The British Druid Order › Forums › BDO Public Forum › do you know any standard services for the 8 celebrations? › Reply To: do you know any standard services for the 8 celebrations?
Shamanism is a word of Tungusic origin, so there are people who don’t even feel it’s appropriate to apply it outside of those cultural areas, however, if we are using English, then we are somewhat stuck with the word, although I would prefer to use the appropriate indigenous words if we’re speaking about a given culture specifically. Nevertheless, if we accept the definition of a shaman as being an intermediary between the worlds in a given animist tradition, we can find such traditions all over the world and throughout history including the native British/Welsh awenyddion, just for example.
Regarding Chaucer, I don’t know where you got those ideas from or who told you, but I strongly doubt that about Chaucer and I would have to see some kind of evidence to convince me otherwise. On his death, Chaucer was actually living within the grounds of Westminster and was buried next to the Lady Chapel, if I’m not mistaken; this would hardly have been the case had he been considered a heretic. The extant copy to which I referred belonged to Henry IV, not Henry VIII, and there are actually a large number of original manuscripts remaining, surprising given the times and the ravages of the subsequent centuries. Henry VIII, old tyrant as he was, was also a highly educated man of the Renaissance and, among other things, wrote in Latin and composed music.
The monks of the Christian orders were under church control because otherwise they would not have been monks, would they? In fact, the religious orders in Ireland existed long before Viking attacks or the Anglo-Norman incursion of 1169, when your man Diarmait Mac Murchada invited the Normans over to help him get the Kingdom of Leinster back. During the golden age of the “Celtic Saints”, the Irish monasteries were such great centres of learning that they actually sent missionaries to the rest of Europe, as far afield as Italy.
As for witchcraft, it was only a capital offence in England from the mid-16th century and under Elizabeth I, only prosecutable if some harm could be proven to have been done. Relatively few people were tried and executed for witchcraft in Britain in Ireland in comparison to the rest of Europe, especially in Ireland, throughout the period and the so-called “witch craze” was more a phenomenon of the 17th century, that is to say, after Elizabeth I’s reign. Let’s not forget that Elizabeth I had her own court astrologer and magician, Sir John Dee, and that her own mother, Anne Boleyn, had been beheaded on trumped-up charges against her.
If we’re following a Bardic course, accepting that bards were the keepers of tradition, the recorders of history and genealogy as well as preservers of that tradition, then I think we must strive to fact check and make sure that the claims we make are accurate and true. Unfortunately, the Internet is just filled with utter rubbish, badly-sourced, inaccurate or just plain wrong information and we need to be aware of that and address it with what we do.
Concerning Native American spiritualities, there is nothing wrong with learning from any culture if one’s learning is sincere, however, there’s a lot of stuff out there that’s just made up nonsense and that many Native American spiritual leaders have stood up and spoken out against because they find it offensive and hurtful – especially because of their historical experience as victims of colonial expansion.
In terms of Celtic spirituality, there’s also a lot of stuff out there that’s very dubious and which does nothing to help the Celtic cultures of today, cultures that are struggling for their very survival. My own opinion is that it’s harmful to those cultures who are indeed battling to revive or maintain their languages and traditions. We, as followers of the druid path(s), need to be aware of this and not inadvertently become part of the problem.
Let’s not forget our motto – y gwir yn erbyn y byd.