On being an eclectic witch and ecletic neo-pagan -a Pagan Blog Project responce

This week one of the possible prompts for the Pagan Blog Project for the letter E was eclectic paganism and eclectic witchcraft in the form of “neo-Wicca”. Over the last few days I have read several different blogs from the Pagan blog project on this topic. While there have been many valid insights there are some things I feel that I should say about myself.

Here is the first part of the prompt:
Eclectic practice is something that can be a big debate in different part s of the Pagan community. Some feel that being eclectic opens you up to a whole world of ideas and tools that with the more narrow view of a specific tradition just isnโ€™t available. Yet others feel that being eclectic equates to a practice that is lacking in structure and commitment to anything. Are you eclectic?
-Rowan Pendragon

Yes. I am eclectic. I am both an eclectic witch and an eclectic pagan. I find that the two are very different practices. While I do use my witchcraft to help me connect to deity and as a part of my worship to deity, it is primarily a non religious practice a craft. The deities I worship with my craft are responsible for the core mysteries of the witchcraft tradition I am developing and sharing through these pages and writings. That being said I do accept that witchcraft is essentially a craft and a philosophy that while spiritual in nature can be adapted to any philosophy or religion.

I however say that I am an eclectic pagan because I am not limited to one ritual set or technique. I am not limited to any one pantheon or cultural way. I do not have to worship or follow the typical 8 sabbbats found in most witchcraft traditions (which I do honor as well). I can worship any deity I want with any holiday I choose.

I have used Hellenic rituals to honor Zeus and other Hellenic Gods. I have had an ecstatic ritual invoking Pan and have been in states of ecstasy and panic created from the worship of Pan that forced me to face my sexual fears and my deepest personal fears. I have also felt the caress of Dionysus while drunk on booze and enjoying liquor. While I have only celebrated one Hellenic festival and it was years ago, I still have that deep connection to Pan.

I have held Blots and Symbels in honor of the Aesir, Vanir, some of the frost Giants. I use the Nine Nobel virtues as the corner stone of my philosophy when it comes to my world view and ethical views. I have experimented with runes and the Seax worship of Odin and Freya (it didn’t work for me). I have started to explore a few Germanic holidays that might not be followed by people other than the Asatru and Heathen recons.

I have done a full moon esbat to Diana according to The Gospel of Aradia and Strega traditions. I still have a lot to learn about Strega and the other deities. However I feel strong in my connection to Diana through the Gospel of Aradia. The most recent connection I have felt to any deity was during that ritual this past summer.

While I am interested in Celtic and Native American traditions I have not pursued them. I know that in many cases those cultures are closed to outsiders. While my own teacher (Chris Penczak) has a connection to some of the Celtic deities, I am not comfortable making that connection as I am not of that blood. From what knowledge I have been able to research even with my adoption I have no connection to Scotland or Ireland. The only possible Celtic connection to me would be in England if there are any to be found with in Anglo-saxon English culture.

I was raised in the United Church of Christ. To this day I have never accepted the core trinitarian philosophy of the UCC that God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit were one person. I do believe in Jesus and I do believe in the Holy Spirit and God. I just think that they are all separate entities. I think that they are all connected that Jesus is a Demi-God and the son of God as well as a prophet, teacher, and wise man. I believe in God. I just don’t worship Jehova/Yaweh/Allah (the God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam) as my exclusive god. I worship any God I chose when I chose.

As an eclectic pagan like I said I am not limited to exploring and experiencing the rituals and celebrations of just one cultural practice. That being said if I worship a deity from the Roman pantheon I try to worship them with those rituals. In that respect I have started to answer the second question asked by Rowan which was:

What are your thoughts on eclectic vs. traditional practice ?

When it comes to my religious witchcraft experiences I can’t really explain. I have a deep interest in Wicca and those traditional rites and rituals. However there are practical issues and other things that prevent that from happening. I wish I could be a part of a traditional group of some sort. I long for the commitment of repeated rituals with mass power behind them, a community, and a set of core rituals and practices that have already been developed. I long for that sort of setting.

When it comes to the exploration of the other paths I have tried to practice in the traditional way. It can be difficult. I find that the traditional practice makes the connection with the deities a lot easier as the rites are typically found with in the lore in some way.

I find security in tradition. It helps me cement my practice and create foundations that are strong. The foundations built on tradition are stronger. I believe strongly in the power of tradition, habit, and practice. To me these help develop sign posts on the path, and tradition gives validation to personal experience.

This is why I am an odd eclectic. I have explored many paths and taken several things. When I explore I use recon methodology. I read the lore and I read academic sources if they are available. I read and research the history. I have discussions with other recons. I pray and make introduction based offerings to the Gods. I use tradition.

