Hmmm....

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Re: Hmmm....

Post by treegod » 16 Jan 2012, 12:28

Aemilius wrote:That's fair, here's what I'm driving at then.... Can anyone give me one good reason for rejecting the writings of these men (besides vague references to political agendas) who may actually have met Druids or known people who did, and putting their faith in Emma Restall Orr instead?
The Druids that were being described by the classical writings are dead and extinct. As are the writers of these classical writings. We take from them what we feel is relevant to us now in our times.

Emma is alive and is (I suppose) describing a Druidry that is not dead or extinct, but exists in modern times.

However, the only "faith" I'd put in Emma about her quote above is if she's describing her own Druidry and any other druids she affiliates with/that affiliate with her, and not describing Druidry in general, ancient or modern.

So when she says "As an oral tradition, Druidry does not anchor itself with scientific or historical facts; instead it breathes, shaping itself through stories ancient and modern." is she being explicit about "Druidry" or leaving it for vague interpretation? What is the context of the statement: her personal druidry (as experienced by herself)? her brand of druidry (as shared with others "of like mind")? modern druidry in general? ancient druidry in general? or anything that was/is/will be described as "druidry"?
Last edited by treegod on 16 Jan 2012, 12:33, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hmmm....

Post by DJ Droood » 16 Jan 2012, 12:30

Aemilius wrote:Hello all....

DJDrood "Well that seems sensible to me....science and historical facts are just opinions"

Could you expand on that DJ?
No, I'm sorry I can't...I was just saying it to try to make myself more popular around here...maybe win one of the coveted "mod" positions. You caught me.


But seriously, though, who came up with the"8 Fold Year"? I'm fairly sure from my readings that it didn't exist in ancient times, at least not as a cohesive cycle, but is a modern melding of ancient celebrations with perhaps putting more emphasis on the solstices and equinoxes than they did in the old days. Most all modern pagans and druids of different theological and a-theological stripes follow it in some way...was it Gardner, Nuinn, someone else?
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Re: Hmmm....

Post by Karl » 16 Jan 2012, 13:22

Not sure, but calling one of the feasts 'Mabon' because the original name was lost and it sounded nice really rather rankles.
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Re: Hmmm....

Post by Lily » 16 Jan 2012, 13:24

DJ Droood wrote:But seriously, though, who came up with the"8 Fold Year"?
might have been Nuinn, seems not to have been Gardner:
There appears to be no surviving evidence that the eight festivals described in this article were formally observed as a 'set', and the complete eightfold Wheel of the Year was unknown under that name prior to modern Wicca, as far as we know.[14] In early forms of Wicca only the cross-quarter days were observed. However, in 1958 the members of Bricket Wood Coven added the solstices and equinoxes to their original calendar, as they desired more frequent celebrations. Their High Priest, Gerald Gardner, was away visiting the Isle of Man at the time, but he did not object when he returned, since they were now more in line with the Neo-druidism of Ross Nichols, a friend of Gardner's and founder of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.[17]
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lemme dig out Hutton's Triumph...
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Re: Hmmm....

Post by DJ Droood » 16 Jan 2012, 13:53

Had to run off, but I did want to make one other comment on your original E R-O quote. Aimilius....it is BS...to claim that druidry is "an oral tradition" is just the same fantasist stuff you read in druid books all the time. I've never read her books, and I understand she is quite well regarded, so maybe the quote is out of context, but the mere fact that it is in a book (!) and being discussed on an internet message board (!) would seem to be enough to show it is a silly statement. "Druidry" is a modern, perhaps 60 years old, "tradition" based on what people wrote down, other people read, and then regurgitated again in written word. Just because someone at a retreat campfire transmits to you orally something they read somewhere, it doesn't make it an oral tradition. The only reason we know anything about the long-gone Ancient druids is because someone transmitted it to us in writing....nobody has passed down secrets from the Iron Age, from mouth to ear to mouth to ear (although there is no shortage of people who will make that claim...in writing).

And it isn't just out and proud New Agers who would make a claim like this..deeply closeted and conflicted New Agers (also known as "reconstructionists") like to tell us, in written English, on electronic messageboards and humourless FAQS, how they are some sort of "real deal" Druids (or "Drauchts", or whatever.)

For me, that quote rings false, and it would be nice to see more druids admit that we are not so much a "tradition" as a recent sub-cultural smear of the Oil Age (transmitted to each other almost exclusively by written English words)....check back in 200 years, when we have largely been destroyed by some angry Mayan gods, and it might have turned into an oral tradition.

