Thursday, 4 September 2008

Have you ever thought that there’s something wrong with modern Druidry?

This was posted to Caer Feddwyd and I feel it may be of interest to others, so I am posting it here.

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We have reached a stage in our evolution as a ‘movement’ where we have become self-satisfied and complacent. The format of our rituals and festivals lack passion and religious insight, but of even far greater concern, they are starting to become set in stone. They have no concept of the Pagan inner mysteries and stagnate in some superficial desire to connect with the seasons and the world of nature. Our practices have become far removed from that which we pretend to honour.

We have been led to fear the words ‘religion’ and ‘dogma’, as if the ancient Druids were as unstructured, undisciplined, ill-informed and confused as we are today. So we accept the received wisdom from a handful of authors and it is leading us down a road to nowhere. We have forsaken the dying and rising sun god, within and without. We have relegated the goddess to a mere spirit of nature. It is we who would seem naive and primitive in the eyes of our ancestors.

In their time our druidic ancestors were at the cutting edge of philosophy, natural science and the understanding of the glory of the cosmos. Yet we insult these ancestors by pretending to be shamans, as if the ancient Druids had not evolved beyond the hunter-gatherers and still clung desperately to some primitive Mesolithic awareness until the arrival of the Christians.

Druidry is more than just animism, more than a counter-culture reaction to monotheism. But still we generalize with the symbolism of the gods. Where is the passion on our tongues and the fire in our bellies? Is there is no yearning in our hearts to look deeper? Do we really believe we already have all the answers we need? Where is the real belief in the gods? Where is the fire in our heads?

Can we say, before our gods, that druidry today answers those questions? No it cannot, enlightened spiritual insight remains our greatest weakness.

Many who read this may find our words offensive, and if we have hit a raw nerve, then having done so is way over due. But if you feel like we do, that it’s time for change, that Druidry today needs to be shaken out of its complacency before its too late, then you will find a way to contact us.

Our illustrious tradition deserves better of us. Together we can make a difference. Lets make it real, lets do it with passion, lets re-connect to the gods and stoke those ancient fires once again.

In Truth/\
Stefan Allen Seniuk, Head of the Albion Conclave of Druids,
and many others.

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The standard is being raised at Flag Fen on October 11th, 2008 and if enough good people come we will hold a council to determine our next steps.  This maybe the true beginning of the resurgence of the British Native Religions, something we in Brython have planned and prayed for for then last two years.

20 comments:

Fog Patches. said...

My answer to the question in the title is yes, and the wrongness is the certainty with which statements such as the following are made:

“In their time our druidic ancestors were at the cutting edge of philosophy, natural science and the understanding of the glory of the cosmos.”

I’m all for reconstructionism but claims like this make me wonder about the source being used, and in this case I fear it’s Goscinny and Uderzo. It’s such an extreme claim that it makes you wonder if those at the centre of Brython have any knowledge of British history at all, let alone the history of the rest of Europe and the world.

Seniuk predicts that some will find his words offensive. I find them something other. They’re barmy, especially when the cultural catastrophes of the Romans appear to have been ignored in favour of a false Druid-Christian dichotomy:

“Yet we insult these ancestors by pretending to be shamans, as if the ancient Druids had not evolved beyond the hunter-gatherers and still clung desperately to some primitive Mesolithic awareness until the arrival of the Christians.”

This kind of frothing, fictional grandeur is to be expected, I suppose, as every reconstructionism must have its Margaret Murray:

“Where is the passion on our tongues and the fire in our bellies? Is there is no yearning in our hearts to look deeper? Do we really believe we already have all the answers we need? Where is the real belief in the gods? Where is the fire in our heads?”

All due respect to anyone who wishes to formalise their religion but this all sounds a little too fiery. Cool heads may not prevail in the midst of such a fire, and the smoke will choke the light.

Bo said...

Yes, I quite agree, as history it is utter shite, to be frank, and I for one will lose no time in telling Stefan et al. so.

But, it is quite correct that Druidry has disintegrated into self-indulgent blockheadry.

I'll be interested to see how this pans out.

Fog Patches. said...

I have taken a look around and one of the most interesting things which I have found - other than Seniuk’s inordinate fondness for describing his activities as "profound" (mistletoe?) - is that the Albion Conclave runs a correspondence course. Now, we all know that there is money in druidry, the Americans being a huge resource of historically-ignorant marks particularly keen to fork out their hard-earned that they might describe themselves as druids, and a cynical man might just wonder if this were not a move to grab a larger slice of the pie from the other teaching orders, if not push them away from the table completely.

It’s interesting that Seniuk seems to put distance between the Albion Conclave and shamanism while the only review which appears of their course that I have found describes the course as having “a deep Shamanic essence to it.” Further, on their own site the Albion Conclave describe shamanism as “an aspect of Druidic Lore”. Presumably this assertion has Seniuk's blessing therefore the Albion Conclave must have determined that shamanism sells yet this apparent endorsement of shamanism via teaching doesn't tally with Senuik's declaration against shamanism. Something of a mess, all this.

Looking at his druid camp profile for 2008 I’m led to the conclusion that Senuik is just another enterprising anti-Christian IRAB. I’m more used to seeing mangled history of this kind over on the BBC’s Pagan Topic but, considering the high regard in which some people appear to hold Senuik’s ideas, it seems clear to me that hopeful ignorance is not confined to message boards.

Given the short notes above Senuik’s newly stated intentions seem very confused. I would urge people to beware of self-proclaimed leaders.
….

Incidentally, Celt, I don’t know whether your music player here is broken or if you have disabled it by some means. Whichever, I’m loving the silence. Thank you.

lee said...

quick point before i answer the post, Brython arent the ones posting this and behind it, they are an 'interested' group.who i would hope know better then to post spurious histories like this.

