It has been a few months since our last post but now that the holidays are over we want to get back into the swing of things. We were one post away from wrapping up our “about us” feature in three parts. So without further ado…
One of the things that we decided early on was that we wanted our organization to have a feel that would have been something that our ancestors could recognize to an extent, at least in as much as we could do in a modern age. It was also what stopped us from going the route of recreating the wheel and making “just another Druid organization”. So we took a long hard look at the past. We also looked at surviving Celtic cultures. We realized that the concept of “group work” could be improved upon. The Grove model used by many Druid groups is the norm for the most part in our modern world. But our ancestors held to a more tribal model. This tribal model is also used by some Celtic reconstructionist groups so the idea seemed to us to have merit even in our modern world.
So how do we look at the tribal system for our organization? All things begin with a good foundation. For our foundation we feel that the home is where all things start. The home and family is the foundation of a tribe. We call our family units Hearths. In fact Sylvan Celtic Fellowship has set up our membership so that a whole family can join as a fully formed Hearth. Hearths are all those folks living under one roof who practice their Celtic spirituality together. We envision families with their children gathered around their home altars/shrines all communing with spirit together. Creating not only a home based spiritual tradition but also celebrating Celtic culture and our ties to it. But that is only the beginning.
When a Hearth decides to branch out and invite others to join them or when the two or more Hearths decide to unite, then the members of those hearths will be able to form a larger group. We refer to this larger grouping as a Clann. As Clanns form they will gain their own group identity through creating their own customs. It is these customs that will give them a strong sense of belonging and will help to tie the spirituality of the group deeper into the minds of the group members. These customs wouldn’t just revolve around the four Celtic feast days but would include more rites of passage for the members of the Clann, like weddings, coming of age ceremonies, child blessings, etc. The goal is to create a sense of kinship among the members of a Clann so that each Hearth comprising the Clann will feel like they are a part of one another’s family. Which brings us to…
If two or more Clanns come together and wish to unite as one, they have option of forming an even larger community. We refer to this community as a Tribe. Clanns , like the Hearths that comprise them would still be subgroups within the Tribe. The Tribe would be able to unite the customs of the Clanns into a tradition as well as form new customs. Tribes take the idea of Celtic identity deeper into the spiritual equation. Tribes will be able to do more with the help of all the individual members coming together, perhaps even being able to purchase land to build permanent worship sites for the folk.
With any situation where groups of people come together for a common goal sometimes differences of opinion and clashes of personality can lead to disharmony. To help with this fact of life we hope that the Druids of the Fellowship can be of service to the people to help settle these problems. By acting as mediators and peace makes the Druids can serve as counselors to the people as well as serving the spiritual needs. Thus the Druids will be fulfilling the role that their ancient counterparts had in the Iron Age. We envision each Clann having a Druid to serve its need and perhaps several Druids for a whole Tribe. Along with the leaders and elders of the Clanns and Tribes, the Druids will help teach our ways to the people.
Getting back to the idea of community though, it makes sense that to grow a community we need to be open to new members. In order to do this effectively and pass along customs and tradition there would be a mentoring relationship needed. We call this process “Fostering”. By bringing new people in and having a clansman/tribesman teach them our ways we can grow effective groups. The Fostering process will bring a sense of kinship with the mentor and mentee as well as passing along spiritual tradition.So as you can see our approach to groups is different from the norm in modern paganism. We have done away with the occult society/coven model in favor of a model based on families and extensions of families. It is an approach that we feel reflects our ancestors and honors them.