As for rejecting science and "facts", I'm not sure method of transmission has anything to do with it....people can be willfully ignorant orally, in writing or silently in their minds.
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Re: Hmmm....

Post by Merlyn » 16 Jan 2012, 15:02

Hmmmmm.......
One could argue that druidry is a time of learning, and the tradition of it.
Exactly what is learned is another matter. The psychology of nature and the interaction of the mind-body as a result of environmental cycles, possibly, in the case of the OBOD.

We can ask ourselves if there is too much Wicca in Druidry, and I would say that there is none really as Wiccan tradition requires a direct teacher-student relationship and cannot be given by a mail order course. Whatever part of Wicca we find in druidry is a shared insight at best, to the wheel of the year. Some attempt has been made in what is called "Druidcraft" in rare corners and parts..

As to speaking...to the oral tradition, the ability is lost to time. It sure would be nice to have such a rich and amazing ability, IMO would take at least a generation or two of people never writing anything and memorizing everything.

The Christian tradition is as Pagan as any Judaism can be. In ways made into this to adapt and be accepted to further and richen the goal. We however see Pagan stripes in the Muslim faith and let us not forget the Magic of Solomon.

I don't find anything "pure" or able to be totally void of another influence, as DJ points out, riding the sun chariot across the sky is as much an attempt at psychology as the wheel of the year.

Druidry does seem flipped, from the understandings we have, of Drui being the great governing wisdoms of their time, to our "Anchor of light" kind of OBOD thinking now.
Seems the idea of it all is a bit mixed and the main camps of druidry as much so. Reconstructionist seem to cling to thin air as reason one cannot be something no one has a defined history of. OBOD seems to say, we can dance in the light of tradition and call it druidry. The Romans of course will claim they invented everything heavenly, despite the Mayans.

Interesting debate, I have to ponder it for a beer or two to be sure... :grin:
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Re: Hmmm....

Post by andromeda » 16 Jan 2012, 15:18

I am new to druidry but I think that more than an oral tradition is a cosmic way of being that is registered in the trees because how can it be explained that one can get techniques and suggestions directly from the trees that later on appear on the Gwersi? At least that is my experience thus far

I came to druidry not because I read books about it, I did not know there were still real druids...it was the forest that guided me to it and my brain is still trying to make sense of it all because it is like a back to front experience :where:

Of course I was delighted to see the insights that I received from the trees written in paper too....

For me druidry is in the ether...the question is, are we listening to what the living elders are saying? Trees that are alive for several thousand years and saw it all and hear it all? :old:
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Re: Hmmm....

Post by Red Raven » 16 Jan 2012, 16:31

Aemilius wrote:That's fair, here's what I'm driving at then.... Can anyone give me one good reason for rejecting the writings of these men (besides vague references to political agendas) who may actually have met Druids or known people who did, and putting their faith in Emma Restall Orr instead?
I don't think it is a case of rejecting these writings but more of a case of putting them in perspective as a valid opinion / observation but not THE definitive valid opinion / observation. The Druids of the classical age must have been aware of the medium of writing but chose not to use it, which suggests to me that they may have held the opinion that the transfer of information through myths, poems or even what we may now consider to be a loosely scientific framework, could only be acurately conveyed when done orally. This could speculatively be interpreted as one giving life to concepts and not "fixing" them through the medium of writing. And this is where the opening post you used, could be viewed as actually continuing this classical tradition, placing it within a living and functioning entity and not an inanimate medium.
treegod wrote:
However, the only "faith" I'd put in Emma about her quote above is if she's describing her own Druidry and any other druids she affiliates with/that affiliate with her, and not describing Druidry in general, ancient or modern.

So when she says "As an oral tradition, Druidry does not anchor itself with scientific or historical facts; instead it breathes, shaping itself through stories ancient and modern." is she being explicit about "Druidry" or leaving it for vague interpretation? What is the context of the statement: her personal druidry (as experienced by herself)? her brand of druidry (as shared with others "of like mind")? modern druidry in general? ancient druidry in general? or anything that was/is/will be described as "druidry"?
That would be easier to answer if one could neatly compartmentalize "druidry", something it singularly appears to be difficult to achieve. If one is looking to achieve the gaining of a goal, much as is the object of the monotheistic religions with their concepts of heaven and being "favoured" by said deity, then one has a framework with which to better corrolate the actions and consequences of any actions. However, it is my opinion that the "main objectives" of classical druidry may have been more to do with developing the skills by which to interact with their environment and an implicit understanding that the individual had a latent ability to "create" by giving life through the spoken word. This may therefore, be part of what ERO's statement could be relating to.
Therefore, using this understanding, I don't actually see that much of a conflict as you suggested in your opening post. However, as mentioned, this is only my personal opinion as to how I see this, others will have their own take on this that may suggest otherwise.

