What is Reconstructionism?

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What is Reconstructionism?

Post by Gorm_Sionnach on Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:04 am

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, or want to know more, here is a brief summary of a Reconstructionism.

Reconstructionism is both a methodology and a religious/cultural practice. Reconstructionism started out generally with those in the modern Pagan community who wanted to develop a religious and more importantly cultural practice more in line with the pre-Christian cultures, primarily of Europe. Generally this also entails a rejection of many of the modern pagan practices: syncretism, eclecticism and the generalized neoPagan ritual framework derived from the Wiccan model. The Reconstructionist Polytheist groups, those who employ reconstructionist methodology, generally have the following in common (see Bill Linzie, http://www.northvegr.org/northern/book/cultural_bkgd.pdf)

  1. There is no attempt to recreate a combined pan-European paganism.
  2. Researchers attempt to stay within research guidelines developed
    over the course of the past century for handling documentation
    generated in the time periods that they are studying.
  3. A multi-disciplinary approach is utilized capitalizing on results
    from various fields as historical literary research, anthropology,
    religious history, political history, archeology, forensic
    anthropology, historical sociology, etc. with an overt attempt to avoid
    pseudo-sciences.
  4. There are serious attempts to recreate culture, politics, science
    and art of the period in order to better understand the environment
    within which the religious beliefs were practiced.
The major Recon groups:

Asatru: [Asatruar] The earliest Recon group was Asatru, which began developing in the late 1970's. Asatruar (those who practice Asatru [and to those Asatruar out there, please inform me if this is the proper way of spelling the term ^ this term) are the oldest and therefore most widespread and established Recon tradition. The focus is on the Scandanavian and Norse mytholgoies and folklore from those Regions (Iceland, German, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, etc). We are fortunate to have two rather knowledgeable and well spoken Asatruar who frequent the site so I'm sure they'd be more than willing to answer any questions you have pertaining to Asatru.

Celtic Reconstructionism [i.e. Celtic Reconstructionist Polytheism] base their practices on the Celtic mythologies, tending to focus on regional, ethnic or linguistic groups. So in a rather broad approximation: the Gauls, (the continental Celts), the Gaels (The Irish and Scottish) and the Welsh tend to be the main focus of traditions, there are many other languages and cultures but very little source material on them. Cr had begun to develop during the mid 1980's but did not take its current shape until around 1990. The focus is on the mythological and folkloric traditions of the Celtic cultures, with as much of an emphasis on culture as religious practice.

Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionist [Hellenismos]: Developing in the (1970's?) or 1990's, the various groups who are reviving the ancient Greek religious and cultural practices, with a strong focus on the Greek Humanistic and ethical values.

Kemetic Reconstruction: With focus on the Egyptian mythologies and religion.

Religio Romana: [Nova Roma]. An international Roman revivalist movement, dedicated to the reconstruction of ancient roman religion, culture and virtues.

Romuva: Baltic Reconstructionist Polytheism; A recon group primarily out of Lithuania, who practices the pre-Christian religion of the Baltic peoples, through mythological texts and folkloric customs.

I can provide a lot more detail on CR (being one myself), and can point anyone to some sources regarding everything else if the need arises. Hope this is helpful and informative.

Gorm.

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Re: What is Reconstructionism?

Post by John T Mainer on Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:13 pm

I can supply a bit more information about Asatru, but having said that must offer one caveat. Asatru is the revival of the faiths and practices of a diverse group of tribes, over a period of a thousand years of growth, change, and development.

There are many different ways to approach the faith (as witnessed by the multiple rune systems and poems) , many of which are separately true to the ways of some of the ancestors. To practice differently is not to be wrong, but to be on another branch of the tree of a living faith.

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Re: What is Reconstructionism?

Post by sacrificialgoddess on Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:22 pm

John T Mainer wrote:I can supply a bit more information about Asatru, but having said that must offer one caveat. Asatru is the revival of the faiths and practices of a diverse group of tribes, over a period of a thousand years of growth, change, and development.

There are many different ways to approach the faith (as witnessed by the multiple rune systems and poems) , many of which are separately true to the ways of some of the ancestors. To practice differently is not to be wrong, but to be on another branch of the tree of a living faith.

So Asatru is fairly uniform then?
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Re: What is Reconstructionism?

Post by John T Mainer on Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:23 pm

We have folkists and universalists, those that follow Scandenavian, Germanic, or Anglo-Saxon practice. There is the Elder Futhark (which I use) the Younger Futhark (which many use) and the Anglo-Saxon Futhark (which another of our Freeholders use).

Most of the stuff that we do is the same. The names are similar, and I don't see any problem in practicing with any of them. There are always those who believe in the "one true way" who get all snobby about the particulars. As long as you are consistent in your practice and based soundly in both the lore and your own belief system, I tend to think your doing all right.

Most practice honours the wights of the land, our ancestors, our kindred (birth and sworn), and the holy gods. As such the overwhelming unity tends to overshadow individual practice differences.

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Re: What is Reconstructionism?

Post by Gorm_Sionnach on Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:38 am

CR, in contrast to Asatru, tends to be tradition specific (where it is practiced by groups, many of which exist primarily electronically). There is much more of a tendency towards regional/ethnic practices (so, for example focusing on the Welsh mythologies and folk practices) as opposed to a pan-Celtic methodology. Generally this is the case because it is more historically accurate, there are certain commonalitiles between the Celtic peoples, but there are significant differences in terms of regional mythologies, folklore, language and custom.

CR as a methodology however tends to be fairly uniform, which is why works like the CR FAQ came about.

Now, on the other hand Asatru is considerably older than CR, which is still in its developmental stages. Is there the possibility of a more Pan Celtic tendency in the future... I'd still say no, but I could be wrong.

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Re: What is Reconstructionism?

Post by AutumnalTone on Tue May 05, 2009 5:04 pm

I've just landed as a Canaanite Reconstructionist.

There are so few practitioners, as I understand things, that the amorphous mass that is the Canaanite community is fairly uniform. It helps that the body of information available on all things Canaanite is limited when compared to the information widely available on other ancient cultures. There are few web sites on Canaanite religion, so most searching online for information are finding the same places and using the same basic knowledge base.
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