Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’

Why Modern Druidry?

So, what do you do? This post fits well with my ideas about how many of us, once we get past a beginner practitioner level, end up with some types of spiritual specialties, and how the clergy/laity dichotomy often doesn’t “translate” well into many forms of paganism and polytheism.

A while ago I had a rationale for why we call ourselves Druids in ADF and other orders. Aside from the historical reasons, in the case of British dudes who dabbled in early archaeology and mystical esoteric nature-y forms of Christianity and on our side of the pond, college students who wanted to get drunk in the woods instead of going to chapel- Reformed Druids of North America. Much is made of Ye Olden druids all being priests, judges, advisers to kings and so forth- and if we aren’t filling those sorts of roles in modern societies, we can’t really be druids. Well, of course we have things like separation of church and state- or a different state religion. But we are all way more educated than the average human being was for most of human history. We all typically get at least a high school education. And we all have to do more to educate ourselves and figure out our religion than most people who can just walk into a church and sit in a pew and it’s all set up for them. So, essentially we all end up doing smaller chunks of clergy work, druid work as individuals. Still, is it appropriate for us to call ourselves druids?

As for Celtic cultures as a whole, both historic and modern, they have all experienced conquest and imperialism by other peoples and suppression and erasure of many of their traditions, customs and languages. The many roles of druids are inseparable from their cultures of origin, and yet that is exactly what has happened, druids have been removed from their Celtic cultural contexts. At the same time, some revival Druidry groups have been intertwined with Welsh, Cornish and Breton nationalism, and revival of music, arts and languages. I admit I was once much more dismissive of revival Druidry, til I interacted more with revival Druids and learned about their history and traditions. I began to appreciate it as its own thing, expressed in particular times and places for particular reasons.

Note: I wrote this post back in 2015 or 2016 or so, & it’s been saved as a draft since. Posted after giving it some edits. I’m still ambivalent about using the word Druid as a personal identifier however as well as how many other people use it. Hence why there will be a part 2, for my more recent thoughts.

 

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May 20, 2018 at 5:39 am Leave a comment

Blogging- Why?

I think it’s good to remind myself why I do this blogging thing, especially after a long break in blogging. A friend pointed out to me that I was spending increased amounts of time reading & commenting on other people’s blogs & other social media, and that the blog posts I’d written (if at all) had gotten worse in quality over time. I’m not sure if that’s true overall, but my style and quality  of writing is certainly uneven across different posts over time, partly because different posts are written for different reasons and audiences.

I blog for myself- to pull together ideas I’m developing, bits of research. I’m also a compulsive explainer and like writing my more in-depth explanations of various concepts here, so I theoretically have a more in-depth place for people to go if they want to learn more. Usually though, they just want the short-attention span version.  I used to use Deli.cio.us to keep track of my vast link collection, then never really replaced it after the website became defunct. I’ve developed instead the habit of making resource pages for this blog which contain the many links.

I blog to share ideas & engage in conversation with other folks interested in the same subjects. I also think the role of it changes when I have an in-person religious community to participate in. The opinions of various e-quaintances matter less when you have actual in-person people to meet with! We can either overplay or underplay the importance of online communities, they are often either an easy cure-all or the cause of many of our social problems. I’d much rather see them as tools and supplements for building in person communities while understanding that at the same time, for many folks online is the best option for reasons of geographic isolation, health problems etc.

At times this sharing on this blog has brought me more confidence in myself as a writer. Sometimes the comments & hits and links feel good when I otherwise am not feeling so great about myself.

I also need to figure out what the purpose/focus of this blog is, when it’s often been all over the place, and I have the additional blog on Witches & Pagans that I’ve been neglecting, as well as couple others. I’ve also been thinking about further developing some of the posts into articles or essays for magazines and anthologies.

 

April 16, 2018 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment

Personal Updates

  • I actually have a full-time job for the first time in my life- I’ve had it since late October though there have been some ups & downs in keeping my anxiety under control enough to keep the job! It’s at a call center, believe it or not.
  • I’m still trying to figure out work/life balance, particularly with cooking and housekeeping, as well as spiritual practice.
  • I’ve been trying to focus less on political activities and more on religious and cultural activities, especially with Northern Roots Grove, the pan-Druid grove I’ve been part of for the past several years. I’ve also felt pushed out of some of my political involvement.
  • Considering re-joining ADF & attending the Upper Midwest Retreat again. I had a great time a few years ago and would like to join them again, along with some of my grovemates. I’m having some mixed feelings about the leadership of ADF, however.
  • Need to get back into blogging on Witches & Pagans as well as writing reviews for Moon Books- I agreed to do both of those things some time ago, and haven’t been very good about follow-up. That’s an all around habit I need to work on!

April 10, 2018 at 7:57 am Leave a comment

Neat Polytheistic Projects

Signal-boosting some cool stuff I see other folks doing on social media- it’s not all strictly polytheistic content, but at least of interest/relevance. Let me know if there’s anything you’re working on that you’d like to share, and if I like it I will add it to my next link round-up.

Rev. Jan Avende’s Daily Shrine Challenge The idea is to post a picture of your shrine, with a list of suggested themes. This runs from Feb 1- March 21

Polemical Topics in Polytheism Series– this topics are all too big for me to fit into mere comments, so I may make my own posts on them!

