Recreationism and personal experience


Many pagan beliefs these days are 'under reconstruction' such as Heathenry, Celtic beliefs, Shamanism, Traditional Witchcraft etc. Do you find that the reconstruction of such beliefs hinders or helps the process of your spiritual journey?

I'm finding that after many years, I am coming full circle and some of my very first experiences with the otherworld are coming again into the fore. These are not so much at odds with reconstructed beliefs but neither are they always helped by them. It's not that I don't feel the need to learn from others but more that what happened in the past is not always (ie only sometimes) applicable to what is best today.

Does anyone else come across this in their life?


Great question Milfoil. What made me open the thread was the word Recreationism and the forum spot, Spirituality.
Because I read it not as re-creation as I think you mean, but as rec-reation. Which I'm sure has been discussed many times, the dabbling, the taking a bit from here and a bit from there. Not a path but more a cozy chair we can sit in when we choose and ignore when we are busy. A flexible balloon that can be inflated to fill the spot emptied by the stepping back from the structured religious dogma we may be traveling from.

To tie this off-topic to the topic, I'm thinking that is how we got to the re-creationism...? We've at least come far enough to question it all? Seems a good thing to me, but only as far as it affects ourselves, no need to tear down someone else's belief.


Mmm, it got me thinking too, about how recreating or reconstructing an older belief system from available (usually indirect or incomplete) sources has never been needed before as far as I know. Perhaps we need the 'bones' of experience which the clues to our ancestral belief can give us but after that it needs to evolve on its own terms.

People berate Wicca for being a modern reconstruction of something with no lineage or heritage yet it clearly works for many even if that is simply a structure necessary to get started or a stepping off point. Same with Heathenry, it suits some to have the freedom it offers yet structure of belief in otherworld beings.

I'm finding that personal experiences from years ago are tying in with odd snippets of traditions but in a unique perspective for me and not enclosed in any culture. So some things such as visionary experiences have profound similarities, way too similar than mere coincidence would allow but other stuff like the 3 fold law, needing to have lots of 'tools' or specific hierarchies and wearing a uniform isn't very important or even touched upon.

Some things do seem to give us the bones of our beliefs to hang the flesh upon but other stuff is just baggage it would seem.


I have been struggling with this... Trying to find "THE" spiritual path, looking at so many religions and philosophies, and yes, also studying those recreationist ones. I've finally come to the conclusion that while some of these offer insights and tools to use (the bones), the flesh is going to have to come from my personal experience. I must do the work (not just read about someone else's experiences), and I must begin right here, where I live, not in a far off land or far off time. Joanna P. Colbert wrote an article some time ago called "Becoming Native to Your Place" that really built a fire under me to do this: