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Bel04

Looking for people knowledgable in Celtic paganism

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Bel04

Hello all. My names Izzy. Im 18, from London. I have Welsh (Celtic) ancestry but know very little about it. I’m really curious, and eager to know more. I’ve been an atheist my entire life and I don’t believe in a God or Gods. I do however feel a deep connection with nature and would like to gain a deeper understanding about this and how my ancestors would’ve practiced their beliefs. I would be very greatful for any information :)

 

Many thanks 

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wandering_raven

Hi 🙂  Can't give you specific information on Celtic paganism (I'm just boring old English* and if I'm honest I don't even know that much about Anglo-Saxon paganism) but I know what you mean about having a deep connection with nature and I don't technically believe in God or gods (I keep an open mind but don't believe in anything specific). 

*though I might get my DNA tested and see what surprises there are in my ancestry.  On paper, my ancestry seems to keep on going back to SE England, but in practice it often isn't so straight forward.  

Hopefully someone who knows more will come along and recommend some books or other good sources of information.

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Veggie dancer

I went to a fantastic exhibition at the British museum about celts back in 2016 I think it was. There was an episode of Druid cast you might find easing up to it.

will post again got to go now

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Bel04

Thanks very much for replies so far :) wandering_raven, I am mostly English to haha, my Mum was born in Whitechapel and my Dad was born in Wanstead. I’ve also got family from Stepney, Barking, Peckham and places outside of London including Derby and Devon. It is only my paternal Granddad who is Welsh. So I have the Davies surname. It’s just that very little was taught in school about Celtic history and I never see it elsewhere though I’d like to see what the British Museum have about Celts. I was told we descend from one of the great grandsons of the Prince of Powys. I’ve done some googling but it’s quite confusing. I’d just like to know more about the practices and beliefs. It’s something which doesn’t seem to be discussed much and I do wonder if all Celtic traditions will completely die out. It would be a shame if this were the case. I received lots of negative comments as a child (me and my younger brother both have red hair) and I think that might have pushed me away from wanting to know more about my ancestry because I was always being taunted and bullied because of it. Now I’m a bit older I don’t feel at all embarrassed and just would like to find out more, especially about Welsh Celtic traditions. I know that Samhain is the Celtic celebration which came prior to Halloween, does anyone know what the beliefs and practices were regarding Samhain?

many thanks :)

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Jon

celtic, what about rangers? ok bad pun,  if we look to wales, i would suggest the mabinogion, tales that are worth reading, and are a good start. there are whole reams on folklore which is also something to look at, it depends on which part as well, there were several kingdoms not a big one place called wales for much of its past, it depends on period and locale partly, but the big mythos stuff such as the mabinogion is a good start.

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DavidMcCann

Celtic paganism is not very well known as they didn't leave us any documents. Even the myths like the Mabinogion were recorded after the conversion to Christianity. This site may be useful

http://www.paganachd.com/

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Jon

Bumped up an older thread on Celtic paganism with some links in you can explore

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Bel04

Thank you David and Jon, I think I will research and buy some books to get more info. Luckily I have a kindle haha. On the thread about Celtic Paganism a member suggested it is a good idea to learn a Gaelic language. Though I have welsh ancestry, only my Grandad speaks Welsh. My father never learnt, so it was never passed on to me. Do you think it is important to learn? I struggled a lot with languages whilst in school 😕.

I was just sat outside and felt a really deep sadness because of the constant stream of planes landing and taking off etc. I wonder perhaps if we are naive in pitying the Native American and Aboriginal people who seem to have lost all their traditions, and their entire way of life when we are no better of, perhaps even worse. 

Im feeling really confused because I have always been an atheist and never had any faith but recently I feel as though something in me has awoken and I have a need to know more about my ancestry and better understand the connection I feel with nature. I have been going to the woods very frequently of late, just to be there. 

