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Author Topic: Attitudes within the CR community  (Read 4651 times)

MamaThistle

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Attitudes within the CR community
« on: October 04, 2016, 09:51:36 pm »
I don't mean to offend anyone with this post, it's just my observation.

I have noticed a certain level of arrogance among the Celtic (mostly Gaelic) reconstruction community. Not really on here, and if so they have been run off. It has turned me off a bit from reaching out to the community and more so, leading me to believe hardcore reconstruction is just not for me

I am still studying the mythology, customs, and history. I think the Gods/Goddesses are so interesting and beautiful. I appreciate what the re-constructionists are doing, although I think a few of them may be taking themselves too seriously. I am a currently in school and I also teach some on the side. I appreciate research, but even the most rigorous subjects have discussion, debate, and disagreements. Few things are absolute (unless is a law). Being right about everything is not as impressive to me as critical thought.

To be fair though this may have open my eyes to realize that I want more flexibility, even though I would also like a "group" to connect to, which I think is human nature.

Anyways, that has just been my experience and I was wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience.
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Re: Attitudes within the CR community
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2016, 09:07:07 am »
Quote from: VelvetHammer;197081


Anyways, that has just been my experience and I was wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience.

 
Although being part of a real life group isn't an option for me at the moment, I understand what you're saying about the movement in general. I have read some publications and online groups and the feel is very...conservative? I'm not sure how to say it.

In general, the strict reconstructionists seem to be more cerebral than spiritual. While I don't believe there is anything wrong with that, it just isn't my cup of tea. So, I read the books that are published by reconstructionist authors (because, hey, they do know how to do their research!) and I use my own UPG where I feel I need to in my practice. It takes all kinds, as they say. :)

I can understand where it would be frustrating when trying to find a physical group to be a part of, though.
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Re: Attitudes within the CR community
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2016, 12:43:15 pm »
Quote from: MeadowRae;197163
Although being part of a real life group isn't an option for me at the moment, I understand what you're saying about the movement in general. I have read some publications and online groups and the feel is very...conservative? I'm not sure how to say it.

In general, the strict reconstructionists seem to be more cerebral than spiritual. While I don't believe there is anything wrong with that, it just isn't my cup of tea. So, I read the books that are published by reconstructionist authors (because, hey, they do know how to do their research!) and I use my own UPG where I feel I need to in my practice. It takes all kinds, as they say. :)

I can understand where it would be frustrating when trying to find a physical group to be a part of, though.

 
Exactly, I'm definitely continuing my study and using recon sources, but personally doing what works for me.

The things that drive me crazy are scrutinizing an individuals practice/research, "She's NOT really recon, because she didn't write the article in Gaelic!" Even criticizing people who seem to know what they are doing research wise because you don't like the conclusion they have come up with.
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Re: Attitudes within the CR community
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2016, 12:59:17 pm »
Quote from: VelvetHammer;197183
The things that drive me crazy are scrutinizing an individuals practice/research, "She's NOT really recon, because she didn't write the article in Gaelic!" Even criticizing people who seem to know what they are doing research wise because you don't like the conclusion they have come up with.

 
Purity policing is a thing in a lot of communities, and recon communities are not an exception there.   I sort of wind up at "That's what makes us humans being" about it a lot of the time.

These people don't care about accessibility - I've seen the 'she didn't write the article in Gaelic' directed at someone who is in fact fluent in relevant languages and was not writing for that audience.  Basically, they want a clubhouse with a very exclusive entry, and it's the social equivalent of "BOYZ STINK" or "NO GURLS ALLOWD".

It is not, in my experience, at all the most common CR tendency, but it exists.  It's annoying and frustrating to deal with, but there are plenty of people who aren't behaving badly to talk to out there, who put out their research, and so on.

