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Author Topic: Christian Trinity and Gaelic Polytheism?  (Read 4672 times)

baduhmtisss

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Christian Trinity and Gaelic Polytheism?
« on: November 24, 2014, 07:00:36 pm »
So, I'm a little nervous posting this. Okay, maybe I'm a lot nervous.

Is it possible to honor and believe in the christian trinity and still be a Gaelic Polytheist? Or can one blend the two paths?

For a little background info; I consider myself a seeker again. I've gone through some major 'me' changes that shook loose my loose foundations in Kemeticism and Flamekeeping. It loosened it up enough that I'm back to square one. I've got this indescribable pull towards the christian Trinity, with a lot of focus on the Holy Spirit and St. Mary. That would be simple enough, if I didn't also have the draw to Gaelic polytheism. So, I'm trying to balance those two pulls and find some common ground between the two. I'm not sure if I'm making much sense, but I'm trying.

Does anybody have any input or thoughts on what I'm trying to grasp at? Any suggested directions I should head?
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Finn

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Re: Christian Trinity and Gaelic Polytheism?
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2014, 01:22:23 am »
Quote from: Raine;166057
So, I'm a little nervous posting this. Okay, maybe I'm a lot nervous.

Is it possible to honor and believe in the christian trinity and still be a Gaelic Polytheist? Or can one blend the two paths?

 
Really quickly: I think there are some people who will say, "yeah sure; why not," and there will be (fewer) people who will say, "... yeah, probably not." And then there are others will ask for more context and say, "it depends on what you're doing and what you're calling it." Like me. :p

I think one of the biggest mistakes some Gaelic polytheists make, in an effort to "get back to the roots" of their traditions, is to ignore or try to forget the immense amount of influence that the advent of Christianity had on the folk who live in those places that speak Gaelic. When you try to make "original" versions of prayers in the Carmina Gadelica, or try to "reconstruct" the Imbolc practice of making a Bride doll for the goddess Brighid and explicitly not the saint, you lose literally hundreds of years of history, context, and evolution of meaning and belief.

That said, I think it's reasonable for polytheists to cultivate relationships with Christian entities when they're not calling themselves Christian. But I don't think many Christians would really like someone calling themselves a Christian to suddenly start worshipping Brighid the goddess.
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Naomi J

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Re: Christian Trinity and Gaelic Polytheism?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2014, 04:41:48 am »
Quote from: Finn;166083
I think one of the biggest mistakes some Gaelic polytheists make, in an effort to "get back to the roots" of their traditions, is to ignore or try to forget the immense amount of influence that the advent of Christianity had on the folk who live in those places that speak Gaelic. When you try to make "original" versions of prayers in the Carmina Gadelica, or try to "reconstruct" the Imbolc practice of making a Bride doll for the goddess Brighid and explicitly not the saint, you lose literally hundreds of years of history, context, and evolution of meaning and belief.


Absolutely. I think that brings some Gaelic types back to the Christian god eventually, if they're really looking at what's behind the cultural artefacts and practices that they're using. I know I struggle with my natural positive feelings towards the Christian God (not Jesus). I see that God as a manifestation/personification of the power behind all things in nature, in a pantheistic but also a personal sense. It's a totally heretical view of the Christian God and I wouldn't be a good Christian anymore, but I don't think it's actually that far from what some of the early Celtic Christians might have believed. Not that we can ever be sure, but that's my UPG. :p

Talking of which... Raine, have you looked into Celtic Christianity? It can be just as historically inaccurate as any neopagan idea of ancient Ireland, but it's an interesting 'bridge' between Gaelic polytheism and Christianity. http://www.st-cuthberts.net/celspty.php http://www.faithandworship.com/Celtic_Christianity.htm

When I go to Ireland, I find myself slipping into a Celtic Christian mindset a lot. I connected very strongly with St Brendan during my last visit, for example. It's like the cities that are built over old cities. Irish culture and spirituality have layers and layers to them, and you sort of have move through each one, respectfully, to get to the next. And you can't just discard the layers as you're moving through them. Does that make any sense at all?

Quote
That said, I think it's reasonable for polytheists to cultivate relationships with Christian entities when they're not calling themselves Christian. But I don't think many Christians would really like someone calling themselves a Christian to suddenly start worshipping Brighid the goddess.