I find that I am going to eventually find one recon path to stick to. However for now I feel that I need to explore all paths open to me at this point in time. I will always keep the worship of the various deities separate. I do not believe that they are all the same. I do not believe that all Gods are one God and all Goddesses one Goddess. I believe that all Gods are individual entities. That is why I keep the worship of the various deities separate. I find that honors and respects them.

I find that eclectic practice where you take different deities in worship them in context that they were never worshiped in before (Hindu deities in a Neo-Pagan witch) is not acceptable. While there have been some deities that have been worshiped in the context of other traditions (The Hellenic, Roman, and Kemetic deities were all interacting via the cross-cultural worship and interaction at the time) I find that in the end, the comparisons are usually fairly off and done with little deep research into the myths and lore as well as traditions of those people.

That is why I as an eclectic keep the worship of every different pantheon separate. I find that it helps me bond with them and the culture better this way. It also helps me gain a deeper understanding of the culture through the exploration of the rituals. Plus I gain a modern understanding through anthropological research.

Now I must begin the topic of “Eclectic neo-Wicca” and my feelings about that. I do not accept people who practice an eclectic form of religious witchcraft based loosely on the teachings of proper Wiccan rites as Wiccan. I do accept them as witches. In fact I firmly believe as an eclectic religious witch there is an established traditions for us.

Wait eclectic tradition?

Yes. Eclectic tradition. My personal library contains several books on “Eclectic witchcraft”, as well as Wicca and traditional witchcraft (not even mentioning my recon sources as well). I have found that essentially if you look at the books that label themselves as “eclectic Wicca” there are essentially core rites and rituals practiced. While the individual practitioner may be a soft polytheist who uses other deities aside from the MMC and horned God (which I was when I started and I will have a post on this later at some point) in their rituals the actual content of the rituals is the same. The words may be different, but the intent and the format are the same.

That is why I see eclectic neo-pagan witchcraft to be a cohesive tradition. The various deities found in the tradition are different but the ritual format and content are the same. I have found that even when looking at the various witch traditions out there: (Cabot, Temple, Blackforest, Standing Stone, and many others) they have the same core rituals and sabbats. While the individual interpretations were different and may use different deities the overall mythology is the same.

My religious witchcraft is eclectic. I have taken from traditional witchcraft (Through Robin Artisson and a few other authors), The “Wiccan literature” out there (Gardner, Frosts, Sanders), I have taken from Hermetic literature (The Kybalion), Shamanic literature, and Eclectic Witchcraft as well as some Thelemic literature (The LBRP). My practice melds all of these together into one whole unit that works. How this is developing I am still not fully aware. Its just developing.

However none of that makes my practice in any way Wiccan. Nor does it make me Wiccan. I have not been initiated into Wicca. I have not learned the rites of Wicca, nor have I experienced the mysteries of Wicca, nor do I know the names of the deities in Wicca. I am not Wiccan. I may never be Wiccan. I am a witch as the religious and magical practice that primarily drives me is derived from various forms of Witchcraft.

In discussions I have had with other people in regards to the nature of the magical craft called witchcraft one constant comment has been that witchcraft as a craft is eclectic in nature. It is something that is going to be developed individually by each witch.

As a magical practice I primarily define witchcraft as dealing with the folk lore and folk traditions of European countries both continental (German, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden) or Island (England, Ireland, Scotland, Iceland,). This magical practice contains lore from all of these sources and have adapted to include some Christian influenced charms over the years.

It is this adaptability that has allowed Witchcraft to survive. It’s no wonder that witches are often considered to be ‘cunning”. Witchcraft has many forms from protection from witches (witch bottles and many protection charms during the puritan era in America fit into this category). Some of the practices can be traced to fairy tales, and others more to local legends and traditions. The fact of the mater is that as a magical practice witchcraft has always adapted and will always be adaptable due to its eclectic nature.

As I mentioned before essentially witchcraft as a magical practice is going to be created by each individual witch. While there may be some spells and charms passed on through oral lore or in the form of a Grimiore ( or Book of Shadows) essentially every witch must find what works for them selves. This is why constant trial and error is important. That is why constant study and exploration is important.

My witchcraft involves angelic forces from time to time. It can involve elemental spirits, dragons, other spirits, ancestors, gods or just my own energy. The spells I create can involve intense energy manipulation or little to none. They can involve manipulating physical objects or they can involve simply focusing mental energy. My magic is varied and allows for experimentation and development.

The final question asked in the prompt this week by Rowan was:

how do you feel eclectic work benefits you if thatโ€™s the path you follow?