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Re: Hmmm....

Post by treegod » 16 Jan 2012, 16:43

Red Raven wrote:
treegod wrote:
However, the only "faith" I'd put in Emma about her quote above is if she's describing her own Druidry and any other druids she affiliates with/that affiliate with her, and not describing Druidry in general, ancient or modern.

So when she says "As an oral tradition, Druidry does not anchor itself with scientific or historical facts; instead it breathes, shaping itself through stories ancient and modern." is she being explicit about "Druidry" or leaving it for vague interpretation? What is the context of the statement: her personal druidry (as experienced by herself)? her brand of druidry (as shared with others "of like mind")? modern druidry in general? ancient druidry in general? or anything that was/is/will be described as "druidry"?
That would be easier to answer if one could neatly compartmentalize "druidry", something it singularly appears to be difficult to achieve.
It's easy enough to answer, if someone knows the context of Emma's quote. I'm not asking how to compartimentalise Druidry but what Druidry "compartment" was Emma talking about.

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Re: Hmmm....

Post by Merlyn » 16 Jan 2012, 19:35

"As an oral tradition, Druidry does not anchor itself with
scientific or historical facts; instead it breathes, shaping itself
through stories ancient and modern." - Emma Restall


The quotes which follow, are of course by people who do anchor themselves with scientific and historical facts...

It seems more to do with them than Emma IMO

The Oral tradition is one which is a living thing. And it will no doubt take on the expressions and life of the speaker.
Druidism is much like this despite our lack of ability to memorize everything, and the evolution transcends the many forms of communication we have now.
We may forget that everyone we speak to is hearing from the druid tradition, in our own way. . .
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Re: Hmmm....

Post by Aemilius » 16 Jan 2012, 22:37

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Re: Hmmm....

Post by Attila » 16 Jan 2012, 22:37

AD 350 - Ammianus Marcellinus
they were up-lifted by searchings into secret and sublime things
Hence if one does the same now, then assumedly one may derive new learning’s.

I think Caesar said also that the druids were such* due to a vision in which they saw their own future, so again if we do the same now then we are doing what they did.

Keyword in emma’s statement here is probably ‘anchor’.
the truth is naked.
once it is written it is lost.
what is life; life is not a question.
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Re: Hmmm....

Post by DJ Droood » 16 Jan 2012, 22:48

Aemilius wrote:Context.... http://www.honour.org.uk/node/26

Different debate, I suppose, but:
Should the work go ahead, all site personnel will be briefed about the sanctity of landscape and monuments. Archaeologists will talk to Pagan priests who will feed information back into their faith communities worldwide. Rituals to ease environmental and ancestral spirits will be made, and if archaeologists unearth human remains there will be clear consultation between all parties, including Pagan priests, as to their fate.
More BS... "all site personnel will be briefed about the sanctity of landscape and monuments"...what arrogance!...as if modern "pagan priests" (whatever they are) have any more moral authority or knowledge of the wishes of the ancestors or sensitivity to bones than anyone else living on the Island, or the archeologists themselves, or decadents of the Ancient British dead worldwide...more than a Christian or Atheist... maybe the article is skewed, but do they really give the New Agers some sort of special say in archaeological finds in the UK, or is this just wishful thinking on ERO's part? I know King Arthur Pendragon makes a lot of noise about this, Gawd love him, and he is welcome to his opinions...but who is this "all parties" she speaks of? They could be my ancestors...I don't get emails....
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Re: Hmmm....

Post by Aemilius » 16 Jan 2012, 23:47

Hi Attila....

AD 350 - Ammianus Marcellinus
"....they were up-lifted by searchings into secret and sublime things."


Attila "Hence if one does the same now, then assumedly one may derive new learning’s."

Right, and one can most assuredly still learn new things, I wouldn't question that....

Attila "I think Caesar said also that the druids were such* due to a vision in which they saw their own future, so again if we do the same now then we are doing what they did."

I don't find that but I'm certainly open to correction.... Here's every surviving word written about them if you would like to review.... http://www.anglamarke.com/the_druids

Attila "Keyword in emma’s statement here is probably ‘anchor’."

