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Re: Step 8 Middle Isaac Affair

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  • Michael Scharding
    Um, I did. :) ... three ... many ... Chronicles ... were ... ring- ... both ... 502) ... 532) ... you ve ... finish ... the
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 1, 2005
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      Um, I did. :)

      --- In Reformed_Druid_Texts@yahoogroups.com, Tezra Reitan
      <tezra.reitan@g...> wrote:
      > Mike, could you please give the page numbers for those of us who
      > have the bound volumes? Thanks.
      > Tegwedd
      >
      >
      > On Sat, 19 Feb 2005 18:29:24 -0000, Michael Scharding
      > <mikerdna@h...> wrote:
      > >
      > >
      > > Step 8: The Branching of the Reform  EMiddle Isaac Affair
      > >
      > > Time Schedule
      > > This is a longer reading so three weeks might suffice (esp. as we
      > > analyze DC(E) and CDC). This Step will last from Feb 19 (Sat) to
      > > March 11th (Fri), you may begin posting on Feb 21st (Mon).
      > >
      > > Purpose
      > >
      > > As a result of the earlier ruckus in the earlier Isaac debates
      three
      > > factions developed within the Reform that were temporarily labeled
      > > RDNA (mostly Carleton derived groves) that didn't wish to make
      many
      > > of the proposed changes, NewRDNA (mostly Berkeley derived groves)
      > > which was amenable to some changes and SchismaticDNA (Isaac's Twin
      > > Cities Grove and later HDNA in Missouri) which wanted a lot of
      > > changes. A Provisional Council of Archdruids with a rotating head
      > > began to promote discussion between groves and the Druid
      Chronicles
      > > (Evolved) was assembled and released in 1976. Further letters
      were
      > > issued on these issues as people tried to better understand each
      > > other's reasonings, motivations and positions. Two charismatic
      ring-
      > > leaders emerged for co-ordinating the debate, Isaac & Richard,
      both
      > > roughly the same age.
      > >
      > > Readings
      > >
      > > Read in Pt 2 from Book of Changes (pt2) upto and including the 2nd
      > > Epistle of Isaac (pg68-87) with the corresponding Historiographies
      > > of each epistle (pg 201-204)
      > > http://orgs.carleton.edu/Druids/ARDA2/ARDA2part2-1.pdf or
      > > http://orgs.carleton.edu/Druids/ARDA2/doc/ARDA2part2-1.doc
      > >
      > > In Pt 4, Briefly compare the Carleton Constitution (pg 498),
      > > original Berkeley Constitution (pg499) & SDNA Constitution (501-
      502)
      > > http://www.geocities.com/mikerdna/arda.html
      > > Read "What and Why is Reformed Druidism in the 1970s?" (pg 529-
      532)
      > > (which was the original introduction to DC(E)) as compared to the
      > > original 1965 publication (What is Reformed Druidism?) which
      you've
      > > already read (pg 528)
      > > http://orgs.carleton.edu/Druids/ARDA2/ARDA2part4.pdf or
      > > http://orgs.carleton.edu/Druids/ARDA2/doc/ARDA2part4.doc
      > >
      > > Skim through the songs of the NRDNA in the Green Book Pt 6 Vol Six
      > > http://orgs.carleton.edu/Druids/ARDA2/ARDA2part6-6.pdf or
      > > http://orgs.carleton.edu/Druids/ARDA2/doc/2part6-6.doc
      > >
      > > The following will be ready next week on-line.
      > > Download a copy of the Druid Chronicles (Evolved) edition, reading
      > > the introductory materials carefully, and then flipping about
      > > through the book noting the contents (what is and ISN'T there).
      > >
      > > Download a copy of and skim through the initial version of the
      > > Carleton Druid Collection, which is a temporary file and the final
      > > edition will have about 6 fewer selections, noting the content
      > > selections.
      > >
      > > Questions
      > > As you go through the readings, if something doesn't click or is
      > > confusing, write a quick memo as to your question, so you don't
      > > forget, and bring these little points up in class. When you
      finish
      > > the readings pick one or two of these questions and write a few
      > > paragraphs of your understanding of the related issues, or devise
      > > your own question. Each student is expected to write at least one
      > > significant essay or reply for each step in the program.
      > > * How would you compare the Carleton & SDNA constitutions?
      > > * What were the objections to DC(E) and what steps were taken to
      > > keep out certain items and what changes were made?
      > > * Why was the CDC assembled, why never published, and how did the
      > > contents differ from DC(E)?
      > > * How was Druidism after graduation from Carleton different? Have
      > > you had similar experiences with adjustment to "the real world"
      > > after academia? Could Carleton Druidism be compared more with a
      > > monastic lifestyle than a religion?
      > > * How did the concept of grove autonomy develop?
      > > * How is Reformed Druidism compatible with other religions, and is
      > > it a religion in its own right, and what kind of religion is it?
      > > * What did the Provisional Council of Arch Druids do, and was it
      the
      > > most effective solution for the time?
      > > * Why the focus on groves?
      > > * What was the purpose of Isaac's long 2nd Epistle?
      > > * Why was discussing ritual so important to Isaac?
      > > * How did different Druids approach ritual?
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Yahoo! Groups Links
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
    • Michael Scharding
      You mean for the songs of the NRDNA! That d be pg 319-327 & 354-369 of the GREEN BOOKS -Mike ... three ... many ... Chronicles ... were ... ring- ... both ...
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 1, 2005
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        You mean for the songs of the NRDNA! That'd be pg 319-327 & 354-369
        of the GREEN BOOKS

