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Looking for good reconstructionist literature

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  • Looking for good reconstructionist literature

    I'll make this simple...I am not a purist.I am an eclectic. I do however love my Celtic heritage and think we owe it to all to reconstruct these faiths as much as we possibly can....So let me ask everyone here....Do you know of any good druidic reconstructionist books?

  • #2
    This probably needs to be moved to the recon section I did not notice.

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    • #3
      The most helpful books I've read are The Making of a Druid, The Christian Druids, and The Sacred Isle. They are all about Irish Druidic ways. If you're looking for other traditions, I'd recommend a study of Taliesin and Merlin.

      If it's reconstruction that you are after, let me recommend to you that you write your own book from a wide and deep study on the subject.

      Searles O'Dubhain

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      • #4
        Originally posted by odubhain View Post
        If it's reconstruction that you are after, let me recommend to you that you write your own book from a wide and deep study on the subject.
        Indeed. There's nothing better in terms of learning than to just write a paper, book, etc., on a subject.

        I will warn you though...there really isn't that much information available to the Celtic/Druid Reconstructionist. They just didn't write down things, and so we are left with piecing together things from largely hostile, usually false, descriptions by non-Celts. There are a great deal of similarities between the Druids and Vedic (Hindu) practices, so you should look at some of the modern literature comparing the two as well. I found Peter Berresford Ellis's "A Brief History Of The Druids" to be eminently "readable," and you certainly can't avoid reading some of Isaac Bonewits's stuff as well. (I've always found that he was very honest about what is and isn't Reconstructionist in his writings...)

        But as far as a comprehensive book, or "guide," to Celtic/Druid Reconstructionism...I'm not aware that one exists...and you should probably work on that yourself, if you have the skills.
        ________________________________________________________________________

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        • #5
          Ugh. Ellis is possibly the LAST source I would recommend unless you're more interested in flag-waving and wishful thinking than fact. As I recall, it's nearly totally unsourced, politically charged, and frequently relies on blatant misrepresentation of source material to support his claims. Despite what Wikipedia might claim, Ellis is NOT well-respected in the academic circles I'm familiar with (then again, in the interests of disclosure, I come from an archaeological tradition that views "Celtic Studies" as it is commonly practiced as a field only slightly more sensible than "Quantum English").
          Last edited by Tiberias; September 7th, 2011, 11:03 AM.
          JFGI

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Tiberias View Post
            Ugh. Ellis is possibly the LAST source I would recommend unless you're more interested in flag-waving and wishful thinking than fact. As I recall, it's nearly totally unsourced, politically charged, and frequently relies on blatant misrepresentation of source material to support his claims. Despite what Wikipedia might claim, Ellis is NOT well-respected in the academic circles I'm familiar with (then again, in the interests of disclosure, I come from an archaeological tradition that views "Celtic Studies" as it is commonly practiced as a field only slightly more sensible than "Quantum English").
            Like I said, it's "readable." LOL. I read it years ago, and that's really all I remember about it.

            There really isn't enough evidence, archaeological or historical, to do much else...unfortunately. Of course, my training was primarily in Classical history, so I never studied much more than Caesar's "Teh Druidz were horrible, n' deserved the genocide I wreaked upon them!" missives...which is like trying to learn how to be a Muslim by watching Fox News.

            But hey, the OP stated not being a "purist," and claimed to be "an eclectic," so I think Ellis and Bonewits are right up his alley.
            ________________________________________________________________________

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            • #7
              As much as I dislike the term and frown on the trend, I'd argue that "eclecticism" does not imply a requirement, or even desire, to read absolute nonsense.
              JFGI

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Tiberias View Post
                As much as I dislike the term and frown on the trend, I'd argue that "eclecticism" does not imply a requirement, or even desire, to read absolute nonsense.
                Wooks wike somebody got up on the snarky side of the bed this morning...