Sarenth’s Ritual Praxis Series -this is from an intentionally pan-Germanic perspective

Podcasts-

Bespoken Bones Podcast – this podcast interviews folks from a variety of spiritual viewpoints about ancestor veneration practices.

Brute Norse– Scandinavian archeology, history and culture

 

February 20, 2018 at 4:14 am 4 comments

Intuition

August Gaelic Roundtable Topic- Gnosis

How important is Personal Gnosis to your practice? What emphasis do you place on it when reconstructing, reviving, or generally creating your faith? Do you enjoy hearing others’ Personal Gnosis, or tend not to seek it out? How does hearing others’ Personal Gnosis hinder or help your faith? And finally (if you are willing to share), what is some Personal Gnosis that you hold that is considered “unconventional” to the greater Gaelic Polytheist community?

imbas (Old Irish) iomas (modern Irish) intuition

aisling – daydream, hope / ambition

What I’ve gotten is intuitive feelings and associations I’ve made rather than a profound dream or visionary experience.   I do enjoy learning other people’s insights, some of them sound “right” to me, others I’m not sure about. I try to not let it totally bias me in any particular direction, especially when it comes to the personality or visualization of deities and spirits. There are certain stories of experiences people have had that I find powerful enough to be convincing especially if the person’s anecdotes have an even tone to them, as in not every story they have is amazing.

My main way of cultivating this is through looking for art, music and writing that feels spiritually inspiring to me and creating my own. I’ll make a list of such items, both general and specific to particular holidays, myths, deities and spirits.

August 29, 2017 at 1:47 am Leave a comment

Why Bi? (Organizing, Activism etc.)

So Bisexual Health Awareness Month is here again, the Bisexual Resource Center even has specific themes for each week and day. However I feel as if my friends, family and other followers will be less interested than if I just write from the heart so hear goes. Why this Bi stuff? folks ask me sometimes. It’s my third year of being on the Bisexual Organizing Project board. In my personal life, being openly bisexual hasn’t seemed like much of a big deal since I came out back at age 16 and I’m 35 now! For the most part I was pretty fortunate in having a supportive family and living in an accepting liberal metro area- the Twin Cities. So while I’ve gone on to mention it and there, it seemed to not really matter that much and I didn’t think about it much after being involved in groups in college.

Then a couple years ago I went to the Celebrate Bisexuality Day event held by BOP and learned about new research that had come out showing health disparities between bisexuals and gays and lesbians. Up til this point, bisexuals had simply been lumped in with lesbians and gay men, or heterosexuals, or every statistician’s least favorite category of “Other”. Now most people are bored to death by statistics but I’m a political science major so my ears perked up. We finally had data to show what many bisexual activists and scholars had long suspected- that there were hidden costs to being bisexual that were different from being exclusively gay or lesbian. These were for both women and men (more gender options not on the table at the time) both single, partnered or married to same or different genders. Especially disturbing were the rates of intimate partner violence, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and so forth.

So that is why I insist on That Pesky Unnecessary Label. If you have reached a beautiful social nirvana, in which you have no need of any labels, congratulations! We down on planet Earth still find them handy to find like-minded people and information.

 

March 3, 2017 at 5:51 am Leave a comment

What Norse doesn’t mean

One tendency I’ve noticed in ADF, and broader American-centric Paganism is a misuse, based on misunderstanding, or sometimes laziness of the term “Norse”. Especially with the older material on the ADF website, the rituals labeled “Norse” have phrases in German, with deity names in anglicized Icelandic. Also featuring the goddess Nerthus as Earth Mother, who was worshiped by continental Germanic peoples not “the Norse”.

Actual definition of Norse– of or relating to people who spoke Old Norse in Scandinavia, and traveled and/or settled in other areas of the world, their culture, traditions, literature etc.

Norse is not the same as

Norwegian– From Old Norse developed two branches, East Norse- Danish and Swedish and West Norse- Icelandic, Norwegian and Faroese.

Vikings– Norse people who farmed part-time, and went trading and raiding in the summer during the Viking Era. Most Norse people were not Vikings, but because of the popular image (we can especially thank Wagner’s operas)

Nordic countries vs. Scandinavia–  Just read this

Any Germanic culture or a Pan-Germanic mishmash– When we look at historical and literary sources for Germanic cultures, that spans everywhere from the Anglo-Saxons, the continental Germanic peoples (who often aren’t easily distinguished from the Celtic peoples- the Romans divided them with the Danube river) to Iceland and Scandinavian countries.

Other terms to sort out-

Teutonic– this is sometimes used, especially in older sources to refer to Germanic peoples inclusively or Germans specifically. Originally referred to the Teutons, a Germanic tribe mentioned by Greek and Roman writers. (More here)

German vs. Germanic– the Germanic language family, of or relating to people who speak Germanic languages and their cultures. German– citizen of modern Germany, or earlier historic chunks of land that later became Germany, sometimes used to refer to  German-speaking populations around Europe and other parts of planet Earth.

Northern Tradition– I see this used to refer vaguely to Germanic polytheistic/animistic traditions, usually with a Nordic slant, and sometimes with Saami stuff added in for good measure. (Which seems rather rude, considering the erm, prickly relationship between Saami folks and non-Saami Finns, Swedes and Norwegians.)

 

July 10, 2016 at 2:14 am Leave a comment

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