It is worth keeping in mind that many of the reconstructions have a nationalist streak to them; my experience and understanding that the CR nationalist streak is concentrated in the people who refer to themselves as "Gaelic Traditionalists" and in their vicinity.  When you are dealing with that you are dealing with people who are attempting to assert an often embattled and persecuted cultural heritage, including keeping their minority languages alive; I consider it best to acknowledge that they are doing a different thing than other people, and support their decision to do that, while recognising that it is not actually relevant to people who are doing something else.
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MamaThistle

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Re: Attitudes within the CR community
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2016, 03:34:03 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;197184
Purity policing is a thing in a lot of communities, and recon communities are not an exception there.   I sort of wind up at "That's what makes us humans being" about it a lot of the time.

These people don't care about accessibility - I've seen the 'she didn't write the article in Gaelic' directed at someone who is in fact fluent in relevant languages and was not writing for that audience.  Basically, they want a clubhouse with a very exclusive entry, and it's the social equivalent of "BOYZ STINK" or "NO GURLS ALLOWD".

It is not, in my experience, at all the most common CR tendency, but it exists.  It's annoying and frustrating to deal with, but there are plenty of people who aren't behaving badly to talk to out there, who put out their research, and so on.

It is worth keeping in mind that many of the reconstructions have a nationalist streak to them; my experience and understanding that the CR nationalist streak is concentrated in the people who refer to themselves as "Gaelic Traditionalists" and in their vicinity.  When you are dealing with that you are dealing with people who are attempting to assert an often embattled and persecuted cultural heritage, including keeping their minority languages alive; I consider it best to acknowledge that they are doing a different thing than other people, and support their decision to do that, while recognising that it is not actually relevant to people who are doing something else.

Thanks Darkhawk, I agree. I've actually found a lot of good information from CR recon. I respect that they are doing something different, but I get irritated at what I consider hypocrisy. You are right though, it's definitely not unique to recon and it's not everyone.

I was pretty irritated at something I saw when I first posted, I've calmed down now.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2016, 03:35:11 pm by MamaThistle »
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Re: Attitudes within the CR community
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2016, 10:06:51 am »
Quote from: VelvetHammer;197189
Thanks Darkhawk, I agree. I've actually found a lot of good information from CR recon. I respect that they are doing something different, but I get irritated at what I consider hypocrisy. You are right though, it's definitely not unique to recon and it's not everyone.

 
Reconstructionism has always been a set of very uneasy balances:

- between the stuff that can be researched and the spaces where there is neither knowledge nor a way of getting knowledge
- between the primacy of "facts" and the necessity to, in places, borrow things or make some shit up
- between a desire to be right about ancient practices and the need to have something actually functional and in the prsent day
- between the nationalistic/ancestral drive for many people and the fact that the thing being reconstructed is gone and thus cannot really have been inherited by anyone
- between research and a tendency to fall into book-worship of scholars

and a few other things.

Different people fall in different places on all of these spectrums.  The spectrums all exist, though.  (I mean, for a while the CRs I knew best had cross-trained in an African Diaspora religion so that they had trance work skills, which is the sort of thing that gives purists hives.)
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Re: Attitudes within the CR community
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2016, 06:42:29 pm »
Like your style Darkhawk.
Quote from: Darkhawk;197212
Reconstructionism has always been a set of very uneasy balances:
- between the stuff that can be researched and the spaces where there is neither knowledge nor a way of getting knowledge

I enjoy studying my patch and very often patient work on its mosaic will fill in a lot of gaps.
Another kind of gap which is fascinating is 'silences' where stories obsess on males, or upper class, and we have to really look for hints on what the others were doing because of course they were there.
Quote from: Darkhawk;197212

- between the primacy of "facts" and the necessity to, in places, borrow things or make some shit up ... the need to have something actually functional and in the prsent day

That'll be about the practical side I imagine. So yes ... but for myself I'm not keen on just grabby grabby from wherever to fill in the gaps. All those things belong to people.
Quote from: Darkhawk;197212

- between the nationalistic/ancestral drive for many people and the fact that the thing being reconstructed is gone and thus cannot really have been inherited by anyone

On a strict theoretical level yes. But on that level that means nothing can be inherited and we do inherit. I live in Wales and see the living tales around me in very ordinary ways people talk and gossip, do their shopping, run their families. In many ways things have not changed.
Quote from: Darkhawk;197212

- between research and a tendency to fall into book-worship of scholars

Whooo you got me on that one - on my patch I'm a book worshipper. So I have great respect for the original sources. I dislike it when people now present what they say as "true" - if it's "true" then it can be quoted. If not, its personal inspiration, which is different. Can be greater can be lesser. But I want the distinction clear.

