Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism: Wikis

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The triple spiral is one of the main symbols of Celtic Reconstructionism[1]

Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism (also Celtic Reconstructionism or CR) is a polytheistic, animistic, religious and cultural movement. It is an effort to reconstruct and revive, in a modern Celtic cultural context, pre-Christian Celtic religions.

Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism originated in discussions among amateur scholars and Neopagans in the mid 1980s, and evolved into an independent tradition by the early 1990s. CR represents a polytheistic reconstructionist approach to Celtic Neopaganism, emphasising historical accuracy over eclecticism such as is found in Neo-druidism. Currently, "Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism" (CR) is an umbrella term, with a number of recognized sub-traditions or denominations.[2]

Contents

Origins

As modern Paganism grew in scope and cultural visibility, some Americans of European heritage saw the pre-Christian religions of their ancestors as being worthy of revival, and the study of mythology and folklore as a way to accomplish this.[3] While most Neodruid groups of the period were primarily interested in "revitalizing the spirit of what they believe was the religious practice of pre-Roman Britain", the Celtic Reconstructionists focused on only "reconstructing what can be known from the extant historical record."[4]

According to the authors of the CR FAQ the people who went on to establish CR were involved in Pagan groups in the 1970s and 1980s. Often these groups contained many Celtic elements that eventually found their way into core CR practice. Much of the dialogue in the 1980s took place at workshops and discussions at Neopagan festivals and gatherings, as well as in the pages of Neopagan publications.[5] This period, and these groups, are referred to in retrospect as "Proto-CR".[6][5] Later, with the establishment of the Internet in the late eighties and early nineties, many of these Proto-CR, or early CR, groups and individuals came together online. This began a period of increased communication, and led to the growth of the movement.[5][7]

The first appearance in print of the term "Celtic Reconstructionist", used to describe a specific religious movement and not just a style of Celtic Studies, was by Kym Lambert ní Dhoireann in the Spring, 1992 issue of Harvest Magazine.[8][9] Ní Dhoireann credits Kathryn Price NicDhàna with originating the term “Celtic Reconstructionist”;[10] however, NicDhàna credits her early use of the term to a simple extrapolation of Margot Adler's use of the term "Pagan Reconstructionists" in the original, 1979 edition of Drawing Down the Moon.[11] Though Adler devotes space to a handful of Reconstructionist traditions, none of those mentioned are specifically Celtic.[12] In chapter eleven, while describing his Neo-druidic group, New Reformed Druids of North America (NRDNA), Isaac Bonewits uses the phrase "Eclectic Reconstructionist."[13] However, by the time CR became a recognized tradition, this pairing of terms had become oxymoronic; in the Pagan/polytheist communities, "Reconstructionist" had now come to mean traditions that specifically exclude "Eclecticism".[6][10][14]

With the growth of the Internet over the 1990s, hundreds of individuals and groups gradually joined the discussions online and in print, and the movement became more of an umbrella group, with a number of recognized sub-traditions.[7]

Practices

While the ancient Celtic religions were largely subsumed by Christianity,[15] many religious traditions have survived in the form of folklore, mythology, songs, and prayers.[6][16][17 ] Many folkloric practices never completely died out, and some CRs have survivals of Irish, Scottish or Welsh folkloric customs in their families of origin.[6][17 ][16]

Language study and preservation, and participation in other cultural activities such as Celtic music, dance and martial arts forms, are seen as a core part of the tradition.[6][18] Participation in the living Celtic cultures[19] - the cultures that survive in the "areas in which Celtic languages are actually spoken and in which Celtic traditions have been most faithfully handed down to the present day."[20] - is a vital part of their cultural work and spiritual practice.[19] The protection of Celtic archeological and sacred sites is important to CRs,[21] some of whom organized protests and rituals when construction of the N3 motorway in Ireland threatened to destroy archeological sites around the Hill of Tara.[21][22]

In order to more fully understand ancient Celtic religion, many CRs study archaeology, historical manuscripts, and comparative religion, primarily of Celtic cultures, but sometimes other European cultures, as well.[23] Celtic Reconstructionists are not pan-Celtic in practice, but rather immerse themselves in a particular Celtic culture, such as the Gaelic, Welsh or Gaulish. While they believe it is helpful to study a wide variety of Celtic cultures as an aid to religious reconstruction, and to have a broad understanding of religion in general, in practice these cultures are not lumped together.[6] In addition to cultural preservation and scholarly research Celtic Reconstructionists believe that mystical, ecstatic practices are a necessary balance to scholarship, and that this balance is a vital component in determining whether a tradition is CR.[24]

Many CRs view each act of daily life as a form of ritual, accompanying daily acts of purification and protection with traditional prayers and songs from sources such as the Scottish Gaelic Carmina Gadelica or manuscript collections of ancient Irish or Welsh poetry.[24] Celebratory, community rituals are usually based on traditional community celebrations as recorded in folkloric collections by authors such as Marian McNeill, Kevin Danaher or John Gregorson Campbell. These celebrations often involve bonfires, dances, songs, divination and children's games.[6] More formal or mystical CR rituals are often based on traditional techniques of interacting with the Otherworld, such as the act of making offerings of food, drink and art to the spirits of the land, ancestral spirits, and the Celtic deities. CRs give offerings to spirits throughout the year, but at Samhain, more elaborate offerings are made to specific gods and ancestors.[25]

