Dedicant's Path, Religious

Piety

The quality or state of being pious: such as, fidelity to natural obligations, or a dutifulness in religion.

~Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

A simple explanation of piety is that it is the expression of dedication, or devotion, through actions.  This explanation is largely a reflection the ADF Dedicant’s Handbook definition of piety which states that piety is, “correct observance of ritual and social traditions, the maintenance of the agreements (both personal and societal) we humans have with the Gods and Spirits. Keeping the Old Ways, through ceremony and duty.”  The simple explanation, however, is not a complete explanation of piety.  It is doubtful, after all, that the Gods or Spirits are particularly interested in rituals carried out by bored, resentful participants who would rather be playing an escapist video game. Continue reading

Dedicant's Path, Religious

Wisdom

“Wisdom [noun] quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise.”

~The Oxford Living Dictionary

There are many different definitions for the word wisdom; each dictionary explains the word with slight variations on a theme.  In the end, however, a pattern emerges and it becomes clear that for the most part the sources agree that wisdom consists of three elements; knowledge, experience, and judgement.  Hence, according to the dictionaries, a person who is wise possesses raw knowledge, real world experience, and finally the ability to apply their knowledge and experience correctly. Continue reading

Personal Reflection, Religious

Renewing the Journey

Celtic_God_Lugh_Statue_MagicalOmaha5In recent weeks, I have been engaged in an effort to dramatically increase the role of faith and piety in my life.  I, sometimes, struggle with both of these things because my academic training and intellectually analytical nature are occasionally at odds with my more spiritual side; leading me to drift away from my practice. In general, I have found the ancestors, spirits, and Gods to be receptive to my renewed overtures; though, I would be lying if I said It didn’t take a few days of consistent effort for me to begin to actively feel their presence around my altar.  I cannot blame them for being hesitant.  Who wants a fickle friend?

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Religious

The Solitary Druid and The Grove

Like so many other practitioners of Druidry, I have spent most of my time as a solitary practitioner.  There are many reasons why a Druid becomes a solitary practitioner; usually it is some combination of necessity, practicality, and spiritual considerations.  Necessity and practicality come into play in many locales because Druidic Groves can be sparse in some regions; this is particularly true in the monolithic Bible belt formed by the Southern states.  For example, for the entire time I have been involved with Druidry there has not been a grove in South Carolina associated with any of the major Druid Orders.  There were, naturally, a few unaffiliated groves that were difficult to look into, even more difficult to contact, and were ideologically questionable.  Though, in fact, in my case even the unaffiliated groves tended to be far enough away to make attending anything other than High Holy Day rites impractical. The spiritual considerations of grove participation can be significant as well.  There are any number of strains of schools of Druidism and it can be something of a chore to find a group that meshes well enough with your own spiritual path that it is a natural and comfortable fit.  There are druids who are ardent worshippers of old gods as actors with individual agency, druids who think the gods are archetypes dredged up from the human subconscious, druids for whom the entire undertaking is more philosophical than religious.  Naturally, it would be quite the undertaking to accommodate so many different forms of Druidism in one grove. Continue reading

Political, Religious

Service

The greatest lie that capitalism has told us is that, the value of a person can be seen in the size of their pocket book.  That the person who performs the most valuable service for our society will naturally be paid the greatest amount of currency for their contributions.  If this were true, the implication is that CEOs, professional sports players, and the heads of various criminal enterprises would be the members of our society that contributed the most to our general welfare.  The lie is obvious, and yet, somehow, we all fall for it at some point in our lives.  We all look at our neighbor and think that we are somehow better or worse than them because we have more or less material wealth.   We have all had unkind thoughts about the unclean, poorly garbed, hungry souls that haunt the periphery of our society.  The truth, that capitalism wants us to forget, is that those of us who do the most for our society are usually those who get the least from it.

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Religious

Missing Myths

In recent days I have been reflecting on the nature of reality and the origins of that which we perceive as reality.  I am not a professional physicist, but I read enough of the articles prepared for lay people to know that the science beginning to move past the idea of the big bang into the deeper mysteries of reality.  Our scientists, in many ways, have become the shamans and holy men of our modern secular society.  They plumb the depths, seeking to truly understand the nature of universes and the nature of reality that exists beyond, around, before, and after these constructs. For many people of faith this has become a source of intense cognitive dissonance because the nature of what our Scientist-Priests are finding is not in concurrence with a literal reading of their ancient religious texts.  In Celtic Reconstructionist Druidism this, fortunately, is not a problem with which we must struggle.
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Personal Reflection, Political, Religious

Marriage in the Courts of Men

This is not, strictly speaking, a post about paganism, polytheism, or druidism.  I have not had much time to think on those topics lately due to being in the middle of finals for my doctoral classes.  This is a post about the inordinate amount of stress the gay marriage debate puts on LGBT people, and me in particular.  For anyone living under a rock in the Australian Outback, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is hearing a case today on gay marriage.  The court is considering two basic questions.  The first is whether or not gay couples have a right under the United States Constitution to get married; and the second is whether or not a state must recognize marriages conducted between same-sex people in a state where it is legal.
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