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Author Topic: Druidry vs Celtic Recon? What am I possibly?  (Read 4784 times)

Heart&Mind

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Druidry vs Celtic Recon? What am I possibly?
« on: September 24, 2014, 08:37:11 am »
I've been looking into the traditions of the ancient Celts and feel a emerging connection with the gods of Ireland's past. It doesn't hurt that A.) I'm of Irish descent and B.), like many others have pointed out, there are many parallels between Celtic traditions and Hinduism (I've identified as Hindu for a while).

However, I still don't quite know the differences between Druidry and Druid-ism/Celtic Polytheism.

With that in mind:

1.) What is it that differentiates Druidry from Celtic polytheism or Druid-ism?

2.) Can one identify as a Celtic Polytheist, without the label of NeoPagan or Recon?

3.) Is it "Kosher" for one to identify as a Druid or Polytheist, but also, say, follow Buddhist philosophy as well? Or any other philosophy for that matter?

4.) Since this is not a magic based or Wiccan path, there is no magic work, correct? However, do Celtic Recons/Druids still work with the forces of Nature? Like calling on spirits, revering the seasons, etc.?

5.) What are some Druid organizations to contact? So far, I've e-mailed the OBOD and the Henge of Keltria.


As far as my theology goes (just for letting everyone know):

1.) Like my signature says, I'm a Pen(en)theist. I believe the divine manifests itself in nature.

2.) Nature, in return, carries the essence of the gods and spirits. Sort of, like, Medium polytheism; rather than Hard or Soft.

3.) Magic is not important to me, but I do think working with nature/the elements itself is.

4.) As such, while I recognize the beauty of nature, I also recognize the ugly side of it as well.

5.) Some ritual is nice, but an ethical way of living is more important.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 08:38:25 am by Heart&Mind »
God, as we call it, is the divine manifesting itself in nature; which itself carries the essence of the gods and spirits.

Mountain Cat

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Re: Druidry vs Celtic Recon? What am I possibly?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2014, 05:04:08 pm »
Quote from: Heart&Mind;160116

3.) Is it "Kosher" for one to identify as a Druid or Polytheist, but also, say, follow Buddhist philosophy as well? Or any other philosophy for that matter?

I can answer a few of these.

If you are following OBOD, yes it is fine to follow just about any other philosophy you would like, that works for you. When I was looking at ADF, they are more recon based and didn't include a lot of other philosophies, outside their Hearth Cultures. Someone else, or ADF themselves, will explain this better.

Quote
4.) Since this is not a magic based or Wiccan path, there is no magic work, correct? However, do Celtic Recons/Druids still work with the forces of Nature? Like calling on spirits, revering the seasons, etc.?

There is a magical path in OBOD, but I haven't figured out what it is yet. I haven't signed up with them yet, but I think I will soon.

Quote
5.) What are some Druid organizations to contact? So far, I've e-mailed the OBOD and the Henge of Keltria.

ADF: https://www.adf.org/

BDO: http://www.druidry.co.uk/

AODA: http://www.aoda.org/

There are more listed in the Religious SIG section.


Quote
As far as my theology goes (just for letting everyone know):

1.) Like my signature says, I'm a Pen(en)theist. I believe the divine manifests itself in nature.

2.) Nature, in return, carries the essence of the gods and spirits. Sort of, like, Medium polytheism; rather than Hard or Soft.

3.) Magic is not important to me, but I do think working with nature/the elements itself is.

4.) As such, while I recognize the beauty of nature, I also recognize the ugly side of it as well.

5.) Some ritual is nice, but an ethical way of living is more important.

Sounds Druid-y to me. :)
« Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 05:13:26 pm by Mountain Cat »

SunflowerP

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Re: Druidry vs Celtic Recon? What am I possibly?
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2014, 01:56:10 am »
Quote from: Heart&Mind;160116
However, I still don't quite know the differences between Druidry and Druid-ism/Celtic Polytheism.


I can't cover all of your questions, not being druidic myself, but I can answer some - or more accurately, in most cases, tell you where to find answers.

Quote
1.) What is it that differentiates Druidry from Celtic polytheism or Druid-ism?


