Defining Eclectic

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What is an eclectic Witch

Defining eclectic

What is an eclectic witch

The definition of an eclectic witch is one of the hardest magickal traditions to pin down because of the term eclectic which means different things to different witches.  To put it simply, an eclectic witch is one who follows more than one paths, cultures and traditions in the work that she/he does.

The confusion comes from talking about the extent that a witch can bring together different magickal systems for a positive effect. There is a deal of difference between a witch who is conversant in two or three different traditions and blends the parts of each path that calls to her into a unified whole to create her own path and a witch who picks up the odd idea here and there and throws them all into a random pot without trying to understand the culture and history behind each path.  Without understanding why a specific practice is relevant to a specific path, it is futile to absorb that practice into individual workings and a witch who chooses to do so will not gain much from this.  However, it is important to note that some paths are compatible and an eclectic witch who makes uses of ideas from paths from similar field will likely find it will help her/him with developing their own path.

Most modern witches, to some extent, display a certain amount of eclecticism and it would be said that a witch who does not is missing out as it is hard to imagine any magickal working that could not be improved by the ideas and practices of another.  The difficulty with being eclectic comes when extremely different systems are brought together and the lack of understanding behind the ideas from all the different paths are not adequately understood.  No danger would come from it, but it would render the workings of such a witch pretty worthless.  One of the most important things about learning magick is that it works only if you understand why you are doing something. There is also the danger of over-diversifying, a witch who wants to study another path that means nothing to you and will not bring any meaningful results.  Without cohesion between the magickal paths, a witch risks ending up working with meaningless fragments of different paths.

The idea behind being eclectic can be related to the idea that a tradition is changing over time. Even the most rigid family based traditions adapt and evolve as new family members are born and add their input into the path.  There is (at least as far as I am aware) no specific term that fits a witch who adheres to one primary tradition but allows her path to evolve and change.  In the absence of such a term we refer to these witches as being eclectic.  Strictly speaking, they do not fit the term but they do echo the idea that witchcraft cannot stand still and that in order not to stagnate every path needs fresh ideas and input to stay alive.

Eclectic Wicca is a different concept to Eclectic Witchcraft although the principle of choosing different elements from different established strands still ring true.  An eclectic Wiccan may practice a blend of Alexandrian and Gardnerian or even a blend between one Wiccan tradition and a different magickal path.  Where Eclectic Wicca cannot be applied as a term is when the practices of an individual do not confirm to the established structure of the Wiccan religion.  You cannot for example make any claim to be Wiccan if you do not believe in in deity.  Wicca, unlike witchcraft, is a defined religious path with specific beliefs at its heart.  An individual who does not share the core beliefs cannot claim to be a part of the religion.


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The wording of that article is a bit… skewed… I think.

It isn't that the word "eclectic" means different things. It literally mean bits and pieces pulled from different things, even in witchcraft. The reason it can be hard to understand is because each practitioner tends to pick different things based on what they have available to them and what they choose to try on from those things. It means the same, it just includes different practices according to personal tastes, choices and talents.

Eclectic Wicca tends to lean heavily on either the spirituality or more heavily on the practices of witchcraft, which technically makes them either more eclectic pagan if spiritual and eclectic witch if  more witchcraft.  Wicca is already build on bits and pieces of this and that and is a religion based around witchcraft with pretty specific training that goes along with it. It breaks down to being a priesthood. You take one or the other out then it is no longer Wicca, eclectic or otherwise.. To break it apart kind of takes the the Wicca right out of it.

Now I'm not saying to do so is a bad thing, or wrong. Not by a long shot. If it  works then do it. Whichever way a person decides to practice is just as valid and important to the practitioner. It just deserves a name to clarify. It doesn't mean any less or more, just different. I think Eclectic pagan or Eclectic witch depending on which way one slides works just fine as a name for what it is.
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Amberhawk said

The wording of that article is a bit… skewed… I think.

Whichever way a person decides to practice is just as valid and important to the practitioner. It just deserves a name to clarify. It doesn't mean any less or more, just different.
I think Eclectic pagan or Eclectic witch depending on which way one slides works just fine as a name for what it is.
 
Totally agree to that responding statement - values in, and of Traditions are more, and more connected by one means or another.

There is certainly not the kinda separation of Teachings that once existed…
How can there be?? - when we live in a fast pace - fast growing intellect world, supported by daily discoveries etc..

Traditions - (for the most part) are no longer as Elite as they would desire them to be… the Avenues of Spiritual Beliefs (and there are many - far more than there was even 20 years ago!!) has melded with certain carriages, and created new off shoots..

It is a constant changing landscape…
The emphasis upon "eclecticism", now defined more closely to "individualist experimentation" is blended with a ‘pick and mix’ approach to Religious Traditions.  Even the term "Religious" does not quite cut it alongside its brethren of Spirituality and Belief.
It is a somewhat a three-way Junction that NEVER meets in the center.