 
No, but most of what we believe about Brighid the goddess is based on the Christian St Brigit. There are Cills with both Pagan and Christian members all keeping Brighid's flame together, for example. The lines blur a great deal when we're talking about Gaelic culture and spirituality.
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Re: Christian Trinity and Gaelic Polytheism?
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2014, 09:04:48 am »
Quote from: Raine;166057
Is it possible to honor and believe in the christian trinity and still be a Gaelic Polytheist? Or can one blend the two paths?


I don't see any reason why you can't blend Christian and pre-Christian beliefs and customs in a Gaelic context, because the tradition itself is heavily blended. The theology is the sticking point, though- if you're a polytheist, you'll see the TDD as gods, which is unacceptable from a Christian standpoint. If you're a Christian, you'll have to decide how you see the TDD and the human relationship with the Daoine Sidh. Rev. Kirk's "Secret Commonwealth" actually presents a pretty thorough explanation of the Daoine Sidh from a Christian point of view.

baduhmtisss

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Re: Christian Trinity and Gaelic Polytheism?
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2014, 10:02:07 am »
Quote from: Finn;166083
Really quickly: I think there are some people who will say, "yeah sure; why not," and there will be (fewer) people who will say, "... yeah, probably not." And then there are others will ask for more context and say, "it depends on what you're doing and what you're calling it." Like me. :p

I guess I'm not really sure at all what I'd be trying to call it. I'm pretty confused at this point, with some jumbled thoughts about what I'd be trying to do. I don't even really have much of a direction to start with either, and that's what's lending to much of my confusion to begin with.

Quote
That said, I think it's reasonable for polytheists to cultivate relationships with Christian entities when they're not calling themselves Christian. But I don't think many Christians would really like someone calling themselves a Christian to suddenly start worshipping Brighid the goddess.

I wanted to address this and say it made a lot of sense to me, but raised another question. If I wanted to cultivate a relationship with the christian god, would doing things like going to church be okay to do, even thought I still consider myself a polytheist?

Quote from: Naomi J;166096
Absolutely. I think that brings some Gaelic types back to the Christian god eventually, if they're really looking at what's behind the cultural artefacts and practices that they're using. I know I struggle with my natural positive feelings towards the Christian God (not Jesus). I see that God as a manifestation/personification of the power behind all things in nature, in a pantheistic but also a personal sense. It's a totally heretical view of the Christian God and I wouldn't be a good Christian anymore, but I don't think it's actually that far from what some of the early Celtic Christians might have believed. Not that we can ever be sure, but that's my UPG. :p

You literally described my view of the Christian god to a T. However, I thought this was a pretty common view of the Christian God? The way I was taught is that the Christian God is everything, in everything, and made everything. My view of Him is entirely pantheistic in nature. Which I think is producing conflict right now, actually.

The way I'm understanding my view of God and the Holy Spirit is pantheistic in Nature, with polytheism being mixed in. Like, the top of the tree is God, then as you work your way down, the other gods are there. Is this problematic? (I hope I'm making sense here, writing for me is difficult.)

Quote
Talking of which... Raine, have you looked into Celtic Christianity? It can be just as historically inaccurate as any neopagan idea of ancient Ireland, but it's an interesting 'bridge' between Gaelic polytheism and Christianity. http://www.st-cuthberts.net/celspty.php http://www.faithandworship.com/Celtic_Christianity.htm

When I go to Ireland, I find myself slipping into a Celtic Christian mindset a lot. I connected very strongly with St Brendan during my last visit, for example. It's like the cities that are built over old cities. Irish culture and spirituality have layers and layers to them, and you sort of have move through each one, respectfully, to get to the next. And you can't just discard the layers as you're moving through them. Does that make any sense at all?

I have not looked into Celtic Christianity, but I will be researching it more today! Thank you.

Yes, it's making some sense to me. Is there a 'layer' that one should start with to begin moving through them?

Quote from: Gilbride;166103
I don't see any reason why you can't blend Christian and pre-Christian beliefs and customs in a Gaelic context, because the tradition itself is heavily blended. The theology is the sticking point, though- if you're a polytheist, you'll see the TDD as gods, which is unacceptable from a Christian standpoint. If you're a Christian, you'll have to decide how you see the TDD and the human relationship with the Daoine Sidh. Rev. Kirk's "Secret Commonwealth" actually presents a pretty thorough explanation of the Daoine Sidh from a Christian point of view.

May I ask what the TDD is?
« Last Edit: November 25, 2014, 10:03:14 am by Raine »
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Gilbride

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Re: Christian Trinity and Gaelic Polytheism?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2014, 12:43:58 pm »
Quote from: Raine;166106
May I ask what the TDD is?