        -Mike

        --- In Reformed_Druid_Texts@yahoogroups.com, Tezra Reitan
        <tezra.reitan@g...> wrote:
        > Mike, could you please give the page numbers for those of us who
        > have the bound volumes? Thanks.
        > Tegwedd
        >
        >
        > On Sat, 19 Feb 2005 18:29:24 -0000, Michael Scharding
        > <mikerdna@h...> wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > > Step 8: The Branching of the Reform  EMiddle Isaac Affair
        > >
        > > Time Schedule
        > > This is a longer reading so three weeks might suffice (esp. as we
        > > analyze DC(E) and CDC). This Step will last from Feb 19 (Sat) to
        > > March 11th (Fri), you may begin posting on Feb 21st (Mon).
        > >
        > > Purpose
        > >
        > > As a result of the earlier ruckus in the earlier Isaac debates
        three
        > > factions developed within the Reform that were temporarily labeled
        > > RDNA (mostly Carleton derived groves) that didn't wish to make
        many
        > > of the proposed changes, NewRDNA (mostly Berkeley derived groves)
        > > which was amenable to some changes and SchismaticDNA (Isaac's Twin
        > > Cities Grove and later HDNA in Missouri) which wanted a lot of
        > > changes. A Provisional Council of Archdruids with a rotating head
        > > began to promote discussion between groves and the Druid
        Chronicles
        > > (Evolved) was assembled and released in 1976. Further letters
        were
        > > issued on these issues as people tried to better understand each
        > > other's reasonings, motivations and positions. Two charismatic
        ring-
        > > leaders emerged for co-ordinating the debate, Isaac & Richard,
        both
        > > roughly the same age.
        > >
        > > Readings
        > >
        > > Read in Pt 2 from Book of Changes (pt2) upto and including the 2nd
        > > Epistle of Isaac (pg68-87) with the corresponding Historiographies
        > > of each epistle (pg 201-204)
        > > http://orgs.carleton.edu/Druids/ARDA2/ARDA2part2-1.pdf or
        > > http://orgs.carleton.edu/Druids/ARDA2/doc/ARDA2part2-1.doc
        > >
        > > In Pt 4, Briefly compare the Carleton Constitution (pg 498),
        > > original Berkeley Constitution (pg499) & SDNA Constitution (501-
        502)
        > > http://www.geocities.com/mikerdna/arda.html
        > > Read "What and Why is Reformed Druidism in the 1970s?" (pg 529-
        532)
        > > (which was the original introduction to DC(E)) as compared to the
        > > original 1965 publication (What is Reformed Druidism?) which
        you've
        > > already read (pg 528)
        > > http://orgs.carleton.edu/Druids/ARDA2/ARDA2part4.pdf or
        > > http://orgs.carleton.edu/Druids/ARDA2/doc/ARDA2part4.doc
        > >
        > > Skim through the songs of the NRDNA in the Green Book Pt 6 Vol Six
        > > http://orgs.carleton.edu/Druids/ARDA2/ARDA2part6-6.pdf or
        > > http://orgs.carleton.edu/Druids/ARDA2/doc/2part6-6.doc
        > >
        > > The following will be ready next week on-line.
        > > Download a copy of the Druid Chronicles (Evolved) edition, reading
        > > the introductory materials carefully, and then flipping about
        > > through the book noting the contents (what is and ISN'T there).
        > >
        > > Download a copy of and skim through the initial version of the
        > > Carleton Druid Collection, which is a temporary file and the final
        > > edition will have about 6 fewer selections, noting the content
        > > selections.
        > >
        > > Questions
        > > As you go through the readings, if something doesn't click or is
        > > confusing, write a quick memo as to your question, so you don't
        > > forget, and bring these little points up in class. When you
        finish
        > > the readings pick one or two of these questions and write a few
        > > paragraphs of your understanding of the related issues, or devise
        > > your own question. Each student is expected to write at least one
        > > significant essay or reply for each step in the program.
        > > * How would you compare the Carleton & SDNA constitutions?
        > > * What were the objections to DC(E) and what steps were taken to
        > > keep out certain items and what changes were made?
        > > * Why was the CDC assembled, why never published, and how did the
        > > contents differ from DC(E)?
        > > * How was Druidism after graduation from Carleton different? Have
        > > you had similar experiences with adjustment to "the real world"
        > > after academia? Could Carleton Druidism be compared more with a
        > > monastic lifestyle than a religion?
        > > * How did the concept of grove autonomy develop?
        > > * How is Reformed Druidism compatible with other religions, and is
        > > it a religion in its own right, and what kind of religion is it?
        > > * What did the Provisional Council of Arch Druids do, and was it
        the
        > > most effective solution for the time?
        > > * Why the focus on groves?
        > > * What was the purpose of Isaac's long 2nd Epistle?
        > > * Why was discussing ritual so important to Isaac?
        > > * How did different Druids approach ritual?
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > Yahoo! Groups Links
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
      • awengrove
        Here I go again with my wordy reply... ... I noticed a major difference between the original members of RDNA s written songs and Isaac Bonewitz. Isaac s are
        Message 3 of 9 , Mar 3, 2005
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          Here I go again with my wordy reply...