Susan Reed's An Introduction to Modern Druid Groups discusses what's up with some groups and individuals using 'druidry' and others favoring 'druidism'. There's quite a bit of other good information there, comparing several major druid organizations, but keep in mind that the articles are between 6 and 10 years old (each page has a 'last updated' date at the bottom), and might not reflect the current situation.

The way you phrase your question implies that you're under the impression that the term 'druidism' refers to Celtic polytheism. That might just be a side effect of trying to figure out how to express this question, but I'll address it anyway, just in case.

Druidry/druidism is, collectively, inspired by the ancient druids - very little is definitely known about the ancient druids other than that they were an educated class (possibly the educated class) within many (probably most, perhaps all) ancient Celtic cultures. Because so little is known, those taking a druidic approach aren't attempting to reconstruct ancient druidry; some are more strongly informed/influenced by academic understandings of historic Celtic peoples and/or by reconstructions of Celtic polytheisms, and some are less strongly influenced, and look instead to the (ahistoric) Romantic conception of druids.

Celtic polytheism, on the other hand, is about the religious perspectives of Celtic peoples in general, not just about the druidic class. It ranges from those who are quite strict about using reconstructionist methodology ('recon' is a type of religion-building methodology, not a kind of religion itself), to those who draw on modern Celtic cultures as well as on scholarship about ancient preChristian ones, to those who retain the influences of Romanticism in greater or lesser degree.

(You can find some discussion of the difference between historic and Romantic in the archive-board thread There's Celtic, and then there's Celtic, if you're not sure what it is I'm pointing to when I talk about those things.)

Quote
2.) Can one identify as a Celtic Polytheist, without the label of NeoPagan or Recon?


That depends on what you mean by 'without':). You can certainly identify as a Celtic Polytheist, rather than having to choose only between Celtic Recon or Celtic (neo)Pagan. That doesn't mean that you're not still under the broader umbrella of the neoPagan movement (as is reconstructionism, whether Celtic or Hellenic or Kemetic or whatever, because the methodology developed within the movement - some argue that recon is now a distinct movement of its own and no longer neoPagan, but others, including some recons, disagree) - but you're not in any way obligated to use '(neo)Pagan' as an identity.

Quote
5.) What are some Druid organizations to contact? So far, I've e-mailed the OBOD and the Henge of Keltria.


As well as those provided by Mountain Cat, I'll add RDNA (mainly because they appear on most sites comparing various Druid organizations; I suspect these are not the druids you're looking for :)), NOD (which is new enough that it doesn't turn up in many comparison lists), and The Druid Network, which is not itself an order but a site allowing various orders and individuals to, as its name implies, network (check out its Resources pages).

As well as Susan Reed's comparison of druid groups listed above, there's a comparison in table form here of several major organizations (this one's current as of a few months ago, unlike Reed's or Jones's), and Mary Jones's site (a highly reputable scholarly Celtic resource) has an extensive (though not comprehensive - I'm not sure there's such a thing; there are many druid orgs) list of organizations (sadly out of date, so many of the links are broken, though the orgs are in many cases still operating).

Mountain Cat's mention of 'the Religious SIG section' refers specifically to our Neo-Druidry SIG. You might also be interested in Hazel & Oak, our Celtic Polytheism SIG. (There are also SIG forums for various other cultural polytheisms.)

Quote
2.) Nature, in return, carries the essence of the gods and spirits. Sort of, like, Medium polytheism; rather than Hard or Soft.

 
Just a bit of curiosity here. While I strongly agree that polytheism is not a rigid 'hard, or soft?' binary, but covers a range between those two points, and that 'medium polytheism' is entirely possible, I am not clear how this in particular represents a 'medium' position. Would you care to elaborate?

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Heart&Mind

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Re: Druidry vs Celtic Recon? What am I possibly?
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2014, 09:54:35 am »
Quote



 
Just a bit of curiosity here. While I strongly agree that polytheism is not a rigid 'hard, or soft?' binary, but covers a range between those two points, and that 'medium polytheism' is entirely possible, I am not clear how this in particular represents a 'medium' position. Would you care to elaborate?

Sunflower

 
Certainly. :)

I don't believe the Gods are literal, physical beings who look like what the statues or pictures depict. Likewise, I don't believe they are mere archetypes or manifestations of one greater source.