 
Tuatha De Danann.

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Re: Christian Trinity and Gaelic Polytheism?
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2014, 12:51:34 pm »
Quote from: Raine;166106
I wanted to address this and say it made a lot of sense to me, but raised another question. If I wanted to cultivate a relationship with the christian god, would doing things like going to church be okay to do, even thought I still consider myself a polytheist?


It's not for me to say what is or isn't right. That would be between you and your gods.

On the Christian side, though: basically, no, it wouldn't. That's one reason why I'm not a Christian. There's no way to be a Christian polytheist that I can see. I know others have come to different conclusions there. But I suspect very few Christians would accept it, and official church doctrine certainly doesn't. If you can cope with saying the Creed every week - which states that there is one deity - then that's up to you. I couldn't. It was dishonest and a denial of my gods, to me.

Quote
You literally described my view of the Christian god to a T. However, I thought this was a pretty common view of the Christian God? The way I was taught is that the Christian God is everything, in everything, and made everything. My view of Him is entirely pantheistic in nature. Which I think is producing conflict right now, actually.


It's not a tradition view of the Christian god, no. It's heretical. Pantheism doesn't just mean that everything is an echo of the Divine -  it means that the totality of all things is Divine. This is still a heresy according to the Catholic Church. Many Christians would say that this elevates us to potential godhead, which they would object to. Plus, the official Christian view (in most traditions) is that creation is fallen, i.e. sin made it corrupt. That affects whether it can be Divine.

Quote
The way I'm understanding my view of God and the Holy Spirit is pantheistic in Nature, with polytheism being mixed in. Like, the top of the tree is God, then as you work your way down, the other gods are there. Is this problematic? (I hope I'm making sense here, writing for me is difficult.)


I don't think that would be too far from how some Celtic Christians might have seen it. But as I say -  totally heretical from a Christian perspective. So, yes, problematic.

Quote
Is there a 'layer' that one should start with to begin moving through them?


Well, it's an imperfect analogy. It's not like there are clear boundaries. It's more like a jumble of stuff that you could look into. You'll find the Irish saints' stories very interesting, though. Not a bad place to start. I suspect some of them contain seeds of stuff that have been mistakenly discarded by Gaelic polytheists who could find it useful - like possible echoes of creation myths.
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baduhmtisss

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Re: Christian Trinity and Gaelic Polytheism?
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2014, 01:13:33 pm »
Quote from: Naomi J;166115
It's not for me to say what is or isn't right. That would be between you and your gods.

On the Christian side, though: basically, no, it wouldn't. That's one reason why I'm not a Christian. There's no way to be a Christian polytheist that I can see. I know others have come to different conclusions there. But I suspect very few Christians would accept it, and official church doctrine certainly doesn't. If you can cope with saying the Creed every week - which states that there is one deity - then that's up to you. I couldn't. It was dishonest and a denial of my gods, to me.

 

It's not a tradition view of the Christian god, no. It's heretical. Pantheism doesn't just mean that everything is an echo of the Divine -  it means that the totality of all things is Divine. This is still a heresy according to the Catholic Church. Many Christians would say that this elevates us to potential godhead, which they would object to. Plus, the official Christian view (in most traditions) is that creation is fallen, i.e. sin made it corrupt. That affects whether it can be Divine.

 

I don't think that would be too far from how some Celtic Christians might have seen it. But as I say -  totally heretical from a Christian perspective. So, yes, problematic.

 

Well, it's an imperfect analogy. It's not like there are clear boundaries. It's more like a jumble of stuff that you could look into. You'll find the Irish saints' stories very interesting, though. Not a bad place to start. I suspect some of them contain seeds of stuff that have been mistakenly discarded by Gaelic polytheists who could find it useful - like possible echoes of creation myths.

Thank you, Naomi. You've given me a lot to think over and look through. It's much appreciated. :)
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baduhmtisss

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Re: Christian Trinity and Gaelic Polytheism?
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2014, 01:14:07 pm »
Quote from: Gilbride;166113
Tuatha De Danann.

Thank you, Gilbride.
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Finn

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Re: Christian Trinity and Gaelic Polytheism?
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2014, 11:09:16 pm »
Quote from: Naomi J;166096
No, but most of what we believe about Brighid the goddess is based on the Christian St Brigit. There are Cills with both Pagan and Christian members all keeping Brighid's flame together, for example. The lines blur a great deal when we're talking about Gaelic culture and spirituality.

