- November 3, 2020 at 6:12 pm #12435
I have just been watching a video by Lora O’Brien which makes clear some of the issues surrounding the dilemma of cultural appropriation versus cultural appreciation. Firstly, I wondered what Lora was going to say on the subject as The Irish Pagan School is wide open to anyone without distinction and teaches an Irish version of paganism; clearly Lora believes that it is right for anyone to learn and even practice Irish paganism, she is openly helping this to happen so she has already chosen a stance. The video is not very long but goes into some interesting issues in a positive way which is very clear. Lora does indeed agree with non Irish people becoming involved in Irish culture, however there are some additional points which she makes. Lora makes the very important point that we should contribute or give back to any group which we take ideas and practices from, in this case she advocates supporting native Irish people. I guess that this might also be interpreted as advice to contribute to any culture which we draw from, in order to keep the well running. Lora suggests boosting native Irish teachers through means such as money, making contributions, liking posts and videos, talking about Irish teachers and sharing on social media and sharing with our friends as ways in which a culture can be supported. The point is that one does not just take, but that one also gives something back. Another point that Lora makes is that we should not talk as if we were experts when it comes to a culture which we do not come from, but allow native speakers to take the lead. She says and this is relating to Irish culture in particular, that by supporting Irish teachers one is keeping the Irish goods happy, as when the people are happy the gods are happy. The point is that when being inspired by another culture we do not simply assume that we know more than native people do, and as already said that something is given back. Lora said that she would not try to stop anyone as long as they continue to act respectfully.November 3, 2020 at 8:45 pm #12436DowrgiParticipant
I’ve watched that before, and Lora O’Brien makes some good points.
Dr Gwilym Morus-Baird also makes some interesting points at the link below:November 3, 2020 at 9:28 pm #12438Anonymous
David, the ideas in druidry and neopagainism come from universal archetypes, so there is nothing wrong with using other cultures magic technology. The idea of leaving something in return is a common idea in paganism, like when you ask for something from a god, you leave a gift in return for the god. Neo-paganism is largely drawn from the psychology department and the philosophy department. Neo pagan leaders refuse to take a stand on anything, and always use the excuse of , “we don’t have any dogama,” to defend their total lack of saying what they believe . neo paganism is now a corporate marketing scam, design to sell books and expensive online courses. As a druid, I try to live in harmony with all religions because all of the religions come from the source, or god. I try to live in harmony with nature and plants and animals. I know what is beyond the mist and the summer stars.November 4, 2020 at 11:41 am #12442
I think that schools such as the Irish Pagan School are very good for Celtic reconstruction in general. I felt that I knew much more about Celtic culture by studying sources such as this. On the other hand I am generally disappointed regarding some subjects such as Ogham. I am aware that there are many different kinds of ogham but all people talk about is the tree ogham. I would like to see much more comprehensive discussion of this subject but there appears to be none, it is all predictable. Dr Gwilym takes the same line that Lora O’Brien takes, that there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. The point about Lora in particular is that she offers a number of different solutions in which a culture can be treated with respect, which is different from endlessly discussing the subject without a solution, in other words she offers a way forward and a way out of the dilemma.November 5, 2020 at 1:57 am #12444Anonymous
dear David, Lora is a wonderful witch, and I am all for people learning all they can about Neo paganism because I feel it is one of our hopes to stop global warming. if people will have more respect for the planet and realize that it is a living being and conscious, then people will not be as apt to destroy it by fracking and continued pollution that is killing the planet. Neo paganism teaches us that the world is conscious and alive and that we need to live in harmony with the planet and all beings, something that I don’t think christianity does, it fact, I blame a lot of the current world crisis on christianity because the world leaders claim to be christians, and then let this avalanche of greed destroy the world. I wish more people who know how to talk to trees would share the secret with the rest of us. we need pagan leaders who will teach us how to have a close relationship with the spirit in nature. all of us are going to have to try to stop global warming, and really make people understand what the hell they are doing to the world, and this will be the biggest fight of our lives, and will determine if the children of the world, will have a future earth. And the whole world is going to have to come together on this. We can’t sit on our asses another 30 years until new york and London go underwater.November 5, 2020 at 10:38 am #12447
Gwilym ap Rees did say some things that Lora O’Brien does not say. He mentions the Mabinogi, he does not appear impressed with the way in which English people use the Mabinogi and turn it into an alternative version of English history, I know that the Mabinogi is very important within modern Druid orders and I wondered if he was commenting on this. He also says that he is not impressed with modern translations of the Book of Taliesin and he says that there are problems about this. Luke Eastwood has just said something related to this topic in Pagan Dawn regarding the ogham; he thinks that the ogham language needs to be treated respectfully and that many people do not really understand it. Apart from all of this there seems to be some degree of openness amongst teachers regarding cultural adoption, which is nice as it offers as way out of this particular dilemma.November 6, 2020 at 9:52 pm #12454DowrgiParticipant
Learning from other cultures and being openminded should be embraced and encouraged, it helps break down barriers between people and helps reduce prejudice and bigotry.
I think that cultural appropriation is when you just use cultural goods as an accessory, to be discarded at whim or, worse still, to make a cynical profit. On the other hand, cultural appreciation means you really love that culture and get into it, and in that case you’re going to have respect for the people who birthed that culture, be open to listening to them and be sensitive to their feelings.
To take one example, I must admit that I wince a bit at St Patrick’s Day celebrations at times; there seems very often to be no interest in Irish culture whatsoever and, often, there seems to be a kind of pseudo-celebration of the worst stereotypes that Irish people have had to endure, and still do to an extent, as an excuse for everyone just to get drunk. To me, that is also a kind of cultural appropriation, what’s more, it epitomises the worse kind, too.
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