Spending most of your life living in Ohio, and on the verge of Amish Country, you become somewhat familiar with rural living. But even in our micropolitan city, understanding and appreciation for self-reliant living can be hard to come by. I began exploring various pagan belief systems when I was in my early teens, and didn’t really begin developing a personal spirituality until college. Even though a nature-based spirituality had always been the core of my beliefs, I really didn’t start incorporating that into my way of life until I began dating my (now) husband in 2009. I had never eaten fresh eggs, planted a large scale food garden, eaten wild anything, yet there I was preaching on about how we should be doing all those things. So I decided that you can have all the pomp and celebration in the world, but until you start living your beliefs, it is just a sham. So here I am, developing a pagan practice with real meaning and relevance for myself and myinter-faith family.
Most of my beliefs are based in Celtic Reconstructionist practices, but the more I strive to create a practical spirituality, the more issues I have with following a strict CR practice. Learning a Gaelic language is really impractical for me (plus I’m really bad at it), and the avoidance of syncretism seems a bit extreme. Historically, when new ideas were introduced into a culture, people tailored and adapted them to fit within their cultural context, thus making them their own. I think the idea that we have to create walls within our personal practices seems wrong. I believe there is a way to combine similar cultural/spiritual practices in a natural and practical manner without falling into the habit of cultural appropriation. I also don’t believe that learning either an archaic language or one that is impractical in ones common life is necessary for developing a deep, and culturally apt, spiritual practice. It’s like saying one needs to be fluent in Ancient Greek to truly grasp The Republic.
I don’t claim to be a scholar, anthropologist, linguist, or historian. I only want to develop a practical and relevant spirituality based on the stories and ideals of the early medieval and pre-Christian Gaels.