They exist in how nature exists, and nature carries the power and essence of the Gods.
God, as we call it, is the divine manifesting itself in nature; which itself carries the essence of the gods and spirits.

Naomi J

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Re: Druidry vs Celtic Recon? What am I possibly?
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2014, 10:29:06 am »
Quote from: Heart&Mind;160228
Certainly. :)

I don't believe the Gods are literal, physical beings who look like what the statues or pictures depict. Likewise, I don't believe they are mere archetypes or manifestations of one greater source.

They exist in how nature exists, and nature carries the power and essence of the Gods.

This is a fairly standard Modern Druidic position on the gods. (A term I generally use to mean British Druidry and Druidry that comes out of Britain, which is usually either revivialist or, more commonly now, post-revivalist.) I think you'd be very interested in OBOD and the British Druid Order.
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DavidMcCann

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Re: Druidry vs Celtic Recon? What am I possibly?
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2014, 12:44:59 pm »
Quote from: Heart&Mind;160116
3.) Is it "Kosher" for one to identify as a Druid or Polytheist, but also, say, follow Buddhist philosophy as well? Or any other philosophy for that matter?

Buddha taught the 4 Noble Truths:
1. Our experiences in this incarnation are the result of what we did in previous ones.
2. Human life is full of suffering and there is nothing of value in the material world.
3. We can escape suffering by ceasing to re-incarnate.
4. The answer of how to do that lies in the rules laid down by Buddha: the Noble Eightfold Path.

Personally, I'd say that for a pagan point (2) is a kosher as a ham sandwich! Pagan religions may believe in an end to incarnation — there's a Yoruba proverb "Life in this world is a journey, but the next world is home" — but rejection of the world is non-pagan.
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Naomi J

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Re: Druidry vs Celtic Recon? What am I possibly?
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2014, 01:36:39 pm »
Quote from: DavidMcCann;160243
Buddha taught the 4 Noble Truths:
1. Our experiences in this incarnation are the result of what we did in previous ones.
2. Human life is full of suffering and there is nothing of value in the material world.
3. We can escape suffering by ceasing to re-incarnate.
4. The answer of how to do that lies in the rules laid down by Buddha: the Noble Eightfold Path.

Personally, I'd say that for a pagan point (2) is a kosher as a ham sandwich! Pagan religions may believe in an end to incarnation — there's a Yoruba proverb "Life in this world is a journey, but the next world is home" — but rejection of the world is non-pagan.

Define 'non-Pagan'. Paganism is not solely earth-based religion. There are even aspects of modern Druidry that aren't.

I know a number of Buddhist Druids in OBOD, and it is not at all impossible to the reconcile the two. I would personally find it quite difficult to do, but it's certainly not impossible.
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SunflowerP

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Re: Druidry vs Celtic Recon? What am I possibly?
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2014, 11:22:14 pm »
Quote from: Heart&Mind;160228
Certainly. :)

I don't believe the Gods are literal, physical beings who look like what the statues or pictures depict. Likewise, I don't believe they are mere archetypes or manifestations of one greater source.

They exist in how nature exists, and nature carries the power and essence of the Gods.

 
Aha. I suppose that is the logical far extreme of hard polytheism, from a theoretical standpoint. In practice, few (if any) hard polytheists take the position that deities are physical beings; hardness of polytheism is mainly about them being distinct, individual non-corporeal entities.

(I'll note that at this point I'm just conversing about finer points of the concept, not disputing your characterization of your own position as 'medium', which sounds like an accurate assessment.)

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Redfaery

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Re: Druidry vs Celtic Recon? What am I possibly?
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2014, 08:16:36 am »
Quote from: DavidMcCann;160243
Buddha taught the 4 Noble Truths:
1. Our experiences in this incarnation are the result of what we did in previous ones.
2. Human life is full of suffering and there is nothing of value in the material world.
3. We can escape suffering by ceasing to re-incarnate.
4. The answer of how to do that lies in the rules laid down by Buddha: the Noble Eightfold Path.

Personally, I'd say that for a pagan point (2) is a kosher as a ham sandwich! Pagan religions may believe in an end to incarnation — there's a Yoruba proverb "Life in this world is a journey, but the next world is home" — but rejection of the world is non-pagan.