In the next few days I was hoping to celebrate Samhain (which I found was a Celtic practice whilst doing some research) and visit my relatives grave. I read that the Celts saw this time of year as  the period when the ‘vail’ between the living and dead is at its thinnest and would remember the deceased. Is it hypocritical of me to partake? 

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Ffred_Clegg

Feeling that you have a connection means that you can open the gate, but you will find quite a long road ahead of you - hopefully that's something that sounds exciting rather than off-putting!

There's no option but to engage with the Welsh language, I suspect that you'll find it's enough for you without feeling the need to learn one of the Gaelic languages as well, though if you find you have a knack, then why not? It's very common across the world to find that grandparents have the ancestral language, don't teach it to their children because they believe that they will get on better without it, and then be besieged by their grandchildren trying to reconnect. But I have always found that Welsh is a language ideally suited to being a Pagan, because of the difference between the literary and everyday forms and the way in which the literary form is apt to ritual usage.

Mabinogi, yes, but there are other documents such as the Triads which will tell you a lot, they are available in translation and I believe that the standard book was issued in an updated version a few years ago. You will also need to engage with the bardic tradition (not in the sense of writing it yourself, though who knows?) but because the bards became the bearers of Celtic identity in post-Pagan Britain and the early poetry has much to offer.

Finally, I'd suggest reading about the folk traditions, plenty of primary material there which will tell you a lot about the strand of unauthorised belief in  Welsh culture and how the people actually celebrated the festivals.

gwyn eich byd

Ffred

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Ellinas

I am Welsh insofar as I was born and live there.

I know relatively little of the mythology and less of the beliefs that go with them.

The Mabinogion is as good a place to start as any.  It would be worth getting hold of a compendium of mythology as that may help you identify avenues for research.  Have a look on Amazon.

I speak no Welsh, but I understand from those I know that have tried to learn it that it is quite an irregular language, where grammatical rules are there only to be broken.  But I emphasise that is not based on personal experience and may be hogswash.

I have become reasonably competent in modern Greek as a written language, and could survive orally.  I can tell you that learning a language is a significant effort and takes time - I attended a 2 hour evening class once a week for 3 years, with at least 6 to 8 hours a week private study, and have since spent a considerable time each week reading Greek.

I doubt it is necessary to understand the myths as you need to get a pretty good level of competence to understand any untranslatable nuances.  But it might be a good way of connecting to the culture to which the myths pertain, and is certainly a worthwhile intellectual exercise in itself.

 

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Ellinas
4 hours ago, Jon said:

Bumped up an older thread on Celtic paganism with some links in you can explore

That thread (I assume) is here.

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Earthdragon

Oops posted this on the other thread first by accident!

Good advice above..

This website has a list of historical sources on Celtic  beliefs and practices. 

http://www.arbre-celtique.com

It is in French but Google will translate it.

One thing of value will be to engage with Celtic art forms - poetry, music ,dance folktales, traditional crafts. 

Another idea is to look for Welsh History educational books published before the 1920s as it was after then that much interesting history was omitted from the national syllabus.

Should you visit the places that your family line can be traced to perhaps look at old maps of the areas. Look at that place names and translate them. When you're visiting go to any of the places that captured you attention when translating the names. As always be open to where instinct and intuition lead. Rationalising is good too of course 🙂

Best

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wandering_raven

There are historical reenactment groups that know a fair bit about Welsh mythology and stories.  I went to an event a couple of years ago where different historical groups (including reenactment groups and people who recreated ancient technologies and all sorts of history enthusiasts) and there was a Welsh storyteller there.  The storytelling was aimed at children but obviously also of interest to anyone who likes history as it was all traditional Welsh stories.  I'm not sure if it's an annual event or not, but it was in Dorset.  A lot of these groups travel around and do different events.  It might be something worth looking out for.

