I think I'm more centered now, so I'll just give it a wirl and let fly.
I've been a Druid for so many years now that some days its hard to remember the time before. I was introduced to the faith by people in my family, my paternal grandparents, in fact. My father is a devout atheist, much to the frustration of his late parents.
In recent years I have gone farther and farther into the realm of Celtic Reconstructionism. Mostly due to my personal gnosis, if that makes any sense to you. Actually...whether it makes sense to you or not...
What does this have to do with why I'm here writing today?
I'lllllllllll tell ya!
Recently I've had the displeasure of dealing with people who feel a deep seated need to attack me. Not for being a Druid...but for being a Druid with C-R leanings. There is a weird feeling in the greater pagan community of late. One that is bound in hostility and suspicion. The talk in the local gatherings, on-line in the forums, and at even in the local Seed Groups and Study Circles is one that is more angry and hostile than I have ever seen it. And I've seen a lot!
Many self proclaimed pundits for the pagan community have spent too much effort lately decrying the C-R movement as everything from "silly" to "elitism in its worst form." There have been scathing articles written, and nasty comments made.
One assumption I've seen all too often is the charge that C-R lacks moral fiber...WHERE do they get THAT?
On line and in person...It's like the zeitgeist of the immediate era. Angry Pagans. Gnashing teeth and stomping hooves!
And what really gets me is the rhetoric that some of these folks use to press their arguments. Not the fact that they have a different way they do things than I would...but the fact that they react SO poorly to others not doing things THEIR way. Honestly it is starting to look like a Sunni vs. Shia, Catholics vs. Protestant, Burger King vs. McDonalds kind of thing out there in a community that is usually known for its diversity and freedom of eclecticism.
Now I know we all have our pet peeves, and pagans are no less likely to have them. Many people react this way when you force them out of their comfort zones. But come on people! Why are you so afraid of doing a little study? Will learning something new KILL your faith? Will finding out that ancient Druids never cast circles nor "called the quarters" make life too unbearable for you?
If so, than you have no real faith to begin with, if it can be tumbled from you so easily. You have a game of dress-up you do eight or so times a year.
I feel no need to dictate how you practice and express your faith. If you want to live in Gnostic Pagan splendor...do so. If you prefer C-R...do that, and more power to you. Masonic Paganism? All you buddy! Do what you feel the Light pulling you toward, and be blessed! Any combinations in between, even unmentioned? DO IT! I love my personal revelations AND the knowledge I've gained from C-R study to put them into a context beyond myself. You don't do it that way...fine with me.
But don't practice the hypocracy of telling me how to practice and express my faith when it strays form yours.
But be warned, as well...When the community of pagans out there begins to form up ranks and sling arrows at one another...you only help our enemies do their job for them. A pagan holy war will gain us NOTHING!
And if you feel the need to sling more than verbal arrows at me, you better start to practice catching them.