Posts filed under ‘Blogjects’

Lore, Lit and Canon

July’s Gaelic Roundtable topic is Lore. Before I tackle that, I need to figure out what the heck even to me counts as “lore”.

Folklore is stories, customs, shared among a group of people- rather than attributable to any one person. It is generally shared orally, but especially with the Internet there is now a lot of written and pictorial folklore, such as conspiracy theories and memes. There are several kinds of folklore that I see as relevant. One is folklore that is so old that it is intermixed with literature, the next category. Another is folklore collected into books or recorded. It’s important to considered selection bias on the part of which people were available and willing to be interviewed, what stories, sayings and songs were included by folklorists and archivists, and what has or hasn’t been changed. Sometimes there were social and political motivations for collecting the folklore and that impacts what is included. Some of this folklore is in the home countries themselves, others can be found in various parts of the Irish and Scottish diaspora.

Literature– many of the texts such as the Book of Invasions, the Book of Leinster and so forth, I think are more accurately described as medieval literature rather than folklore or mythology per se. However some of the texts draw on folklore as well as history and it is often hard to tell what is what. Other literature that we might not see as being religious per se, but has cultural importance and influence such as works by W.B. Yeats  can also be part of this category. Since our mythologies are very fragmented, finding inspiration in modern fantasy novels can serve as a sort of midrash.

Canon is the collection of texts considered authoritative by a religion- or a fandom! The primary example of course, being the Bible. Though Gaelic polytheism is not really a text-based religion, there are some texts that are seen by most as more valid than others. Some of us might include more Celtic Christian or Celtic Twilight era texts. And since we (quite rightly!) have no central authority there is no Irish, Scottish, Manx or pan-Gaelic canon. But I think an individual or group could have a personal canon. These distinctions could be useful in our discussions of comparative practices.

July 8, 2017 at 12:24 am 3 comments

Wanderings of a would-be Gael

Gaelic Roundtable for the March 2017 topic of Journeys (summer catch-up!)

I have been a Pagan of some sort for about 20 years now, which sounds more impressive than it actually is! I’ve had a tendency to be more of an armchair philosophical Pagan than much of an active practitioner, but I’d like to change that. I’d like to weave my spiritual practice into my everyday life, so it does not just feel like something walled off in a corner. I have primarily been focused on Irish culture, but am also branching into Scottish traditions as well. I am especially interested in learning more about how customs and cultures have evolved in both diasporas in Minnesota and other parts of North America and adapted to a modern urban working-class setting, rather than an pastoral aristocratic or peasant setting that tends to be the bias of medieval Irish literature and later folk customs.

During my college years I studied with two different Irish Reconstructionist groups- Tuath Choilraighe, led by Aedh Rua (who now goes by the name Segomaros Widugeni) and Temple of the River, led by Andrew Jacob (who now goes by the name Andre Solo) I have also been an on and off member of Ar nDraiocht Fein, and also studied and practiced with the Mists of Stone Forest, a druid grove that branched off of the Henge of Keltria, in turn a branch of ADF.

I am now a part of Northern Roots Grove, which is an independent syncretic Druid grove, with members of RDNA, ADF and OBOD involved. And of course, I’ve done lots of studies on my own, and gained a lot of knowledge along the way.  I have also been studying the Irish language with Gaeltacht Minnesota.  I am also a member of Clann Bhride, a gender-inclusive Brighidine online devotional group with a focus on social justice.

Druid ABC soup:

RDNA– Reformed Druids of North America

ADF– Ar nDraiocht Fein

OBOD– Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids

For a good comparison of these different druid groups see Susan Reed’s summaries here.

 

 

July 1, 2017 at 8:23 am 1 comment

Hellenic Polytheist/Pagan Blogs

I have sections on my blogroll for Celtic/Druid and Germanic/Heathen, but the rest are blobbed together in Pagan & Polytheists. I’m renewing an interest in Greek & Roman stuff (back when I was more into Hellenic stuff, it was the heyday of Livejournal & Yahoo-groups.)  Making note of what deities/cultus they focus on, location if known, and other spiritual interests. Please let me know if you want to be added. This list includes Hellenic polytheists & pagans of varying traditions, levels of reconstruction etc.

