Sorry guys… after my experience at the bookstore and then the email I received from a Hellenic Reconstructionist group that outright said Wiccans (and anyone else) who use magick to try to effect change in their lives are mentally unbalanced, I was just done! Still, I went a little overboard to make my point.
I stand by my assertion that many Reconstructionists are elitist and nasty about other paths — why else would the more balanced moderators of these email lists have to specifically have a rule against Wicca bashing? — but I also want to be clear in saying not all Reconstructionists are this way and some even acknowledge exactly what I’m talking about.
I took this from Kyrene Ariadne’s website, Temenos Theon:
Note: these are not absolute. Some may find themselves falling in between versus falling squarely into one of these types. Also, I do NOT speak for all of the Hellenismos communities. This is just a rough guide so that people understand that there is more than one way to practice Hellenic reconstructionism, and that one type of practice as professed by one person or organization does not reflect all of the Hellenismos communities and their various practices.
And then, the designation that most interests me:
Liberal: The core practices, beliefs, and values all come from ancient sources.
- New festivals, practices, and traditions as well as innovations may have ancient basis, or may be created from modern practices.
Mysticism, divination, magic, and any form of personal experience are ok, and may have modern influences mixed in with ancient sources, or be completely modern altogether.
Patron deity relationships are expected from a modern standpoint, especially in relation to mystical experiences. Some people believe that everyone has a patron deity, while others do not have one and do not believe that everyone does. The experience is left up to the individual to determine if they have been chosen or not versus themselves or other people choosing for them.
Perspective on research, practice, and belief:
In the end, scholarship is indeed very important as is belief and practice, but at times personal gnosis is more important than any of those things.
She then goes on to say (and this goes a long way towards soothing me, actually, since this lady is present in just about EVERY Hellenic Recon forum and is pretty influential):
In all of these various styles of practice, there is one thing underlying them: piety, community, and communal worship is extremely important to the religion as well as earnest academic study into how our religion was practiced in ancient day. Back in ancient times, there were many different styles of Hellenismos–just as many as there are today, and in fact, even more so! There was no “right” cult or tradition, although people tended to stick with what they were taught by their families in their homes.
This is in decided contrast with religions such as Judaism or Christianity, which may have a holy text or core set of rules at their center which is considered to be the most accurate way to practice the religion. We have set of rules, values, practices, and beliefs to follow, but some of those practices and even beliefs varied depending on what location they were from, and the set of traditions which were practiced there. It is in that spirit that I have given the above listing of perspectives on reconstructionism, not to point out which way is “right” but instead to point out that many people have different viewpoints, and yet we are all practicing the same religion.
Shocking, that I would be liberal, eh? (That was a note of humor, for those of you who don’t read my other journal and realize that I’m a diehard lefty.) Kyrene Ariadne was not a moderator of the group that had the offensive email. Maybe I should just follow her around the net awhile. Or even write an email and chat with her about it. That would be more constructive than a rant, wouldn’t it? Hm. Imagine that. (A night of sleep helps too…)