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Author Topic: Are there actually ANY "hard-line recons" who hold up to the stereotype?  (Read 1221 times)

OfThespiae

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I've been a Hellenic recon for going on eight or nine years now, and I have to say that I have never seen someone describe their practice as "reconstructionist" but claim they never use modern innovations or substitutions, when necessary. I'm starting to get the impression, I'd even argue that I've been sensing this a few years, now, that such people don't actually exist --and yet I keep seeing, again and again, that people feel compelled to specify that they "aren't recon in the strictest terms", as if the methodology required strictest adherence to doing things "exactly" as they were done in the BCE, rather than a methodology that, when it was first explained to me, almost a decade ago, now, seemed quite the opposite --that it relied on innovation, improvisation, and filling in the gaps where necessary to maintain a practise that would be both recognisable as derived from ancient practises, but making use of modern technology, equipment, and relevant to certain modern concerns, creating something both ancient and modern.

I have my suspicions on how this trend of "I'm not a strict recon / I'm recon, but you know, not Big-R Recon" came from, and it just kind of bothers me, the idwa that in barely over three years this so-and-so put his d--- in the mashed potatoes, so to speak, that now we have not only younger or otherwise newer-to-the-community sorts who are completely confused about what religious reconstruction actually is, but even people who have been around almost as long as I have are now hesitant to refer to their practise as "recon". Especially as, if I'm right about how this started, he actually did state several times (including in his books!) that modern innovations and substitutions were necessary --it's just that every time he'd have a falling-out with someone (which usually had nothing to do with religion), he'd somehow denounce them as "not rwal recons" and if called on it, would cite modern innovations as why That Other Person is somehow guilty of double-plus-unrecon-think.

Tl,dr version: I think this idea of some ultra-strict recon is a strawperson that doesn't actually exist, because if it did, well, we'd already know about it. We'd know about people who sacrifice entire hekatombs of cattle, whose pubescent daughters sacrifice their menarchal rags to Artemis, and who are arranging marriages for their fifteen-year-old daughter, complete with a fake kidnapping by her betrothed. Because these people apparently don't actually exist, then either there are a lot more recons than there are people who admit to it, *or* there are no "real" recons, and since religious reconstruction is a methodology more than an ideaology, the latter option is patently absurd.

But maybe I'm wrong, and there are people who really are that dedicated to re-enacting ad much of the ancient actionns as possible. If you personally know anyone who's sacrificed eve 100 heads of catle, feel free to share, cos I was under the impression that thisv is almost never how things actually work.

Naomi J

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Quote from: OfThespiae;149593
But maybe I'm wrong, and there are people who really are that dedicated to re-enacting ad much of the ancient actionns as possible. If you personally know anyone who's sacrificed eve 100 heads of catle, feel free to share, cos I was under the impression that thisv is almost never how things actually work.

 
There are (quite a lot of) Celtic recons who call themselves that, and attempt to live up to the scholarly standard. There are groups that live out the principles. Not doing cattle raids, no, but attempting to keep to reconstructionist principles in a modern world. (Recons don't actually tend to want to go back and live in the past.)
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Gilbride

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Quote from: Naomi J;149594
There are (quite a lot of) Celtic recons who call themselves that, and attempt to live up to the scholarly standard. There are groups that live out the principles. Not doing cattle raids, no, but attempting to keep to reconstructionist principles in a modern world. (Recons don't actually tend to want to go back and live in the past.)


There are definitely some Celtic Recons who try to create little groups modeled after Iron Age Irish social structures, complete with kings and all. They still don't do cattle raids, but I'm pretty sure that's because they don't own any cattle...

RandallS

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Quote from: OfThespiae;149593
But maybe I'm wrong, and there are people who really are that dedicated to re-enacting ad much of the ancient actionns as possible. If you personally know anyone who's sacrificed eve 100 heads of catle, feel free to share, cos I was under the impression that thisv is almost never how things actually work.

While I've never ran into anyone who did, I have run into some who thought one should. In other words, I have encountered a few Pagan recons who believe that ancient culture is inseparable from ancient religion and that to really do recon religions one must recreate both. In my experience, folks like this tend to be somewhat more common in Recon groups with strong "nationalist" agendas.
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SunflowerP

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Quote from: OfThespiae;149593
I have my suspicions on how this trend of "I'm not a strict recon / I'm recon, but you know, not Big-R Recon" came from, and it just kind of bothers me, the idwa that in barely over three years this so-and-so put his d--- in the mashed potatoes, so to speak, that now we have not only younger or otherwise newer-to-the-community sorts who are completely confused about what religious reconstruction actually is, but even people who have been around almost as long as I have are now hesitant to refer to their practise as "recon". Especially as, if I'm right about how this started, he actually did state several times (including in his books!) that modern innovations and substitutions were necessary --it's just that every time he'd have a falling-out with someone (which usually had nothing to do with religion), he'd somehow denounce them as "not rwal recons" and if called on it, would cite modern innovations as why That Other Person is somehow guilty of double-plus-unrecon-think.

