CRP The Next Generation…Or Not (Some thoughts)


Yesterday I had the misfortune just before going to bed to read a post on a CR group in Facebook.  Let me tell you that was no fun for me.

Let me clarify a few things before I start.  I do not equate religion with mystical experiences (even though they are certainly a part of it).  I do think belief is important in religion BUT WHAT that belief is, is entirely your own thing.  UPG can mean mystical experiences that happens during practice BUT when I use it I actually mean practices that take place in say a ritual context that cannot be verified by our basic sources.

Now that all that is out of the way let us get on to the discussion I read.  The original poster asked a very important question, why do conversations on CRP forums never go past the CR 101 stage?  Very quickly you saw the “us vs. them” mentality come out.  This is very personal to me, because if I were to apply the criteria that the person responding presented, then I could never become part of CRP, ever.  So let us look at the points raised by this person and their group.

1. You must have a local community that you get feedback from.  I agree with that up to a point.  If you can find that community then more power to you, however, what do people like me do?  I live in Kuwait, I’m never going to find a Pagan community let alone a CRP one, does that mean that I can’t be a CRP even though my practice fits with their basic worldview?  What do people who live in remote areas of the US do?  Or those who don’t have the money or time to make it to a community one or two hours away?  Are they left out?  Does an internet community count in those cases?

2. Things like practice cannot be discussed on “public” forums because some random person who is not grounded in reality can make it part of their fantasy, instead it should be kept to a private group of individuals…  First of all, the source material that we all work from is the same, and each person or group can interpret it in anyway they see fit.  So the idea of some random person taking something said and spinning it into fantasy can happen anyway.  Second, who gets to decide who these private individuals are?  What makes them more worthy exactly?  I understand when a group decides not to share some private rituals, like how they incubate for divination or what they do if they do workings or magic or what have you but surely a basic ritual structure can be shared and discussed in a general sense.  For example, I have the basic ritual structure that I use up on my site, I’ve given people an idea where it came from and what inspired it, and I’ve shared a few of my rituals, but what I get out of my rituals is something that I may or may not share, or I could choose to share partially…I came by it the hard way, and I chose to share it in hopes of getting some feedback from people I considered the Elders of my community (when I thought I was actually a part of one, things don’t seem to be clear right now) and for the next generation of CRP to get inspiration from.  Apparently I’m doing this all wrong…since I don’t have a local community to share with, I shouldn’t really share.

3. People who identify as Pagans. What does that even mean?  Polytheism and by extension CRP is part of the wider Pagan community whether people like it or not.  Heck even the name says so, Celtic Recnstructionist Paganism.  Yes, in your tradition you can choose Irish Polytheism, Gaelic Polytheism, Welsh Polytheism, Gaulish…You get the idea, but in the end you are a Pagan and a part of Paganism.

4. The CR FAQ as a basic guide. Until it is not.  This poor document has been used by people to support their arguments, until it no longer supports their argument, then it is only a guide not to be taken as gosspel.  This document, I have been told by three different people whose names are on it as co-authors, was written through compromise, and in the end didn’t resemble the intent of its original writers, BUT it is a great starting point that needs to be tailored to the individual culture that interests you.  So parts of it can and probably will evolve as people practice more within their cultural structures, it was never intended to be a bible as someone told me yesterday.  The thing is, this is all CRs who first come to the path see, and the only concrete document that speaks about this path in a general way.  So if these people don’t find a community to interact with to further that knowledge how are they supposed to move along the path? Either they find a local community or they are out of luck apparently.

Conclusions:

People like me who have no local community are supposed to go away, and not think they can be included in the selected few who do have a local community for support and feedback.  They really shouldn’t think that they will get anything out of the internet community, as these discussions will never go beyond CR 101 or “this is Wicca we don’t do that” discussions.

In essence we are on our own, we need to do our own work (not that we don’t already) and make our own way in this path.  I just hope that when this work is done we don’t decide not to share with others…Harsh?  Yeah, I’m kind of a little p***ed right now…

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18 thoughts on “CRP The Next Generation…Or Not (Some thoughts)

  1. lairbhan says:

    Thank you for this. Very well said, and you express my own feelings as well.

  2. Saigh/Kym says:

    Of course, when someone isn’t actually doing anything and her “local community” is actually one person plus two or three other people she only knows online and she lies about her background anyway, she just don’t HAVE anything to share. But she wants you to think she has all the secrets and just isn’t letting you have it. It gives a huge sense of self-importance I’m sure.

    • celticscholar says:

      🙂 That kind of happens to be my thought, NOW that I have calmed down lol. I’ve been hearing about the so called good things coming for 3 years now…haven’t seen anything yet…

      • Blackbird says:

        That’s because we don’t hear about them there, “in that particular group.” I love how the assumptions are made that when one states “we” (meaning the whole of CRP) means “we” (the whole of one internet group because those who are active in an internet group can’t possibly be active anywhere else).