The ancient Irish swore their oaths by the "Three Realms" - Land, Sea and Sky.[26] Based on this precedent, Gaelic CR ritual structures acknowledge the Land, Sea and Sky, with the fire of inspiration as a central force that unites the realms.[24] Many CRs maintain altars and shrines to their patron spirits and deities, often choosing to place them at outdoor, natural locations such as wells, streams, and special trees. Some CRs practice divination. Ogham is a favored method, as are folkloric customs such as the taking of omens from the shapes of clouds or the behaviour of birds and animals.[24]

While CRs strive to be as traditional as possible,[4] they openly acknowledge that some aspects of their religious practice are revivals and reconstructions. They state that these practices are based on cultural survivals, augmented with study of early Celtic beliefs found in texts and the work of scholars and archaeologists. Feedback from scholars and experienced practitioners is sought before a new practice is accepted as a valid part of a CR tradition.[27]

CRs believe it is important to lay aside elements of some ancient Celtic cultures which would be clearly inappropriate practices for a modern society. CRs strive to find ethical ways of integrating their historical findings and research with their daily lives.[27]

Terminology

NicDhàna and ní Dhoireann have stated that they coined the term "Celtic Reconstructionist / Celtic Reconstructionism (CR)" specifically to distinguish their practices and beliefs from those of eclectic traditions like Wicca and the Neo-druidism of the time.[6][10][28] With ní Dhoireann’s popularization of Celtic Reconstructionism in the Pagan press, and then the use of the term by these individuals and others on the Internet, “Celtic Reconstructionism” began to be adopted as the name for this developing spiritual tradition.[29][30][31]

While Celtic Reconstructionism was the earliest term in use, and still remains the most widespread, as the movement progressed other names for a Celtic Reconstructionist approach were also popularized, with varying degrees of success.[2]

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Pàganachd / Págánacht

Some CR groups have looked to Celtic languages for a more culturally specific name for the tradition, or for their branch of the tradition. There are groups who now described their traditions as Pàganachd ("Paganism, Heathenism" in Scottish Gaelic)[24] or the Irish version, Págánacht. [22] Some Gaelic-oriented groups use the two terms somewhat interchangeably,[32] or further modify these terms to describe the CR sub-tradition practiced by their particular group, such Pàganachd Bhandia (“Paganism of Goddesses”),[6][24] used by a Gaelic Reconstructionist group on the East Coast of the US.[6][24]

Gaelic Traditionalism

Some groups that take a Celtic Reconstructionist approach to Gaelic polytheism call themselves "Gaelic Traditionalists".[2] While there is agreement that a priority of Celtic Reconstructionism is to preserve the living traditions in Gaelic (and other Modern Celtic) communities, there has been some controversy around the use of the term "Gaelic Traditionalists" by groups outside of the Gaeltacht and Gàidhealtachd areas of Ireland, Scotland and Nova Scotia.[33] Part of this is because most "Gaelic Traditionalists" are actually Christians.[2] As Kym Lambert ní Dhoireann put it, "Gaelic Traditionalists" means "those living and raised in the living cultures and [who] are keeping their culture, language and music alive, not any of the American polytheistic groups that have been using it lately."[10] Due to those in the Gaelic-speaking areas having a prior claim to the term, some CRs have been uncomfortable with the choice of other reconstructionists to call themselves "traditionalists".[2][33] While this disagreement over terminology has at times led to heated discussion, the polytheistic “traditionalists” and the “reconstructionists” are taking the same approach to their religion, and there are generally good relations between the founders of both movements.[33]

Senistrognata / Sinnsreachd

In the late 1990s, members of Imbas, a Celtic Reconstructionist organisation based in Seattle, began promoting the name Senistrognata,[34] which they say means "the ancestral customs of the Celtic peoples" in reconstructed Old Celtic.[35]

In 2006, An Cónaidhm na dTuath Gaelach, an American group that does not call themselves CR, began promoting the name Sinnsreachd (Scottish Gaelic) or Sinsearacht (Irish), which they say is the modern Gaelic equivalent of the term. However, Sinnsreachd and Sinsearacht actually mean "ancestry",[36][37][38] "seniority",[39] or "genealogy".[37][39]

Other

  • The Irish word for “polytheism”, Ildiachas, is in use by at least one group on the West Coast of the US as Ildiachas Atógtha (“reconstructed polytheism”).[34][40]
  • Aurrad, which came into use among members of the Nemeton mailing list in the mid 1990s,[41] means "person of legal standing in the túath"[42] in Old Irish.[43]
  • In January 2009, the Gaelic Polytheist organization Gaol Naofa began using the term Fálachus, which they claim translates to "the characteristics, connection or attachment to Fál" (Fál being an Old Irish name for Ireland), to refer to its tradition of Gaelic Polytheism.[44]
  • In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the CRs are calling themselves Celtoi, in masculine singular Celtos and in feminine singular Celta. This is the Proto-Celtic word for Celt.

