Lily wrote:Rites and everyday faith.
Everyday acts of faith - visiting a well and saying a prayer before drawing water
Yes, "Rites" and "Faith" are very very different.... and in the same vein; very much alike.
Some rites are things of great importance (the eight spokes of the wheel) while others are not only more personal but occurring in a more chaotic fashion. These rites would have been for births, burials, naming ceremonies, and the like. "Professionals" (Ovates or Filidh) would have either been part of the village or travelling "Aes Dana" that would have done these "rites".One of the greatest punishments that existed back then was not death or incarceration but rather the expulsion from the village and the cutting off of access to the public rituals. I believe that what we call "the fine line between rites and faith" were actually closer than we see now. Even amongst those we call "Pagans" do not approach the nature of life among the "Celtic Villagers" back then.
It was likely an all-encompassing feeling of being part of the Land, Sea, & Sky... a part of the world that surrounds and envelopes every living thing in eyesight and beyond.
I believe that, back then, the "Celtic Villagers" were not stupid or ignorant. That they attended these "rites & rituals" every few months and that they would have remembered how the rituals went and what words and actions were spoken and done. What Deities were called and how they were called, and maybe even roughly what time or month it would occur. We "assume" that they were stupid savages that wandered in like cattle to the ritual when called by the leaders. I give them the honor, the respect, and the wisdom that I feel they deserve by saying that they probably chanted along with the rites leaders. That they knew what they were doing (and when and WHY for that matter).
I believe that they were then, by definition, capable of understanding the differences and possibly even capable of performing some of the rituals. After the disappearance of the Druids in the day to day life of the "Celtic Villager".... I further believe that it is those very Celtic Villagers that are responsible for keeping the memory alive.
They told their children and so on down the line of the great importance of those rites and the intelligent people that led them. The Skalds , Bards, and Seannachies all contributed to this with stories of ancient battles and great kings and of course the Tuatha de Danann. The Irish Schools of Medicine were counted among the very finest in the world from the 6th to nearly the 16th century. Some now say that the teachings of the Druids lay hidden amongst these very Colleges.
These "Villagers" and the Irish Monks that followed them are at least partially responsible for the memory surviving to this day. Memory of the belief system we now study and try to gain an understanding of.I think we have a lot to be thankful for, and at least some of it belongs to the simple "Celtic Villager" and the stories they told their children at the hearthfire on a cold wintery night.
Nollaigh Shona one and all...!!!
Happy Christmas everyone..!!!