Sunday, February 19, 2012

Re-thinking Reconstructionism

No, not going to become one, but I am re-thinking my attitude toward it.  At least some varieties of it.

I've found a few blogs on Norse Paganism and Hellenic Polytheism that claimed the recon path but they didn't behave in a way that I'm used to seeing with people who claim to want to do things they way they "should" be done.  Instead, they were very open to others doing things the way they felt led rather than trying to be territorial about their path.  I really learned a lot about what they believe because they just talked about it rather than slammed other people for not doing things their way.

Their perspective was that they liked doing things the way they thought the ancestors did it.  Not that it was a must, but that it was desired.  I can get behind that.  I can even practice that.  I do like to visualize my ancestors in their spiritual practices and wonder how close we really are. 

What I really detest is the "have to" attitude.  As dare they worship my gods that way.  I've seen that in more than a few religions, reconstructionist Christianity being one of the worst.  You know them as Dominionists and they behave like Rick Santorum.  He is more or less a reconstructionist Catholic who is pre-Vatican II and wants to go back to Latin mass and women barefoot and pregnant.  The evangelical Dominionists want to use Old Testament laws for our legal system and keep the women barefoot and pregnant.  Not tons of difference.

I will say that I have nothing to learn from the Dominionists.  I have interacted with them for years and there is nothing of any value in their teachings.  The teachings are oppressive and mean-spirited.

But I don't see that in the teachings of reconstructionist Pagans.  Or whatever they choose to be called.  I think there is value in learning how our ancestors lived and thought in spite of the attitudes of the people who claim that knowledge for themselves.  I may not like their attitudes, but their knowledge and information has value.

So, I guess it's really all about people and less about religions.  Those who want to use the old ways to control and oppress people will do that no matter what they call their religion.  Those who want to honor the old ways for the sake of tradition won't necessarily see it as a binding resolution for anyone who wants to worship the same gods. 

It's good to let the past open us up to a broader way.  It's not good to use the past to make the path so narrow only a few can walk it.


  1. A wise post indeed! And I shake my fist at Rick Santorum. Don't get me started.

    1. My husband didn't believe what a dangerous man he was because Faux Noose never mentioned all this bullshit. Finally he was at his liberal brother's cabin and saw what Santorum was really saying (on a news station that wasn't Faux) and agreed that he's a lunatic. But if all they watch is Faux, they won't hear the really far right shit he's exploding out his ass.

  2. I think recon is a great starting point, but I think if I get stuck there then it becomes a problem. Reconstructing how things were is the beginning of the journey for me. The next step is figuring out what that spiritual path might look like TODAY had it been allowed to continue unhindered by Christianity. It's a subtle difference, but an important one to me. Times change!

    1. Exactly! We know for a fact that all religions evolve over time to include or exclude different facets of their worship practices based on their growing and evolving understanding of the gods. To remain stuck in one time frame and one philosophical period because you've determined that then was when they were most "correct" seems to imprison the gods in a cage. I've read many reconstructionist Druid sites where they think very similarly to the way you do. The past is a gem; the present is the setting in which we place that gem.