Wow, that is a thorough review. Thanks David.
I’ve often grappled with the issues of an (overly) reconstructionist approach because, that way, you end up in an artificially “recreated” bubble set in the Iron Age. On the other hand, if everything is just a free-for-all, pick and mix, eclectic bag of whatever you like, it’s not a clear path – you can’t follow two, three or four paths at the same time, can you? As for appropriation, a very sensitive subject, I think the issues are not with people learning from, sharing or following any path, but rather those who do not come from that culture or heritage “tinkering” around with it and then trying to pass it off as somehow authentic in such a way that it actually obscures the original cultural ideas. Do you know how many times I’ve had to explain Hallowe’en to people? 😀 Given that the Celtic languages are not exactly in the rudest of health either, the power dynamics also come into play. So, getting back to the point, I don’t think anyone would say that Gaelic spirituality is only for Gaelic-speaking Irish people, far from it, but I think the issues are more about the respect for those communities and their heritage – by trying to learn the language, just for an example, you’re helping the language survive.
At the moment, I’m reading The Voice within the Wind – of Becoming and the Druid Way, Greywind, Grey House in the Woods (2001). When I’ve finished and had time to reflect, I think I’ll add it here too. Some of the issues we’re talking about are also mentioned in this work.