 

On 10/24/2018 at 11:52 AM, Bel04 said:

Thanks very much for replies so far 🙂 wandering_raven, I am mostly English to haha, my Mum was born in Whitechapel and my Dad was born in Wanstead. I’ve also got family from Stepney, Barking, Peckham and places outside of London including Derby and Devon. It is only my paternal Granddad who is Welsh. So I have the Davies surname. It’s just that very little was taught in school about Celtic history and I never see it elsewhere though I’d like to see what the British Museum have about Celts. I was told we descend from one of the great grandsons of the Prince of Powys. I’ve done some googling but it’s quite confusing. I’d just like to know more about the practices and beliefs. It’s something which doesn’t seem to be discussed much and I do wonder if all Celtic traditions will completely die out. It would be a shame if this were the case. I received lots of negative comments as a child (me and my younger brother both have red hair) and I think that might have pushed me away from wanting to know more about my ancestry because I was always being taunted and bullied because of it. Now I’m a bit older I don’t feel at all embarrassed and just would like to find out more, especially about Welsh Celtic traditions. I know that Samhain is the Celtic celebration which came prior to Halloween, does anyone know what the beliefs and practices were regarding Samhain?

many thanks 🙂

My mum, brother and one of my daughters are ginger.  I've definitely got one copy of the ginger gene (plus I tan and also get freckles which is an odd combination but my genes don't care about stuff like that lol).  I don't have any Celtic ancestry that I know of.  My mum was bullied at school for being ginger and my brother was a bit but I think he turned the jokes back on the bullies and owned it... proud 'n ginger kind of thing.  I'm not aware that my daughter's got anything other than compliments regarding her hair colour.  For some reason in my family, it's the second born child that seems to be ginger.  Although one of my cousins has two kids and they're both ginger.  Also, another cousin is quarter East Asian and ginger... no matter who we marry, the ginger genes will crop up again sooner or later... 

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DavidMcCann
22 hours ago, Bel04 said:

On the thread about Celtic Paganism a member suggested it is a good idea to learn a Gaelic language. Though I have welsh ancestry, only my Grandad speaks Welsh. My father never learnt, so it was never passed on to me. Do you think it is important to learn? I struggled a lot with languages whilst in school 😕.

I know how you feel! I tried to learn Irish and even went to classes when I lived in Belfast, but I never got much further than "hello" and "goodbye". I think you can do without. Remember, gods are much older than any human language. If a pan-Celtic god like Lugos didn't mind being prayed to in an assortment of Celtic languages, to say nothing of Latin, I dare say he won't be bothered by English.

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Ffred_Clegg
21 hours ago, Ellinas said:

I speak no Welsh, but I understand from those I know that have tried to learn it that it is quite an irregular language, where grammatical rules are there only to be broken.  But I emphasise that is not based on personal experience and may be hogswash.

 

It certainly is hogwash - Welsh has very clear grammatical rules, the only thing to remember in that respect is that the rules for spoken Welsh are different from those for written Welsh (it's a bit like Norwegian and indeed Greek in having two different forms of the language depending on the context!

gwyn eich byd

Ffred

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Bel04
6 hours ago, wandering_raven said:

There are historical reenactment groups that know a fair bit about Welsh mythology and stories.  I went to an event a couple of years ago where different historical groups (including reenactment groups and people who recreated ancient technologies and all sorts of history enthusiasts) and there was a Welsh storyteller there.  The storytelling was aimed at children but obviously also of interest to anyone who likes history as it was all traditional Welsh stories.  I'm not sure if it's an annual event or not, but it was in Dorset.  A lot of these groups travel around and do different events.  It might be something worth looking out for.

 

My mum, brother and one of my daughters are ginger.  I've definitely got one copy of the ginger gene (plus I tan and also get freckles which is an odd combination but my genes don't care about stuff like that lol).  I don't have any Celtic ancestry that I know of.  My mum was bullied at school for being ginger and my brother was a bit but I think he turned the jokes back on the bullies and owned it... proud 'n ginger kind of thing.  I'm not aware that my daughter's got anything other than compliments regarding her hair colour.  For some reason in my family, it's the second born child that seems to be ginger.  Although one of my cousins has two kids and they're both ginger.  Also, another cousin is quarter East Asian and ginger... no matter who we marry, the ginger genes will crop up again sooner or later... 