Celtic Reconstructionism and Neo-druidism

Though there has been cross-pollination between Neo-druid and Celtic Reconstructionist groups, and there is significant crossover of membership between the two movements, the two have largely differing goals and methodologies in their approach to Celtic religious forms. Reconstructionists tend to look to the whole cultural matrix in which the religious ideas were formed, and place a high priority on authenticity and traditional practice, while most Neo-druids tend to prefer a Neopagan, eclectic approach, focusing on "the spirit of what they believe was the religious practice of pre-Roman Britain".[4]

However, some Neo-druid groups (notably, Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF), the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD), and Keltria) have more recently adopted similar methodologies of reconstruction, at least some of the time. ADF, in particular, has long used CR-type techniques, but many CRs criticize them for their pan-Indo-European scope, which may result in unusual combinations such as "Vedic druids" and "Roman druids".[45]

Philosophical differences exist as well, especially in terms of what "druid" means. Some Neo-druid groups call anyone with an interest in Celtic spirituality a "druid," and refer to the practice of any Celtic-inspired spirituality as "druidry," while CR groups usually use the older definition, seeing "druid" as a culturally-specific office that requires decades of training and experience, which is only attained by a small number of practitioners, and which must be conferred and confirmed by the community the druid serves.[46][47]

See also

References

  1. ^ Bonewits, Isaac (2006) Bonewits's Essential Guide to Druidism. New York, Kensington Publishing Group ISBN 0-8065-2710-2. p.132: [Among Celtic Reconstructionists] "...An Thríbhís Mhòr (the great triple spiral) came into common use to refer to the three realms." Also p. 134: [On CRs] "Using Celtic symbols such as triskeles and spirals"
  2. ^ a b c d e Bonewits (2006) p.137: "There are, by the way, groups of people who call themselves "Gaelic Traditionalists" who have a great deal in common with the Celtic Recons. Some of these GTs started off as CRs, but consider themselves different for some reason or another (usually political). Others are Catholics looking to restore old (but Christian) Gaelic customs. ... The key with understanding these terms, or others such as Celtic Restorationism, Neo-Celtism, Senistrognata, Seandagnatha, Ildiachas/Iol-Diadhachas, etc. is to find out what each person using them intends them to mean."
  3. ^ Adler, Margot (1986). Drawing down the moon: witches, Druids, goddess-worshippers, and other pagans in America today. Boston: Beacon Press. pp. 233. ISBN 0-8070-3253-0.  
  4. ^ a b c Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael (2006). Introduction to new and alternative religions in America. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. pp. 178. ISBN 0275987132.  
  5. ^ a b c NicDhàna, Kathryn Price; Erynn Rowan Laurie, C. Lee Vermeers, Kym Lambert ní Dhoireann, et al. (2007). The CR FAQ — An Introduction to Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism (first ed.). River House Publishing. pp. 19–20. ISBN 978-0-6151-5800-6.  
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Varn, C. Derick (December 2006). ""An Interview with Kathryn Price NicDhàna: Celtic Reconstructionism"". The Green Triangle. Archived from the original on 2008-01-21. http://web.archive.org/web/20080121111204/http://www.thegreentriangle.com/Dec%2006/Interview%20with%20Kathryn%20Price%20NicDhana.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-01.  
  7. ^ a b Bonewits (2006) p.131, "The Celtic Reconstructionist (CR) movement among Pagans began in the 1980s, with discussions among amateur scholars in the pages of Pagan publications or on the computer bulletin boards of the pre-Internet days. In the early 1990s, the term began to be used for those interested in seriously researching and recreating authentic Celtic beliefs and practices for modern Pagans."
  8. ^ Lambert, Kym [K.L. ní Dhoireann] (1992) "Celtic God/Goddess Names", Harvest, Southboro, MA, Vol. 12, No. 4, Spring Equinox 1992, pp. 11-12. First use of "Celtic Reconstructionist" as tradition name.
  9. ^ Lambert, Kym [K.L. ní Dhoireann] (1992) Book Reviews, Bio Blurbs, Harvest, Southboro, MA, Vol. 12, No. 5, Beltane 1992, pp. 6,8. Continued use of "Celtic Reconstructionist" and "Celtic Reconstructionism". Use of term continued in succeeding issues for full publication run of magazine.
  10. ^ a b c d Varn, C. D. (February 2007). ""An Interview with Kym Lambert"". The Green Triangle. Archived from the original on 2008-01-21. http://web.archive.org/web/20080121111159/http://www.thegreentriangle.com/2007_01/Interview_Lambert.html. Retrieved 2009-10-01.  
  11. ^ Theatana, Kathryn [K.P. NicDhàna] (1992) "More on Names", Harvest, Southboro, MA, Vol. 12, No. 3, Imbolc 1992, pp. 11-12. On need to reconstruct traditions of ancestral [Celtic] deities and avoid cultural appropriation.
  12. ^ Adler, Margot (1979) Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today. Boston, Beacon Press ISBN 0-8070-3237-9. Chapter 9: Religions from the Past--The Pagan Reconstructionists.
  13. ^ Adler (1979) Chapter 11: Religions of Paradox and Play, p.303, Bonewits on New Reformed Druids of North America (NRDNA) as "Eclectic Reconstructionist".
  14. ^ McColman (2003) p.51: "Such reconstructionists are attempting, through both spiritual and scholarly means, to create as purely Celtic a spirituality as possible."
  15. ^ Sjoestedt, Marie-Louise (1949, 2000). Celtic Gods and Heroes. Dover Publications. pp. 3. ISBN 0-486-41441-8.  
  16. ^ a b Danaher, Kevin (1972). The Year in Ireland. Dublin, Ireland: Mercier Press. pp. 11, 12. ISBN 1-85635-093-2.  
  17. ^ a b Nagy, Joseph Falaky (1985). The wisdom of the outlaw: the boyhood deeds of Finn in Gaelic narrative tradition. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 2. ISBN 0-520-05284-6.  
  18. ^ McColman (2003) p.51: "Many Celtic reconstructionists stress the importance of learning a Celtic language, like Irish or Welsh,"
  19. ^ a b NicDhàna et al. [August 2007] pp.21-23, 27, 28