          --- In Reformed_Druid_Texts@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Scharding"
          <mikerdna@h...> wrote:
          >
          > Step 8: The Branching of the Reform – Middle Isaac Affair
          >
          > Skim through the songs of the NRDNA in the Green Book Pt 6 Vol Six
          > http://orgs.carleton.edu/Druids/ARDA2/ARDA2part6-6.pdf or
          > http://orgs.carleton.edu/Druids/ARDA2/doc/2part6-6.doc

          I noticed a major difference between the original members of RDNA's
          written songs and Isaac Bonewitz. Isaac's are very intense while the
          others are more celebratory, fun and politically correct (for lack of
          a better term).

          > * How would you compare the Carleton & SDNA constitutions?

          Carleton's 1977 constitution is organized yet not as detailed or
          swayed to one point of view. It is only 1 column long and gets to
          the point.

          It states simply:

          * what the name of the organization is [Article I],

          * that anyone can become a member provided they agree to the two
          tenets ("Nature is good." and "Likewise, nature is good." in the long
          form - I could write out the whole thing, but we all get the
          idea...right?) [Article II],

          * who the officers are and what the prerequisites are to becoming
          Arch Druid, Preceptor or Server [Article III],
          * when elections will be held and how often [Article IV]

          * some business stuff such as the quorum requirements and majority
          vote rules [Article V].

          Simple, to the point and concise. There are no surprise conditions
          to being a member. It is laid out up front with no contradiction.

          The 1965 Constitution of Carleton is close (with 6 articles) but with
          Article II stating that any student of Carleton may be a member
          providing he or she agrees with the two tenets set out in Article III
          (This article was omitted and just included in Article II in the 1977
          revision to leave it with just 5 articles).

          The SDNA Constitution consists of 8 more wordy Articles as follows:

          Article 1: The name of the organization and how it shall be an
          autonomous grove within the branch of of the Reform known as ____.
          (Very open ended with no actual name of organization or the branch of
          the reform that it is an autonomous grove of)

          Article 2: Any person (with the additional legal ramble
          of "regardless of race, creed, etc." included) may be a member
          providing they provide petition with acceptance of belief in "the
          basic tenets of North American Druidism as set forth in the Book of
          the Law, etc., etc., etc. and that he or she further believes in and
          agrees with the self-definition of the Branch of the Reform."

          Article 3: Article Three - Making clear what the tenets are in the
          longest form.

          Article 4: "The Self Definition of the Branch of the Reform to which
          this Grove shall belong, which is the ______Druids of North America,
          is as follows________" Open ended again for tailoring accordingly.

          Article 5: There are 5 officers to a grove (as opposed to Carleton's
          original 3) with titles, duties and prerequisites listed.

          Article 6: Statement of when elections are to be held and when things
          like dues are to be voted upon, and who is qualified to vote.

          Article 7: What a member of the grove ids defines as. i.e.: Is at
          least a first order, asked that name be placed on the records, has
          attended at least one third of all services held by the grove during
          the time since attaining initial membership (also with conditions for
          suspending a person's membership because of real-life situations that
          cause the person's attendance to slip - such as illness, travel needs
          or emergencies) and that his/her dues are paid up.

