Archive for July 10, 2014

Reconstructionism and American Culture

Sometimes I feel as if the Internet is more of a curse to our communit(ies) health and vitality than a blessing, but I do thing one huge benefit to it is being able make friends from other countries and learn from their points of view. I was reminded of this again reading Naomi’s blog today-

Sli na Firinne (The Way of Truth)

“Imbas is not the same as UPG. It is ‘inspiration’ – it’s closer in meaning to ‘awen’ in the Welsh. However, UPG is not a term that I recognise anymore. I didn’t come up with it, nor did my community. It’s not Gaelic or Brythonic. It’s also a very American phrase – I’ve never heard a British Pagan use it. And also, I’m starting to doubt that our ancestors would have needed a term like that. I suspect they went where the inspiration flowed, rather than forcing themselves to live by ‘lore’. They were not fundamentalists.”

UPG (Unverified or sometimes Unique Personal Gnosis) comes from the American Heathen/Asatru communit(ies)- some factions of which seem to have problem with the influence of Biblical literalism and fundamentalism. I hear a lot about Heathens who are “lore-thumpers” and argue about textual citations in a similar way to Christians. There are similar problems in other recon traditions. Some of us come from conservative Christian upbringings, and in general, our country was in part founded by religious dissidents who were very concerned with finding the One True Way of following God/Jesus- the Puritans were trying to “purify” the Church of England, but were persecuted as heretics so they came here. Then they persecuted other people but that’s another story…

I’ve noticed British and European Druids & Pagans tend to more relaxed about “going with the flow” (like awen/imbas) in following where their spirits lead them. Whereas I think reconstructionism has become a bigger thing in the U.S. because we feel lack a sense of legitimacy, because we don’t live in the lands of our traditions, and we feel disconnected. And then some of us think we know the “right” way and tell our fellows across the pond how to do things. We need to cut that out 🙂 Here is another post also by Leithin Cluan the gap in perspective of British and American style Druidry

Related Links (I don’t necessarily with everything said here, just more food for thought) 

A Caution Against Pagan Fundamentalism by Lupa

What Constitutes Pagan Fundamentalism? by Sarenth Odinsson

I’d like to highlight one of the commenters on the second piece (Myriad) was German and mentioned a difference in understanding of racism/sexism/homophobia etc. from a German vs. American view. 

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July 10, 2014 at 1:25 am 7 comments


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