  20. ^ Kennedy, Michael (November, 2002). Gaelic Nova Scotia: An Economic, Cultural, and Social Impact Study. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada: Nova Scotia Museum Publications. pp. 12, 13. ISBN 0-88871-774-1.  : "In developing their own concept of Druidry, no reference was made by the [romantic] revivalists to the native spiritual and intellectual traditions of living Celtic communities — particularly to bards and priests who would have been the closest modern inheritors of any modern druidic tradition, slight as it may have been." ... "Although the [romantic "druidic" revival] movement has continued to grow ... it is still almost entirely absent from areas in which Celtic languages are actually spoken and in which Celtic traditions have been most faithfully handed down to the present day. As Prof. Donald Meek has pointed out, this process of romanticism and cultural redefinition is actually greatly assisted by ignorance of the minority group’s language." ... "The major reason that they tend to offer such a confused and contradictory picture of the “inherent” nature of Celts or Celtic culture is that they generally make no reference to existing Celtic communities, to living Celtic cultures, or to the best available Celtic scholarship. In fact, attempts to suggest that these should be the first sources of authority for the interpretation and representation of Celtic culture are often met with skepticism and even open hostility."
  21. ^ a b Nusca, Andrew (March 12-18, 2008), "Reconstructing Ireland at Home", Irish Voice 22 (11): S23  
  22. ^ a b NicDhàna, Kathryn; Raven nic Rhóisín (October 2007). ""I Stand with Tara: A Celtic Reconstructionist (Págánacht) ritual for the protection of the sacred center: the Tara-Skryne Valley in Ireland."". paganachd.com agus paganacht.com. http://www.paganachd.com/tara. Retrieved 2007-10-26.  
  23. ^ McColman, Carl (2003) Complete Idiot's Guide to Celtic Wisdom. Alpha Press ISBN 0-02-864417-4. p.12: "Some groups have gone even further, trying to use archaeology, religious history, comparative mythology, and even the study of non-Celtic Indo-European religions in an effort to create a well-researched and scholarly "reconstruction" of the ancient Celts."
  24. ^ a b c d e f g Erynn Rowan Laurie, Aedh Rua O'Morrighu, John Machate, Kathryn Price Theatana, Kym Lambert ní Dhoireann, Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism, in: Telesco, Patricia [editor] (2005) Which Witch is Which? Franklin Lakes, NJ, New Page Books / The Career Press ISBN 1-56414-754-1, p. 85-9.
  25. ^ "A to Z of Halloween". Limerick Leader (Limerick, Ireland). October 29, 2009. http://www.limerickleader.ie/features/A-to-Z-of-Halloween.5779425.jp. Retrieved 2009-11-01.  
  26. ^ Mac Mathúna, Liam (1999) "Irish Perceptions of the Cosmos" Celtica vol. 23 (1999), pp.174-187
  27. ^ a b Bonewits, Isaac (2006) Bonewits's Essential Guide to Druidism. New York, Kensington Publishing Group ISBN 0-8065-2710-2. p.132
  28. ^ McColman (2003) p.51: "While Celtic shamanism and Celtic Wicca are popular, not all people interested in finding a nature-based expression of Celtic spirituality feel comfortable with these multicultural forms of spirituality. A small but dedicated group of people, mostly neopagans, have formed a vibrant community in recent years devoted to reconstructing ancient Celtic pagan spirituality for the modern world."
  29. ^ Darcie (1992) "Book Review", Harvest, Southboro, MA, Vol. 12, No. 5, Beltane 1992, p. 8. Use of term by another writer: "I showed the Appendix to a Celtic reconstructionist friend..."
  30. ^ Hinds, Kathryn (1992) "Letters", Harvest, Southboro, MA, Vol. 12, No. 6, Summer 1992, p. 11. Use of term by a letter writer: "I am very curious about Kym Lambert's experiences, and I hope she will write more about her path of Celtic reconstructionism."
  31. ^ Lambert, Kym [K.L. ní Dhoireann] (1992) "Reviewers' Biographies", Harvest, Southboro, MA, Vol. 12, No. 8, Fall/Autumn Equinox 1992, p. 10. Use of term in bio blurb: "Kym Lambert is...now practicing Celtic Reconstructionism..."
  32. ^ "Pàganachd/Págánacht". paganachd.com agus paganacht.com. 2006. http://paganacht.com. Retrieved 2007-10-26.  
  33. ^ a b c NicDhàna, Kathryn Price; Erynn Rowan Laurie, C. Lee Vermeers, Kym Lambert ní Dhoireann, et al. (2007) [2007]. The CR FAQ — An Introduction to Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism (first ed.). River House Publishing. pp. 134–6. ISBN 978-0-6151-5800-6.  
  34. ^ a b Bonewits, Isaac (2006) Bonewits's Essential Guide to Druidism. New York, Kensington Publishing Group ISBN 0-8065-2710-2. p.137
  35. ^ ""Imbas"". imbas.org. 2000. http://www.imbas.org/imbas/index.html. Retrieved 2007-10-26.  
  36. ^ Robertson, Boyd; Ian McDonald (2004) [2004]. Gaelic Dictionary. Hodder Education, Teach Yourself Series. p. 106. ISBN 0-07-142667-1.  
  37. ^ a b MacLennan, Malcolm (1985) [1991]. A Pronouncing and Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language. Edinburgh: Acair/Aberdeen University Press. p. 300. ISBN 0-08-025712-7.  
  38. ^ MacBain, Alexander (1998) [1998]. Etymological Dictionary of Scottish-Gaelic. Hippocrene Books, Inc. New York, NY. p. 323. ISBN 0-7818-0632-1.  
  39. ^ a b Ó Dónaill, Niall (1992) [1992]. Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla. Éireann: Mount Salus Press. p. 1096. ISBN 1-85791-037-0.  
  40. ^ NicDhàna et al. [August 2007] p.177
  41. ^ Machate, John (1995). "Aurrad: Old Faith in a Modern World". thunderpaw.com. http://www.thunderpaw.com/neocelt/aurrad.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-26.  
  42. ^ Kelly, Fergus (1988) A Guide to Early Irish Law. Dublin, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies ISBN 0-901282-95-2. p.304
  43. ^ Kelly, Fergus (1988) A Guide to Early Irish Law. Dublin, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies ISBN 0-901282-95-2. p.323 "petty kingdom, territory, tribe; the laity"
  44. ^ "Gaol Naofa: About Us". www.gaolnaofa.org. http://www.gaolnaofa.org/about_us.html. Retrieved 2009-01-17.  
  45. ^ Bonewits (2006) Chapter 9, "Solitary Druids and Celtic Reconstructionists" pp.128-140.
  46. ^ Bonewits (2006) p.135: "But because the word druid is used by so many people for so many different purposes, Celtic Recons, even those who get called druids by their own communities, are reluctant to use the title for fear that others will equate them with folks they consider flakes, frauds or fools."
  47. ^ Greer, John Michael (2003) The New Encyclopedia of the Occult. St. Paul, Llewellyn Worldwide. ISBN 1-5671-8336-0. pp.139,140,410.