I'd also say that you are mischaracterizing the second of the four noble truths, as it is practiced by many Mahayana Buddhists. Form is emptiness: emptiness is form. The material world is a manifestation of the ultimate reality, though not ultimate reality itself. Most Mahayana schools hold to a strictly non-dualist approach to doctrine.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2014, 08:17:32 am by Redfaery »
KARMA: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

DavidMcCann

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Re: Druidry vs Celtic Recon? What am I possibly?
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2014, 12:41:05 pm »
Quote from: Naomi J;160250
Paganism is not solely earth-based religion. There are even aspects of modern Druidry that aren't. I know a number of Buddhist Druids in OBOD, and it is not at all impossible to the reconcile the two. I would personally find it quite difficult to do, but it's certainly not impossible.

I never said paganism is earth-based, but that it is not life-denying. And the FAQ of the OBOD says "There is no dogma in Druidry, which instead is characterised by the qualities of tolerance and an appreciation of diversity. For this reason people with widely differing approaches are members, from Pagans and Wiccans to Christians and Buddhists, and to those with no particular philosophy or religion." Note the bit about Christians: Druidry is not a pagan religion, as Philip Shallcrass has always said.

Quote from: Redfaery;160323
I'd also say that you are mischaracterizing the second of the four noble truths

The tradition says that Buddha, in his three journeys, was troubled by the sights of infirmity, sickness, and death. On the third night of his meditation under the fig-tree, he saw the answer to suffering: escape from incarnation. If you can't see that this makes life on earth a bad thing in Buddhism, then I give up: as you yourself say, never wrestle with a pig.
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Re: Druidry vs Celtic Recon? What am I possibly?
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2014, 01:03:54 pm »
Quote from: DavidMcCann;160395
I never said paganism is earth-based, but that it is not life-denying. And the FAQ of the OBOD says "There is no dogma in Druidry, which instead is characterised by the qualities of tolerance and an appreciation of diversity. For this reason people with widely differing approaches are members, from Pagans and Wiccans to Christians and Buddhists, and to those with no particular philosophy or religion." Note the bit about Christians: Druidry is not a pagan religion, as Philip Shallcrass has always said.

Bollocks. Modern British Druidry is ABSOLUTELY a Pagan religion. It irritates me when people say that who have rarely or never met a modern Druid. It's a statement that tends to be based on reading things and hearing things, but not actually experiencing Druidry. Shallcrass can have all the opinions he likes. He doesn't speak for the whole of Druidry.

But regardless, you yourself  just answered a question about Druidry by saying that Pagans can't be Buddhists. Reread the question. Which is about OBOD.
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Re: Druidry vs Celtic Recon? What am I possibly?
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2014, 01:04:14 pm »
Quote from: DavidMcCann;160395
The tradition says that Buddha, in his three journeys, was troubled by the sights of infirmity, sickness, and death. On the third night of his meditation under the fig-tree, he saw the answer to suffering: escape from incarnation. If you can't see that this makes life on earth a bad thing in Buddhism, then I give up: as you yourself say, never wrestle with a pig.


That is incredibly insulting and condescending.

I was not arguing a point with you. Your facts are flat-out wrong. Buddhist doctrine consists of more than just the life story of the Buddha himself. The Mahayana school is non-dualistic. That is a FACT. It is not up for argument. Furthermore, not all Buddhist schools see Nirvana as the be-all, end-all of practice. Tendai emphasizes that all beings are capable of Buddhahood, as per the Lotus Sutra. That is also a FACT.

If you have taken offense at my signature line, I apologize. However, please take the fact that I am continuing this conversation with you as a sign that I believe you are intelligent enough to realize that I am stating FACTS and not my own opinion.
KARMA: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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Re: Druidry vs Celtic Recon? What am I possibly?
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2014, 03:29:14 pm »
Quote from: Heart&Mind;160116
I've been looking into the traditions of the ancient Celts and feel a emerging connection with the gods of Ireland's past. It doesn't hurt that A.) I'm of Irish descent and B.), like many others have pointed out, there are many parallels between Celtic traditions and Hinduism (I've identified as Hindu for a while).


The ancient faith of the Celtic peoples and Hindu will have some similarities because the ancient Celts still had a form of the older faith (animism, basically) and you will notice the many similarities the animistic faiths in East Asia and the Indian subcontinent share very many similarities.