Ariadne in Exile– Aridela Pantherina, Bacchic Orphic tradition

Artemisia Astraie

Aspis of Ares– Pete, SE Michigan

Baring the Aegis– Elani Temperance in the Netherlands, Elaion member

Beloved in Light– Lykeia in Alaska- devotee of Apollon & Artemis, Shiva & Parvati

Bull-headed follower of a Bull God– ADF Dionysian

Drinking from the Cup of Life– Lon Sarver, Dionysian in Bay Area, CA

The Dionysian Artist– Australia

A Forest Door– Dver, spirit-work & multi-trad polytheist, see also her website BirdSpiritLand for a nexus to all her sites.

Greek Revivalist Mommy

Hellenic Hearth– Lena, devotee of Hera & eclectic kitchen witch

Magick from Scratch– Thenea, ceremonial magic/mysticism in Hellenic context- not Recon

The Minoan Path– Laura Perry (not recon, but cool ideas!)

Mists to Open, Mists to Bind– Jan Avende, Hellenic Druid & ADF Priest

The Modern Hellenist– Alejandro, Boston, Mass.

Oaken Scrolls, 4 of Wands– Melia Brokaw, ADF Hellenic, devotee of Zeus

Of Thespiae– Ruadhan J. McElroy, Ann Arbor Michigan, devotee of Eros, Boetian focus, hedonist philosophy

Necropolis Now– Caroline Tully, Ph.D candidate at the Centre for Classics & Archaeology at the U of Melbourne, Australia (Greek, Egyptian and other content)

Never Unmindful– Alexei, local focus, social justice

Queen without a Court– Apollon devotee

Soneillion V

Soul Bites– Mysticism & Craft

Strip Me Back to the Bone– Jolene, Poseidon devotee

Suz Muses

Temple of Athena the Savior– Amanda Artemisia Forrester, Greco-Egyptian Pagan, Alexandrian witch, homesteader & templekeeper

True Pagan Warrior– T.P. Ward, devotee of Poseidon & Ares, Friend/Quaker

Under Two Trees– Mestizo paganism in multi-cultural, post-colonial Manila, Phillipines, Greco-Roman focus with indigenous Filipino, Hindu, Buddhist and other influences

Tumblogs– Gah! why does this have to be pink text on white background?

Hellenic groups

Elaion– Quite active!

Halls of Hera– Dedicated to the worship & study of Hera- Oakland, CA

Hellenion– U.S. based, mostly online

Hellenic Round Table– Discuss monthly topics with other Hellenists!

Neokoroi (Still active?)

Neos Alexandria– Greco-Roman-Egyptian syncretism

Pandemos– San Francisco Bay area collective of practitioners from diverse backgrounds, approaches and communities, united for the purpose of honoring the Hellenic gods and celebrating Hellenic culture.

Archived Blogs (Year of last post listed)

Boukoleon– 2015 Starry Bull Thiasos- Magna Graecian (southern Italian Greek colonies) Orphic Dionysian cultus

Flaming Thyrsos– 2014 Kenn, in Coventry, UK , a devotee of Hekate,  Dionysos & Prometheus

Frankincense & wine– 2015, British, interested in lay monasticism

Hestian Lily– 2014 Lily, a devotee of Hestia & witch

Smoke from the Temple– 2014

Sightless Among Miracles (2013) , and Executive Pagan– Erik Dutton’s blogs- Longtime online acquaintance- from back in the days of Beliefnet Pagan forae- he was one of the people that came up with the idea of Religio Americana

Tending the Hearth of the Gods– 2013  Nom de Internet: Patch

Obey the Gods– 2013

Aithaloeis Theos– 2012 A space dedicated to Hephaistos

Pagan Reveries– 2012- some good stuff about poet ancestors/heroes

A Twisted Kind of Ingenue– 2012-Had to add this one after seeing this on about page: The ingenue is most interested in disability rights, the autism acceptance movement, anti-kyriarchy (the patriarchy is so passe), trans rights and acceptance, neurodiversity, young adult literature, simple living, paganism, fusion and tribal bellydance and avoiding medical bills.

Memories of Pain & Light– 2011

January 17, 2016 at 5:57 am 2 comments

Vocational Paths: Warrior

Next in Approaching Paganism- Vocational Paths: Warrior

Also a response in part to Allec’s Thoughts on the Warrior’s Path, what does that mean, how does one define it?

