posts!
Given the christian nature of the lit. and the christian origin of the half formed pantheons in the narrative of the early Irish lit we have, should we use the lit. and how much? Or should we strike out on our own completely?

Someone quoted the Reese brothers version of a pantheon to me on a forum the other day and it is a rationalisation of the narrative invasions from 'the book of invasions'. Everyone knows today that the narrative is a complete fiction constructed to fit Ireland into the world chronicle but its a good example of how pantheons can be influenced by the lit. Not to be disrespectfull to anyone, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, go diversity! but I would say the Reese version is an example of taking the lit. too literally (puntacular Tongue )having a negative impact on the religion.

James
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« Reply #1: November 27, 2009, 01:05:07 pm »

Given the christian nature of the lit. and the christian origin of the half formed pantheons in the narrative of the early Irish lit we have, should we use the lit. and how much? Or should we strike out on our own completely?

I think a lot of recons would say something like "we need to look at the literature and try to discern which parts are the Christian influences and which predate that.  Then we can better determine how to construct our religious system."  Or something like that.

I'm curious about how you would go about striking out on our own completely.  Can you elaborate?
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« Reply #2: November 27, 2009, 02:57:11 pm »

I think a lot of recons would say something like "we need to look at the literature and try to discern which parts are the Christian influences and which predate that.  Then we can better determine how to construct our religious system."  Or something like that.

I'm curious about how you would go about striking out on our own completely.  Can you elaborate?

Well since pantheons in Ireland dont predate christianity maybe you could justifiably leave the idea behind and do without one. For example looking at deities as ancestral, regional and high deities instead. Each person has deities around them, ones specific to them/trad kin group and their region as well as the handfull of deities that transcend kin groups and regional boundries. Ancestral deities are ones associated with the families traditional genealogy, usually the progenitor of the family. The regional are the fairies and deities attached to the local rivers, mountains, plains and man made sacred sites. Then the high deities are common to everyone.

Theres no higherarchy and no pantheon but youd still be relating to your deities in a traditional way. Im sure there are loads of other ways too that dont require you to take up artificial ways of looking at gods.

Its an idea that doesnt require you to rely on the narrative in the myths anyway.
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« Reply #3: November 27, 2009, 03:42:58 pm »

Well since pantheons in Ireland dont predate christianity maybe you could justifiably leave the idea behind and do without one. For example looking at deities as ancestral, regional and high deities instead. Each person has deities around them, ones specific to them/trad kin group and their region as well as the handfull of deities that transcend kin groups and regional boundries. Ancestral deities are ones associated with the families traditional genealogy, usually the progenitor of the family. The regional are the fairies and deities attached to the local rivers, mountains, plains and man made sacred sites. Then the high deities are common to everyone.

Theres no higherarchy and no pantheon but youd still be relating to your deities in a traditional way. Im sure there are loads of other ways too that dont require you to take up artificial ways of looking at gods.

Um. I would argue that what you've just described is a pantheon. (And it actually looks pretty hierarchical to me, and I'm fairly sure several gods in Ireland predate Christianity, but that's kind of beyond the point.) I guess I've always thought of a pantheon kind of as just a group of gods--kind of like a family--that tends to stick with a certain culture/language group.

May I ask what you mean here by "pantheon"?
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« Reply #4: November 27, 2009, 04:06:02 pm »

Um. I would argue that what you've just described is a pantheon. (And it actually looks pretty hierarchical to me, and I'm fairly sure several gods in Ireland predate Christianity, but that's kind of beyond the point.) I guess I've always thought of a pantheon kind of as just a group of gods--kind of like a family--that tends to stick with a certain culture/language group.

May I ask what you mean here by "pantheon"?

Im using it in terms of a codified religion where each deity is in right relation to its counterparts in a set scheme. Like Romans having a limited set group of deities and because of that relating the new deities they encounter to their pre set group.

With regards to a hierarchy in the one I described I wouldnt see a higherarchy existing unless the individual imposes one via personal preferance. I look at it this way:
Is my ancestral deity greater then yours?
Is my regional deity greater then yours?
Both are specific but commonplace because everyone has one.

Then are the deities that are generic to everyone greater or lesser then the deities deeply important to your family and your community?