I think that Stefan has modern druidry nailed down to a tee. it has become a large, comfy self help group where everyone and thier pet ideas have become welcomed and face no challenge - to do so is frowned upon. (speaking from experience of OBOD and TDN there).

dodgy history and ideas of what the druids were aside, the spirit of this message seems to be worth listening to; druidry has become homogenous pap - it needs pruning back with vigour.

i support such a notion.

why does everyone need to be a member of the priestly caste? what is being a member of the leyity? honourng ones gods at home or outdoors without the need for the circles of Wicca or the philosophy of the East?

flag fen should be interesting.

Ancestral Celt said...

Fog Patches,

Why not take your comments to the forums where these items are posted, or, better yet, to Stefan Seniuk himself, since you have so much to say.

Now, the music only plays when activated.

Fog Patches. said...

I do neither because both actions are unnecessary.

What is your position over this? I’m confused as to whether any of the entry was written by yourself and having seen this appear without any obvious original comment on 3 blogs now, I’m beginning to wonder if this signifies a move to win hearts and minds in advance of Flag Fen.

Ancestral Celt said...

As per the original post, it was copied from the forums at Caer Feddwyd. I thought it an interesting post, so put it on my blog and various other places - as a kind of advertising for the gathering at Flag Fen.

Fog Patches. said...

Hi Lee.

I am sure that you have a more precise idea of the problems of Druidry today than myself such that you may agree with Seniuk’s sentiment, the same sentiment which pervades paganism, that Somebody Oughta Do Sumfink but it’s clear to both of us and to others that the foundation of Seniuk’s analysis - the history he claims - is false, and it follows from this that the direction which he proposes for Druidry - convergence with his “illustrious tradition” - is doomed to fantasy. I cannot believe that Seniuk is accorded such respect by his fellows and yet can trot out these myths in support of his ambition

This proclamation is insubstantial. All revolutions are based upon the claim of jam-yesterday and the promise of jam-tomorrow, and they all end up in a sticky mess.

Fog Patches. said...

Thank you, I find it interesting too but what is your position?

lee said...

i dont think its necessarily the foundation - it is something he has included and there will be people at flag fen to correct incorrect histories.

regardless of history, the point still stands - modern druidry is a mess. this gathering it seems is a first step towards doing something about it.

as to sumthing needing doing - it is, at the moment behind closed doors whilst discussion take place. it just hasnt been publicised. brython is an example of this. if stefan's ideas are shite - then people like brython will continue.

Fog Patches. said...

If this mythical golden age is not radical to Seniuk’s argument then why would he mention it? It is not radical to our understanding of the status quo but it is important to his argument. If he felt another way then surely he would have said another thing.

lee said...

i think paragraph 3 is superfluous - flawed too - and its removal from the body of the text affects the message not one bit.

as to his motives for including it - i suppose i can ask him next month.

Fog Patches. said...

Actually not. If you read more closely you will see that the final paragraph ties all the above references to the past in the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs together in Seniuk’s exhortation to "re-connect to the gods and stoke those ancient fires once again." We're looking at a single coherent argument, here, found in a fiction.

I think that this is more than a case of unfortunate phrasing, Lee. I think that you and others are going to have to be quite firm.

Fog Patches. said...

Lee, I do not doubt when you say that change is necessary, I only urge you to be mindful of the direction in which it would be driven and who would stand at the helm.

Bo said...

Watch me. ;)

lee said...

i see where you are coming from Fog, but i still say that the message is still there and still says the same thing if we remove the iffy history.take out the crap history and the message doesnt fall apart.

the basis is that reform of sorts is needed - one aspect of which is pseudohistory need to go on the bonfire

Fog Patches. said...

Lee.

Ordinarily I would put some effort into persuading you that it is unequivocally otherwise but I feel that despite both of us being very spiffy people, ceteris paribus, still one of us is the better at making arguments and taking them apart than the other, and at the current moment he’s far too merry singing along with Dave Vanian to feel frustrated at anything.

I wish to thank you, Ancestral Celt, for hosting such an interesting discussion. I'm still interested in learning your position on this issue, however.

Fog Patches. said...

Bo, I shall be observing your blog with an avidity that would cause blind owls to blink as it rather seems that Brython at least are likely to play this one close to their chest. Whether the Albion Conclave will have anything to shout about on their site - or upon Brython's site - is something which remains to be seen.

Does anyone know if Seniuk’s proclamation was made anywhere else other than on Brython’s site?

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne said...

I've enjoyed reading the comments on this post, but there are a few points that spring to mind. Firstly, I am not a fan of any modern "druidic" group - there is no such thing as a modern druid imo, noone has the right to use the title and no modern group is an accurate reflection of the druids. However what I like about the original post was the correct assertion that neopaganism as a whole has denegrated the legacy from ancient paganism, including Druids.
As for the reaction to druids being "at the cutting edge" of their world's science, I have to say as it is obvious both from Filíocht works and the commentary of roman authors that the Druid class was seen as the educated elite of its society.
as for this particular group and it's activities, again i personally think all neo druidry is based on a lot of false history and personal self gnosis. However I applaud the author of the original statement for pointing out the way neopaganism as a whole has gone.
I think if more groups, paths, traditions followed the same lead and reinvigorated their attitudes towards their chosen patsh we may end up with paganism that shows a little respect for its origins.

Fog Patches. said...

Geraldine.

“I think if more groups, paths, traditions followed the same lead and reinvigorated their attitudes towards their chosen patsh we may end up with paganism that shows a little respect for its origins.”

Yes, modern history is very interesting.