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8969[SCA-JML] Re: Looking for suggestions for Kofun and Yayoi.

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  • Solveig
    Dec 30, 2002
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      Noble Cousin!

      Greetings from Solveig!

      >And I don't believe I implied any sort of "substantial rank". I am
      >an individual with a YTBD religious occupation-- common, and quite
      >varied in period. I am also related in some sort of kinship sense
      >with the person who is the head of our local group-- again, a very
      >reasonable assumption for Yayoi: since these are clans we're talking
      >about, EVERYONE down to the lowest laborer can claim a similar kind
      >of relationship. It's only later that individual family units
      >overwhelm the old clan system.

      The problem is that you are recreating an era which is generally believed
      to have been theocratic. Assume the role of a priest can easily put you
      in the position of claiming territory which is a no-no. Today, we look at
      being a priest as being a kind of job much like being a janitor or a plumber.
      That is not necessarily the case in all places and in all times. If you are
      careful, then you can be part of a group which was clearly extensive and
      not territorial. This is why the abstainers are really good. However,
      being a priest in the Mononobe or something like that does cause problems
      because it can easily place you in the authority pecking order of a territory.
      As far as I know, most of the Mononobe were not priests. Most of the inbe
      appear to have been priests. There is a difference.

      >(In fact, although I belong to a particular "guild" (say, the
      >diviners), I'm not so sure that in this period I could rightfully
      >call it a "Be". It's very possible that the true "Be" concept arose
      >a little later than Yayoi to replace the old lineages which had these
      >traditional functions within a clan. Yet another problem with
      >picking a name...)

      Actually, the time period you are dealing with requires you to engage in
      a good deal of conjecture. I do think that you should go on what is
      generally thought to have been the social order prior to Taika. If you
      want to be a priest, then you should pick one of the clans which we know
      at one point in its history provided relgious services in a manner which
      you are attempting to recreate rather than a clan which is not known to
      have done so. Orthodox thinking about prehistoric Japan has a union of
      religious and secular authority in the clan chief and his deputies. The
      religious authority does not cause problems in the Society, but the
      secular authority does. If you pick something like the abstainers, then
      you are definitely trying to "play the game" if however you pick a
      to recreate a person who could easily be argued to hold secular authority,
      then you easily appear to be doing something prehistoric in an attempt
      to circumvent Society conventions. That does not look good. And, I will
      tell you that there are quite a few people in the Society who are
      suspicious of recreating religious vocations.

      >Anyway, although I have a religious occupation, I (along with my
      >entire lineage) am NOT the one calling the shots. When I do
      >divination, or whatever, I do it entirely within the service of the
      >leader (or anyone else in the clan who may ask me to do it). That's
      >what I was raised to do and what most of my immediate relatives do.
      >For me to say that that gives me the right to also, say, perform
      >rituals before the kami, or lead the warriors of our clan in battle,
      >would be ridiculous. Those have absolutely nothing to do with my job.

      As I said, you should pick a group like the abstainers who did at least
      evolve into a group which functioned in a way that you are claiming to
      be functioning. Claiming to be a priest in a general clan, does not do
      this.

      > > >There's a big difference between a shrine priest, for example, and
      >> >the head priest of Ise;
      >>
      >> Doesn't matter. Further, I'm sure that you know that it doesn't
      >matter.
      >
      >Funny, to most of the people I know within the Society, such
      >distinctions DO matter quite a bit. But perhaps I'm lucky in my
      >associations.

      I think it's fine that your friends know about Ise. But that misses the
      point. In terms of acceptability, it doesn't matter. It really doesn't
      matter whether you are claiming to be the bishop of Rome, the bishop of
      Antioch or the bishop of York. It doesn't matter. Calling yourself a
      bishop is generally considered to be a no-no. Calling yourself a parish
      priest attached to a manor house should be acceptable. Calling yourself
      an abbot of anyplace is a no-no. Calling yourself a friar is generally
      accepted. Finally, who you claim yourself to be will not simply cause
      notice amoung your friends. It will cause notice among those who are not
      your friends as well. As people are not as well clued in about Japan as
      they are about England, you may be able to wander around for a few years
      before youre priestly occupation will rise up and bite you.

      >It's important to choose one's battles, and there are many I won't
      >touch with a ten-foot pole. However, I cannot accept the suggestion
      >that one should not replicate a religious persona because some people
      >might get confused and not recognize the difference between your
      >basic shrine priest (or Benedictine monk, or Zen brother) and a high
      >religious authority who also wields secular power.

      The thing that you keep insisting on ignoring is that the size of your
      territory does not matter a whole lot. If you get to collect taxes,
      raise troops, dispense law, &c. then people will go twinge at you.
      Things were not nearly as up-tight twenty five years ago. Twenty five
      years ago, Bishop Geoffrey (da Bish) was a regular feature at East Kingdom
      court. But, things are different now.

      > That's not a
      >matter of SCA politics-- it's a matter of good historical
      >recreation. (It also makes such a persona that much more challenging
      >to do correctly, because one must confront such misunderstandings.)

      But, SCA politics can rear its head up and bite you. And, it can bite
      hard. Japanese recreation is already at a disadvantage. There are also
      people who confuse the rules banning religious rituals from official
      activities with a general ban on religious recreation. You really
      really need to have your ducks in order. That is why I urge you to
      recreate the abstainers or some other group which you can demonstrate
      were not a territorial authority as far back as we have records. Just
      saying, "oh I'm not a territorial authority I'm just the priest with
      the beads" simply will not work with some prominent people of my
      acquaintance. So, you may well get publicly questioned someday. I have
      seen people get really unhappy when questioned in this manner.
      --

      Your Humble Servant
      Solveig Throndardottir
      Amateur Scholar

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      | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS |
      | deMoivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
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