Reconstructionist religions speak to those who feel a sense of belonging to a different time and possibly to a different place. I've never talked to anyone in CR who wanted to live in iron age Ireland -- we're all pretty fond of things like central heating and indoor plumbing. Yet so many of us feel spiritually connected to that other time and place. It's not a desire to escape, either. So many of us are deeply engaged in social and political struggles, in learning about the world and humanity's place in it, in working for change in the destructive patterns in modern Western civilization. Yet we wonder if we could achieve a sense of belonging and kinship with people in the places where our deities arose, where the languages that are important to us ritually once were and sometimes still are spoken. We read and study and dream and make pilgrimages, seeking that sense of belonging and acceptance.
Alastair McIntosh addresses the idea in a brief poem from his collection Love and Revolution, entitled Scotland.
A person belongs
inasmuch as they are willing
to cherish and be cherished
by a place
and its peoples.
Buinidh neach an seo
Fhad 's a tha iad deònach
tasgadh is a bhith air an tasgadh
leis an àite
agus a mhuinntir
(translation to Gaelic by Maoilios Caimbeul)
Alastair McIntosh is originally from the Isle of Lewis, currently residing in Glasgow. He is an environmental, political and spiritual activist whose activities touch on many communities. His work and writing offers connection with the original animist, immanentist traditions of the early Celtic peoples, and an acceptance of those who would join in that reverence. Outsiders, our respect for and cherishing of the traditions and the peoples whose pre-Christian spiritual practices we wish to reconstruct and emulate is what gives us a connection to the traditions and grants us a sense of belonging.
We belong to the Earth. We belong to the deities and the spirits. We belong to ourselves and to what we cherish. When we embrace the land in a particular place, we allow ourselves to be embraced in turn -- to belong to the land and its spirits. Even when we come from far away, if we approach with respect and with love then we can be accepted there, becoming a part of that place, of those people. With love and respect, we create belonging and connections. We find our way home.