Further reading

Celtic Reconstructionism

  • Adler, Margot (1979) Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today
  • Bonewits, Isaac (2006) Bonewits's Essential Guide to Druidism. New York, Kensington Publishing Group ISBN 0-8065-2710-2 Chapter 9: "Celtic Reconstructionists and other Nondruidic Druids"
  • Fairgrove, Rowan (1994) What we don't know about the ancient Celts. Originally printed in The Pomegranate, 2. Now available online
  • Kondratiev, Alexei (1998) The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual. San Francisco, Collins. ISBN 1-898256-42-X (1st edition), ISBN 0-806-52502-9 (2nd edition). (Also reprinted without revision under the title Celtic Rituals.)
  • Laurie, Erynn Rowan (1995) A Circle of Stones: Journeys and Meditations for Modern Celts. Chicago, Eschaton. ISBN 1-57353-106-5
  • Laurie, Erynn Rowan (2007) Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom. Megalithica Books. ISBN 1905713029
  • McColman, Carl (2003) The Complete Idiot's Guide to Celtic Wisdom. Alpha Press ISBN 0-02-864417-4
  • NicDhàna, Kathryn Price; Erynn Rowan Laurie, C. Lee Vermeers, Kym Lambert ní Dhoireann, et al. (2007) The CR FAQ — An Introduction to Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism. River House Publishing. ISBN 978-0-6151-5800-6
  • Nusca, Andrew (March 12-18, 2008), "Reconstructing Ireland at Home", Irish Voice 22 (11): S23  
  • Telesco, Patricia [editor] (2005) Which Witch is Which? Franklin Lakes, NJ, New Page Books / The Career Press ISBN 1-56414-754-1, p. 85-9: "Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism"

Celtic polytheism and folklore

Celtic Reconstructionists rely on primary mythological texts, as well as surviving folklore, for the basis of their religious practices. No list can completely cover all the recommended works, but this is a small sample of sources used.

General Celtic
  • Evans Wentz, W. Y. (1966, 1990) The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries. Gerrards Cross, Colin Smythe Humanities Press ISBN 0-901072-51-6
  • MacCana, Proinsias (1970) Celtic Mythology. Middlesex, Hamlyn. ISBN 0-600-00647-6
  • MacKillop, James (1998) A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. Oxford, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280120-1
  • Rees, Alwyn and Brinley (1961) Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales. New York, Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27039-2
  • Sjoestedt, Marie-Louise (1982) Gods and Heroes of the Celts. Translated by Myles Dillon, Berkeley, CA, Turtle Island Foundation. ISBN 0-913666-52-1
Gaelic (Irish and Scottish)
  • Campbell, John Gregorson (1900, 1902, 2005) The Gaelic Otherworld. Edited by Ronald Black. Edinburgh, Birlinn Ltd. ISBN 1-84158-207-7
  • Carmichael, Alexander (1992) Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations (with illustrative notes on wards, rites, and customs dying and obsolete/ orally collected in the highlands and islands of Scotland by Alexander Carmichael). Hudson, NY, Lindisfarne. ISBN 0-940262-50-9
  • Clark, Rosalind (1991) The Great Queens: Irish Goddesses from the Morrigan to Cathleen ni Houlihan. Savage, MD, Barnes and Noble Books. ISBN 0-389-20928-7
  • Danaher, Kevin (1972) The Year in Ireland. Dublin, Mercier. ISBN 1-85635-093-2
  • Dillon, Myles (1994) Early Irish Literature. Dublin, Four Courts Press. ISBN: 1-85182-117-5
  • Gray, Elizabeth A (1982) Cath Maige Tuired: The 2nd Battle of Mag Tuired. Dublin, Irish Texts Society
  • McNeill, F. Marian (1959). The Silver Bough, Vol. 1-4. Glasgow, William MacLellan
  • Nagy, Joseph Falaky (1985) The Wisdom of the Outlaw: The Boyhood Deeds of Finn in Gaelic Narrative Tradition. Berkely, University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-05284-6
  • Patterson, Nerys Thomas (1994) Cattle Lords and Clansmen: The Social Structure of Early Ireland. Notre Dame, IN, University of Notre Dame Press (2nd edition) ISBN 0-268-00800-0
  • Power, Patrick C. (1976) Sex and Marriage in Ancient Ireland. Dublin, Mercier
  • Smyth, Daragh (1988, 1996) A Guide to Irish Mythology. Dublin, Irish Academic Press
  • Walsh, Brian (2002) The Secret Commonwealth and the Fairy Belief Complex. USA, Xlibris ISBN 1-4010-5545-1
Comparative European
  • Davidson, H.R. Ellis (1988) Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions. Syracuse, Syracuse University Press. ISBN 0-8156-2441-7
  • Epstein, Angelique Gulermovich (1998) War Goddess: The Morrígan and Her Germano-Celtic Counterparts. Los Angeles, University of California
  • Lincoln, Bruce (1991) Death, War, and Sacrifice: Studies in Ideology and Practice. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-48200-6