 
Oh, definitely. Brighid is a particularly bad example to use when you're trying to make a "cut-and-dried" sweeping statement about Christians v. polytheists when you're tired, like I was last night when I wrote that. :p
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Re: Christian Trinity and Gaelic Polytheism?
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2014, 11:19:43 pm »
Quote from: Raine;166057
So, I'm a little nervous posting this. Okay, maybe I'm a lot nervous.

Is it possible to honor and believe in the christian trinity and still be a Gaelic Polytheist? Or can one blend the two paths?

For a little background info; I consider myself a seeker again. I've gone through some major 'me' changes that shook loose my loose foundations in Kemeticism and Flamekeeping. It loosened it up enough that I'm back to square one. I've got this indescribable pull towards the christian Trinity, with a lot of focus on the Holy Spirit and St. Mary. That would be simple enough, if I didn't also have the draw to Gaelic polytheism. So, I'm trying to balance those two pulls and find some common ground between the two. I'm not sure if I'm making much sense, but I'm trying.

Does anybody have any input or thoughts on what I'm trying to grasp at? Any suggested directions I should head?


I would just suggest keeping the practices separate, at least at first. As you get more comfortable, maybe you can blend them where there is overlap, but I would wait until you are completely comfortable in both contexts. I personally pray the rosary, the Angelus, and daily Anglo-Catholic prayers at one shrine I've set up with a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham, and I have another pagan shrine in a different spot that I re-arrange to suit my purposes. I don't really combine them, but I'm sure you could if you find some common ground. Start with what you are comfortable with, and see how your practice naturally evolves.

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Re: Christian Trinity and Gaelic Polytheism?
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2014, 11:34:13 pm »
Quote from: Raine;166057

Is it possible to honor and believe in the christian trinity and still be a Gaelic Polytheist? Or can one blend the two paths?


 
Yes, you can!:)

So be brave - and say to yourself: "Yes, I can!" :)

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Re: Christian Trinity and Gaelic Polytheism?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2016, 03:28:42 pm »
Quote from: Raine;166057
So, I'm a little nervous posting this. Okay, maybe I'm a lot nervous.

Is it possible to honor and believe in the christian trinity and still be a Gaelic Polytheist? Or can one blend the two paths?

For a little background info; I consider myself a seeker again. I've gone through some major 'me' changes that shook loose my loose foundations in Kemeticism and Flamekeeping. It loosened it up enough that I'm back to square one. I've got this indescribable pull towards the christian Trinity, with a lot of focus on the Holy Spirit and St. Mary. That would be simple enough, if I didn't also have the draw to Gaelic polytheism. So, I'm trying to balance those two pulls and find some common ground between the two. I'm not sure if I'm making much sense, but I'm trying.

Does anybody have any input or thoughts on what I'm trying to grasp at? Any suggested directions I should head?

 
As a person who is doing this, YES! :D:

There is no concrete, definitive, "one right view" on how God/The Trinity works, what his/her/its nature is, how one should worship him, and if other beings somehow fit. Catholicism, for all its monotheistic dogma, can be remarkably polytheistic in practice depending on how important the saints are and what you see their roles as (and many started life as pagan deities anyway), whereas the further you slide along the spectrum toward Protestantism (Christianity is a spectrum that is not in any way linear), the more concretely monotheistic things become.

And don't get too hung up on "the Church" and specific practices being "what one must do to be Christian". The minute you, say, decide that the Creed (which creed? there are many...) is central, you realize that maybe half the churches out there don't use any sort of creed at all. I never, ever said a creed in church until I moved to the Episcopal church less than a year ago. Communion/eurcharist isn't considered necessary by all Christians, and even those that consider it necessary think of it as doing different things. Baptism has probably a dozen different "orthodox" views on it, with unorthodox views also existing. Some Christians are very pro-ritual, some extremely anti-ritual to the point of basically having free-form worship sessions where anything (essentially) goes and there are no style or time limits.

Which is why if anybody comes along and tells you that what you're doing "isn't Christian", just nod politely, say "Okay" and keep doing it if it seems it's working for you. That's basically what everybody else is doing.

I'd say, as far as what to call yourself, if you seem to be following a Christian path with paganism as a sort of sideline, "Christian" would be fairly safe. If you're sort of wrapping the Christian god into an equally-weighted pantheon, "pantheist" is probably the right term.

If you're looking for a church that would accept you as a pantheist but is still theistically very, very Christian, the Episcopal church would welcome you. :)

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