        I swear to the Gods, some people can’t see part their own noses. If you can’t contribute anything worth emulating, then what good are you really? And if you have no want to share in the community *as a whole* then why are you even a member of it? There is a difference between being an “elder” and simply being “out dated.” An elder actually contributes constructive information…

        *done with rant…for now* 🙂

  3. seanmcdh says:

    Well put! Hear hear! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I can feel the Pagan pendulum swinging back to center. There is true beauty and deep spirituality to be had in modern Pagan religions, if we can all get past the egos and the arguing.

  4. Well, see, this helps me feel like even as a CRP, I’m still not missing anything by ignoring certain groups in particular. ;P

    I have seen CRP discussions over the internet (sometimes via email lists, when that was what was most accessible) go well beyond ‘CR 101’. There may be someone who may get miffed that a conversation went beyond what they can understand, whether because of newness, lack of ritual/mystic/religious experience, because of lack of resources for learning or hosting an experience, _possibly_ because of lack or trying or because of procrastinating (sometimes including perfectionists who won’t try something until every possible element meets their version of perfect first). But even then, it is possible to still address that person inclusively and hospitably, and maybe assure them that they will be supported in learning more about this topic if they choose to pursue it. The challenge is when said person tries to prevent the conversation from going further, and sadly, I have seen that too, far more than I’d like to. The accusations about who is ‘really’ CR(P), who is not really CR(P), who is ‘ruining’ CR(P), how snobby CR(P)’s are, how exclusionist CR(P)’s are, etc. is not only divisive, but it can prevent certain topics from ever getting beyond a certain point, because they also serve as a diversion away from the original topic. And trying to form groups who really can avoid that crap seems to be a lot more difficult than it should be. Very, very sad for those of us who are looking for online community.

    I do want to say to you, though, that I have personally seen you contribute a lot to CRP, through your blog and through your attempts to help an online CRP community grow, nurture, and sustain itself. You try to make information as clear and accessible as you can, you share your reviews of a large number of books relevant to CRP topics, and you sometimes share about personal experiences, in a warm, friendly, and authentic manner, not in a pedantic or egomaniacal manner. My own experience of online CRP community has definitely been enriched by having you in it, and I want to thank you for that.

    With any community, face to face or online, there are challenges to holding the community together, and helping it grow into a nurturing and sustainable community. There are always some people who contribute more in some ways than others do, and there may also be people who are problematic, who may cause conflict or drive certain people out, unless they get driven out themselves. I’ve been working on community-building skills for years, not just for spiritual community, but for other communities too. From my perspective, you are exactly the kind of person I actively want in my community, and I am grateful to be able to interact with you, even if only online.

    • celticscholar says:

      Thank you, what bothered me is that these things were said by someone who other newbie CRPs would think of as someone they need to learn from because they are “one of the founders”. Another thing that p***ed me off was the fact that that person was talking and ranks and stuff, and here I thought CRP had no leaders or ranks lol. I may have misunderstood that part though because by then I was pretty angry.

  5. Shawn says:

    This would be partly why I have dropped out of any meaningful practice. I haven’t identified as crp and haven’t done worship in over a year. Makes me sad, but I personally need more than just the beliefin and experiences of the TDD to fulfill me.

    • celticscholar says:

      You should come be a part of IP Shawn, message me on FB if you are interested in joining the group.

  6. […] The importance of real life community to “authentic” reconstructed religion came up the other day in the Celtic Reconstruction / Restorationism Facebook Group. It was intimated by a prominent CR that one could only authentically practice Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism (CRP) in a real world community. While not said explicitly, the gist was that one could not practice CRP without being part of a real world group. This naturally raised the ire of some long-time practitioners that suddenly didn’t seem to meet the cut in this person’s eyes. (See: CRP The Next Generation…Or Not) […]

  7. Éireann says:

    I felt much the same way reading that thread, and lament that there isn’t more supportive CRP community to be had. In person would be nice, but supportive rather than hyper-critical online community would be lovely, for real sharing which fosters practical development within the traditions. Thanks for sharing; you are one of my favorite contributors to CRP and people to chat with in CRP communities. You have always been kind and generous with your time and knowledge and that truly exemplifies hospitality and belies and honorable person.

    • celticscholar says:

      Thanks! Your contributions always make me stop and think whether I agree with them or not, I’m glad to have you in my circle of online friends.

  8. Tyson says:

    Celticscholar,

    After reading two of your posts I believe you and I both know that in an essence this is your community. I gave some advice to someone from an earlier post you made which explained how to try and build relationships with people more active in the CRP community. You can contact most authors that are recommended on the Paganchild site. Facebook as a whole isn’t the best place to seek out intellectual conversation (no offense to those who are actually intelligent and use facebook).

    I can tell you in the U.S. there is only one CRP group here. They aren’t so terribly comfortable with outsiders coming in. However, the group leader has been kind enough to help my growth. Ultimately this is something we all do alone but the choice is ours if we want to be lonely. I can’t imagine living in Kuwait would make any of this easier. In fact, I know that to a degree it has to feel like a schism. I will let you know that in every creditable website I have seen or any knowledgeable group I have met with will tell you that modern CRP’s do NOT base geographical location or bloodline as what makes someone a Celtic Reconstructionist Pagan.

    If you would like I can extend my email to you and or facebook. It would be great to have someone to speak with who is learning and growing in the CRP as I am.

    Slan,

    Tyson

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