CR mostly seems to assume 'Celtic' means Irish. I'm guessing that's because of a big Irish community in the USA?

On the language thing I do think to be able to share a tradition that was born in its own language we need to learn SOME of its words. I doubt I can ever learn Welsh, but I know some of the big keywords in the tales.
HUD - Magic
DUWIES - Goddess DUW - God.
LLAN - Sacred place, literally enclosure.
Why should they listen to our words if we don't even try to learn their words just a bit?
But it doesn't need to be a big barrier. Tackling a new word, slowly building a personal list brings a far deeper relationship. So it becomes another gift from them, transforming from me giving energy to me receiving understanding.

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Re: Attitudes within the CR community
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2016, 08:27:01 pm »
Quote from: MamaThistle;197081
I have noticed a certain level of arrogance among the Celtic (mostly Gaelic) reconstruction community. Not really on here, and if so they have been run off. It has turned me off a bit from reaching out to the community and more so, leading me to believe hardcore reconstruction is just not for me


I don't know a ton of recons, because I just don't move in those circles. The few I know are Celtic (of the Irish flavor). The ones I've met get very defensive when I talk about my eclectic leanings, and it took me a long time to figure out why: because the flip side of the "arrogant reconstructionist" coin is the "I can take anything I want" eclectic crowd.

While I don't shy away from calling myself eclectic, I wish we had some better terminology. I may be eclectic, but I'm not a magpie that's easily distracted by sparkly things that look cool. I at least want to understand what I'm using, even if I'm lifting bits and pieces of a system.

Karen

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Re: Attitudes within the CR community
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2016, 08:43:29 pm »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;198054
I don't know a ton of recons, because I just don't move in those circles. The few I know are Celtic (of the Irish flavor). The ones I've met get very defensive when I talk about my eclectic leanings, and it took me a long time to figure out why: because the flip side of the "arrogant reconstructionist" coin is the "I can take anything I want" eclectic crowd.


That makes a lot of sense to me. The eclectic side can be equally as frustrating. I'm starting to understand a little bit more and finding more peace. I definitely gravitate towards traditional reconstruction, I'm just sensitive, I need to not let people affect me so much (working on it! ;))

Quote
While I don't shy away from calling myself eclectic, I wish we had some better terminology. I may be eclectic, but I'm not a magpie that's easily distracted by sparkly things that look cool. I at least want to understand what I'm using, even if I'm lifting bits and pieces of a system.

Karen


That sounds like a positive, respectful practice to me. I don't think it's fair to label all eclectic as disrespectful, even though some might be.

Actually, anyone of any faith can be disrespectful. I have noticed some strange assumptions of NA in the reconstructionist crowd, but that's another topic all together.
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Re: Attitudes within the CR community
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2016, 11:06:17 pm »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;198054
... and it took me a long time to figure out why: because the flip side of the "arrogant reconstructionist" coin is the "I can take anything I want" eclectic crowd.

While I don't shy away from calling myself eclectic, I wish we had some better terminology.

 
That 'coin with two sides' framing is probably terminology we'd be better off without.

That's not a criticism of you, Karen, at all; you're just reporting what you observed and figured out - that sort of un-nuanced binary really is often in play in reconstructionist communities (as I've been grumpy about out loud for years) - if one is not a sufficiently hard recon, one must have no standards or judgement at all. (I'm not sure if this was the context in which 'eclectic' came to be a pejorative in pagan lexicons, but I'm certain it was a factor - I don't know of any other subject area in which eclecticism has inherently negative connotations; every other case I can think of, it's neutral, variable, or primarily positive.)

