October 14, 2013

Why Some of Us Aren't Reconstructionists

Just ran across some really good discussion on Tumblr of some of the problems with reconstructionism and some of the reasons it's simply not for me.

The gods will let us know if we're doing what they want, worshipping them the way they want to be worshipped by us. Yes, even those people who don't have personal relationships and UPGs. The gods have ways of telling us if we're Doin' It Rong. They're gods.

So yes, the gods do call some of us to worship them in different ways, in more modern ways. We don't live in Ancient Greece, or early medieval northern Europe, or Roman Britain. We understand the world differently, different symbols are meaningful to us, and some of the old symbols have radically different meanings. All of that makes a difference.

And, as I've said before, the information that's come down to us is contradictory and full of holes, spread over wide areas and centuries, all with different practices. What we construct probably doesn't bear a whole lot of resemblance to actual ancient observances. If you stuck a Hellene or a seithr or a druid in the middle of a recon ritual or observance, they'd probably recognize some parts, but they'd also probably think that other parts were outright sacrilege.

I have, of course, no problem with people worshipping in whatever reconstructed ways they put together that work for both them and their gods. But too many reconstructionists try to tell other people that they must do it some particular way, or they're worshipping the gods all wrong and are horrible people. I've seen the phrase "one true Hellenismos." I've seen people insist that mysticism is irreconcilable with Hellenism, and that magic is hubris and blasphemy -- despite the fact that both were manifestly practiced in Hellas. And, of course, Wiccan used as an insult, because Wiccans don't really know the gods and do it all wrong.

But what the fuck business is it of theirs if some of us practice in a way that is pleasing both to our gods and to us?