Quote
However, I still don't quite know the differences between Druidry and Druid-ism/Celtic Polytheism.


Well, for one: there is no actual Druidry today. Druidism is lost to the mists of time, unfortunately. Most people today take the romantic idea of the Druid and basically kind of roleplay one. The people who do that would probably not be comfortable with what the Druids of the past actually did (ritual sacrifice of humans and animals, etc).

Also, to call a religion based on Celtic mythology 'Druidism' would be like calling Christianity 'Popism' or 'Priestism'.

Quote
With that in mind:

1.) What is it that differentiates Druidry from Celtic polytheism or Druid-ism?


Aside from the people playing Druid today, Celtic polytheism is basically what it says on the box- worshipping the various Celtic deities.

Quote
2.) Can one identify as a Celtic Polytheist, without the label of NeoPagan or Recon?


Recons don't usually like neopagans because of the general lack of respect given to the cultures they take their ideas from (it's not the case with all neopagans, thankfully).

Recons are basically people trying to reconstruct the ancient Celtic faiths, so you could basically call it Celtic polytheism as well, but you don't have to be a recon to be a Celtic polytheist.

Quote
3.) Is it "Kosher" for one to identify as a Druid or Polytheist, but also, say, follow Buddhist philosophy as well? Or any other philosophy for that matter?


That would be disrespectful to the Celtic traditions, if not done carefully. Look at how Shinto and Buddhism interacted and coexisted in Japan. They're still different and have their own beliefs but haven't truly mixed with each other.

Quote
4.) Since this is not a magic based or Wiccan path, there is no magic work, correct? However, do Celtic Recons/Druids still work with the forces of Nature? Like calling on spirits, revering the seasons, etc.?


I don't know, do you still want to do magical things? Anyone can do magic. There's no restriction on who and who can't do it.

Also, I wouldn't call it the 'forces of nature' exactly (mostly do to connotations rather than what it literally means).

Quote
5.) What are some Druid organizations to contact? So far, I've e-mailed the OBOD and the Henge of Keltria.


Eh...


Quote
As far as my theology goes (just for letting everyone know):

1.) Like my signature says, I'm a Pen(en)theist. I believe the divine manifests itself in nature.


Check out the wiki article on animism. I think you'd really like it.

Quote
2.) Nature, in return, carries the essence of the gods and spirits. Sort of, like, Medium polytheism; rather than Hard or Soft.


Check out animism.

Quote
3.) Magic is not important to me, but I do think working with nature/the elements itself is.


If the divine manifests itself in nature, wouldn't that be magical to you (in your own words)?

Quote
4.) As such, while I recognize the beauty of nature, I also recognize the ugly side of it as well.


Nature is neither good nor evil (I actually do not recognise such a dichotomy in my theological ideas). Nature is what it is, basically.

Quote
5.) Some ritual is nice, but an ethical way of living is more important.

 
What is ethical to you?

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Re: Druidry vs Celtic Recon? What am I possibly?
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2014, 03:36:24 pm »
Quote from: Maponos;162000
Well, for one: there is no actual Druidry today. Druidism is lost to the mists of time, unfortunately. Most people today take the romantic idea of the Druid and basically kind of roleplay one. The people who do that would probably not be comfortable with what the Druids of the past actually did (ritual sacrifice of humans and animals, etc).

This is extremely dismissive of modern Druidry of various kinds. I wouldn't call either of my Druid traditions 'roleplaying'. And everyone in both of my Druid orders knows enough of the history of modern Druidry to understand that we're not working with an unbroken lineage from the ancient Druids. We're perfectly well-informed about where our tradition comes from. Which is actually quite a long way back, in the case of romantic Druidry. Further back than most neopagan movements actually.
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Re: Druidry vs Celtic Recon? What am I possibly?
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2014, 03:44:52 pm »
Quote from: Maponos;162000
The ancient faith of the Celtic peoples and Hindu will have some similarities because the ancient Celts still had a form of the older faith (animism, basically) and you will notice the many similarities the animistic faiths in East Asia and the Indian subcontinent share very many similarities.

 
Wait.  THE older faith?  as in, ONE?

Seems to me there's absolutely no proof at all that there ever was such a thing.

Not all animisms are created equal, after all.

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