I have found several benefits to being an eclectic pagan. One of the key benefits is that I can widen my network of contacts and I can increase my experiences. I have found that by honestly going into the various Recon and eclectic or traditional groups saying that I am a seeker who seeks genuine wisdom and experiences. I do not know if my path lies along the lines of a specific tradition or if I am suited more to always be an eclectic. For now I wish to simply discuss and learn from you about your groups practices that they will be more willing to accept me.

Another benefit has been the ability to constantly explore and try new things. As I said before in this post I am not limited to any specific holiday calendar or ritual setting. By being an eclectic I have opened myself up to the possibilities to be found in any and every path out there. I don’t have to experience the mysteries of the universe (and I believe every path to have a unique set of mysteries available to them) through just one culture. I can experience many mysteries.

The largest drawback I have found to be that I have to constantly be studying. As an eclectic I have to constantly be reading and expanding my references for various paths. I have to look into history and culture. I have to look into modern telling of myths and folk lore as well as more of the literal translations of source texts.

I have to look at personal experience. I have to compare it to lore and experiences by other people. I have to keep a record of what I have done and what I hope to experience. There is a lot of exploration that comes with being an eclectic. There are times that the work may not seem worth it, but in the end I find it worth it.

I am an eclectic because I am a philosopher in the truest sense of the word. I am a lover and seeker of wisdom and knowledge. That may explain the various deities I have connections to (Zeus, Odin, Thoth, Friga, ect). I believe that there is wisdom to be found any where. You just have to be open to the possibilities.

Could I be wrong?

Yes. However I have found that the journey is worth it. I have found that in the end I seek to find wisdom where I can. I might not agree with every practice I read, and frankly not all of the rituals I have experiences have sat well with me. The fact that I keep going shows that I have the one key virtue that all eclectics need:

Courage.

To be an eclectic witch and an eclectic pagan is to have the courage to explore, test, and question everything that is out there. It is to test your self and your practice. It is the courage to try things that other people might not. It is the courage to experiment and fail and try again.

Is it worth it?

I think so. I find enjoyment and pleasure out of reading about, researching, experiencing, and exploring various religions and philosophy. I find enjoyment out of pondering the nature of the universe. I find enjoyment out of exploring all avenues of wisdom and learning. I am in that ways happy to be a college student.

For those reasons and more I am an eclectic. I tread the border between being a traditionalist. I hold that traditions should remain in tact. I hold that traditions are meant to be done a specific way for specific reasons. In that way I am a traditionalist. In that I am open to more than one tradition or way of thinking I am eclectic. Just because it’s tradition doesn’t mean it’s the only way, but it also doesn’t mean that traditions should be discounted.

About loona wynd

Call me Loona. I am a part time model and an amateur writer. My blogs serve as my primary method of publication at the moment. These blogs are also a way for me to build an audience and get my name known. I have been involved with my spiritual path for half my life now. I have spent that whole time seeking and exploring every path I could find. While I will always identify as a witch and a Pagan, I do believe there are lessons that every path can teach me. When I am not writing, or modeling I spend my time watching science fiction (I'm a big Doctor Who fan as well as Warehouse 13, Eureka, Babylon 5, and other shows). I also enjoy shows like Ink Master, Bar Rescue, Hotel Hell, Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. I also love Bones for the anthropological aspects. When not watching tv I spend time playing video games. I'm a retro gamer at heart. I would rather play a game on my NES than the newest game for my PC. I actually have more NES and SNES games than I do Wii, N64 or PS2. I do play Starcraft2, Everquest, Guild Wars, and random Facebook games. I also enjoy reading. My reading will often be in the spiritual or philosophical fields. This is what I enjoy to study. I also love to read science fiction. Anne McCaffery is actually my favorite sci-fi writer. Her Pern and Accorna series are my favorites. I currently hold an associates degree in Liberal Studies or Liberal Arts. My focus is on folklore, philosophy, classics of world lit, anthropology, and history. I do have a vast interest in Physics. I was actually happy with how much my physics teacher was able to connect modern physics with ancient and modern metaphysical philosophy.

Posted on March 4, 2012, in Christianity, Deities/Divinity/God, Dragons, Generic ENP Holidays, Hermeticism, magic, Mythology, Other Worlds (heven, hell, ect), Pagan Blog Project, Religion, Ritual, Sabbats, soul, spells and will working, Spirituality, Temple Tradition of Witchcraft and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Wow. Nicely done. It took you awhile, I’m sure. Check out my blog on “Eclectic Spirituality” too. I think we may have a lot in common. ๐Ÿ™‚

    http://merlynsmagick.blogspot.com/2012/02/eclectic-spirituality.html

    Bright Blessings Sister
    Hugs
    Merlyn

    • I was working on that entry for hours. It took an extended amount of time as I took a few breaks to run some errands. However thouse errands have allowed me to get more thoughts to put into this entry. At first I wasn’t sure if it was too long, but I figured now that there is a lot to say in this topic and when you think about it there is essentially no one right way to practice an eclectic spiritual path.