Unfortunately, I'm not very hopeful about this changing; reconstructionism has proved (possibly innately, possibly because of this binary) attractive to people who are uncomfortable with multivalenced thinking - not all recons have issues with that, by any means, but recons who do favor nuance and multivalence seem to often find themselves alienated by mainstream recon communities (which is exactly why TC has 'Reformed $Culture Polytheism' SIGs).

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Re: Attitudes within the CR community
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2016, 02:32:40 am »
Quote from: SunflowerP;198236


Unfortunately, I'm not very hopeful about this changing; reconstructionism has proved (possibly innately, possibly because of this binary) attractive to people who are uncomfortable with multivalenced thinking - not all recons have issues with that, by any means, but recons who do favor nuance and multivalence seem to often find themselves alienated by mainstream recon communities (which is exactly why TC has 'Reformed $Culture Polytheism' SIGs).

Sunflower

 
Yep. This is essentially the frustration I was expressing in the original post. Especially as someone new to recon but not new to paganism. It just comes across as petty to me.

People can ruin any good religion, I honestly think this has happened to Christianity.

Yet still, there are many good people in the recon community and the majority are extremely well read.
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Re: Attitudes within the CR community
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2016, 05:32:51 pm »
Quote from: MamaThistle;197081
I don't mean to offend anyone with this post, it's just my observation.

I have noticed a certain level of arrogance among the Celtic (mostly Gaelic) reconstruction community. Not really on here, and if so they have been run off. It has turned me off a bit from reaching out to the community and more so, leading me to believe hardcore reconstruction is just not for me

I am still studying the mythology, customs, and history. I think the Gods/Goddesses are so interesting and beautiful. I appreciate what the re-constructionists are doing, although I think a few of them may be taking themselves too seriously. I am a currently in school and I also teach some on the side. I appreciate research, but even the most rigorous subjects have discussion, debate, and disagreements. Few things are absolute (unless is a law). Being right about everything is not as impressive to me as critical thought.

To be fair though this may have open my eyes to realize that I want more flexibility, even though I would also like a "group" to connect to, which I think is human nature.

Anyways, that has just been my experience and I was wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience.

 
This can indeed be a problem, although I think it was particularly acute with a previous generation of CRs (to use a loose definition of 'generations'). The internet is allowing much less 'strict' Celtic/Gaelic polytheists to meet, which is leading to little signs that people are challenging the status quo.

Also, this is cultural. It tends to be the case in north America, but the polytheist movement (small though it is) in the UK (to quote an example I know about) is really quite different. We don't easily relate to the 'hard recon' perspective. I sometimes think this is about diaspora vs being left behind. Diaspora religions, where people leave a homeland and remember what they did there, can often be very strict about rules, literalist etc. Things are a bit different here. Sometimes I tell my polytheist friends here what the American polytheists are saying, and meet with everything from appalled disbelief to total confusion!

You might laugh at this, but my favourite place at the moment for making Gaelic polytheism links is on tumblr. I'm not a big fan of tumblr for itself, and rarely post there - but there are some great younger GaelPols and other Celtic polytheists doing their thing over there. Another good source of new ideas is people's blogs on Gaelic or Brythonic polytheism. The internet is also allowing some cross-cultural impact - we European polytheists are having an impact on you north American ones and vice versa. :)

If you'd like blog recommendations I can dig around in my links and find you some...
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MamaThistle

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Re: Attitudes within the CR community
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2016, 11:59:00 am »
Quote


You might laugh at this, but my favourite place at the moment for making Gaelic polytheism links is on tumblr. I'm not a big fan of tumblr for itself, and rarely post there - but there are some great younger GaelPols and other Celtic polytheists doing their thing over there. Another good source of new ideas is people's blogs on Gaelic or Brythonic polytheism. The internet is also allowing some cross-cultural impact - we European polytheists are having an impact on you north American ones and vice versa. :)

If you'd like blog recommendations I can dig around in my links and find you some...


I'm on Tumblr, but I don't really like it either. Although the people seem great, it's annoying for me to use. I am more into blogs. I follow a few on blogspot, but yeah, I would love recommendations for some new ones. Thank you.
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Re: Attitudes within the CR community
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2016, 11:27:46 am »
Quote from: MamaThistle;198576


 
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