External links

Organisations
Online portals

Simple English

Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism, which is sometimes just called by its initials, "CR", is a religion. People who belong to the religion call themselves "Celtic Reconstructionists" or "Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans". Sometimes they just call themseleves "CRs".

The Celts were the people who lived long ago in many parts of Europe, but mainly in the countries of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Gaul (modern-day France). The Modern Celts are the people who live in those countries now, or whose ancestors lived there.

Like the ancient Celts did before them, CRs believe in many gods and goddesses. This is called "polytheism". They believe in spirits and ancestors, too, and they often honour them with rituals and offerings. Offerings to the spirits might be food, or songs, or poetry. CRs often learn the languages spoken by the Celts, if they do not speak them already. These languages include the Irish language, Scottish Gaelic, the Welsh language and others.

Celtic Reconstructionists are a type of Pagan Reconstructionist. Reconstructionists believe in practicing a religion that is from one culture. They are different from eclectic Pagans, who mix parts of different cultures together.[1][2]

Contents

How it started

Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism (CR) started in the 1980s, when people interested in the Celts and in Paganism were looking for an authentic religion. By the 1990s there were lots of CRs. Some of them met each other at Pagan gatherings, and later more people met each other on the Internet.[3][4]

The first person to write about being a "Celtic Reconstructionist Pagan" was Kym Lambert ní Dhoireann. She wrote this in the Spring, 1992 issue of Harvest Magazine.[5][6] She says she got the idea for the name from Kathryn Price NicDhàna, who had also written about it.[2][7] Margot Adler's 1979 book, Drawing Down the Moon has a chapter on "Pagan Reconstructionists", and Kathryn NicDhàna says this is probably where she got the idea, even though the book does not mention Celtic Reconstructionists, just other kinds.[8][9]

What Celtic Reconstructionists believe, and what they do

Celtic Reconstructionists base their religion on what we know of the Ancient Celtic people's religion, and also on Celtic folklore. They focus on a particular Celtic culture, such as the Gaelic Welsh or Gaulish. Many CRs are scholars, or mystics, though many believe it's important to be both. CRs read lots of books and do things like meditation, prayer, and rituals. CRs believe that honesty and honorable behaviour is important.[10][11][12]

Many CRs view each act of daily life as a form of ritual, and they accompany daily activities with traditional prayers, chants and songs from sources such as the Scottish Gaelic Carmina Gadelica or manuscript collections of ancient Irish or Welsh poetry.[12]

Community rituals are usually based on traditional community celebrations found in folkloric collections by authors such as Marian McNeill, Kevin Danaher or John Gregorson Campbell. These celebrations often involve bonfires, dances, songs, divination and children's games.[8] More formal or mystical CR rituals are often based on traditional techniques of interacting with the Otherworld, such as the act of making offerings of food, drink and art to the spirits of the land, ancestral spirits, and the Celtic deities. CR ritual structures are based on the ancient Celtic idea of the "Three Realms" - Land, Sea and Sky[13] - with the fire of inspiration seen as a central, uniting force.[12] Many CRs have altars and shrines to the spirits and deities they believe in. They may place these altars at outdoor, natural locations such as wells, streams, and special trees. Some CRs practice divination, such as the taking of omens from the shapes of clouds or the behaviour of birds and animals.[12][3][8]

Other names for Celtic Reconstructionists

While Celtic Reconstructionism was the earliest name in use, and is still used the most often, other names for a Celtic Reconstructionist approach have also come into use, with varying degrees of success.[14]

Pàganachd / Págánacht

Some CR groups have looked to Celtic languages for a more culturally specific name for the tradition, or for their branch of the tradition. There are groups who now described their traditions as Pàganachd ("Paganism, Heathenism" in Scottish Gaelic)[12] or the Irish version, Págánacht.[15][16] Some Gaelic-oriented groups use the two terms somewhat interchangeably,[17] or further modify these terms to describe the CR sub-tradition practiced by their particular group, such as Pàganachd Allaidh (“Wild Paganism”)[18] or Pàganachd Bhandia (“Paganism of Goddesses”),[12][8] both used by Gaelic Reconstructionist groups on the East Coast of the US.[18][12][8]

Senistrognata

In the late 1990's, members of Imbas, a Celtic Reconstructionist group in Seattle, began promoting the name Senistrognata,[19] which they say means "the ancestral customs of the Celtic peoples" in reconstructed Old Celtic.[20]

Other

  • The Irish word for “polytheism”, Ildiachas, is in use by at least one group on the West Coast of the US as Ildiachas Atógtha (“reconstructed polytheism”).[19][21]
  • Aurrad, which came into use among members of the Nemeton mailing list in the mid 1990's,[22] means "person of legal standing in the túath"[23] in Old Irish.[24]