That’s such a strange coincidence, the second born seems to inherent red hair in my family also. Although I have red hair I wouldn’t say I’m a ‘proper ginger’ since I tan and have brown eyes. However my younger brother (second born) has red hair, green/grey eyes, loads of freckles (unlike me, just a few on my face) and he is very very fair skinned. The same is the case with my mother and her younger brother. I wonder if there’s a reason for the pattern 

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Bel04

Thanks so so much for all the replies everyone, it is very much appreciated. So far I’ve purchased Celtic Spirituality: A Beginniner’s Guide by Sarah Owen, Anam Cara: Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World by John O’Donohue and Gods and Heroes in North Wales: A Mythological Guide by Michael Senior (which references the Mabinogion.) I got the latter from Treadwell’s Bookshop near Tottenham Court Rd station. They had an entire section dedicated to Celts but it was almost entirely Scottish, Irish and English. There was very little on Wales. Despite this, I would definitely go back. Really interesting little shop. 

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Ffred_Clegg

You might want to try Land Sea and Sky by Francine Nicholson which I think is available online as a free resource - some very good stuff in it from a Celtic Recon point of view. The Gwyn and Thomas Jones edition of the Mabinogi is pretty good and the Triads volume I mentioned is called Trioedd Ynys Prydain (but is nonetheless in English). Also anything by John Thomas Koch, especially his edition of the Gododdin. John Matthews did a book (long time ago now) on the mystical aspects of Taliesin which I found greatly useful.

gwyn eich byd

Ffred

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Briton

Try and get a copy of Blood and Mistletoe: The History of The Druids by Ronald Hutton. But be ready to be disappointed.

There is a lot of wishy washy supposition about "Celtic" religion (like it means anything) without any actual evidence. Britons worshiped, for the most part, tutelary deities that are not present on the continent (drawn from inscriptions of names throughout the island that do not appear outside the locality). There aren't many deities that are widespread.

If you can, look for Pagan Britain, also by Ronald Hutton, in a library and pick out the chapters regarding the Iron Age and sub-Roman Britain. For the most part, any religion of Iron Age British peoples is lost. There is no specific text, however if you study it you may be able to pick apart the Mabinogi and discover the pre-Christian gods and characters hiding in there.

For what it's worth, forget the word "Celtic", it has no value outside linguistics least of all when it comes to religious belief. You will not find anything described as "Celtic" without the foundations for such being shaky. Genetics, culture, art, belief system... these cover regions of Europe individually and don't always overlap.

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Moonsmith

While I agree with you Briton, it's cruel hard asking a newcomer to Paganism to read Hutton on Celts.  Yes I would recommend the first chapter of B&M to ANYONE who wanted to look at the use of historical evidence for ANY belief: it's headed "The Raw Material". [ Blood and Mistletoe is about Druids.]  Ye gods those chapters of poetry take some getting through.

Hutton's book "Pagan Britain" also has a chapter called "The Problem of the Celts"  but this again is intermediate if not advanced level stuff. 

There is no reason why Bel04 should not create or share a faith in the images of a Celtic world laid down by those who have chosen to make those images. 

In my view it is good to have an understanding of the basis of your faith, however enjoy your beliefs Bel they shall function just as well as those held by others.  Should you wish to study academic background and find a more secure foundation then fair enough.  Of course, as Briton is suggesting, you risk losing the foundation you have built.  Don't worry I did exactly that only to find a wonderful belief set upon a very firm personal bedrock.