                Besides, I think if I were going to suggest "absolute nonsense," I'd be more likely to suggest the works of Edain McCoy or DJ Conway. And if I were REALLY wanting to have a laugh, I'd suggest "The Faity Faith in Celtic Countries" by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, which is absolutely delightful...if not completely full of crap. LOL. (I have a first edition hardcover...) It's like reading a "scholarly" book written by someone who thinks Darby O'Gill and the Little People was based on historical fact.
                :D
                Last edited by BryonMorrigan; September 7th, 2011, 11:44 AM.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BryonMorrigan View Post
                  It's like reading a "scholarly" book written by someone who thinks Darby O'Gill and the Little People was based on historical fact.
                  :D
                  Thanks for shattering all my most deeply held beliefs... :/
                  JFGI

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                  • #10
                    The archaeologists, the linguists and the folklorists are often good resources. Each has a small piece very much worth studying. I'd say they comprise about 25% of the information one needs. Through in some classical historian and a few anthropologists and one can get another 15%. After that, one is left to digging through literature and artifacts independently to get beyond 50%. The rest is built from personal experiences and experimentation with what has been learned to that point.

                    Searles O'Dubhain

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BryonMorrigan View Post
                      Wooks wike somebody got up on the snarky side of the bed this morning...

                      Besides, I think if I were going to suggest "absolute nonsense," I'd be more likely to suggest the works of Edain McCoy or DJ Conway. And if I were REALLY wanting to have a laugh, I'd suggest "The Faity Faith in Celtic Countries" by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, which is absolutely delightful...if not completely full of crap. LOL. (I have a first edition hardcover...) It's like reading a "scholarly" book written by someone who thinks Darby O'Gill and the Little People was based on historical fact.
                      :D
                      To be fair to Evans-Wentz, we presently have people running for President of the United States whose belief system is every bit as tenuous and a lot less entertaining.

                      Searles O'Dubhain
                      Last edited by odubhain; September 7th, 2011, 09:47 PM. Reason: spelling

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                      • #12
                        Let me recommend a recent book called "Caesar's Druids; An Ancient Priesthood" by Miranda Aldhouse-Green. Green has written a number of good archeological surveys on western Europe. In this she starts by focusing on what the Greeks and Romans called 'the Druids', and then looks at known archeology on religious practice and religious professionals in Gaulish and British regions. It includes a lot of recent archeology, such as the 'doctor's grave' and even more recent finds. Quite a good survey, and pretty neutral in perspective.

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                        • #13
                          Actually, see my full review here: http://intothemound.blogspot.com/sea...Book%20Reviews

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                          • #14
                            Nothing wrong with an eclectic approach. Modern Druidism pretty much requires it, IMO.

                            The whole thing about attempts at reconstructing an old religion is it's never going to be "pure" and exactly like what was once practiced due to the simple fact that we don't live in those old cultures. The Industrial Revolution was a long time ago, and I doubt most of us would want to live in the manner the Ancients did. Plus, I doubt most would want to bring back the human sacrifice many of the old pagan religions practiced, even if the laws allowed it. Even animal sacrifice will get you some legal issues.

                            We're more diverse, culturally, as well. That influences how a religion develops and practices, and always has. Even in Ancient times, contact with other cultures would influence how a religion developed, because it altered that culture and how people lived within it.

                            With the ancient Druids, we actually know very little about them, since they didn't write anything down. What we know comes from hostile Roman accounts like Caesar's, what archaeologists have discovered, and what survived into Celtic Christianity. The latter is actually quite a bit, because it's the culture that shapes the religion. Celtic Christianity was very... Celtic, not Roman in it's structure, practices, and philosophies. Christ was mainly added to what was already there (and, of course, getting rid of that human sacrifice business). We've worked out much about the Druids simply from how the Celtic Church and it's culture differed from the Roman one.

                            But... It's still a lot of educated guessing with a lot of disagreement and debate. Plus, again, different time and culture. This is, really, new territory being charted, new traditions developing, rooted in old ones, including Christian ones.

                            But, after all, a good religion must speak to the now.

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                            • #15
                              I personally wouldn't trust anything Caesar said more than I trust CEOs for large corporations and I think CEOs are the freakinng spawn of the wicked one so I don't trust them very much at all. This would be so much easier if someone just found a damned druid bible. Sadly the closest thing we have is the Lebor Feasa Runda which has some info we already know of and the rest is of questionable nature. Interesting to read through, but I would not go as far as to call a great earth shattering discovery. As I said the background of the text is highly questionable

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