As the current statistics now suggest, the ‘Spiritual but not Religious’, represents an Eclectic cross-section of the population it attracts, and is therefore challenging to sub-characterize participants into a Sub-group profile..  
Many of these are titled as 'New Religion Movement' - all deviating in some degree from a recognized Traditional Format and historical Doctrines.

Examples are:
 Egyptian -1000's of years of Tradition, Teachings Obedience - Process etc
Wicca - 80 years of Tradition (1940's) - created a versatile process….gathered popularity; built up recognized formats etc..
Now we have 'Blends" - Egyptian-Wicca…(as well as others of that nature)..

Same goes for any of the below list (and this list is just a drop in the Ocean of what actually now exits!):
Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Bahá'í Faith, Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Slavic Neo-paganism, Keltic Polytheism, Heathenism (Germanic paganism), Semitic Neo-paganism, Wicca, Kismet (Egyptian paganism), Hellenism (Greek paganism), Italo-Roman Neo-paganism.

ALL of the above is an example of how classifying a Group as 'Religious' includes the Eclectic range of social interests, and power relations now found among Practitioners, Society in general, and Scholars of Religion.
 
This further subdivides into another layer, as that of an “eclectic” or
“solitary witch” status, because that individual Practitioner knowingly combines Elements from a variety of sources.  
They are NOT alone -  because now-a-days a lot of people have similar thoughts, and they tend to feel forced into that 'Solitary' status as a fragmented group of individuals, who can share only the term Pagan or Wiccan.

We have all been in that situation - that deep call expressed as a desire to find a "Community of like-minded individuals" - BUT the reality is that such Communities are far and few between..

The best anyone can get within a stable format is Foundations like Witches Chat; Witch-Vox etc who are a central Hub that attracts a sense of Belonging.
 “Eclectic Spirituality” encourages Individuality over Community - and Practitioners inclined towards this process, tend to go constantly DEEP within and discover a "Brand of Spirituality" that works for them!!

The idea of "Eclectic" creates a  false notion that the modern 'Spiritual Collector' (I prefer the term Seeker) is without control, and even powerless - when in fact  that Collector is quite capable and well supported in being able to create their own Spiritual narratives from a variety of sources.
Where is it written that says they cannot….other than by the Nature of Form dominating a Doctrine in a Power hungry Office.

This 'Eclectic' action of today's generation, is many times now activated, not as an attempt to avoid exploiting “Ancient Wisdom” BUT by researching One's own “Ancestral Roots”….which is SO readily available via cheap universal DNA profiling.
Within that DNA, is the curser for the "Eclectic" activity - for example say you are validated as a “European Descendant”???
Well now that opens the Path to many options - and in turn borrows from “Folklore and/or Myths" within places you are connected with -  like Russia, Germany, Italy etc….as the DNA profile determines the % of belonging!!

Now you are motivated to practice as an 'Eclectic Descendant', and in doing so, you are able to see “the shape of your True Spirit” - communicating with Spirits, Divinities, Guides or things that you would not normally find in the waking world - from the Blueprint of your scattered 'Eclectic Descendant',

'Light'

                           Eclectic Spirit.jpg
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'Light' said

As the current statistics now suggest, the ‘Spiritual but not Religious’, represents an Eclectic cross-section of the population it attracts, and is therefore challenging to sub-characterize participants into a Sub-group profile..  
Many of these are titled as 'New Religion Movement' - all deviating in some degree from a recognized Traditional Format and historical Doctrines.

Examples are:
 Egyptian -1000's of years of Tradition, Teachings Obedience - Process etc
Wicca - 80 years of Tradition (1940's) - created a versatile process….gathered popularity; built up recognized formats etc..
Now we have 'Blends" - Egyptian-Wicca…(as well as others of that nature)..

                           Eclectic Spirit.jpg


It's the "blends" I was mostly addressing. New tradition or old, when you start taking them apart they become something else. Still worthwhile if the person who did the blending is satisfied and fulfilled with it. It just becomes a more eclectic spiritual path than either of the paths or traditions they pulled from.  Guess I have trouble understanding why a person clings to the name of something when it's no longer that something.
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Amberhawk said

It's the "blends" I was mostly addressing. New tradition or old, when you start taking them apart they become something else.

………  Guess I have trouble understanding why a person clings to the name of something when it's no longer that something.

Because it is Recognizable….
Opens the Door to being 'allowed in' - even if it is brief..
Determines 'Belonging Factor'…..

   It is a bit like "Name/Status Dropping"…….it grabs attention - until the deeper more involved questions begin - then it becomes shifted to an arena that defines the Practitioner as 'Is' - rather than as 'Want'..