      I will defiantly check out your link. I hope you’ll continue to read my blog. There is a lot more I have to write about. There are many more topics I have to write about that I have jotted down in my journal. I have been asked to expand on a few of my previous posts so there will be more dragon related material posted in a little while.

      Being an eclectic witch and pagan takes a lot of work but it can be worth it.

  2. I always think of Wicca as inherently eclectic in itself, I mean from day one Wicca was piecing together various sources of inspiration and worshipping gods and goddesses from various cultures. When was Wicca ever NOT eclectic? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • What makes Wicca not eclectic is that the religion has a specific set of rituals that must be done in a specific way. While Gardner did take from many sources to create his religion, because it is one cohesive whole that has specific rituals and rites as well as specific deities I no longer accept Wicca as an eclectic practice. In Wicca they have two specific Gods and God and Goddess whose names and true natures are only known to initiates. A true Wiccan ritual will only involve those two deities (known to outsiders as the Lord and Lady of the Isles).

      • One might say “orthodox” and “unothodox” Wicca ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Wicca is a religion based on proper practice not belief. If the rituals are not performed in the correct way they cease to be a Wiccan ritual.

      • In other words, there is only one type of (real/true) Wicca?

      • You have to realize that there are a few more traditions than just Gard and Alex. These traditions are:
        *Gardnerian
        *Alexandrian
        *Mohsian
        *Central Valley (a collective term for the traditions named below)
        -Silver Crescent
        -Kingstone
        -Daoine Coire
        -Assembly of Wicca
        -Majestic .

        What makes those traditions Wicca is the core rituals, the mysteries, and the deities they worship. If the tradition maintains the core rituals established by Gardner then it is Wicca. If the rituals are changed in any way it is not Wicca.

      • Ah, so what counts as core rituals? Is there a check list? If you don’t meet the criteria I suppose you’re not Wiccan, just Wicca-inspired?

      • The first criteria is that they have a cross gender initory lineage that traces directly back to Gerald Gardner or the New Forest coven of England. Even Alexandrian traditions can ultimatly be traced back to Gerakd Gardner (as his Priestess was initiated by him).

        The second criteriia is that they hold the core ritual, lore, and mysteries intact. As to what these rituals contain a basic concept can be gained by reading the Farrars A witches Bible and what witches do. However it must be noted that all true Wiccan rites and rituals are known only to the initiates. I have been told by an Alexandriean Priestess that those ritual hold to the basic concept of Wiccan ritual. She said this with me understanding that no true Wiccan ritual has ever been published. Those that have been are simply basic outlines that are shown to pre-initiates as a training tool to get familiar with how the rites work. So thats what I can recomened for reading material as well as Gardners two books in order Witchcraft for today and witchcraft for tomorrow.

        The third thing I can say as a check list would be the names of the deities. I have been told that the names of the deities of Wicca are known through British specific lore. However I have never been told where to look in the lore as I have never asked. I feel that asking that question is a sighn of disrespect and an attempt to gain access to the mysteries. The names of the deities are only known to true initiates of Wicca.

        If the rites you practice contain the elements described in the two Farrar books you can say you are Wiccan inspired. You could also label yourself as a seeker of Wicca if you felt the desire to be initiated and finally join a coven. If you don’t seek initiation into a legitimate coven (the Yahoo group Amber and Jet is good for verifying covens and lineages) then you are a seeker of Wicca (my current status). Otherwise yes I would say you are Wiccan Inspiried

      • Thanks for your thoughts! I know a local Alexandrian High Priestess and she has never said “you’re not a TRUE Wiccan unless…” rather she says that there are “Traditional Wiccans” and then there are “non-traditional Wiccans”.

      • There are some people who feel that way. My Alexandriean friend is one of the people who is a traditionalist. I find that in the U.S the definition of Wicca has become burred due to the mass amount of solitary books on the subject.

      • I’m in the UK ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Yeah. The distinction is less blurred in the U.K as that is where Wicca originated.

  3. Thanks for posting a comment at The Spiritual Eclectic and leading me back to this well-written post. I’m so pleased to find other kindred spirits. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I have been eclectic for my entire spiritual life. While half of my life has influenced by Satanism and Christianity (Biological family was Satanic and my Foster and adoptive families have been Christian). When you put those together with an appreciation for the earth as our mother and an acceptance of other myths as truths..You are bound to be a spiritual and religious eclectic.

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