I have just picked up "The Druids" by Kendrick.  I am particularly interested in his view because he wrote in 1927 and so is not influenced by Wicca as was Ross Nichols.  I have only just started it but I enjoyed:   "..... the attraction of linking priests without temples to temples without priests......"

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Briton

My bad, when I first started looking into paganism, I took it from a very academic approach because I'm a purist at heart. Whilst I will defend the purist merits, I won't pretend it's not gruelling. The likes of Hutton is all I'm used to so if the thought of diving in head first is a little intimidating - and it totally is - maybe pace yourself Bel04 and accustom yourself to the likes of Hutton after reading other things. I probably punished myself unnecessarily, and considerably slowed down my learning, in this approach. Maybe it wasn't the best approach.

Whilst I agree that there is nothing inherently wrong with creating or sharing the neo-Druid tradition, I think it is important to make clear that it has no tradition, that it is has no inherited link to pre-Roman British beliefs. I'm not denigrating neo-Druidism for the sake of it, only ensuring OP doesn't get fooled by some neo-Druids who will pretend they have some "authenticity".

All I can think about is something important tomorrow I've got so I can probably make a better contribution in a day or two.

Edited by Briton

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Moonsmith

There was a time, not all that long ago,  when I would have nodded your post through Briton. 

These days I would need to define "authenticity" before agreeing with you.  If a belief is accurately premised upon the classical, mainly Roman, commentaries then surely it can claim an internal authenticity.  If a faith evolves from the classical record then does it not also have an internal authenticity?  Whether or not it would stand against the heavy artillery of twenty-first century thinkers is another matter.  Would its survival of such make it any more authentic than before?

While I agree with your view I'm not about to shoot down the legacy for those who find faith in it.

pee ess - whatever is going on for you tomorrow, good luck.

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Earthdragon
13 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

If a faith evolves from the classical record then does it not also have an internal authenticity?

Yes. But is there an implication that external authenticity is needed which depends on a consensus or unanimity of popular or specialist opinion?

 

13 hours ago, Briton said:

Whilst I agree that there is nothing inherently wrong with creating or sharing the neo-Druid tradition, I think it is important to make clear that it has no tradition, that it is has no inherited link to pre-Roman British beliefs

Many commentors have looked at the continuation of Irish Druidism into the Filí tradition, the hedge schools and Irish Christianity. 

In the oral tradition that I practise it is passed on that these traditions filtered back into Wales in Carmarthen and Pembroke.

I personally don't think the veracity of such details are anywhere near as important as the content of the current practice of such a tradition and its relevance for those who practice it.  Suffice to say it has a coherence and experiential impact which are satisfying and fulfilling to myself and those who I know who practice it.

All that aside I personally believe that there is a collective consciousness and collective memory that can be accessed through myths, folktales, ritual and communing with locations and the natural green world that evoke our own spirituality in this context.

 

Edited by Earthdragon
Grammar

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Moonsmith
22 minutes ago, Earthdragon said:

Yes. But is there an implication that external authenticity is needed which depends on a consensus or unanimity of popular or specialist opinion?

 Not in the least!  As in your reply to Briton, you and your group can act and think within your internal authenticity without any regard for any other body of opinion.  Why wouldn't you? You identify by your faith not anyone else's.

External authenticity might be defined as the orthodoxy adopted by a wider population.  This population will never be homogenous.  It must contain groups  predicated on their own, possibly different, internal  orthodoxy. (which, I understand,  in your case cycles with its orthopraxy  and therefore presumably evolves.)

Individuals explain their belief or their faith in their own terms thereby establishing their thinking as authentic.  When they meet  others whose thinking is close enough to their own to form a group then that group will share what they believe to be an authentic belief.  I doubt if anyone here is perverse enough to adopt a belief or a faith (different things in my view) which they also believe lacks authenticity.  I suppose folk could reenact a culture for the fun of the reenactment itself but that isn't our discussion.

Our debates here depend upon questions to each other's internally authentic beliefs and faiths.

