The Old and the New

Shan Morgain
03/04/16 11:29:23PM

My discussion point is about how we regard the ancient knowledge compared to new inspiration today.

One attitude is to lovingly, slavishly stay with the sources. To rediscover, unearth, record, and redistribute the same things our ancestors said and did. Celtic Reconstructionists of the strictest type belong here as do many academic scholars. At its extreme this can be a stuffy, and limited zone.

At the other extreme is our merry eclectic. Often identified with Jungian thought the eclectic sees a great pool of world myth which is really all the same 'underneath' or 'at the centre.' So anything can be pulled off the shelf of a divine supermarket and combined with anything else. Anything can be added that seems to pretty it up. This can too easily exploit native traditions as a 'spiritual strip mining.'

So how do we find a moderate middle where we respect our ancestors, and yet respect our own freedom to be creative carriers of the traditions we love?

Well to begin with I suggest keeping a clear distinction between vision now, and vision then. Simply SAY when something comes from sources: 'According to the First Branch ... ' or not as in, 'My own idea of this, my own vision is ...'

Not to do so is dishonest. It also doesn't help others learn as it is not clear where to look to check, or go further.

Next I suggest that there is no such thing as a core religion, a One Truth Fits All. The consept of Archetypes is seriously flawed as all cultures do not share the same views of basic images. (Mothers for example vary a grat deal across cultures) Also where in Celtic spirituality do we find sin? tainted babies? permanent hell? These belong to an eastern religious import.

To me the Celts understood this very well. Relinquishing this One Truth idea allows us to respect the ancestors without being fundamentalist about them. They are a set of respected voices, but we have voices too. As the Mother of the Craft, Doreen Valiente said, who told the first witch how to do it?

Let us have ancestral respect and bouncing modern vigour too. But let us not confuse the two else we disrespect both.