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PostPosted: 14 Aug 2008, 07:50 
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Hex wrote:
So, would you categorize the community as based in greater shared views, then enhanced by shared ritual?

In a way, yes. I would put ritual as the primary unifying factor before beliefs/ views, however.

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If so, is there an influence in reconstructing the ritual with a social rather than personal focus?

Yes, of course.

In group/ community rituals and gatherings, the focus is primarily on the administering of hospitality to the gods and spirits, and to the members of the community. Thus the feast is usually the centerpiece of such gatherings. Storytelling, competitive sports, art and craft displays, the proclaiming of contracts and oaths, the settling of disputes, and discussions of business/ commerce were traditionally included in the Feast Day/ Festival gatherings, and may be a part of modern gatherings today. So, it's these rituals and gatherings that maintain the secular and spiritual bonds of the people. :)


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PostPosted: 14 Aug 2008, 08:26 
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Sounds sort of like an Ásatrú blot! :beer3:

As part of our own household reconstruction, we incorporate some blot-y-ness in the rounds of toasts/ oaths/ boasts/ stories into our year-wheel celebrations. We've had friends who have attended and they thought that it was really cool to do, as they actually learned stuff about the people and their views that might have never come up in regular conversation.

And such feasts are widely recognized as useful for the social aspects - Look at Voudon, for example. The Houngon/ Mambo are not only religious leaders who work with the supernatural world, but they're in charge of the hospitality for loa and people at the rituals, and then outside of the rituals, they have social power as well, as leaders of their communities. Now there, the ritual sacrifice of animals provides the meat for the feasts, and there's a sense of community as the people interact with the gods one-one-one, so that the gods are seen as members of the community.

Are you guys looking at having recognized 'clergy' to fill such a role and direct it, or does the responsibility for this come back down to the individual?


And, thanks again for the insight ... :D

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PostPosted: 14 Aug 2008, 08:51 
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Hex wrote:
Now there, the ritual sacrifice of animals provides the meat for the feasts, and there's a sense of community as the people interact with the gods one-one-one, so that the gods are seen as members of the community.

Exactly! It's beautiful, isn't it?

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Are you guys looking at having recognized 'clergy' to fill such a role and direct it, or does the responsibility for this come back down to the individual?

Having trained clergy is something that has been discussed, but again, GN is still in its early stages of development and a clerical training program probably won't appear until sometime down the road.

For the most part, I do not believe clergy are necessary to conduct or direct rituals (at least not in the stage Gaelic Polytheism currently is in; I think they would be most useful is larger and well-established communities, and Gaelic Polytheism just doesn't have those yet). Currently, such responsibilities are upon the heads of the family/ household, elders, or group leaders (or the individual as well). In ancient Ireland, most functions we would assign to a priest or a member of the clergy were actually fulfilled by an individual in a more secular position such as a clann head or chieftain/ king anyway.


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And, thanks again for the insight ... :D

No problem. :)


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PostPosted: 14 Aug 2008, 11:09 
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In another organization I have been working with here in Minnesota, they training students for a full twenty years to be called Draoi. In fact, not even the teachers there call themselves Draoi as of yet, as I don't think any have been Gaelic Polytheists for more than 15 years, at most.
I imagine Gaelic Polytheism, as it progresses, may develop clerical training as Neimheadh an Srutha already is. From what I hear, the training process is very challenging, and very involving, as it should be, and very unlike the simple "read a book, and hug a tree" training found in some "Druid" groups....


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PostPosted: 14 Aug 2008, 15:07 
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Stoirmeacha wrote:
In another organization I have been working with here in Minnesota, they training students for a full twenty years to be called Draoi. In fact, not even the teachers there call themselves Draoi as of yet, as I don't think any have been Gaelic Polytheists for more than 15 years, at most.

That's a rather ambitious training program. Although I don't know the content, structure, or methodology of the training program, 20 years seems a bit over excessive. What is this training program composed of, exactly?

Quote:
I imagine Gaelic Polytheism, as it progresses, may develop clerical training as Neimheadh an Srutha already is. From what I hear, the training process is very challenging, and very involving, as it should be, and very unlike the simple "read a book, and hug a tree" training found in some "Druid" groups....

Agreed, though this isn't something that should be rushed.


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PostPosted: 14 Aug 2008, 15:42 
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TomasFlannabhra wrote:
Stoirmeacha wrote:
In another organization I have been working with here in Minnesota, they training students for a full twenty years to be called Draoi. In fact, not even the teachers there call themselves Draoi as of yet, as I don't think any have been Gaelic Polytheists for more than 15 years, at most.

That's a rather ambitious training program. Although I don't know the content, structure, or methodology of the training program, 20 years seems a bit over excessive. What is this training program composed of, exactly?

Quote:
I imagine Gaelic Polytheism, as it progresses, may develop clerical training as Neimheadh an Srutha already is. From what I hear, the training process is very challenging, and very involving, as it should be, and very unlike the simple "read a book, and hug a tree" training found in some "Druid" groups....

Agreed, though this isn't something that should be rushed.