In Forums and Chats - we don't get to see the 'Face' just the expressions of communication (which can be unfairly Judged upon) etc - and maybe a Profile, if it is completed..  

That kinda sets a expectation…..which is more of a Society 'Control' mode, that a Spiritual embrace.

'Light'
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'Light' said

Amberhawk said

It's the "blends" I was mostly addressing. New tradition or old, when you start taking them apart they become something else.

………  Guess I have trouble understanding why a person clings to the name of something when it's no longer that something.

Because it is Recognizable….
Opens the Door to being 'allowed in' - even if it is brief..
Determines 'Belonging Factor'…..

   It is a bit like "Name/Status Dropping"…….it grabs attention - until the deeper more involved questions begin - then it becomes shifted to an arena that defines the Practitioner as 'Is' - rather than as 'Want'..

In Forums and Chats - we don't get to see the 'Face' just the expressions of communication (which can be unfairly Judged upon) etc - and maybe a Profile, if it is completed..  

That kinda sets a expectation…..which is more of a Society 'Control' mode, that a Spiritual embrace.

'Light'

I don't see it that way. I see it more as defining and living by set standards for specific traditions. I don't think those walls have been broken down at all but more like an acceptance or recognition that just because it isn't specifically this religion doesn't necessarily mean it's any less valid to those who practice something different, even if they borrow from specific traditions. The walls are still there, just not used the deciding factor as valid/legitimate or not.
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'Light' said

Amberhawk said

It's the "blends" I was mostly addressing. New tradition or old, when you start taking them apart they become something else.

………  Guess I have trouble understanding why a person clings to the name of something when it's no longer that something.

Because it is Recognizable….
Opens the Door to being 'allowed in' - even if it is brief..
Determines 'Belonging Factor'…..


Not really, not when you start giving it a harder, deeper look, not once things are taken apart and patched in other ways with different reasoning and meaning behind them. They have created something entirely different.

Perhaps its more a matter of some people being able to ignore or overlook the details that make something different and individual, unique. That, in my mind, makes it all that much harder to honor something for what it actually is rather than what others presume it to be.

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I truly see eclectic as a natural way of life. Even just colors used for different paths can be a part of this. What if I follow a certain path but for some reason I like this color to represent this element a little bit more than what I'm told/taught by my elders and books? Does that mean this path is def. not for me? Do I need to force myself to use the color I really don't connect with for this element, or do I need to find a path that is everything the same but the color I prefer to be used is actually used? That seems like a lot, but to the 'rules' of the path, etc, I didn't do it right and also didn't 'get it' quite the same. Again, I know it can be a small thing but it would break the rules, and color itself is a potent tool. The best part is, I can make that decision as an eclectic and also not have to worry about the scrutiny or 'correction' from others.

And what about different paths? And that sometimes, nothing is exactly perfect? How many different types of Wicca are there? Are they not just a similar belief/values with one name, that is now many branches because people wanted to do things a little differently? But those people,.. how was their versions of Wicca not seen as eclectic if they were undoing or redoing a core set of ideas? So in a way, it's like there is a weird need to define things. If you say eclectic it tells people nothing too personal IMO, and I never knew this, but apparently some people then think lesser of your personal practice because you are not showing the ability to stick to a defined set of thinking/feeling or what ever else. But then theres the other end where if you say that you blended paths by mentioning those terms, etc, people again think lesser of your practice because you don't "actually" follow "one" thing, not it's not the same. That feels really unfair, and like I must say an exact accepted path to get the same respect as someone who simply says 'Wiccan' or something else. But then again I use eclectic so I don't have to mention things to certain practitioners if I don't want to. It is a personal thing after all, and what you call your path can tell people more than I like them to know at times. My rituals are my own, but if I followed a set path my rituals would at least at times be very similar to other people of the same category. Coming from this, or following an exact path, are those rituals and etc 100% your doing? You were taught what everything meant and did, you didn't exactly discover most things. I'm also saying this knowing that the younger people that come to magick can get caught in the what people tell them and not realize every person should also come to their own understanding and acceptance of anything and everything.

Just, I never knew blending things could be such a… problem? But people who do that, do it on purpose and naturally so. It feels unfair to look at someone elses path in such a way, when it really shouldn't matter. None of us are experts anyway. Just because I don't follow an exact path (I'd say Druid is closest but again, what if I tell you or another my beliefs and you say "Nah, that's not really a Druid because..") I am eclectic, but that does not mean I'm lacking in structure or anything else other paths have. I'm not lacking in community or spiritual peers of the same divinities either. Even when it comes to teachers, unless you are in a real coven that functions honestly as an extended family, you probably can't contact you spiritual teacher at 2AM during a panic attack or even a magickal attack.
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