          I have seen the sort of things outlined in Artcle 7 to be typical for
          many neo-pagan groups. In particular, the suspension of a member
          because they cannot attend 1/3 the number of rituals during the time
          since attaining membership (being ordained as a first).

          I find these "surprise conditions" to be counterproductive to the
          purpose of a religious organization.

          First: Spirituality is not all about the rituals. Nor is attendance
          to all the rituals necessary to be a Druid or spiritual person.
          Rituals are a way for people to get together once in awhile and
          honour the Gods collectively through a special occasion of
          celebration and collective action. They are a way to specially
          celebrate certain events. They should not be the primary focus and
          attendance should not be what keeps a person's membership up to date.

          Not everyone can attend Mass at the Catholic Church every Sunday due
          to the same reasons outlined in Article 7, but that does not
          automatically revoke their baptism and confirmation as Catholics (you
          have to do some prettty nasty stuff, like support abortion or
          something, to be ex-communicated or just choose to leave). It also
          does not mean they become "suspended". This is a rather unfair
          commonality among most neo-pagan groups: the penalizing of members
          for not being able to make it to rituals due to real life happenings.

          As president of a prominent Toastmasters club in my city, I have
          never, ever considered kicking a member out or "suspending" them
          because they could not make it to all of the meetings! The way I see
          it is if they want to pay the dues and be a part of Toastmasters, who
          am I to say they cannot when life interferes?

          Second: There must be a balance of real life and spiritual
          organization membership. If "life happens", a person should not be
          penalized for it. A big part of true spirituality is balancing the
          spiritual with the everyday.

          In 2002, I was accused of lacking devotion and being an oathbreaker
          (despite the fact that I was oathed to no one) because I could not
          make it to a certain neo-pagan group's quota of rituals. At the
          time, I was preparing for a family wedding, working 12 hour night
          shifts as a security officer at a large building during the Calgary
          G8 conference (no days off either), trying to help my mother renovate
          the house for a long lost cousin's visit and recover from an illness.

          Due to my night shifts as a security officer, I was unable to make it
          to a lot of gatherings and meetups held by other neo-pagan groups and
          found myself being ousted from them because my night job prevented me
          from attending the rituals, despite my devotion to the group and my
          faith.

          Is it any wonder I was solitaire for 10 years? My job, family, life,
          schooling, health and personal spiritual balance come first!

          It also appears to me that one cannot be a member unless they have
          been initiated as a First Order. This closes membership to "anyone
          regardless of race, creed, etc." as mentioned in Article 2 and in
          turn makes the organization more of an initiatory order, rather than
          an open group.

          It amazes me how many constitutions I see that mention membership
          being open to anyone who accepts the articles of faith, but then
          later lists restrictions of membership which automatically
          excludes "*anyone* who agrees with the articles of faith" from being
          actual members! Is that not a contradiction?

          Perhaps I'm over reading into it, but this is a glaring issue to me
          because I see it so often.

          I'm definitely a polytheist, but I find the group dynamics inherent
          in most Neo-Pagan groups to be counterproductive to what their
          purpose is supposed to be and dysfunctional in this regard.

          Article 8: Statements regarding quorums, amendments of constitution
          procedure, etc.


          > * How was Druidism after graduation from Carleton different? Have
          > you had similar experiences with adjustment to "the real world"
          > after academia? Could Carleton Druidism be compared more with a
          > monastic lifestyle than a religion?

          Having worked since I was 13 and never attended university (I want to
          one day), I cannot say that I have experienced any sort of lull. I
          did attend college, so I do know that there is sort of an
          otherworldly sensation (not as intense in community college,
          however). I also got a big taste of Academia having worked at the
          local medical school for three years shortly after my own graduation
          from college.

          Most of the following comes from my interaction with many of my
          friends (and my husband) who did get the priviledge of attending
          university and shared their experience before, during and after
          schooling.

          Academia seems to exist in its own little world outside of the
          workaday one. It's like a bubble that is conducive to learning,
          thought and such. There may be financial worries and perhaps some
          students may actually need to work, but there is a sense of the
          carefree and thoughtful that would definitely be a perfect medium for
          something like Druidism 'a la Carleton' to thrive in.

          Most folks enter university right out of high school at the tender
          age of 18 or so. Straight from Mummy and Daddy's place to perhaps a
          dormroom (or Mum and Dad's basement!), apartment, frat house, rented
          house with a bunch of other young academics living in their own
          worlds. Their lives consist of classes, roommates, perhaps the
          minimum wage job or the battle for loans to survive on, partying
          perhaps, getting together, etc. A private little world away from the
          protection of the parents. A private little world where they connect
          with other folks their age. A private world neatly separated from
          the rat race that is Corporate North America.

