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Sep. 1st, 2011 | 12:19 am
posted by: indus_brennii_f in gaulish_recon

I've been quietly hammering away at the Gaulish reconstructionist website I was talking about a couple of years ago. It's no longer in such a woeful state of construction—the French pages anyway—that I feel like it needs to be kept under wraps. I'd appreciate it if people could have a look, and especially if you give feedback! The site is now laden with my perhaps too strongly worded opinions; I would be happy to work on it so that it becomes as inclusive as it can fairly be.

By the way, I'm extremely pleased to see the new Facebook group. Hopefully this can really help facilitate the sharing of ideas. Apologies for not being active on LiveJournal in an age. Greetings to Kevin Seguin and all the rest of our little community!

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Sep. 24th, 2010 | 01:01 pm
location: United States, Maine, Scarborough
mood: frustratedfrustrated
posted by: saorbhreathach in gaulish_recon

Besides the Coligny calendar, and written accounts of the otherworld and afterlife beliefs, is there any surviving Gaulish or Gallo-Roman cosmological beliefs? I'm looking for anything like worlds trees, other surviving calendars, documents on afterlife, underworld/otherworld etc. (Not saying that any of these things are necessarily out there) I'm just having trouble finding anything.

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Notions of Belisama?

Mar. 25th, 2010 | 07:58 am
location: Southeast of Disorder
mood: curiouscurious
music: "Trouble On the Horizon", -JB
posted by: chronarchy in gaulish_recon

I'm advising on our local ADF Grove's Beltaine ritual, and they're looking to honour Belisama (along with Belenos) for the rite. I took a look around and didn't find much on Belisama (I'm not immediately familiar with her, myself), but they're interested in the derivation of her name, which they found at http://www.celtnet.org.uk/gods_b/belisama.html to mean "Bight Summer." This seems to indicate that perhaps she's got some fire associations.

MacKillop indicates:

"Belisama, Belesama, Belisma. A lake- and river-goddess venerated in Gaul and Britain. Roman commentators equated her with Minerva. Ptolomy (2nd cent. AD) gives her name to the Ribble River in central England. She was also venerated at what is now Vaison (Vaucluse) in south-eastern France."

Two particular things I'm trying to wrap my head around are these:

1) Associations with fire. I'm not seeing many here. They'd be okay with that (this goddess is also new to them), and they're concerned with getting it "right".

2) Appropriateness as consort to Belenos. I see some information where maybe they match up, but it's hard to follow. I'm not sure where the information comes from.

3) Appropriateness with Beltaine itself. This looks to be a celebration of fertility and sexuality, and the association with Minerva indicates that we might be dealing with a "virgin-type" goddess, which makes me a bit uncomfortable. Not that it's easy to tell with Roman interpretations.

So, any notions you guys might have about this goddess, any thoughts you can bring forth would be appreciated. I'm continuing my own research, but something's not sitting right with me on this one.


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Thoughts on the Future of Revived Paganism

Aug. 27th, 2008 | 05:44 pm
posted by: owl_clan in gaulish_recon

Okay, I've decided to write a series of letters to discuss the future of revived Paganism. Understand that I have to make a distinction here between "Witchcraft" in the traditional sense- which is really a wide-ranging term including many forms of sorcery, all of which can (and do) exist despite the culture that surrounds them. Some cultures make it hard to be a sorcerer or practice occult/sorcerous arts, but still, they persist. Traditional Witchcraft, in the true modern sense, is a phenomenon that existed during Christian times, and now exists in the skeptical/scientific post-Christian era.

I don't worry too much about the "future" of Witchcraft; it will always remain, no matter how small or diffuse it is, because people will always seek out fringe elements of spirituality or the occult, regardless of society or culture's mainstream beliefs.

But what of "revived" Paganism, such as Asatru, Celtic Reconstructionism, Hellenism, Romuva, and the other revived Indo-European Pagan models? They have adherents, good lore and sources, reasonably strong structure as far as rituals and notions of sacred days and seasons: they have all they need to induct newborns and converts into their communities, and all they need to marry people and bury them, with rites. These revived faiths are pretty much complete faiths, with one exception: they all have pretty small populations of adherents.

So where do they go from here? A small population is bad news, for many reasons, but chiefly because small numbers means "little known", even in this day and age of the internet. "Little known" means "little or no political and legal recognition", and that means no support from anyone or anything else other than whatever few people (if any) you have near you that also practice your faith or believe as you do.

Hit this link for moreCollapse )

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Gaulish reconstructionism on the web?

Apr. 11th, 2008 | 12:09 am
posted by: indus_brennii_f in gaulish_recon

As we all know, there's an awful lot of nonsense out there on the internet. When that nonsense concerns the undying gods of our forebears ... well, that's not cool. I'd really like to set matters to right, to the extent possible, in at least one place on the web. So here's a project I've been mulling over for some time, and I'd really like to make a go of it: To build a central, trilingual (French/English/German) online resource for both study and devotion along Gaulish reconstructionist lines. There should be an academic side (comparable to the Greek theoi.com or Nantonos' epona.net) as well as a devotional one (with online shrines where one can leave votive offerings, and practical information on things like holy days, rituals, sacred spaces, divination etc – Nova Roma has some comparable resources).