With gods not predating christianity I didnt really mean to make that point. Sorry. I could make an argument for it but I dunno where Id go with it in the vein of the discussion.

James
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« Reply #5: November 27, 2009, 07:47:17 pm »


this is rather off topic, but for once i have a native that will answer my questions but really, i only have one.
at a different website i was informed that somewhere in the body of remaining literature there is a reference about the gods swearing to only answer and have a relationship with the Irish. have you heard of this caveat, or was the individual incorrect? i have asked other people on this site, and the consensus seems to be that he's wrong, but i would like your opinion if you care to give it  Smiley
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« Reply #6: November 28, 2009, 05:43:22 am »

this is rather off topic, but for once i have a native that will answer my questions but really, i only have one.
at a different website i was informed that somewhere in the body of remaining literature there is a reference about the gods swearing to only answer and have a relationship with the Irish. have you heard of this caveat, or was the individual incorrect? i have asked other people on this site, and the consensus seems to be that he's wrong, but i would like your opinion if you care to give it  Smiley

I dont know about it being around in the lit but in folklore there are things that might imply something similar. For example, only an O or a Mac can see the Banshee because our culture was oppressed O and Mac highlighted you as lower class so lots of people dropped them from their names indicating they left their culture behind. So the banshee only coming to people who have that O or Mac could mean they only value members of the Irish Culture. You can expand that from the banshee to deities because the banshee is a continuation of the sovereign land goddess.

Theres another story with the Fairys. If you come across them at night you wont be able to understand them unless you speak Irish. Rather then that being a literal language of the gods it could be an indication that fairys require people to be members of the culture that the language represents. Fairys can be linked to deities by the number of deities listed as Fairies like Aibhel, Áine etc...

There are also the fact that most deities dont travel, regional ones associated with rivers and mountains or ones associated with a specific tribe/kin group/family make up the majority of the deities in the mythology. Those guys and girls dont pass geographical and political boundries within Ireland and them suddenly changing a millennium of behavior and moving across vast bodies of water is breaking with tradition and more modernly favoured evidence.

There could be something in the lit. that says it but in general Id say the opinion youre coming across is an expression of how protective Irish people are of their native culture. Here being born in Ireland doesnt make you Irish you have to work hard to become a part of the culture before you can make that claim. To outsiders Americans, Canadians, British people etc... claiming to be Irish because their grandparents came from here looks like they are taking Irish Culture too lightly to be respectfull. Ive lived in North America so I know its a cultural issue and I dont think that anymore, but I used to.

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« Reply #7: November 28, 2009, 10:11:04 am »

There could be something in the lit. that says it but in general Id say the opinion youre coming across is an expression of how protective Irish people are of their native culture. Here being born in Ireland doesnt make you Irish you have to work hard to become a part of the culture before you can make that claim. To outsiders Americans, Canadians, British people etc... claiming to be Irish because their grandparents came from here looks like they are taking Irish Culture too lightly to be respectfull. Ive lived in North America so I know its a cultural issue and I dont think that anymore, but I used to.

What erinnightwalker and the rest of us have discussed seems to be this angle taken to extreme and unnecessary measures, bordering on racism. It's certainly understandable to want to protect your native culture from misappropriation. To make it clear that only by approaching culture with respect and "working hard" to become a part of it is actually a big part of reconstructionism in general and something to be considered. There's no need to have patience for people who become "Irish" for St. Patrick's Day and claim their right to be a part of it.

However, there is no place for people in the twenty-first century who say that no one outside of the Irish culture has any chance or right of worshipping and developing a relationship with the Irish gods just because they aren't Irish. And though the details are fuzzy in my memory, the guy whom we described seemed to have exactly that attitude.
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« Reply #8: November 28, 2009, 07:25:57 pm »

What erinnightwalker and the rest of us have discussed seems to be this angle taken to extreme and unnecessary measures, bordering on racism. It's certainly understandable to want to protect your native culture from misappropriation. To make it clear that only by approaching culture with respect and "working hard" to become a part of it is actually a big part of reconstructionism in general and something to be considered. There's no need to have patience for people who become "Irish" for St. Patrick's Day and claim their right to be a part of it.