Bel, two things:

1. When you ask a question of five Druids you will get at least six answers.  I love propensity of Druidry constantly to redefine itself through debate.  Debate almost defines us😄

2. You asked about Celtic belief and your question has been hijacked by Druids.  I would not wish to conflate these historical entities.

BUGGER I've had a thought!  More later.

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Earthdragon
1 hour ago, Moonsmith said:

External authenticity might be defined as the orthodoxy adopted by a wider population.  This population will never be homogenous.  

Not wanting to hijack 😆 but a discursive thread can bring in themes that relate to the original topic in useful ways.

Authenticity as described above doesn't actually make much sense to me. 🤔

 

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Moonsmith
18 minutes ago, Earthdragon said:

 

Authenticity as described above doesn't actually make much sense to me. 🤔

In my view no two people think the same thing and no two people interpret evidence, experience, text or reports the same way.  The significance of E=MxCxC is different even for different folk in the world of physics.  In much the same way that we used to think of a particle as a thing in space time but now think of as a flowing energetic wave of varying "density"; orthodoxy coalesces in varying and evolving clusters. 

Authenticity is claimed by an individual or group who share similar interpretations of original information.  However, nothing is original.  Thoughts can be "new" but their origin lies with previous thoughts.  Newton said " If I have seen further it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants".

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Moonsmith

Bel04, Hi 🙂

I never thought that I would recommend Professor Miranda Aldhouse Green's book "Exploring the World of the Druids". Author shown as Miranda J Green.

Sorry Ffred.

In my view she conflates the Celtic world with the activities and beliefs of druids way beyond evidence. 

HOWEVER.

In her defense the book is presented as conjecture and as such is very cleverly constructed.  I have it constantly by my chair because it contains useful information. [Right next to Hutton's B&M and a source book of Celtic history so I can check]

If you can, use it to look at the "Celtic" world between 200BCE and 450 CE.  It is very easy to read and  mentions all sorts of deities and practices and stories which you can follow up.    Be careful when reading her own interpretation of the druidic record.  If you read her carefully you will see that such interpretations are accompanied by "could have/might have", "surely" and even "...it is tempting to believe that....".  Careless readers might see these phrases as  "did", "certainly" and "It is safe to believed that....".

That said, it is VERY easy to read and is delivered in small chunks of a few minutes reading at a time.

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DavidMcCann
6 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

I personally don't think the veracity of such details are anywhere near as important as the content of the current practice of such a tradition and its relevance for those who practice it.  Suffice to say it has a coherence and experiential impact which are satisfying and fulfilling to myself and those who I know who practice it.

I think that's an important point, despite the fact that I usually call myself a reconstructionist. All pagan religions are based on experience. How else could we know the gods unless they had contacted some-one? If one isn't sure that one's doing it right, one can always ask them for a ruling and then do a divination. And I don't think that they are fussy about "ethnically appropriate" methods — my experience is that the Greek gods are quite happy with the Yi Jing!

Edited by DavidMcCann
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Ffred_Clegg
5 hours ago, Moonsmith said:

Bel04, Hi 🙂

I never thought that I would recommend Professor Miranda Aldhouse Green's book "Exploring the World of the Druids". Author shown as Miranda J Green.

Sorry Ffred.

In my view she conflates the Celtic world with the activities and beliefs of druids way beyond evidence. 

HOWEVER.

In her defense the book is presented as conjecture and as such is very cleverly constructed.  I have it constantly by my chair because it contains useful information. [Right next to Hutton's B&M and a source book of Celtic history so I can check]

If you can, use it to look at the "Celtic" world between 200BCE and 450 CE.  It is very easy to read and  mentions all sorts of deities and practices and stories which you can follow up.    Be careful when reading her own interpretation of the druidic record.  If you read her carefully you will see that such interpretations are accompanied by "could have/might have", "surely" and even "...it is tempting to believe that....".  Careless readers might see these phrases as  "did", "certainly" and "It is safe to believed that....".