It is very ambitious, which, in my opinion, makes it so great. I am not sure how the whole program goes. I know that involves intensive study in history, mythology, culture, language, and such, as well as the more mystical. I have not been able to attend any of their public celebrations yet, though I hear of things like poetry contests and music and other arts. I know they have retreats throughout the year, where they go out into the wilderness for some training, and such. What happens during this training, I can't be sure, though I know that the entire process is meant to be very hard and its suppose to push their students, however, most of their students are probably very dedicated, as they have a nine month period beforehand to give them a taste of what happens and it is then that they decide whether or not to continue. They also have those who are not clerical students that are still members of the temple. I am very interested to see more of the Neimheadh when I visit soon, with my mother. They have, I believe, four Neimheadh, and the one we are going to visit is at a house in the Twin Cities here in MN. They are all a part of the Old Belief Society.
I think it is this type of ambition that will really help Gaelic Polytheists form such communities that are so important to our spirituality/culture. The students at the Temple are already a community, in a way, and function very much as one.


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PostPosted: 14 Aug 2008, 21:57 
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Stoirmeacha wrote:
I have not been able to attend any of their public celebrations yet, though I hear of things like poetry contests and music and other arts.


You know, the Welsh festivals celebrating Welsh literature/ history/ poetry/ song have been credited by anthropologists as basically 'saving' the Welsh language and culture from eroding in the face of British administration and rule. (You can look to the efficiency it's had versus the relatively minor 'terrorist'/ 'IRA-lite' tactics some of them tried in the 1970's :| ) They now have what is seen as a flourishing interest in their history/ mythology/ culture, and it revolves in great part around these linguistic carriers of culture.


Are you guys thinking of making this part of the festivals? I mean, I saw storytelling, but ... is it more important to tell a correct story, or to tell one in Irish Gaelic, or (if possible?) in Ancient Gaelic? Is there some way to convey status to those who can be a master bard in Gaelic rather than our modern English? Is there a way to insure that those who tell stories in modern English won't be dissuaded from continuing if they don't (yet) know Gaelic? :dontknow:

Sorry if I'm delving into realms beyond where you are, but if you haven't thought about this, it seems that it could be useful for not only getting interest, but also for making your 'communities' more cohesive ...

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If you can't stand the heat, don't tickle the dragon ...


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PostPosted: 16 Aug 2008, 17:29 
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Stoirmeacha wrote:
I think it is this type of ambition that will really help Gaelic Polytheists form such communities that are so important to our spirituality/culture. The students at the Temple are already a community, in a way, and function very much as one.

Ambition is part of our nature. =P

I take this as a good sign as well as it shows that Gaelic Polytheist communities are growing...to the point to where there is even a demand for clergy. This can't be said for all, but it's good to see how some communities are developing and progressing in such a manner.


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PostPosted: 16 Aug 2008, 18:33 
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Hex wrote:
Are you guys thinking of making this part of the festivals? I mean, I saw storytelling, but ... is it more important to tell a correct story, or to tell one in Irish Gaelic, or (if possible?) in Ancient Gaelic? Is there some way to convey status to those who can be a master bard in Gaelic rather than our modern English? Is there a way to insure that those who tell stories in modern English won't be dissuaded from continuing if they don't (yet) know Gaelic? :dontknow:

Sorry if I'm delving into realms beyond where you are, but if you haven't thought about this, it seems that it could be useful for not only getting interest, but also for making your 'communities' more cohesive ...


Not too long ago, a couple colleagues and I were collaborating on elements of ritual for a prospective Gaol Naofa ritual outline, and we agreed that poetry should play an essential role in ritual. In fact, I even proposed that all words in ritual should be recited as poetry, song, or chant. Poetry is a force of creation, an embodiment of the divine, and has the ability to affect spiritual and secular realities; it was an art, a science, highly regarded by the Gaels. It would most certainly enhance the ritual atmosphere as well. Recitations of poetry or song either for sport or as an act of devotion could also be appropriate components of ritual activities.

Gaelic languages play a vital and active role in Gaelic Polytheism. They are an intrinsic and invaluable part of our heritage, and it is through language that a people, a culture, is expressed and understood. As people who are striving to rebuild and preserve our ancestral heritage, I say the study and utilization of Gaelic languages is fundamental, especially as we try to understand our ancestors and their traditional culture. I applaud and even encourage the use of Gaelic languages in ritual and other functions, however I understand that not everyone is going to be fluent in a Gaelic language or even familiar with the basics, and I don't want a language barrier to take away from the experience of ritual or community. Therefore, it should be at the discretion of the group or community as to how utilize language in their functions.

To those who have taken the time and effort to become fluent in a Gaelic language and apply it in their everyday lives, I find, will (and should) be respected and highly regarded by other members of their community. It's a noble endeavor, indeed.


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PostPosted: 17 Aug 2008, 14:54 
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Hey Hex,

I agree that ritual is what holds us together, but I think it's mistaken to isolate it entirely from theology. Many rituals, especially religious ones, began with a shared assumption of theology, and without that, many lose their meaning. Of course, there are many types of rituals, and social ones are perhaps even more important (to a community) than certain familial or religious ones.

However, theology can change, and as long as the rituals are kept in place, the glue sticks.


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PostPosted: 06 Jul 2017, 21:52 
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