Monday, 29 August 2011

Some changes and tweaking

With the kids back at school and some time to myself again, I've started concentrating on writing and research in my spare time again. I spent most of the summer trying to come up with some ideas of what to do next but nothing's really inspired me yet. Instead, I kept coming back to the idea of cleaning up what's already there; some of the older stuff on the website is in need of tidying up and redoing, especially in light of the progress I've made elsewhere, and I decided that some reorganisation was in order, too.

Since I started on this incarnation of the website in 2008 I've added quite a lot of articles and it's getting really unwieldy. There's not really much I can do about that right now, but after the latest slew of articles focusing on the gods, spirits and ancestors, I've kept thinking they need to organised a little better so I've finally split them off from the Cosmology section where I originally stuck them, and put them in their own section titled 'Gods'. I've also moved my old dissertation on the Dagda, and the article on the Cailleach into that section, seeing as they come under that heading too.

The biggest changes are in the Introduction section, though. As time goes by my thoughts on certain things are solidifying, I suppose, and lurking around various parts of the internet as I do I've seen some questions come up repeatedly. I've also seen some comments on what I've already written (and have been 'accused' of being American on one site, which amused me greatly. I'm not sure which amuses me more, though - whether it's because it seemed like that would be a bad thing, or because they decided I 'sound' American...) and some good points were made, so I decided to expand on the 'Celtic' Reconstructionism? article to address those. Some of it's just trying to clarify or explain things a bit better. Some of it I've added in to try and address the questions I see popping up a lot - like the differences between CR and Druidry.

The Scottish Reconstructionism article that followed on from 'Celtic Reconstructionism' has now been renamed and reworked a little too. I decided to rename it to Gaelic Reconstructionist Polytheism to better reflect where I'm at right now (and had been thinking about doing it for a while) - a bit of a mouthful, but the 'reconstructionist' bit seemed necessary to distinguish it from other kinds of Gaelic Polytheisms that aren't reconstructionist, like Sinnsreachd. Terminology: It's complicated.

There are some minor tweaks to the next article that's still up there - How To Get Started - and for now there's another article I've taken down while I decide what to do with it...There's a lot more that needs doing over all, especially for the links section, but I need to figure out how I can do that properly.

As ever, comments are welcome...


Ancestral Celt said...

I look forward to seeing the changes you make, as an appreciative reader of both the site and your blog.

nefaeria said...

I look forward to seeing the changes too and any additions you make in the future.

In regards to changing "The Scottish Reconstruction" title to "Gaelic Reconstructionist Polytheism"...I am not sure if this is your reasoning, but I find that there is quite a big overlap for myself. I do try to turn to Irish sources first, and then Scottish if need be. Another GP I was speaking with recently find that they do this {their's is a Manx-based faith/practice} and they will turn to Scottish and sometimes Norse sources if need be too.

Anyhow, excuse the rambling. :)

Alison Leigh Lilly said...

I find your discussion of the difference between CR and Druidry really interesting, especially in light of a recent conversation I was just having on this same topic!

To me, the difference between CR and Druidry in the broadest sense is similar to the difference between Hinduism and Buddhism around the time when Buddhism was first evolving as a new tradition. In Hinduism at that time, the Brahmin had a specific role to play as a member of the priestly caste, and the religious practices of that caste were distinctly different from those of the rest of the population (which each had their own practices according to caste as well). Buddhism, on the other hand, embodied the idea that anyone - Brahmin or not - could attain to enlightenment, and so it was inherently more egalitarian in both structure and practice. The emphasis on the Middle Way and the Eightfold Path as core concepts in Buddhism is a good example of how that egalitarianism expressed itself.

And just as we call it "Buddhism" today not because everyone who practices Buddhism is a Buddha, but because each Buddhist strives towards the ideal or archetype of the Buddha - in modern Druidry, the Druid is not the title or rank attained, but the ideal or archetype that shapes the path.

Treasa said...

Looking good as always :) *runs off to email ya so we can catch up*

ditzydruid said...

Really looking forward to your upcoming work! Also, thanks for that aside that being an American CR isn't necessarily a bad thing! Although I consider myself a Druid in training, I embrace CR methodologies. I always feel put off when someone from my ancestors' lands say something negative about my nationality. My ancestors came from Ireland and Scotland! I have just as much right to study the old beliefs! Living in America brings its own complications to CR, and it no doubt has a different flavor than CR in Celtic nations, but we shouldn't be put down. said...

Hi! Looking forward to reading your stuff! I was wondering if you might be interested into contributing to an E-zine called Óðrœrir - It's a free, bi-annual publication by, for, and about those engaged in the reconstruction of the world views of the indigenous pre-Christian cultures of Europe.

We recently made our first issue available, which can be downloaded from our site, here:

At this point the magazine has a very Norse/Germanic flavor, but it was never meant to be expressly Norse Germanic - I myself have Scottish and Irish ancestry as well as Danish and consequently my own reconstruction efforts are as much Celtic as they are Germanic - but I do not speak only for myself when I say we'd LOVE to see the results of reconstructionist methodology employed by folks in CR.

Seren said...

@Nefaeria - Yes, that's pretty much it in a nutshell. I've been using GRP for myself for a while and it seemed pointless keeping on with 'Scottish Reconstructionism' when I think all sources only pointed to me anyway! I felt it was just confusing matters, not changing it.

@DitzyDruid - A lot of the time it's more a friendly sort of rivalry, looking down on other nations is a very British thing to do (and we'll take it as much as we give it), and usually there's no harm in it. There is a good dose of anti-American sentiment as well, though, and it's difficult to tell the difference between the two when you only see it being said on the internet.

Seren said...

Hello Alison!

Thanks for the link, it's a great discussion and there's a lot to chew on there. I've been chewing on it for a few days. It's good to see some balanced discussion and critiques of CR, and I think you make some good points.

I've seen a fair bit of discussion of Druidry and CR, but it's mostly been from a Druid perspective and I don't think I've seen anything in print that really seems to *get* CR (that accords with my view of it, anyway); usually it's a comparison between 'neo-Druids' and Reconstructionist Druids rather than CR as a whole (the latter two generally being conflated). I wouldn't say I've done any better, but I'm hoping it explains a CR view of things a bit ;)

I think it's safe to say that at the end of the day CR might take a more limited (and perhaps literal) view of what Druids are, or were, and how they might fit into the modern day. I see what you're saying with the comparison between Hinduism and Buddhism, and broadly speaking I agree. I think, however, that it's difficult for me to really fit CR and Druidry within a comparative view in a similar way because there are so many different types of Druids out there - some see it as a religion, others as a philosophy, some are Christian, some are pagan...Some emphasise history and research, whereas others take a more holistic approach (as it were) and don't really focus on the historical view of druidry but try to revive the spirit of it instead. Some - like the ADF hearth cultures - don't even necessarily practice it in a Celtic context. That makes it all a very nebulous thing to me, in a way, and much harder to define.