Other pages

  • Celt
  • Celtic mythology
  • Celtic polytheism
  • Modern Celts
  • Polytheistic Reconstructionism
Festivals
  • Imbolc
  • Beltane
  • Lughnasadh
  • Samhain

References

  1. McColman (2003) p.51: "Such reconstructionists are attempting, through both spiritual and scholarly means, to create as purely Celtic a spirituality as possible."
  2. 2.0 2.1 Varn, C. D. (February 2007). ""An Interview with Kym Lambert"" (HTML). The Green Triangle. http://www.thegreentriangle.com/2007_01/Interview_Lambert.html. Retrieved 2007-02-04. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Laurie, Erynn; Kathryn NicDhàna, Aedh Rua Ó Mórríghan, Kym ní Dhoireann, John Machate (August 2003). ""Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism"" (HTML). WitchVox. http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usma&c=trads&id=6645. Retrieved 2007-11-05. 
  4. Bonewits (2006) p.131, "The Celtic Reconstructionist (CR) movement among Pagans began in the 1980s, with discussions among amateur scholars in the pages of Pagan publications or on the computer bulletin boards of the pre-Internet days. In the early 1990s, the term began to be used for those interested in seriously researching and recreating authentic Celtic beliefs and practices for modern Pagans."
  5. Lambert, Kym [K.L. ní Dhoireann] (1992) "Celtic God/Goddess Names", Harvest, Southboro, MA, Vol. 12, No. 4, Spring Equinox 1992, pp. 11-12. First use of "Celtic Reconstructionist" as tradition name.
  6. Lambert, Kym [K.L. ní Dhoireann] (1992) Book Reviews, Bio Blurbs, Harvest, Southboro, MA, Vol. 12, No. 5, Beltane 1992, pp. 6,8. Continued use of "Celtic Reconstructionist" and "Celtic Reconstructionism". Use of term continued in succeeding issues for full publication run of magazine.
  7. Theatana, Kathryn [K.P. NicDhàna] (1992) "More on Names", Harvest, Southboro, MA, Vol. 12, No. 3, Imbolc 1992, pp. 11-12. On need to reconstruct traditions of ancestral [Celtic] deities and avoid cultural appropriation.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Varn, C. Derick (December 2006). ""An Interview with Kathryn Price NicDhàna: Celtic Reconstructionism"" (HTML). The Green Triangle. http://www.thegreentriangle.com/Dec%2006/Interview%20with%20Kathryn%20Price%20NicDhana.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-09. 
  9. Adler, Margot (1979) Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today. Boston, Beacon Press ISBN 0-8070-3237-9. Chapter 9: Religions from the Past--The Pagan Reconstructionists.
  10. Bonewits, Isaac (2006) Bonewits's Essential Guide to Druidism. New York, Kensington Publishing Group ISBN 0-8065-2710-2. p.132
  11. McColman, Carl (2003) Complete Idiot's Guide to Celtic Wisdom. Alpha Press ISBN 0-02-864417-4. p.12: "Some groups have gone even further, trying to use archaeology, religious history, comparative mythology, and even the study of non-Celtic Indo-European religions in an effort to create a well-researched and scholarly "reconstruction" of the ancient Celts."
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 Erynn Rowan Laurie, Aedh Rua O'Morrighu, John Machate, Kathryn Price Theatana, Kym Lambert ní Dhoireann, Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism, in: Telesco, Patricia [editor] (2005) Which Witch is Which? Franklin Lakes, NJ, New Page Books / The Career Press ISBN 1-56414-754-1, p. 85-9.
  13. Mac Mathúna, Liam (1999) "Irish Perceptions of the Cosmos" Celtica vol. 23 (1999), pp.174-187
  14. Bonewits (2006) p.137: "There are, by the way, groups of people who call themselves "Gaelic Traditionalists" who have a great deal in common with the Celtic Recons. Some of these GTs started off as CRs, but consider themselves different for some reason or another (usually political). Others are Catholics looking to restore old (but Christian) Gaelic customs. ... The key with understanding these terms, or others such as Celtic Restorationism, Neo-Celtism, Senistrognata, Seandagnatha, Ildiachas/Iol-Diadhachas, etc. is to find out what each person using them intends them to mean."
  15. NicDhàna, Kathryn; Raven nic Rhóisín (October 2007). ""I Stand with Tara: A Celtic Reconstructionist (Págánacht) ritual for the protection of the sacred center: the Tara-Skryne Valley in Ireland."" (HTML). paganachd.com agus paganacht.com. http://www.paganachd.com/tara. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  16. "An Chuallacht Ghaol Naofa: The Fellowship of Sacred Kinship." (HTML). Gaol Naofa. 2007. http://www.gaolnaofa.org/index.html. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  17. "Pàganachd/Págánacht" (HTML). paganachd.com agus paganacht.com. 2006. http://paganacht.com. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 ní Dhoireann, Kym (2007). "Our Scottish Reconstructionist Path v. 3.0: Pàganachd Allaidh" (HTML). cyberpict.net. http://cyberpict.net/tns/what.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 Bonewits, Isaac (2006) Bonewits's Essential Guide to Druidism. New York, Kensington Publishing Group ISBN 0-8065-2710-2. p.137
  20. ""Imbas"" (HTML). imbas.org. 2000. http://www.imbas.org/imbas/index.html. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  21. NicDhàna et al. [August 2007] p.177
  22. Machate, John (1995). "Aurrad: Old Faith in a Modern World" (HTML). thunderpaw.com. http://www.thunderpaw.com/neocelt/aurrad.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  23. Kelly, Fergus (1988) A Guide to Early Irish Law. Dublin, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies ISBN 0-901282-95-2. p.304
  24. Kelly, Fergus (1988) A Guide to Early Irish Law. Dublin, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies ISBN 0-901282-95-2. p.323 "petty kingdom, territory, tribe; the laity"

