where I'm coming from

Oct 18, 2008
There are a lot of things going on in my head right now. (It's fall, that happens to me a lot.) I'm looking at Celtic Reconstructionism again, as I do every once in a while. It's inevitable for me -- I'm never satisfied with just learning something, I want to know who came up with it and where it comes from and what it meant to someone other than me, and since my abiding interest is in Ireland, I always circle back around to CR.

I'm taking a history class right now, too, and history always makes me think about the stories we tell ourselves, the stories we tell one another. That's what history is, after all, is stories. Humans are storytelling, pattern-making animals, and we turn our world into stories. That's what the gods are, too. Stories, and patterns. And gods.

I read this book for my history class this week, The Cheese and the Worms, about a miller in the sixteenth century who was tried for heresy. Twice. His heresy was so strange, though, that the first time around the Inquisitors stopped trying to convert him and started going, "Sorry, go back. You believe what now?" And Ginzburg, the researcher who put this together, thinks that part of the reason this guy believed such weird things was he got them from the oral culture of rural Italy, that they represented this pre-Christian ideology that still survived in the countryside.

I got really, really annoyed by that idea as I was reading the book (and subsequently writing the paper, which, guess what I'm supposed to be writing instead of this post?). Partly it's the vaguely condescending tone, but partly it's the recurrence of the phrase "pre-Christian." I think I'm sensitized to that phrase or something, whenever I see it I'm ready to be angry about the way it's used. And I've been trying to figure out just why that is, and I think for once I'm starting to get somewhere. And unfortunately it's long, and complicated, and I do still have that paper to finish. (And the other one for next week, and the draft for the week after that...)

A lot of people around the Pagan blogosphere have been talking about feeling the veil growing thin a little early this year. Yeah, I get that. It feels a little treacherous, a little brighter and clearer than it's really supposed to be. It's making it a little easier to see. (Now let's see if I can make it easy to explain.)

Watch this space.

1 comment:

Livia Indica said...

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