However, there is no place for people in the twenty-first century who say that no one outside of the Irish culture has any chance or right of worshipping and developing a relationship with the Irish gods just because they aren't Irish. And though the details are fuzzy in my memory, the guy whom we described seemed to have exactly that attitude.
Bingo. I understand regional deities staying with the demographic they are tied to but there are some that wander. And it hurt that someone that doesn't know me at all said that my veneration was worthless, and implying that I was also worthless. But he did mention that he had found a pan-deity ban on "outsiders", so I was wondering if you had heard of it.
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« Reply #9: November 28, 2009, 07:48:20 pm »

Like Romans having a limited set group of deities and because of that relating the new deities they encounter to their pre set group.

Just a point of clarification - the Roman's didn't have a limited set group of deities; while some were unmistakably  prominent, they had gazillions of them. (Well maybe not gazillions, but dozens upon dozens.) The super-structured 'pantheon' concept (especially one that equates Roman and Greek deities equally) is much more a product of 18th and 19th cultural interpretations/adaptions of classical material.
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« Reply #10: November 29, 2009, 06:44:36 am »

This is another reformed recon question. Sorry for the 20 questions, reformed recon just seems like a cool idea and Im curious. Hopefully I wont share the fate of the cat sating my curiosity with these posts!
Given the christian nature of the lit. and the christian origin of the half formed pantheons in the narrative of the early Irish lit we have, should we use the lit. and how much? Or should we strike out on our own completely?

Someone quoted the Reese brothers version of a pantheon to me on a forum the other day and it is a rationalisation of the narrative invasions from 'the book of invasions'. Everyone knows today that the narrative is a complete fiction constructed to fit Ireland into the world chronicle but its a good example of how pantheons can be influenced by the lit. Not to be disrespectfull to anyone, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, go diversity! but I would say the Reese version is an example of taking the lit. too literally (puntacular Tongue )having a negative impact on the religion.

James
There are some good points brought up here, because paganism in pre-Christian Ireland was tribal. There was no codified state religion, therefore no equivalent for the 12 Olympians or anything, with deities being ancestral, and regional to tuatha and cúige. Tuatha Dé Danann and Lebor Gabála Érenn are both complete Christian literacy creations. Tuatha Dé Danann were invented from an older designation known as simply Tuatha Dé, using separate regional deities in an invented pantheon. Here for instance, Ulster has it's own distinct patron deities&entities, which survived in place names. It wouldn't be traditional to make an offering to Brighid at Emhain Mhacha for example. This sense of tribalism has remained a part of Gaelic culture. One only needs to go to a GA match somewhere as simple as bordering counties like Kerry&Cork to get a sense of it  Grin 
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« Reply #11: December 08, 2009, 11:21:04 am »

This is another reformed recon question. Sorry for the 20 questions, reformed recon just seems like a cool idea and Im curious. Hopefully I wont share the fate of the cat sating my curiosity with these posts!
Given the christian nature of the lit. and the christian origin of the half formed pantheons in the narrative of the early Irish lit we have, should we use the lit. and how much? Or should we strike out on our own completely?

Someone quoted the Reese brothers version of a pantheon to me on a forum the other day and it is a rationalisation of the narrative invasions from 'the book of invasions'. Everyone knows today that the narrative is a complete fiction constructed to fit Ireland into the world chronicle but its a good example of how pantheons can be influenced by the lit. Not to be disrespectfull to anyone, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, go diversity! but I would say the Reese version is an example of taking the lit. too literally (puntacular Tongue )having a negative impact on the religion.

James

James I think you will find most CRs (reformed or not) do not hold with the idea of pantheon. We beleive it or not understand that it's all a tribal thing. If you go to some of the lists for Tuaths (either individual or for many tuath groups) you will find most of us talk about deities for the Tuath we belong to. Indeed the ADF (a reconstructionist Druid group but not a CR group) when you have a Gaelic, Gaulish, Briton, etc hearth culture tends to not talk on Pantheons. While the more classical Hearths do.


One has to remember that just because we do not live in the existing "six Celtic Nations" it does not mean that we did not carry (or import recently) the various Shinning ones with us/to us Wink Indeed like our Ancestors they came with us Wink Now the Spirits of the land.... that is different thing al together Smiley
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