That said, it is VERY easy to read and is delivered in small chunks of a few minutes reading at a time.

I think what we need to bear in mind is that there is a big difference between Classical Druidism and Revived Druidism - Ron Hutton's book goes deeply into the latter, Miranda Aldhouse-Green's book goes as deeply as it can into the former (though there is a whole world of Welsh neo-Druidic writing to explore if that's the way you want to go, it didn't light my fire to be honest!)

I also think there's a middle way between "it is tempting to believe that" and "it is safe to believe that" - which is "it does not contradict the historical or archaeological evidence to theorise that". Works for me!

gwyn eich byd

Ffred

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      We all come to paganism in different ways. Some may have a pagan member of their family, and thus they grew up with the knowledge of this path as one they could choose for themselves. Others may have been their when modern paganism was founded, perhaps part of the birth of the Wiccan belief. For others, it was something they came across and grew to learn about. For me, like so many of you, it was that I had known my own feelings towards belief, religion and god for a very long time, but I had no idea that what I believed was already 'a thing'. Of course as a young teenager I thought I was a philosophical genius. Until I was glad to learn that my beliefs were not made up from my own head, but many people shared them across the globe.
       
      As I began to try to find out more, using mainly the internet, as little other resources were available to me in a Northern Irish protestant home, I realised that this could really be what I believe, or rather, something I can say that I believe in. I have never really believed in religion, you see. I have however always believed in a god, or being, or entity or force. However you might like to describe it. I have always known that there was something there that science and religion both didn't quite understand. Maybe we never will, and personally I hope we never will, it takes all the fun out of life if you know EVERYTHING.
       
      I know many of you may have shared my feelings of excitement at learning that you weren't just to be considered a hippy nut job who hugged trees (well, not by everyone at least). So I began to read more. At the beginning I tried to learn very technical aspects of the known pagan paths, the most obvious to me in my early years being the path of wicca. But I found that these practical elements were not things that could be learnt over night, and I struggled with the magical side of it. I found it hard to practise anything ritualistic at home, and whilst I lived in the countryside, I still lived in a village with a school and a considerable population of farmers and dog-walkers which meant there was nowhere I could be secluded to practise.
       
      As such I let all practical sides of my beliefs go. I still believed them, but I worshipped in silence. I prayed to the moon as I was driven home from work. I asked the trees at my school for strength and tried to draw energy from them when I knew I was going to have/ having a hard day. I used my mind, and contented myself with silence as best I could. This may sound like I was ashamed, or frightened, and I was frightened, maybe even a little ashamed. I am sure many of you have faced at least one person in your lives who has reproached you for being a pagan, and being in an all girl school, rumours spread fast. When I first began to investigate my beliefs I told one of my best friends, who thought I was joking and began shouting that I worshipped mother earth at the top of her lungs while laughing hysterically in the middle of our lunch room. For several weeks I was the witch of my school, which wasn't very pleasant. I can imagine many of you have had worse experiences.
       
      Now however, I am trying to move away from silence. I have studied a lot in my silence, and whilst every book that I read fills me with enthusiasm and knowledge which I so crave to tell people about I have not really voiced these enthusiasms until now. I wonder how many of you have had similar journeys in their path, periods of silent thought without any expression of what you believe or think you believe at that time. It is a hard thing, silence, because you end up screaming excitement and reproach to yourself, in your own head. As such, this is where I am going to direct my enthusiasms. I have slowly been hinting to my friends now of my beliefs and my boyfriend knows. Whilst they don't share the beliefs, none of them have shut me out, so I am feeling good about that. This is my introduction, really. My introduction to the things I have learned, the path I am taking and the things I have seen that have deeply influenced my understanding of paganism as a whole, and of general morality, as it seems unfair that all the other 'religions' should have a crack at this but not us :)
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