Can you expand a little on why you think that's significant?


DJDrood "Different debate, I suppose, but:"

Article Excerpt - "Should the work go ahead, all site personnel will be briefed about the sanctity of landscape and monuments. Archaeologists will talk to Pagan priests who will feed information back into their faith communities worldwide. Rituals to ease environmental and ancestral spirits will be made, and if archaeologists unearth human remains there will be clear consultation between all parties, including Pagan priests, as to their fate."


Hah! That's another can of worms I'm looking forward to opening....
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Re: Hmmm....

Post by DJ Droood » 17 Jan 2012, 00:45

Aemilius wrote:Hah! That's another can of worms I'm looking forward to opening....
To be fair to ERO, that article was written in 2004..I'm sure she has honed some of her arguments/theology since then....and treating the remains of long dead humans with respect is something I believe any modern, civilized human could agree with....and if people want to do rituals at/near the site or the remains to ease their passage to the Summerlands or Heaven, or whatever they happen to believe, I am all for that as well...it is just the underlying notion that modern druids/pagans are somehow direct spiritual descendants of ancient pagans that I find fanciful.

But I like Attila's quote:
AD 350 - Ammianus Marcellinus
"....they were up-lifted by searchings into secret and sublime things."
If that is the case, then I think Druids can be and are directly inspired by the ancients, which is better, imo, because it is true.
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Re: Hmmm....

Post by Merlyn » 17 Jan 2012, 02:01

The root of my spirituality is reverence for nature. Its practice is the forging of sacred relationships within humanity and the environment. As an oral tradition, Druidry does not anchor itself with scientific or historical facts; instead it breathes, shaping itself through stories ancient and modern.

"In context" what Emma says makes perfect sense. "As an oral tradition" seems a bit assuming, considering the Drui today... However I feel she is speaking to one of many aspects in druidry, not making some all encompassing definition.


Thanks for that / context. :shake:

Cheers, :merlyn:
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Re: Hmmm....

Post by Aemilius » 17 Jan 2012, 02:34

Merlyn "In context" what Emma says makes perfect sense. "As an oral tradition" seems a bit assuming, considering the Drui today... However I feel she is speaking to one of many aspects in druidry, not making some all encompassing definition."

Well, Merlyn (nice to meet you), I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.... be that as it may, in context or out, a little treasure trove of perspectives.... Emile
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Re: Hmmm....

Post by Explorer » 17 Jan 2012, 08:47

Aemilius wrote:"As an oral tradition, Druidry does not anchor itself with
scientific or historical facts; instead it breathes, shaping itself
through stories ancient and modern." - Emma Restall
I guess it also depends which stream of modern druidry you look at.
Here in OBOD we are all trained through a long-distance course, which is per definition not oral, nobody can shout that loud.

BTW, an interesting read about the effects of the written word on oral culture is 'spell of the sensuous' by David Abrams.
There is a lot more to 'oral' than just telling a story over a campfire. Our whole way of thinking, perceiving reality and being a society, has been changed drastically when we started to solify our thoughts on paper. It is like going from hunter-gatherer to agriculture. There is no way we can go back into that 'oral' mindset as modern westerners.
http://www.amazon.com/Spell-Sensuous-Pe ... 0679776397

One of the underlying principles of modern 'druidry' is seeking for truth, understanding and knowledge, and combine that with meaning, love and honour (and some more).
Scientific facts are part of knowledge and truth, just like personal experience is another part of knowledge and truth.
Denying science goes against truth, just like denying personal experience goes against truth.

I like Emma a lot. I've worked with her and I find her inspiring and passionate. But I also think that she sometimes looks with only one eye, like everybody does who refuses to combine scientific knowledge with spiritual meaning to find more 'truth'.
I think that it takes two eyes to see depth.

Like I said earlier, I don't think there is a strong link between ancient druids and modern druids. We are too different, culture wise. I think we have to look at the here and now, and a bit at the future, instead conjuring up the ancient dead too much.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

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Re: Hmmm....

Post by Merlyn » 17 Jan 2012, 14:21

"As an oral tradition" is the key-note I see in this.
And I could decide to disagree with it, if I were to make comparisons. I rather see Druidism having many branches, the Oral tradition as one.
I agree with Explorer, as I mentioned, to have a truly oral tradition would exclude the very print this discussion is about.. Though one could then argue what was printed came form something said. Though what was said makes sense to me, it isn't by that justification something I am endeared to or even totally agree with.