          They learn about the previously forbidden fruits: sex, drink, and
          freedom of thought and action in a semi-controlled and safe
          environment. They get a lot of opportunities if they know where to
          look, and in the case of the medical students, they get treated like
          little gods. (You would not believe how they got schmoozed by the
          drug companies and such...oh the expensive conferences and trips they
          got sent on!)

          They connect with others, commiserate about exams and jerk
          professors, philosophise with all their new found "higher knowledge"
          and gravitate towards more organized groups because they need to feel
          some sort of security in this bubble that is academia. Some get
          carried away and really get intense with membership to these groups,
          initiation rituals, etc. They are trying to form their own society
          within society because they have not really 'lived' in society!

          Upon graduation, many students find themselves thrown harshly into
          the realities of life outside of the school walls. Suddenly, there
          are no student loans, peer support, counselors, schmoozers,
          professors, groups, etc.

          They are utterly alone in a world of honest and not so honest
          working folk who either sneer at them because they are educated and
          oh-so young and idealistic (like little virgins), or the rare few
          that actually respect and take them under their wing.

          Many of the working class, like myself, were not able to attend
          university because finances, not the best grades, etc. Most harbour
          some sort of bitterness because of it, which gets projected to the
          new grads. Yeah, I'm guilty of it because I wanted to go to
          university so bad, but ended up getting a career instead at a very
          young age.

          You're suddenly on your own and you have to make a living, find a
          place to live, pay for everything, face the bitter reality that a
          degree in such and such usually does not automatically grant you the
          $50,000.00 per annum career.

          You're at the bottom of the food chain, with perhaps little work
          experience (or for some lucky ones - none whatsoever!), with a degree
          in hand and reality and the work world seemingly laughing at you.

          I am thinking that this sudden adjustment to the world outside of
          home and academia could be part of the reason for the lull and the
          reason people were struggling to get things running the way they used
          to at Carleton! Some folks found that their practices really slipped
          away after graduation, and perhaps started up once people got
          financially stable and adjusted in other ways to their new lives.

          In the sense of academia and the effects of graduation, one would
          very easily say that Carleton Druidry was very monastic. The reality
          of those days was study and Druidry. Folks leaving it perhaps found
          themselves living the "Gospel According to Bitter Reality" and having
          to make some major adjustments to their practises.

          A book called Asylums : Essays on the Social Situation of Mental
          Patients and Other Inmates. by Erving Goffman examines "institutional
          culture and mindsets". He focuses primarily on mental hospitals, but
          does examine universities, cloisters (monastaries, nunneries), sport
          teams and other 'institutions'.

          There is obviously a different mindset, culture and a sense of
          removal in these situations. When sent out into the world outside of
          the institution, there is adjustment that needs to be done.

          Just my thoughts...

          > * What was the purpose of Isaac's long 2nd Epistle?

          For my own two cents, I would say that Isaac is trying to garner
          acceptance to his neo-pagan philosophies, particularly in regard to
          magic and ritual - the two big focal points of most neo-pagan
          practises. (Oddly enough, these two things are fairly low on my list
          of priorities, despite being a "neo-Pagan" myself...I guess I'm just
          a boor)

          Isaac seems to be thinking that RDNA does not engage in consistent
          ritual and magic because members may be having some sort of disgust
          towards ritual and such from their experience with Western
          Monotheistic religions. He mentions that RDNA may be "throwing the
          baby out with the bathwater", so to speak.

          Once again, throughout this epistle, I see more of Isaac's eagerness
          to have RDNA members or council adopt his ideals of neo-pagan
          practise, polytheism, etc. through the use of rationalization...a
          tactic used by most prostelytes. I'm still trying to figure out how
          the Christian members of the original RDNA would react to this sort
          of thing becoming mandated.

          Also, he seems to be really pressing the idea of primary ritual
          focus... or perhaps he is simply using the council members and
          members of RDNA as a sounding board for his ideals which he hoped to
          incorporate into his new projects, ADF, SDNA, etc.

          In his conclusion, Isaac states that he is not intending to convert
          anyone, but would rather have people see and understand his
          worldview. It is a pretty intense epistle for someone just stating
          his worldview - it seems very persuasive to me. Isaac is as wordy as
          me, so that may be why it's intense.

          In Verse 4, he mentions "for the first time in hundreds of years of
          Genocide, we are beginning to grow in numbers again, as the Gods
          return to claim Their own." Statements like this really irk me
          because they are completely unfounded historically, yet they get
          propagated throughout all Neo-Pagan circles.

