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Author Topic: Festival calendar & daily practices  (Read 13404 times)
disillusioned
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« Reply #15: March 29, 2007, 08:03:01 pm »

what are we trying to do that is DIFFERENT from what these CR folks have already done?

Honestly?  If I were creating a Celtic-influenced religion, it would be focused on the deities and the myths.  Not "this cauldron was found buried here" and "people of this tribe warred with people of that tribe."  CR focuses a lot (from what I can tell) on reconstructing *culture*, which isn't something I'm interested in doing.  It's just not applicable to me, here, now, today.

Ask the question: if the various Celtic spiritual systems had continued to be practiced in full force, the way Far Eastern and Middle Eastern religions did, what would have been adapted and adjusted for the times?  What would have just gone away?  What would remain and why?
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« Reply #16: March 29, 2007, 08:27:40 pm »

Honestly?  If I were creating a Celtic-influenced religion, it would be focused on the deities and the myths.  Not "this cauldron was found buried here" and "people of this tribe warred with people of that tribe."  CR focuses a lot (from what I can tell) on reconstructing *culture*, which isn't something I'm interested in doing.  It's just not applicable to me, here, now, today.

Hmmmmm.  I've just finished re-reading all of those essays that I linked to, and I didn't get that at all.  They're about how the ancient Celts viewed their world (as far as we can tell) -- their relationship with domestic animals, wild animals, the land, the weather, the sea, beliefs about afterlife and creation, etc. -- and how that might have/probably translated to a spirituality and system of...well...ethics.  The essay from "Land, Sea and Sky" is definitely the richest.  There is a great deal about deities and myths, and how they functioned.

The Witchvox article, I think, is an attempt to set out the framework of a practice based on the thinking that is much more fleshed out in Land, Sea and Sky.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you mean by "culture".  To me, the worldview and spirituality is tne foundation of the religion.  I also don't care (from a religious point of view, at least) what cauldron was found where. 

Ask the question: if the various Celtic spiritual systems had continued to be practiced in full force, the way Far Eastern and Middle Eastern religions did, what would have been adapted and adjusted for the times?  What would have just gone away?  What would remain and why?

I agree.  But that's what I think some of the CR folks have already done in the essays I linked.  For example, scientific advances would likely have changed some of the practices that were done to ensure good harvests or prevent disease, which is acknowledged.

That's why I'm asking what we need to do that's different.
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« Reply #17: March 29, 2007, 09:04:52 pm »

I could swear that I read/heard recently that Celtic is a fairly recently coined umbrella term for a variety of cultures (mainly ancestors of the Scottish, Irish and Welsh, among a few others), therefore meaning there's no such thing as 'the ancient celts'. The traditions of a particular ancient culture that is known to be covered by the term might be a better place to start any research.
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« Reply #18: March 29, 2007, 09:45:46 pm »

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you mean by "culture".  To me, the worldview and spirituality is tne foundation of the religion.  I also don't care (from a religious point of view, at least) what cauldron was found where. 

I agree.  But that's what I think some of the CR folks have already done in the essays I linked.  For example, scientific advances would likely have changed some of the practices that were done to ensure good harvests or prevent disease, which is acknowledged.

That's why I'm asking what we need to do that's different.

I have a few thoughts, but I'm having trouble articulating them, so if I stop making sense at any point, let me know.

I don't know how much contact you have with the CR community; it's been my experience that the Witchvox article doesn't really describe their practices or point of view very well. I also see more focus on the specific practice of the time period and attempts to recreate that, as opposed to seeing the meaning of the practice, and how the meaning can be practiced in a modern setting.

There was more that I wanted to say, but I got so caught up in the above paragraph I can't remember it. Sigh.
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« Reply #19: March 29, 2007, 10:44:49 pm »

I don't know how much contact you have with the CR community; it's been my experience that the Witchvox article doesn't really describe their practices or point of view very well. I also see more focus on the specific practice of the time period and attempts to recreate that, as opposed to seeing the meaning of the practice, and how the meaning can be practiced in a modern setting.

Hmmmm.  OK, well, who cares what the CR community actually *does* at this point in time?  Let's look at the *research* they've already done.  I found a lot of value in some (note, *some*) of the work they've posted.  Perhaps there is valuable groundwork already done on the foundational concepts, on which we can build.

I don't really care how they're actually practicing.  That's the part I want to figure out for myself.  Otherwise, I'd just go join one of their groups, I guess.

I don't know if I'm making any sense.  I'm just worried that we're getting tangled up in trying to figure out how to coordinate pantheons that have hundreds of members, when there are conceptual pieces that form a common ground and have already been researched.