 
While my experience with recons is limited, not being one myself, I don't think I've ever met that Perfect Strict Recon. But I have seen a disturbing number of recons (not a majority, by any means, perhaps not even all that large a minority) who were prepared to use that tactic to disparage others who didn't practice in the exact way that the disparager thought they ought.

I've seen it in most of the major cultural polytheisms, and going back several years, so unless I've misunderstood the time frame you're describing, I don't think the person you speak of was the originator.

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Yei

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Quote from: OfThespiae;149593
I've been a Hellenic recon for going on eight or nine years now, and I have to say that I have never seen someone describe their practice as "reconstructionist" but claim they never use modern innovations or substitutions, when necessary. I'm starting to get the impression, I'd even argue that I've been sensing this a few years, now, that such people don't actually exist --and yet I keep seeing, again and again, that people feel compelled to specify that they "aren't recon in the strictest terms", as if the methodology required strictest adherence to doing things "exactly" as they were done in the BCE, rather than a methodology that, when it was first explained to me, almost a decade ago, now, seemed quite the opposite --that it relied on innovation, improvisation, and filling in the gaps where necessary to maintain a practise that would be both recognisable as derived from ancient practises, but making use of modern technology, equipment, and relevant to certain modern concerns, creating something both ancient and modern.

I have my suspicions on how this trend of "I'm not a strict recon / I'm recon, but you know, not Big-R Recon" came from, and it just kind of bothers me, the idwa that in barely over three years this so-and-so put his d--- in the mashed potatoes, so to speak, that now we have not only younger or otherwise newer-to-the-community sorts who are completely confused about what religious reconstruction actually is, but even people who have been around almost as long as I have are now hesitant to refer to their practise as "recon". Especially as, if I'm right about how this started, he actually did state several times (including in his books!) that modern innovations and substitutions were necessary --it's just that every time he'd have a falling-out with someone (which usually had nothing to do with religion), he'd somehow denounce them as "not rwal recons" and if called on it, would cite modern innovations as why That Other Person is somehow guilty of double-plus-unrecon-think.

Tl,dr version: I think this idea of some ultra-strict recon is a strawperson that doesn't actually exist, because if it did, well, we'd already know about it. We'd know about people who sacrifice entire hekatombs of cattle, whose pubescent daughters sacrifice their menarchal rags to Artemis, and who are arranging marriages for their fifteen-year-old daughter, complete with a fake kidnapping by her betrothed. Because these people apparently don't actually exist, then either there are a lot more recons than there are people who admit to it, *or* there are no "real" recons, and since religious reconstruction is a methodology more than an ideaology, the latter option is patently absurd.

But maybe I'm wrong, and there are people who really are that dedicated to re-enacting ad much of the ancient actionns as possible. If you personally know anyone who's sacrificed eve 100 heads of catle, feel free to share, cos I was under the impression that thisv is almost never how things actually work.

 
I think you are taking the 'reconstruction' in reconstructionism too seriously. I believe I've said something like this before. The main point of Reconstructionism is not to return to the past, but to recreate old religions and philosophies in a modern context that are still linked with their antecedents.

I think the trouble is that most people mistake technology and fashion for culture and philosophy, which are relatively timeless.

Micheál

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Quote from: OfThespiae;149593

I have my suspicions on how this trend of "I'm not a strict recon / I'm recon, but you know, not Big-R Recon" came from, and it just kind of bothers me, the idwa that in barely over three years this so-and-so put his d--- in the mashed potatoes, so to speak, that now we have not only younger or otherwise newer-to-the-community sorts who are completely confused about what religious reconstruction actually is, but even people who have been around almost as long as I have are now hesitant to refer to their practise as "recon". Especially as, if I'm right about how this started, he actually did state several times (including in his books!) that modern innovations and substitutions were necessary --it's just that every time he'd have a falling-out with someone (which usually had nothing to do with religion), he'd somehow denounce them as "not rwal recons" and if called on it, would cite modern innovations as why That Other Person is somehow guilty of double-plus-unrecon-think.
If your suspicion is true, and the person is who I think it is as well, even though he stated such in his books, would refute it in conversations elsewhere. I must say even being an outsider to that community, that it's hard to take someone not opposed to modern innovations seriously who says things like, (him being an American too), not even Greek nations have the right to call themselves 'Hellenic' unless they worship their pre-Christian gods, or that people who practise reiki or yoga seculalrly haven't the right to in good faith call themselves Reconstructionists. Regardless to what people actually think of that, in my view at least, for anyone living in a modern western society it sounds a bit radical, and extremist,  so I can understand where this 'hard-line' stereotype comes from.

Well...luckily a lot of that online dialogue has vanished in cyberspace, for the better, and hopefully opening up, and having more recent ones, will help clear up those misconceptions.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2014, 09:24:28 am by Micheál »

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