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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in modernist
Making Sense of the Modernist Reconstructionist (Part 1)

Before I address the title, let me first address a fact that was illuminated in some fairly recent conversations:  I am old.  Chronologically, I'm just a bit over thirty, which isn't really anyone's idea of old --and contrary to the prevalent misconceptions of ancient longevity (which is an average) generally speaking, people who could survive past the age of 15 all through the Archaic and Classical eras could typically expect to live into their sixties, so this isn't even "old" by historical standards, but I'm old.  I'm old because I retain this stubborn identity of "Hellenic reconstructionist" even though many people my age and younger, even (sometimes especially) if they practise by the same general methods I do have long eschewed the term because of reasons.  I all get to those reasons very shortly.  I'm old because I've acquired greater measures of both patience and cynicism in my approach to dealing with others, largely because of persistent misconceptions of who and what I am and am about, and when I don't have the patience to explain it, I don't get angry, I just shrug and think oh well, this isn't news and frankly I don't think they're worth explaining it to, and then I ask the other person "Hey, let's agree to disagree?"  But the good thing about being an ageing cynic (but not really a Cynic, though I do appreciate some of their teachings --my philosophy is based largely on Kyrenaic Hedonism with equal parts Empedocles, Democritus, Kirkegaard, Sartre, Camus, Crisp, and Jarman filling in the gaps, and also a huge stress on aesthetic arts bringing joy and meaning taken from famous Dandies including, but not limited to, Beau Brummel, Oscar Wilde, and Lord Whimsy)...  [coughs]  Yes, the good thing about being an ageing cynic with a blog, is I get to make things as clear as i need to, update and revise as I need to, and point people to said blog when I don't feel like dealing with them right now.

I want to make clear what religious reconstruction is and is not, because in spite of being pretty active for about the last five years in trying to promote this method of practise as both a perfectly valid and relevant "pagan path", it seems I've been met with more gross and appalling misconceptions in this last year than the previous four combined.  Now, I have some suspicions on key players who may be a large part responsible for this, but this isn't about naming names, this is about using the position afforded me on PaganSquare to clarify, perhaps even educate.  In this, I also want to stress (though I doubt that I could ever stress enough for some people) that identifying with a reconstructionist method is not synonymous with being ultra-conservative, traditionalist, neo-luddite, or regressionist.

Religious reconstruction is a method of practise, not a religious doctrine in and of itself.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Conor O'Bryan Warren
    Conor O'Bryan Warren says #
    What a *fabulous* post. I was very confused when I saw certain people calling it Hellenic Orthodoxy. I scratched my head and sneez
  • Ruadhán J McElroy
    Ruadhán J McElroy says #
    I've concluded that the "Hellenic orthodoxy" thing is one of those made-up terms from people who want to feel superior about follo
  • Conor O'Bryan Warren
    Conor O'Bryan Warren says #
    I know, I think they were trying to invoke the image of 'Orthodox Christianity' and all the negative connotations that has in the

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Greetings and salutations, Pagan Square! I'm Ruadhán J McElroy, and I've been offered a blog here as a means of spreading my own unique insight amongst the ever-expanding community of Pagans, Polytheists, and related religious and cultural communities. Interestingly, I'm one of those polytheists who tends to eschew the term "pagan" because while it "fits" by academic use, and certainly by the dictionary definition, within the pagan community itself, there are often implications that either don't include or actively disclose certain elements of my own life and personality.

I'm going to purpose this blog as a voice for "modernists" in the pagan community. I'm defining the term a little bit loose, but using guidelines set by Modernist schools of philosophy, literature, art, and subculture. I did a similar blog focus on one of my own sites, before, but I took it even more specific and tried to keep the focus specific to my own religion, which is Hellenic Polytheism, and with that narrow a focus, even I lost interest in even writing about it, just cos of the pressures to keep the focus that narrow, as if trying to blow a bubble around the concept to keep out other influences --and that's the thing about Modernism, it can be pretty difficult to maintain an isolationist stance. Modernist paganism and polytheism isn’t "radical traditionalism" as in "returning to the origin and fundamentals of these traditions", but "radical traditionalism" as in "holding strong convictions and favoring reforms within the traditions". For as much wisdom as there is in the ancient ways, that's not all there is, and unless one chooses to go complete Luddite, cutting off all modern technology and conveniences from one's life, it's impossible to genuinely and completely live by the ancient ways --and if you're reading any of the Pagan Square blogs, clearly modern ways, as a whole, are not your enemy; you take what works for you, and revive what works for you, and live a blended lifestyle.

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