As with elder, I think this needs be a role defined by specific cultural traditions and organizations. If you feel a calling to a warrior path, in what context will you walk that path? Which community, tradition, deity etc. will you do warrior work for, and what does that entail? I am not a warrior myself, but even if I were, I still couldn’t answer those questions for you. Here are some factors to consider, as well as some ways different people and traditions define warriorship both in Greater Neo-Pagandom and broader U.S. society (I’m always interested in hearing about non-U.S. perspectives, just basing things on what I’m familiar with)

  • Mundane/Paid Profession/Job/Career- a person who serves, has served, or plans to serve in the military, police, fire departments, emergency personnel (EMT, paramedic) park/forest ranger etc. Such a person may go into these fields as part of a spiritual calling, or discover/explore the spiritual dimensions after going into it.
  • Practitioner, Teacher or Master of a particular martial arts form- it could be a hobby, a form of exercise and self-defense, various Asian martial arts traditions typically have some culturally-specific philosophical concepts involved, at least if they have haven’t been watered down into American Mixed Martial Arts…(Puke!)
  • Devotee of a war-associated deity, hero(es), warrior/military dead- I know various people that have taken up martial arts and other forms of physical fitness as ways to connect with and serve a deity or spirit. Some, but not all of such folks identify as warriors, or as priests of the deity.
  • Roles at rituals and festivals such as warding/guarding the edge of a ritual space, working security at a festival or other Pagan event, being an advocate of abuse victims/survivors in Pagan and broader communities.

Ethics & Norms to Consider-

  • Are Peaceful/Spiritual Warriors a thing? Do nonviolent political activists count as warriors? This is debatable- I’d say be aware of what context you are in- Reclaiming Witches perhaps, Heathens/Asatruar, not so much.
  • Gender- some people think warrior automatically means male, a rite of passage to manhood involves “becoming a warrior” and so forth. I also see the “strong woman equals warrior” meme among certain feminists, both religious & secular- or conversely “women should be/are inherently peaceful” among certain feminists and anti-feminists alike! Nope. People of any (or no) gender can be warriors, and people of particular genders *don’t have to be* warriors if that’s not their inclination.
  • People in, or formerly in the careers discussed above may or may not identify as warriors in a spiritual sense. Calling someone by a label they don’t want is not “honoring” them. Being individual humans, they will have varying emotions and opinions about their experiences, please respect give space to them accordingly.
  • Be careful about attaching cultural associations to “warrior” that are not yours or bringing them into the wrong cultural context. (E.g. would you wear your karate gear as ritual garb?)
  • Historical re-enactment, role-playing games and the like are fun hobbies, but they are not necessarily part of your religion.
  • Observe rules/laws at rituals, festivals and people’s homes about what (if at all) weapons are allowed, how they should be secured, children and pets as factors, etc.
  • Being a warrior is not an excuse for being a bully, bad behavior etc. In fact, many warriors have codes of ethics that they strictly adhere to!

Part II will be links and commentary from people in various warrior traditions.

January 16, 2016 at 11:47 pm 1 comment

Shamanism Part 3- Other Words, Other Worlds

I encounter with relative frequency, individuals calling themselves shamans or having an interest in shamanism in both online and offline settings. I suspect most of them are not Evenki or Tungus Siberian folks, though there is the occasional exception. I would humbly propose to other well-meaning defenders of indigenous cultures that screaming cultural appropriation! at these New Age “shamans” is probably not the best approach, especially if they are not actually the ones leading the weekend sweat lodge retreats and publishing books on Shamanic Wiccan Druidry. Instead, let’s have conversations.

Is there a better word to use than shaman?

What are you trying to describe with the word shaman or the adjective shamanic?

A role serving a particular community as a spiritual specialist who does lots of intense spirit work, healing and otherworld journeying?  What tradition do you work within? Are there more culturally specific terms?

A solitary path that involves intense spirit work and otherworld journeying? Spirit worker, mystic, hedge witch/wizard/warlock

A belief/worldview involving plant, animal and other spirits?  Animist

Some Potentially Very Bad Reasons for “Deciding” to be a Shaman include…

Connotations of “Noble Savages” who are more “in touch with nature, what it Truly Means to Be Human etc.” in contrast to This Corrupt Urban Industrialized Disenchanted society that I still don’t want to leave cuz indoor plumbing and electricity are nice… Please unpack your cultural assumption baggage again- some books that might help:

Playing Indian by Philip J. Deloria

Orientalism by Edward Said

Books, articles and classes on postcolonial theory, postcolonial feminism, anthropology, cultural area studies (American Indian, East Asian, African diaspora et al.)