          Historically speaking, there was no genocide against neo-pagans
          (perhaps Pagans and a pile of other religions in the past, but
          not 'genocide' against neo-pagans!).

          Heretics (usually members of other monetheistic religions not
          accepted by the status quo - See Catholic Queen Mary Tudor and her
          treatment of Protestants during her reign) and other Christians
          branded as witches by nervous neighbours were victimized
          consistently.

          Isaac seems to be a rabid perpetuator of this historically unfounded
          notion that Pagans alone were targeted in the Inquisition, etc. That
          is like saying the only people killed in the Holocaust were Jews.
          Neo-Paganism, this "us" that he refers to, is only about 50 years old
          and when Gardner and friends decided to "go public" with
          their "religion", most witchcraft laws had been repealed in the UK.

          While I do not doubt the existence of books such as the Malleus
          Malificarium, history has shown that many of these people in "the
          Burning Times" were not Pagan or anywhere close to being Pagan.

          Unfortunately, folks like Isaac use this as a tool for Neo-Pagans to
          adopt some form of heriditary victimhood, which is not productive or
          necessary in our times. Last time I checked, Wiccans, Druids, etc.
          as we know them today were not burned in the Burning Times!

          Yes, people still get killed today in some countries for
          being "witches", but *are* they actually witches or perceived as such
          by overly suspiciuous neighbours and townsfolk in bad situations and
          poor living conditions? In India, some Hindus are responsible for
          some of these "witch killings"...yet they are polythesistic
          themselves. Isaac's arguments and convictions do not hold water
          historically, nor do they in this day and age.

          If anything, from what I read here and feel from this, Isaac has more
          intolerance toward and spreads more disinformation about the
          monotheistic religions than they ever have toward neo-pagans!

          Back to the rituals, which the Second Epistle seems to primarily
          focus on. I'm not sure what his motives are for wanting such a grand
          focus on this aspect.

          At first I thought it was power and status that he wanted as most neo-
          pagans do when they adopt this extreme focus, but with further
          reading into his words, I do not see a political agenda so much as
          something else.

          Having read his visions and such, it is a more cosmic and universal
          agenda: to make his focus of neo-pagan ritual a "stepping stone to
          the stars" and to let people know "the Gods are real". He is looking
          to create a bona fide religion, but with a lot of key factors
          missing: historical facts, spiritual/mundane balance, community
          service and orientation, etc.

          He has mentioned in the interviews with Mike Scharding that he is
          trying to populate a world of neo-pagans skilled in magic to "save
          the world" (this was during the cold war). He seems to be one of
          these folks who see all the world's problems being solves solely by
          magic.

          What a happy delusion and one I do not subscribe to. Magic is often
          used as a substitute for appropriate action, much like prayer alone
          is used by some folks. (we all know PUSH - pray until something
          happens", right?) While miracles, "magic", ritual and such are a
          part of religious belief, there is certainly a lot more to it than
          that!

          Isaac also uses a lot of made up words to describe certain
          things "Theilogy", "Heirurgy", etc. Perhaps these terms and writings
          are meant to validate his degree in metaphysics. This is also a
          trend I see running rampant among neo-pagans. How many spellings
          of "magic" are there? How about "Womyn"? "Thealogy" perhaps?

          I'm not sure why this is, but I see it as a way for Pagans to invent
          their own little reality aside from words created by Monotheists.
          Thealogy is a big one - it is supposed to mean study, discussion,
          honouring of a female deity (thea as opposed to theo). Does it
          matter? Apparently it does. It is disassociative from the world
          outside of Neo-Paganism...it seems to promote imbalance and dualism.

          A lot of effort seems to be spent trying to recreate little details
          that mean nothing, while the issues of leadership, service,
          community, assistance to others, and recognition, assistance and
          respect towards the lay-folk are completely ignored in their quest to
          create their own valid religion.

          * Why was discussing ritual so important to Isaac?

          Because ritual seems to be the focal point of any neopagan
          organization, a pity that this has not changed since Gardner's or
          Isaac's day! They seem to be lost in the ceremony and not focusing
          so much on everyday spirituality, community and balance which is, in
          my opinion, far more important in any spiritual institution or
          practise. Sure, it is right and good to worship Deity and honour
          Deity in a ritual setting, but what happens after the ritual? Where
          are the spirituality, community and balance on the non-ritual days?

          Isaac sees ritual as a stepping stone to the stars, a direct path to
          the Gods...perhaps even a way to save the world.

          Isaac also sees ritual, theatre, magic, song and dance as the only
          way to develop a good relationship with the Gods because they "love a
          good show". Once again, this is nice, but not the main way to
          develop a good relationship with the Gods. A simple meditation with
          no props, tools, etc. can be just as profound as a grandiose
          show...perhaps more so because the focus is on spirit not on
          theatrics.

