|This is a moose, your argument is irrelevant|
This topic also fits here for me, because this is very much a blog about living this life, rather than studying it. This is also true of Championing Ourselves, of course. In both cases research plays a major role, of course, research into Gaelic and Norse cultures, but here also research in various arts, crafts and sciences of living this life. However, research is only to lead to living, it can not be the only thing..it is not what defines us.
It seems that some folks now want to define a "Celtic Reconstructionist" as only someone who studies, who is themselves a scholar. That anyone who isn't cracking the books seriously cannot be called a CR. This would mean that my husband who has done minimal study isn't a proper Reconstructionist in their view. My husband who has been practicing this for nearly 20 years now, who can remember every detail of every discussion he's been in, who actually know more about the lore (both Gaelic and Norse) from what he's picked up over the years than some of these folks relying on questionable tertiary sources and who has been in and lead ritual for, again, nearly 20 years is apparently not qualified because he prefers to research farming, alternative energy and politics; he reads some lore and history, but not a lot. Fuck that shit!
CR was never meant to be a "religion of scholars" it was, rather meant to be a scholarly based religion. Really, I no longer consider it "a religion" it ceased being that a long time ago when others took up the term and it came to mean many thing, that is that there are many CR religions, it is a methodology. That methodology is a combination of scholarship and experience. But not everyone who decides to follow a religion using this methodology are going to be doing the work. Yes, that was true of most of us 20 odd years ago when we didn't have community, but in order for CR to mean anything, anything at all, we must be open to those who have other things than scholarship to share.
Celtic Reconstructionists have a horrible reputation not just in the broader NeoPagan community, (and yes, we are NeoPagan, we are in fact among the newest), but also among other Reconstructionists and think this issue may well be one which has caused this. Because there may be a valid reason why everyone sees us only as fighting online. Because far too many fancy themselves scholars and tell others that they're not welcome if they're not too. Although some of us (I have from the beginning) have tried to make everyone welcome, I have seen people be attacked, viciously sometimes, for wanting to find practice without having to do research.
Okay, so part of me might resent it a little because off all the work I've had to do being one of the first. But the point is that there has to be room for both those who are and those who can offer other things. Including just community. Because we are just elitists assholes sitting alone in front of our computers if we can't build community. I have seen many in Asatru, Nova Roma and Hellenism who have been welcoming of those who wish to do, to worship, to commune, to live inside their religions without all those people being scholars. And yes, some argue about things online too. But they don't share our reputation about it because it's far clearer that's not all they do.
I have seen people complain about not having community, about their family members not being "interested" only to realize that they have themselves destroyed any interest their friends or family members may have had by requiring that everyone do the same amount of Research. I have seen people claim that they can't include their kids because kids are too young to do The Research. They're whining about not having a community but they've destroyed it by making absurd demands on people.
CR is over 20 years old now. When it began there was a lot of need for scholarship and there still is. But scholarship is not depending on tertiary sources and rehashing the same things. So what we needed then was more general, "let's get this started" research with some beginnings of serious scholarship. What we need now, actually, are more people doing down right serious, primary sources (translating even) focused study. Most of the people I have seen claiming we all must be scholars are not doing this level of work and often depending on previous work that is fairly easy to obtain but often was very generalized and included misinformation that even academics not focused on specifics of a particular issue fall into. We don't need more of that, we need more serious research and exploration.
We also need those who are not real scholars, both those who realize they are not and shouldn't be bullied about it and those who think they are but it's not the strongest thing they have to offer. We need the farmers, the warriors, the craftspeople; we can't all be priests and poets. We need to be building community, or at least households, to be doing the work of living this life. Because we are not what we study, we can never be ancient Celts, we are what we do. We are how we live. We need to move beyond the beginning stages that CR often seems to still be in and get on with the living of it.
|Moos has had enough|