For example, based on the general reading I've done (2 shelves worth of books on Celtic history, archeology, art, mythology, etc. -- which I know isn't much compared to an expert, but does at least give me a familiarity) and the specifically CR reading I've done, I think I could piece together the very basic skeleton of a practice (centering on the Irish pantheon, in my case).  Four major fire festivals, maybe a couple deity-specific days, a sketchy creation myth, an afterlife concept, a cosmology, a sort-of ethical system (not really sure what to call it), etc.

What I don't have is the details, the texture, the poetry, the ritual, the beauty.  That's the part I think we really need to develop and bring into the modern world.
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« Reply #20: March 30, 2007, 10:14:15 am »

Hmmmm.  OK, well, who cares what the CR community actually *does* at this point in time?  Let's look at the *research* they've already done.  I found a lot of value in some (note, *some*) of the work they've posted.  Perhaps there is valuable groundwork already done on the foundational concepts, on which we can build.

I don't really care how they're actually practicing.  That's the part I want to figure out for myself.  Otherwise, I'd just go join one of their groups, I guess.

I don't know if I'm making any sense.  I'm just worried that we're getting tangled up in trying to figure out how to coordinate pantheons that have hundreds of members, when there are conceptual pieces that form a common ground and have already been researched.

For example, based on the general reading I've done (2 shelves worth of books on Celtic history, archeology, art, mythology, etc. -- which I know isn't much compared to an expert, but does at least give me a familiarity) and the specifically CR reading I've done, I think I could piece together the very basic skeleton of a practice (centering on the Irish pantheon, in my case).  Four major fire festivals, maybe a couple deity-specific days, a sketchy creation myth, an afterlife concept, a cosmology, a sort-of ethical system (not really sure what to call it), etc.

What I don't have is the details, the texture, the poetry, the ritual, the beauty.  That's the part I think we really need to develop and bring into the modern world.

Holy Cow!!  Shocked
I think I should just hang back and follow your lead. I am one of those people who was mind boggled trying to think of how to get the pantheons to work together.

Are you saying with your model we should be able to use which ever pantheon we choose. Or even mix them together?

I didn't have time yesterday to read the articles you linked. I'll be doing that right away.


 
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« Reply #21: March 30, 2007, 10:58:32 am »

Hmmmm.  OK, well, who cares what the CR community actually *does* at this point in time? [...]

I don't really care how they're actually practicing.  That's the part I want to figure out for myself.  Otherwise, I'd just go join one of their groups, I guess.

Well, you asked what we needed to do different from the CR community, so I told you. The information is fine, but we need to change what we're doing with it.

For example, based on the general reading I've done (2 shelves worth of books on Celtic history, archeology, art, mythology, etc. -- which I know isn't much compared to an expert, but does at least give me a familiarity) and the specifically CR reading I've done, I think I could piece together the very basic skeleton of a practice (centering on the Irish pantheon, in my case).  Four major fire festivals, maybe a couple deity-specific days, a sketchy creation myth, an afterlife concept, a cosmology, a sort-of ethical system (not really sure what to call it), etc.

What I don't have is the details, the texture, the poetry, the ritual, the beauty.  That's the part I think we really need to develop and bring into the modern world.

I bolded a portion of the quote because that's exactly my point. You're coming at the basic skeleton for working with an Irish pantheon, but the skeleton is going to be different for someone working with a Scottish pantheon, or a Welsh, or a Breton, or someone who does a pan-Celtic approach and picks from several pantheons. They may not be drastic changes- some may not even be noticeable without background knowledge- but there are differences that cannot be ignored. They may all be Celtic, but a wholly pan-Celtic approach never works- it dilutes the significance of the individual cultures.
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« Reply #22: March 30, 2007, 05:16:57 pm »

Well, you asked what we needed to do different from the CR community, so I told you. The information is fine, but we need to change what we're doing with it.

I bolded a portion of the quote because that's exactly my point. You're coming at the basic skeleton for working with an Irish pantheon, but the skeleton is going to be different for someone working with a Scottish pantheon, or a Welsh, or a Breton, or someone who does a pan-Celtic approach and picks from several pantheons. They may not be drastic changes- some may not even be noticeable without background knowledge- but there are differences that cannot be ignored. They may all be Celtic, but a wholly pan-Celtic approach never works- it dilutes the significance of the individual cultures.

What about looking at it in a way that respects both similarities and differences.  How about a Celtic religion with branches for each of the pantheons as well as a pan-celtic branch?  Think of it as a kind of Celtic coalition... 

Edited to add:  a newcomer could start with the general principles of Celtic belief (and there are some held in common) and them move to a culturally-specific pantheon. 
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« Reply #23: March 30, 2007, 05:28:51 pm »

What about looking at it in a way that respects both similarities and differences.  How about a Celtic religion with branches for each of the pantheons as well as a pan-celtic branch?  Think of it as a kind of Celtic coalition... 

