One of the things that I love about the Celtic traditions is the focus on justice, with deities from Brigid to Nuadha (just thinking of Irish) coming to mind. In different eras concepts on (in)justice will be different but in today’s world and certainly in the country whose passport I bear, justice is so much about race. Americans, especially white ones, have to understand how deeply racism lies in the DNA of the United States right back to how the country was shaped and structured from its beginning; this lives on in the force of those White Supremacist institutions today such as the Electoral College, the police whose origins were the slave patrols, etc. And let’s remember slavery still remains in the US prison system, literally. At this time for Celtic pagans of all varieties and stripes it is so important to say Black Lives Matter. And that people of all origins, ethnicities and races should be very welcome in our Celtic polytheist and Druidic worship. Hospitality is one of our primary virtues. I think we can all do well to think of ways to make our doings more hospitable.
However, If we’re honest we can see there are a lot of racists among Celtic pagans; in social media the slightest criticism can bring out the racists. Some even scream that politics need to be separated from religion/spirituality—as if that is a possibility. Often people like to point the fingers at the Heathens but it is very much around (and has long been) in Celtic milieus. One group recently got a lot of attention that was full on fascist (I will not mention the name). One common aggression is the asking POC why aren’t they going for their own ancestral traditions (the assumptions are great).
I lead small druid rites (in a practice that comes from an offshoot of ADF) on the fire festivals. The people who participate other than myself are POC. The gods do NOT care about ancestry, race or anything like that. It is humans who hold these abusive modern views. We need to be aware of the coding and dog whistles people use who may come to our groups, our gatherings, our virtual spaces. We need to ward against them. And for those of us who are white this means increasing our own awareness, an ongoing project*
May the compassion of Brigid and the cosmic fairness and measure of Nuadha come to our very troubled land. May the criminal injustice system be transformed into a justice system.
- For those interested in furthering their understanding of white racism here are a few books I’ve found helpful:
- Race Matters by Cornell West
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
- Ain’t I a Woman? by bell hooks