Is anybody else seeing what I'm seeing? Anyone like to pitch in? Contributions could be of all sorts: prayers, original or traditional; photographs of cult statues, cult objects, sacred landscapes in Gaul; artwork; translations; and of course the intellectual fruits of our long studies. If properly flagged, UPG could even have a place on the site.

I'm convinced that many out there feel sincerely and lovingly drawn to the ancient gods, only to be drawn into shallow DIY theologies, or else discouraged from the way of the gods for lack of a sense of shared community or support. Can we not raise the Gaulish reconstructionist profile a bit? The CR FAQ itself has practically nothing to say about Gaulish reconstructionism, presumably because we're so under the radar (yet unlike the Iron Age Irish, the Gauls are actually known to have called themselves Celts...). What do we all say?

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Jan. 30th, 2008 | 08:08 pm
posted by: blacksealetters in gaulish_recon

So, here's my question ( cross posted to neos_alexandria)

If you are a religious syncretist, in this case roman and Celtic, and honor gods from two (or more) pantheons, do you consider it ok to honor Gods from different culture in the same rite? 

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(no subject)

Jan. 14th, 2008 | 01:57 pm
posted by: blacksealetters in gaulish_recon

I have a question about your approach to Gaulish Reconstructionism.

Are you:
1. A pre-roman Celtic reconstructionist
2. a gallo-roman syncretist
3. both/neither/other

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Re-thinking how we think about the Gods

Oct. 29th, 2007 | 12:54 pm
posted by: owl_clan in gaulish_recon

Good Day all:

Here is an essay I wrote (from a reconstructionist perspective) regarding Organic Religious Traditions and the journey some people end up taking through mythology and even beyond it.

Approaching the Gods Anew: Organic Religious Traditions and the Journey Beyond Mythology


I'd love any comments or ideas.


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Mind the gap

Oct. 7th, 2007 | 01:15 pm
posted by: nantonos in gaulish_recon

This started as a response to eydimork's post but became so long that it was better as its own entry. The question was, how to fill the gaps in the archaeological record, as a recon.

Great question, and the answer is of course 'it depends'; in this case, it depends on why the gap needs to be filled. If a) the gap has suddenly and embarrassingly become apparent and you are in the middle of ritual with two close friends, then the appropriate response will be different from b) you are having a discussion with members of your group with the aim of getting together some teaching materials for newcomers to use in about a years time, or c) you are writing a scientific paper on the subject.

Situation a) requires an immediate filling, either that or just pack up and go home; hopefully with discussio and research and modification afterwwards. b) is more tractable and I discuss it more below. c) is best served by clearly stating what we don't know as well as what we do, and why, and how likely it is that any type of evidence would ever be found that would later fill the gap.

You know the phrase about once is an accident, twice is coincidence and three times, its traditional? Unfortunately in some neopagan circles, by 'four times' its also 'what our ancestors did'... Of course you know this, and I'm also pretty sure that having done a) - perhaps multiple times - you won't then make the mistake of thinking you have a solution for c).

So, returning to situation b) where there is no immediate time or situation pressure, there is time for research and reflection and discussion, and where the footnote 'this is not directly supported by primary evidence but we do it because ..." has already been penciled in. My preferred approach is first to look back, then sideways, and only as a last resort forwards. By back I mean similar but earlier cultures (in the case of La Tene Gaul that would mean Hallstat culture, Celtiberia, Cisalpine Gaul) then sideways at historically contemporary cultures - both IE and non-IE - with preference given to those cultures with whom there was documented trade, warfare, or other interaction. Only lastly would I look forweard to the same linguistic family at later historical dates (or the present). Because that material has the highest probability of being completely wrong and a totally unrelated later addition.

It baffles me that people sometimes treat the Celts as a non-temporal culture; that anything Celtic from any period is directly comparable without any further comment. I term this 'pan-celticism' and use the term in a disparaging way. As an example, studying modern Irish which is supposed to in some way help with any Celtic study of any period. This is, frankly, ridiculous. Suppose some Anglo-Saxon- or Norse-oriented heathens were to learn modern English (a Germanic language) and study modern customs from English-speaking countries (going to the cinema, a football game, etc) and then apply this 'Germanic' material as being directly relevant! And yet a book on Celtic culture can be discussing Gaul and draw in material from mediaeval Wales or 19th century Scotland as if its obviously directly comparable without further comment.

Those same people will decry any use of Roman or Greek material (both contemporary IE cultures while happily using mediaeval Welsh or Irish material that is thoroughly contaminated with Christian influences.

To take a specific example: when there is a gap in the Epona material, assuming the gap needs to be filled but there is the luxury of time for research and reflection; I would look first to any earlier Gaulish or Celtiberian material (in this case, there is practically nothing); then other Gallo-Roman cultus, then to general Roman religion practice, then to contemporary Greek or Germanic (particulary Rhineland) practices; very sparingly, possible later mediaeval Celtic material such as Rhiannon or Macha (and only then where there is evidence, as there is in the case of Rhiannon with the names used, that the material has an older source).

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