You have what Western medicine classifies as a mental illness, chronic illness or other disability. Therefore, shaman *must be* your spiritual calling!  You have a shaman-sickness! You are specially/chosen or “marked” by the Gods/Spirits/Ancestors! Your suffering, isolation etc. now has meaning and It All Makes Sense Now!  OK, let’s slow down. I admit this one is a little close to home, as I myself qualify as neurologically divergent in various ways (autistic, epileptic, ADHD, etc.) I believe this *does* make my spiritual perceptions and experiences unique and different in various ways, but I’m hesitant to jump to the conclusion that This Means I Must Have a Special Cosmic Destiny!!!

For one, I know plenty of other people with the same conditions as well as other disabilities that do not have any such spiritual inclinations and get pretty darn irritated when they get the “You are Special Child of God” or the other extreme “You are possessed by demons!” crap from people or similar Pagan/New Agey versions- “You’re an Indigo Child”, “You did something bad in a past life, and this is your punishment”. There does seem to be a higher than average number of Pagans with various disabilities and medical conditions, how much of that is self-selection or by Higher/Lower Powers That Be is up for debate.

You are transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, pansexual, intersex, asexual, kinky, yada yada…and once again this gives you a magical ticket to shaman-hood. In various cultures- yes shaman-type roles are often associated with gender-bending/blurring/fluidity and sexual “otherness”,  though it’s important to remember that late 20th-21st century Western identities like I just mentioned above are different from alternate sexual and gender identities found throughout human history and contemporary cultures around the world. We can certainly find a lot of inspiration and ideas from these various identities, and learning about them can put into context how we view GLBTQ+ identities in our own cultural settings, and how they can have collective and individual spiritual meanings and roles. But likewise, a gender/sexual/romantic minority might see their identity in a completely secular manner, or see their identity as mostly incidental to their spiritual role and development.

October 5, 2015 at 10:00 pm 4 comments

Celtic Polytheists on Tumblr (my list)

On the Celtic Polytheism resource page, I had a link to Echtrai’s list of Celtic Polytheists on Tumblr. However it’s like Livejournal in that there’s a lot of blogs that come and go and ones that have very mixed content that you have to slog through. I’m reducing it down to ones that are mostly Celtic in content. And to boot, perhaps I’ll add some other types of polytheists. Bonus points if you actually tag things, have pages of info etc.

Celtic

Celticspirited

ReviewingtheCeltics– group that reviews Celtic-related books & answers questions.

Gaelic

Gaelic Polytheism 101

An tSnaidhm

Adventures in Asexuality

Altar of Delirium– Brighid, Mannanan mac Lir

Beag Coinneal

Beanchaointe

Crowsandcondescension  warrior path, Morrigan devotee

Echtrai–  Riona, devotee of Lugh

Feannog– Kym Lambert, Shadow of the Hooded Crow project for the goddesses Macha, Badb & the Morrigan

Fireinthesea

Lebornaciar- Jared

Mathairnandee- Danu, Brighid

Mirage358

Modern Southern Polytheist

Nicstoirm– Allec, devotee of Lugh, sea magic

Sachairi Mac Caba   Zach

Wandering Artificer

Brythonic

AwenyddogCamulos– selkies!

Gaulish

Bloodybones

Dewognatos

Norse/Celtic

Bethirstyqueerheart

Blind Brigidine Hearth- Robert/Raibert

Lightning & Ravens– Shrine to Thor & the Morrigan

Celtic cultural interest (not just religion)

Too Sexy For My Celt– fashion, historic & modern

As Gaeilge– Irish language learning, by Jared, same person as Lebornaciar

September 17, 2015 at 6:48 am 3 comments

July Heathen Round Table

Heathen Round Table Prompt for July:

What are your beliefs about deities from other religions/pantheons, both polytheistic and not? Do you honour any, and how do you balance that with heathenry?

Well I have been a Gaelic polytheist or Druid for a lot longer so for me the question is a bit more in reverse. That is, I honor both the Tuatha De Danaan as well as the Aesir & Vanir. I believe the two can blend together pretty well for both historic reasons and cultural similarities. There is a lot of Norse influence in especially northern Scotland, the Hebrides and Orkney islands, there is the blending of Anglo-Saxon and Brythonic traditions in Britain and in continental Europe, it is often tricky to distinguish between historical accounts of which tribes were Germanic and which were Celtic. I’m continually researching and learning new things about how these cultures compare, overlap, intersect and how they differ. I also from time to time will honor deities of other cultures/religions, typically when I am invited by friends or family members to partake in a ceremony, holiday celebration or simply a meal-time prayer. I just won’t participate in aspects that conflict, such as reciting creeds or statements about how there is only one god

July 26, 2015 at 7:51 am Leave a comment

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