I can agree.. that Druidism can't simply be whatever we discover using the basic ideals, and be totally void of what we consider the roots of the drui. I expect that the druids most likely never called their path druidism or druidry. No more that Christ called himself a Christian.

From my chair... I can say that our humanity today needs spiritual balance in natural intercourse. Humans all too often have made themselves as pseudo-gods and imposed all manner of wrong to their fellows in delusional grandeur. It is not much different today, and perhaps we all need to sense this.
http://www.npr.org/2012/01/15/144907141 ... -800-years

Small excuse to bastardize the most pure of druid ideals with things like the wheel of the year, and in light It could be reason to more authentically call OBOD "druidry" something else. Possibly Droooidry :grin:

In a lot of ways I have felt a lean more to the Earth-sea and sky, and further away from the wheel of the year druidism as of late. That is my own kind of personal drift as I wander my path. The trees speak in terms of diversity however, and so a tolerance during this time of rediscovery is a more beneficial thing, allowing for a transition which may well take a full generation.

I am glad for what Philip has done, though I initially learned from family of the "old ways" and they were never called "druidry". Learning of the tree spirits, lore and all came right from family, and none of it was ever written. So in my own small experience, the old ways were never dead or wiped out by any Romans. Much of what is discussed and the views on it in druidism is seen by me from my own eyes in a totally different light. Adding Wiccan colors to the Druid picture was and is a very new thing to me, and as I accepted it I have now clearly seen the difference and understand well why there is difficulty from many people and views.

What Droooidry could do might also be better learned without the psychology lesson IMO, however, again, so much damage has been done by so many delusions, it perhaps is a needed thing during this time of druid renaissance.

To the future however, much pondering should be done, as is being done and all the better for it.

So though we may disagree on some factors here, I see more we do agree in and on.
I have seen the difficulty in discussing these differences, often causing all manner of divide. I personally strive to understand and nurture the ways druidism could and can be as the future unfolds. Any kind of insight needs to be offered with respect to all things in a positive light with understanding. It will take hold in the ground if well watered and tended, and perhaps a more authentic and more clearly understood druidry will grow from it all.

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Dyro, Dduw, dy nawdd;
ac yn nawdd, nerth;
ac yn nerth, ddeall;
ac yn neall, gwybod;
ac o wybod, gwybod yn gyfiawn;
ac o wybod yn gyfiawn ei garu;
ac o garu, caru Duw.
Duw a phob daioni.

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Re: Hmmm....

Post by DaRC » 17 Jan 2012, 14:52

DaRC "I think you'll find that this was a continued theme in the early church, I refer to the Council of Nicea and another example would would be the authorized King James version of the Bible. My point here is that all religions and philosophies develop over time."
Develop, or are corrupted?
Very dependent upon the what - sometimes develop, sometimes corrupted. It is the challenge for Modern Druidry to keep the development and avoid the corruption.
DaRC "None of the classical writers are Druids and all have their own political agenda, some more than others (e.g. Caesar)."
Well, whatever their political agendas may have been, the excerpts I chose for the original post bear no hint of them, they do though all uniformly indicate a keen interest in science and an enthusiastic acceptance of Pythagorean doctrine.
Hmm disagree to some extent, many of the quotes indicate the typical Roman arrogance towards the 'barbarian', but I take your point = you are trying to reconcile the conflict between pythagorean thought and Emma Restall-Orr's thoughts.
DaRC "The question in my mind, with regards to this thread, is this - what is the real question you are driving at?"
That's fair, here's what I'm driving at then.... Can anyone give me one good reason for rejecting the writings of these men (besides vague references to political agendas) who may actually have met Druids or known people who did, and putting their faith in Emma Restall Orr instead?
I can't :grin: except that the challenge is to reconcile the two points. Druidry, it has been said, is the blend of knowledge, experience and inquiry. So the historical quotes form part of the knowledge, Emma's quote I would classify as her experience, you have made the enquiry to try and inform your inquiry. For semantic purposes I differentiate between inquiry as when I ask within (e.g. via meditation) and enquiry as when I ask someone else.
For me Emma's quote has resonance; the oral tradition and myth or legend have strong cultural relevance as does the scientific method (rooted within Pythagorean thought ). It is the old conflict between Art and Science.

The focus on the Oral tradition, disregarding whether anyone from the modern western European culture can actually grok it, is important to me as it differentiates Druidry from other religions/spiritualities/philosophies that rely upon a single written truth.
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
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