So much for staggering off topic
The branches of any discussion are both interesting and distracting.
So.... what exactly is reconstructionist druidry? Is it "authentic" druidry? A way of life? A spirituality?
In working with the questions and answers, getting a grasp on this is something I feel would better the discussion.
So.... I look at what I find.
One example: http://www.whiteoakdruids.org/aboutwhiteoak.cfmOrder of WhiteOak - Statement of Belief
The Order of the White Oak is a modern Druidic order which bases its beliefs and practices on what we know of the original faith and practices of the pagan Celts. We use historical research and poetic inspiration to build a viable tradition. Our source material for this research includes such names as Miranda Green, Alwyn and Brinley Rees, and Barry Cunliffe.
Based on our studies of works by those and other authors, we believe that the ancient Druids were philosophers, lawyers, healers, judges, lorekeepers, and poets as well as ritual leaders and teachers. Thus, we strive to achieve similar skills in these modern times.
We also draw upon the writings of the Celts, such as the Audacht Morainn and the Brehon Laws. From those, we learn that the Celts respected the virtues of justice, impartiality, conscientiousness, firmness, generosity, hospitality, honor, stability, beneficence, capability, honesty, eloquence, steadiness, truth in judgment, and mercy.
We seek to uphold these virtues in our daily lives. Some of us have found value in studying other Indo-European traditions in the search for understanding, such as the Vedic texts of the Hindus, while others turn more inward in the quest to fill the gaps in the records.
We do not believe we are inheritors of the priesthood of Atlantis. We do not believe that Druidry was the sole province of men, as our studies have shown us that women were Druids both in the insular areas as well as on the continent. We do not derive our traditions from medieval romances about Arthur and Merlin. We are not Wiccans or Witches of any sort, as witchcraft and Druidry have been separate though coexistent paths throughout their mutual histories. We do not believe we are the only true Druids.
We do not seek to control all Celtic Pagans as a dogmatic priesthood. We do not even hold all of our members to one interpretation of the ways of the Celts, as not even they worshipped identically to each other across the multitude of tribes and centuries.
So in essence of this example a large amount of what neo-druidry is...isn't.
The spirituality of druidry in this sense would then not exist directly, only indirectly. And the direct spiritual context of practice would then be from elsewhere, perhaps the Celts themselves, and this reconstructionist direction might be like the Masons, a frame work of life conduct in a tradition of the original drui.
Spiritual aspirations from the mythos and lore would not include things like King Arthur or any of the later romantic fiction. It digs deeper into the more tribal and relevant lore and myth of the actual time the drui existed in ancient times. Wicca and the 8 fold year then would be a non-issue, far from thought.
This of course narrows things down a bit... a lot.. however is a more authentic and sober reality, void of the embellished tales of later times. http://www.whiteoakdruids.org/ritualswh ... wsItemID=8
As in the example above, This is not to say reconstructionist druidry would be void of tree lore, ritual or the rich lessons, spiritual involvement that druidism is.
Another "definition" : http://www.netplaces.com/celtic-wisdom/ ... ganism.htmCeltic Reconstructionism (CR) is a relatively recent brand of Celtic neopaganism. It is similar in many ways to neodruidry, in that both attempt to achieve some semblance of authenticity in their spiritual practices. Unlike druidry, however, the reconstructionists tend to cast a wider net, with a broader interest in Celtic culture as a whole. Reconstructionists also tend to follow a less rigid initiatory system — where druid orders tend to emphasize the classical ideals of druid priesthood with its lengthy training, hierarchical systems, and emphasis on philosophy, Celtic paganism looks to be more accessible, open, and culturally aware.
CRs also tend to appear more noticeably pagan, with emphasis on ritual, altered states, visionary practices, and polytheistic worship. Many Reconstructionist groups focus on a particular culture, be it Irish, Scottish, or Gallic, and some groups restrict membership to applicants who share a particular Celtic ethnic background. Unlike Wicca and related pagan faiths, Celtic Reconstructionists tend to avoid eclecticism, or the borrowing of elements from other religions or cultures.
So ..... From this view, the closer one can get to an authentic way of teaching this lore.. the better.
And thus speaking to the Oral tradition as Emma did and make a statement far from what historical record indicates is frustrating if it goes directly opposite of historical fact.
Back to my own view, if you will...
I do find reconstructionist druidism as I understand it
as a more accurate definition to how I live my life. I do use the ideals of reconstructionist druidry as a guideline to how I deal with choices, make judgments, aspire in art, tell my own life stories and strive to inspire others to have the morals and good ecological sense that the druid way aspires to.
I then seek to find my own elemental spiritual ways into the context of druidism. These however are not what defines druidry.
They are rather my own tribal ways, as are the teachings of tree lore, which however find a closer relevance to the druid way in general.
I do see what Emma said as making sense in the context she said it in. I also see what Philip has done as a positive "way", I also clearly see the reconstructionist view and why.
And frankly I think I like it..
What Neo-druidry has done and is doing, could go farther, as I do recall it was a much more Christian-friendly way early on, and has trended further Pagan in what I see recently.
The OBOD is obviously invested in the course, and recently revised this course in it's entirety, showing change, including more like the CD's to at least give a closer context to what an Oral tradition "sounded like". A CD however cannot give the smell of the fireside, the glint in the eye or the interaction people have in person. The distance of a tutor causes a disconnect, and the lack of sponsorship in active roles that the real druids did is totally non-existent. In a lot of ways neo-druidry lacks commitment in society and makes little or no effort by design, to actively engage our world today. We can of course become "anchors of light" and do all of these things for ourselves, on our own terms. The OBOD as an order however, cannot or does not.
I see reconstructionist druidism or; Celtic reconstructionism, as the next logical step in progression for Drui who wish to step from one stone in the river..to the next.