          That's it for me...

          Athelia /|\
        • Tezra Reitan
          Thanks. Tegwedd On Tue, 01 Mar 2005 15:11:10 -0000, Michael Scharding
          Message 4 of 9 , Mar 3, 2005
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            Thanks.
            Tegwedd

            On Tue, 01 Mar 2005 15:11:10 -0000, Michael Scharding
            <mikerdna@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > You mean for the songs of the NRDNA! That'd be pg 319-327 & 354-369
            > of the GREEN BOOKS
            >
            > -Mike
          • Stephen Crimmins
            Whew... a nice long response that will hopefully spark some discussion. There are many points that I d like to answer but I m not sure how much I have time
            Message 5 of 9 , Mar 3, 2005
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              Whew... a nice long response that will hopefully spark
              some discussion.

              There are many points that I'd like to answer but I'm
              not sure how much I have time for.

              >I find these "surprise conditions" to be
              counterproductive to the
              purpose of a religious organization.

              I agree with your point, but you're using a dirty
              word. "ORGANIZATION," when really the Reformed Druids
              prefer to lack Organization. (Well...not Isaac's
              type...which makes this point more amusing)

              >First: Spirituality is not all about the rituals.
              Nor is attendance
              to all the rituals necessary to be a Druid or
              spiritual person.

              A very good point. It's one that America seems to be
              realizing gradually, not just Neopagans but also
              Christians, where people still don't go to church
              often but more are reading the bible alone or in small
              groups. It's also certainly something Isaac has had a
              fix about; there was also some controversy about what
              was needed to be an active Grove where Isaac
              overlooked the existence of some Groves because they
              weren't meeting that often.

              >It also appears to me that one cannot be a member
              unless they have
              been initiated as a First Order. This closes
              membership to "anyone
              regardless of race, creed, etc." as mentioned in
              Article 2 and in
              turn makes the organization more of an initiatory
              order, rather than
              an open group.

              I see the point here, however the one thing about the
              First Order is all that it means is that you agree to
              the tenets and participate, some groves having a small
              rituals for the purpose, but for the most part it just
              meant partaking of the waters. The Carleton Grove has
              been even more lax with First Orders, deciding that
              you're a first order if you decide you're a first
              order.
              What I'm getting at is that even though, this
              constitution was requiring members to be 1st orders,
              the 1st order isn't something that would debar any
              potential member from joining, assuming they agree
              that Nature is good. (and if not, why join?)

              >Statements like this really irk me
              because they are completely unfounded historically,
              yet they get
              propagated throughout all Neo-Pagan circles.

              One important caution about this; it was a myth
              perpetrated early on and that it wasn't until
              relatively recently that people started to get that it
              was just a myth. And to be fair, Isaac was in the
              vanguard of that and really irked some people by
              saying it was just a myth.

              >If anything, from what I read here and feel from
              this, Isaac has more
              intolerance toward and spreads more disinformation
              about the
              monotheistic religions than they ever have toward
              neo-pagans!

              Well, as one man this might be going to far. One of
              the big problems, at least historically, with
              Christianity is that it, unlike almost all other
              religions, especially before it, had and has a
              tendency to be not only monotheistic but also insists
              that it is the only religion and must supplant the
              others. Fortunately, especially in more recent days,
              many monotheists have come to be much more accepting
              of people in other spiritual paths.
              The earlier Pagan religions were much more open to
              sharing other religions, and thats probably a big
              thing that we should learn from them. Unfortunately,
              Isaac has been rabid at times in overlooking those
              monotheists who are accepting of other paths and has
              had a tendency to paint monotheists by their badsides
              alone.

              >What a happy delusion and one I do not subscribe to.
              Magic is often
              used as a substitute for appropriate action, much like
              prayer alone
              is used by some folks.

              I don't completely understand Isaac's attitude towards
              magic but it seems to be somewhat more rounded that it
              at first seems. While he certainly believes in its
              effectiveness I expect that there is a very important
              psychological power expressed as well (if he avoids
              saying it outright) that I believed to be a true power
              to help people. Like it or not, we are are not in
              control of our emotions and can be swayed, quite
              positively if done right.

              >Isaac also uses a lot of made up words to describe
              certain
              things "Theilogy", "Heirurgy", etc.

              Such was the culture... But really, this is an
              interesting debate. To a degree words can be very
              important; all the nuance and force that can be put
              inside them. At times though people go much much to
              far. Especially seeing things in words that aren't
              there.
              A side note, and hopefully a good example. The
              Carletonian (Student newspaper for Carleton) a couple
              of weeks ago ran a headline something like "Convo
              features MLK Speaker Dude" (Convo[cation] being a
              weekly presentation on a variety of topics in the
              middle of the day friday when all students are given
              the time off from classes). Many people jumped in
              anger because a Black Man and significant stature was
              being referred to as "Dude," and apparently it has
              been used as an anti-black pejorative term. [Which
              I've never heard, really I've only heard it as a
              friendly term among young white Americans, ala Bill
              and Ted's Excellent Adventure, but I'll trust that it
              can be used so negatively. Anyways;] The problem when
              people leaped to their feet and shouted that the
              editor was being racist based on a single word was
              that the word "dude" was included because the paper
              was being edited until 4 or 5am and the editor had
              forgotten to replace a temporary headline (the same
              uproar surely wouldnt've happened if 'dude' had been
              applied to a white person, as was just as likely as
              this case). In a sense some people had gotten so used
              to looking at certain words and seeing deeper meaning
              that they forgot to see the more obvious truth. At the
              same time though, it has to be remembered that some
              terms can be used very strongly, though really only as
              strongly as we make them.
              Where was I going? Probably somewhere to mention that
              Isaac and those around them saw a lot in their words.
              There is a lot of history in some that they were
              trying to disassociate, and even if they were unable
              to see the forest for the trees in this case, (an odd
              metaphor on this conference) the words were being as
              important as they made them, which was pretty
              important.

              On a side note of terms, and stretching back to the
              historical connexion alleged for modern neopaganism,
              as it turns out Witch has been somewhat of an
              unfortunate term at times. When witches were being
              persecuted what witch hunters were looking for were
              anti-christians, and at that time it was something
              that could be made more or less equivalent to
              mekhashshepheh that appaers in a certain famous
              passage in the bible (not that they were finding
              them). I don't have to say that it had really had very
              little with modern witches. But when the roots of
              neopaganism sprouted and chose a name, they thought
              they were reclaiming a term that shouldn't only be a
              pejorative term. Which would be fine if there was
              something to reclaim. Now ofcourse, the term has stuck
              and witches have to do with it what they can. The
              downside, however, has been that now they've forced an
              association on Christians who know that "thou shalt
              not suffer a witch to live" but don't know that that
              witch doesn't apply to everyone that uses the term. In
              this case we can see that terms can be very important.

              But anyways, I'm talking too much, not too much more.

              >Because ritual seems to be the focal point of any
              neopagan
              organization, a pity that this has not changed since
              Gardner's or
              Isaac's day! They seem to be lost in the ceremony and
              not focusing
              so much on everyday spirituality, community and
              balance which is, in
              my opinion, far more important in any spiritual
              institution or
              practise.

              Solitary spirituality can be very important.
              Unfortunately its not something that is easy for
              everyone to take upon themselves. Many branches of the
              Christian church have insisted that the "Truth" be
              handed down through trained priests because people
              wouldn't neccessarily understand it by themselves. In
              many ways this is too presupposing of the ignorance of
              individuals, but on the other hand we should allow
              that some people can get more from a group with a
              strong leader. As I see it, and feel free to differ
              (with a good argument) ritual can be made to reach
              more people. It can also be more powerful at least in
              a short period than cansome introspective methods.
              (I'd go on, but I have thoughts which I cannot yet
              phrase. Who knows, I might eventually make an epistle
              out of it)

              That said, I'm not personally into ritual for myself,
              but I can see how it can be important for others.

              On the other hand it should be noted that, while we
              see much more of Isaac's ritual side (he was after all
              the guy with a degree in magic), he was working to
              build a community. He started the Aquarian A_____
              A_____ A_____ Association trying to connect groups
              together and from what I knew really was working on
              building a local community; to the extent at times
              that he was overworking himself.

              Anyways,
              -Stephen




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            • Tezra Reitan
              Isaac s songs are indeed more intense than the other songs. It is, I believe, because he was much more serious about it than many other people who were
              Message 6 of 9 , Mar 4, 2005
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                Isaac's songs are indeed more intense than the other songs. It is, I believe,
                because he was much more serious about it than many other people
                who were penning songs at the time. What many of them were is "filks".
                A filk, in case you are not familiar with the term, is a set of words
                set to another
                person's tune. One example of this is the Woad song sung to the tune of
                "Men of Harlech." The many salvos of the Bardic competition are rife with
                filks. Now, while the others wrote them tongue in cheek and very humorously,
                Isaac was very serious about the whole affair. He took his religion seriously,
                which one may argue is not at all in the rather jocular spirit of the Reform.
                Tegwedd
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