More reading

Celtic Reconstructionism

  • Adler, Margot (1979) Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today
  • Bonewits, Isaac (2006) Bonewits's Essential Guide to Druidism. New York, Kensington Publishing Group ISBN 0-8065-2710-2 Chapter 9: "Celtic Reconstructionists and other Nondruidic Druids"
  • Fairgrove, Rowan (1994) What we don't know about the ancient Celts. Originally printed in The Pomegranate, 2. Now available online
  • Kondratiev, Alexei (1998) The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual. San Francisco, Collins. ISBN 1-898256-42-X (1st edition), ISBN 0-806-52502-9 (2nd edition) [also reprinted without revision under the title Celtic Rituals]
  • Laurie, Erynn Rowan (1995) A Circle of Stones: Journeys and Meditations for Modern Celts. Chicago, Eschaton. ISBN 1-57353-106-5
  • McColman, Carl (2003) The Complete Idiot's Guide to Celtic Wisdom. Alpha Press ISBN 0-02-864417-4
  • NicDhàna, Kathryn Price; Erynn Rowan Laurie, C. Lee Vermeers, Kym Lambert ní Dhoireann, et al. (2007) The CR FAQ - An Introduction to Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism. River House Publishing. ISBN 978-0-6151-5800-6
  • Telesco, Patricia [editor] (2005) Which Witch is Which? Franklin Lakes, NJ, New Page Books / The Career Press ISBN 1-56414-754-1, p. 85-9: "Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism"

Celtic polytheism and folklore

see|Celtic polytheism|Irish mythology|Scottish mythology|Welsh mythology}}

Celtic Reconstructionists rely on primary mythological texts, as well as surviving folklore, for the basis of their religious practices. No list can completely cover all the recommended works, but this is a small sample of sources used.

General Celtic
  • Evans Wentz, W. Y. (1966, 1990) The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries. Gerrards Cross, Colin Smythe Humanities Press ISBN 0-901072-51-6
  • MacCana, Proinsias (1970) Celtic Mythology. Middlesex, Hamlyn. ISBN 0-600-00647-6
  • MacKillop, James (1998) A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. Oxford, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280120-1
  • Rees, Alwyn and Brinley (1961) Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales. New York, Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27039-2
  • Sjoestedt, Marie-Louise (1982) Gods and Heroes of the Celts. Translated by Myles Dillon, Berkeley, CA, Turtle Island Foundation. ISBN 0-913666-52-1
Gaelic (Irish and Scottish)
  • Campbell, John Gregorson (1900, 1902, 2005) The Gaelic Otherworld. Edited by Ronald Black. Edinburgh, Birlinn Ltd. ISBN 1-84158-207-7
  • Carmichael, Alexander (1992) Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations (with illustrative notes on wards, rites, and customs dying and obsolete/ orally collected in the highlands and islands of Scotland by Alexander Carmichael). Hudson, NY, Lindisfarne. ISBN 0-940262-50-9
  • Clark, Rosalind (1991) The Great Queens: Irish Goddesses from the Morrigan to Cathleen ni Houlihan. Savage, MD, Barnes and Noble Books. ISBN 0-389-20928-7
  • Danaher, Kevin (1972) The Year in Ireland. Dublin, Mercier. ISBN 1-85635-093-2
  • Dillon, Myles (1994) Early Irish Literature. Dublin, Four Courts Press. ISBN 1-85182-117-5
  • Gray, Elizabeth A (1982) Cath Maige Tuired: The 2nd Battle of Mag Tuired. Dublin, Irish Texts Society
  • McNeill, F. Marian (1959). The Silver Bough, Vol. 1-4. Glasgow, William MacLellan
  • Nagy, Joseph Falaky (1985) The Wisdom of the Outlaw: The Boyhood Deeds of Finn in Gaelic Narrative Tradition. Berkely, University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-05284-6
  • Patterson, Nerys Thomas (1994) Cattle Lords and Clansmen: The Social Structure of Early Ireland. Notre Dame, IN, University of Notre Dame Press (2nd edition) ISBN 0-268-00800-0
  • Power, Patrick C. (1976) Sex and Marriage in Ancient Ireland. Dublin, Mercier
  • Smyth, Daragh (1988, 1996) A Guide to Irish Mythology. Dublin, Irish Academic Press
Comparative European
  • Davidson, H.R. Ellis (1988) Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions. Syracuse, Syracuse University Press. ISBN 0-8156-2441-7
  • Epstein, Angelique Gulermovich (1998) War Goddess: The Morrígan and Her Germano-Celtic Counterparts. Los Angeles, University of California
  • Lincoln, Bruce (1991) Death, War, and Sacrifice: Studies in Ideology and Practice. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-48200-6

Other websites

Organisations
  • Dùn Sgàthan (New Hampshire)
  • Gaol Naofa: Gaelic Polytheism Organisation (Florida)
  • IMBAS (Seattle, Washington)
  • New Tara: Diverse Celtic group which includes Reconstructionists (Toronto)
  • Macalla: Núcleo de Estudos e Pesquisas Celtas (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Online portals


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