Edited to add:  a newcomer could start with the general principles of Celtic belief (and there are some held in common) and them move to a culturally-specific pantheon.

I think that's a very good idea.
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« Reply #24: March 30, 2007, 05:39:11 pm »

I think that's a very good idea.

Thanks.  I've thought about this for a long time...  I've often wondered why more recon groups didn't take an approach like this...  it would keep them from becoming so insular (as many often are). 
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« Reply #25: March 30, 2007, 05:45:04 pm »

Thanks.  I've thought about this for a long time...  I've often wondered why more recon groups didn't take an approach like this...  it would keep them from becoming so insular (as many often are).

I've come across few that aren't.


To go back to the original topic: what do we want to include in a daily practice? My own (non-RCR) daily practice involves a morning prayer, prayers to each of my "primary" deities (and putting on the jewelry I've dedicated to each of Them), lighting a candle at some point during the day, prayers when I take the jewelry off, and a prayer before bed. And a prayer before eating. My weekly altĂș has a small offering added to it, and I usually burn incense then as well.
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« Reply #26: March 30, 2007, 05:55:13 pm »

The information is fine, but we need to change what we're doing with it.

Yes!  I think that's what I was saying.  At least, I *think*.  The research -- or at least *some of it -- is already there.  How do we want to build on it?

I bolded a portion of the quote because that's exactly my point. You're coming at the basic skeleton for working with an Irish pantheon, but the skeleton is going to be different for someone working with a Scottish pantheon, or a Welsh, or a Breton, or someone who does a pan-Celtic approach and picks from several pantheons. They may not be drastic changes- some may not even be noticeable without background knowledge- but there are differences that cannot be ignored. They may all be Celtic, but a wholly pan-Celtic approach never works- it dilutes the significance of the individual cultures.

Yes, again.  So, the question is, can we start with a basic skeleton, and figure out what the changes are?  Does that give us a place to start that makes any sense?
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« Reply #27: March 30, 2007, 05:56:33 pm »

What about looking at it in a way that respects both similarities and differences.  How about a Celtic religion with branches for each of the pantheons as well as a pan-celtic branch?  Think of it as a kind of Celtic coalition... 

Edited to add:  a newcomer could start with the general principles of Celtic belief (and there are some held in common) and them move to a culturally-specific pantheon. 

Dru, can you suggest what the commonly held beliefs are, as a starting point for discussion about this?
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« Reply #28: March 30, 2007, 06:25:53 pm »

Dru, can you suggest what the commonly held beliefs are, as a starting point for discussion about this?

Off the top of my head: 

--  As a whole, the Celts were a warrior-based culture and as a result had a strong committment to things like an honor code, personal responsibility (seen in their elaborate law and mediation system), courage and loyalty. 

--  They had a belief in reincarnation (which is why they were feared warriors -- they could give their all to battle).  It isn't a literal reincarnation (as in Hindu culture) but more of a sense that certain soul essences are reborn. 

-- they have a committment to art and creative practices.  Aside from the several gods and goddesses across the pantheons who are patrons of art, artisans like fili (bards) and and armour/ sword makers (artworks in their own right) were highly valued in Celtic cultures. 

--  they have a committment to knowledge.  Knowledge crops up in a variety of ways in Celtic culture.  For example, the Druids' long education, the number of gods/goddesses across the pantheons with knowledge as a component of their abilities, the importance of law to the average Celt, the salom of knowledge...  it's a recurrent theme. 

--  Clan is important -- but don't read this narrowly as family or extended family  -- think of it more as community.

--  Hospitality is a crucial value:  this means being generous to those you entertain.  In ancient times, they would expect to taken in a stranger who asked for shelter and care for them to the best of their ability.  In a contemporary sense, I look at this obligation as contributing to caring for the needy in my community. 

--  honoring the gods. 

-- keeping the fire festivals. 

-- making sacrifices to the gods.

-- the importance of words.  Not only did the Celts venerate poets and bards, and keep their religious history oral, but they considered speaking to be an act of great power.

-- They were in tune with their environment.  I don't mean this in the "green" sense, but in the sense that they felt nature, in all its manifestations, had power that could be harnessed.

I'll think a little further on this...   
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« Reply #29: March 30, 2007, 06:37:15 pm »

Off the top of my head: 
*snip*
I'll think a little further on this...   

This might be overly optimistic, but...it seems like we could begin with a core set of "pan-celtic" values such as those Dru has outlined and a festival calendar that includes the fire festival with some basic ritual elements (fire, feasting), and have the outline we need to then figure out what else we need and how to incorporate/accomodate/build a coalition with the many pantheons and cultures.
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