Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...



Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]


Views: 16,471,383


April 13th. 2014 ...

Magick and Consequences: My Experience with Sigils

Don't Talk Yourself Out of Trying Something New!

Being a Worrisome Witch

What to Do When the Spell/Ritual Flops


April 6th. 2014 ...

The Elements and the Quarters

Dark Moon Scry: Aries 2014

13 Keys: The Understanding of Binah

How the Wheel of the Year Works “Down Under”


March 30th. 2014 ...

Manifesting the Dream: On Religious Organizations, Pagan Abbeys and our Order

True Meaning of Community

Thoughts on Unverified Personal Gnosis

My Beautiful Grove- A Matter Of Perspective


March 23rd. 2014 ...

Spirituality and Social Change

The First Step to Anywhere!


March 16th. 2014 ...

From Christian to Pagan (Part I)

Nature And The Celtic Tree Calendar

The Teeth in the Darkness


March 9th. 2014 ...

Healing the Witch Within

Incarcerated Witches

Discovering Wicca as a Young Child

March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright


March 2nd. 2014 ...

Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward

The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role

Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?

The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects


February 23rd. 2014 ...

Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences

Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless

The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community

What Makes Us What We Are


February 16th. 2014 ...

The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief

Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing

Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence

Alternative Medicine – What Is It?


February 9th. 2014 ...

Words of Power!

The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse

Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings


February 2nd. 2014 ...

The Magick of Jewelry and Metals

Building a Magick Mirror

The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)


January 26th. 2014 ...

Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do

The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)

13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed

Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected


January 19th. 2014 ...

Open Letter to the Goddess

A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality

Social Conventions and the Pagan World

Reclaiming Independence


January 12th. 2014 ...

Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing

One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression


January 5th. 2014 ...

Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age

Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey

2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!

Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild


December 29th. 2013 ...

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)

13 Keys: The Might of Geburah

Beyond The Season of Greed


December 22nd. 2013 ...

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)


December 15th. 2013 ...

The Hex Murder of 1928

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)

Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)

Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots


December 8th. 2013 ...

Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey

Using Your Wand in Reverse

The Cry of the Soul

Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward


December 1st. 2013 ...

The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness

A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism

Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?


November 24th. 2013 ...

The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective

The Pagan and the Papacy


November 17th. 2013 ...

Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca

For Love of the God

A Threat to Religious Liberties?


November 10th. 2013 ...

Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?

Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return

The Celtic Tree Calendar

Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs


November 3rd. 2013 ...

The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?


October 27th. 2013 ...

Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society

Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them


NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.












Article Specs

Article ID: 14128

VoxAcct: 379710

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 1,321

Times Read: 4,136

RSS Views: 14,698
Gripe, Spend, Swoon: The Criticism of Eat, Pray, Love

Author: Fire Lyte
Posted: September 5th. 2010
Times Viewed: 4,136

It’s not a secret that I’m a pretty big fan of the book Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s a memoir. A love story. A spiritual handbook for the new millennium. It is a how-to guide for those of us that have ever wondered how in the hell we ended up in this cookie cutter existence, with no flavor whatsoever, no zest, and spinning ever closer to a point where that list of things we wanted to do with our lives become a distant memory.

However, there’s a great deal of criticism that has been heaped upon this book. Of course, this is only natural when a book reaches the heights this one did. The more successful a book gets, the more it gets torn apart. What is the main criticism of this particular memoir? Elitism. Entitlement. And…I’m sure other ‘E’ words.

One reviewer of the book calls Gilbert’s bestseller ‘priv-lit.’ Meaning that it exemplifies a lifestyle of privilege, one in which a woman can have all that she wants and be a fully self-actualized person if she trots out on her own with a boatload of money. Indeed, wealth seems to be a fixation of those that have a grief with the book. For some reason the focus seems to be on the fact that this woman has the luxury of being able to trot away from her marriage and travel the world in one of the most self-serving adventures in literature. Let’s forget for a moment that the woman was drowning in depression and lack of identity. Hey, she’s flaunting her fabulous lifestyle in our faces! Raise the pitchforks! Light the torches! Roll your eyes and groan loudly!

I get it. It’s unrealistic to expect that the physical journey this woman went on is something that can be replicated. If you or I are feeling trapped in our middle-class glass houses we can’t go smashing them and running off to Italy to eat ourselves silly. We can’t go pray for 3 months in India. And, we definitely can’t go buy a house for a native healer and her three daughters in Indonesia while finding the perfect man. But, if we’re thinking that Gilbert is expecting us to live a year of our lives in the same way, we’re a little bit more of a jaded audience than I thought.

She’s an author. She was a rather successful author, by most standards, before Eat Pray Love was published, and now she’s just an uber-successful author. Her career allowed her to have these experiences. We can enjoy the book without having to begrudge her success.

But, it’s more than the wealth that pisses people off about Gilbert. For many, the sense of entitlement - or so people call it - that many readers have gleaned from the book’s pages is more than enough to induce groaning. This particular point of contention, though, is something I am so very confused about. I do not understand exactly which part of Gilbert feeling entitled to something is wrong or improper.

Critics gripe that the book reeks of a sense of entitlement pervading modern day self-help literature. You’re entitled to the best job, the best partner, the best spiritual experience, the best income, the best life, etc. etc. etc. Everyone in America feels owed something by the Universe for the very fact that we were born in the country of opportunity. We see stories on TV everyday of people dumber, uglier, and less talented than we are striking it rich because of opportunity. And, look how happy that person being interviewed is! He/She is living in a great house with a great partner and a great dog/cat. They’re spiritually and emotionally balanced, and have the best that life has to offer.

How do you get this ‘best’ everything? Spend! Money is the glass ceiling when it comes to true spiritual, existential, philosophical, personal, and professional happiness. Or, at least, that is what the idea behind priv-lit (privileged literature) is. It’s an interwoven issue: you’re not happy, so you have to spend money to gain access to the ability to be happy. Contrariwise, if you’re not happy and you don’t have money, then you cannot be happy.

I’ve not read a lot of self-help books. (In fact, I would just like to say here and now that I don’t think Eat Pray Love is a self-help book, but I suppose I’m no expert on the matter.) I’m just not really sure that Gilbert’s memoir fits into any of these categories. Now, I’m not some extremist fan that thinks the book is flawless and should be regarded as religious liturgy. I just don’t think it’s evil, and it has some great methods for finding out who you really are and how to create your own spiritual path.

The book tells us that if you feel there are parts of your life that are lacking, and you’d like them to improve, you should surround yourself with the people that do that thing the best. Gilbert picked enjoying life, spirituality, and balancing the divine with the mundane; she chose Italy, India, and Indonesia. But, say your name is Mary and you don’t have a publisher willing to front you the dough to fly off to several countries in order to find enlightenment. Say you’d like to learn to be healthier, more well-read, a better listener, more spiritual, less needy, balanced, or any of a thousand qualities we would like more or less of in our lives. Are there not people you know that exemplify those qualities?

Spend a week with your grandparents - or community elders - to learn the value of things like patience, perspective, listening, contemplation, and a host of other things only those who have lived life can truly teach. One does not learn the great lessons of life in a classroom setting; they have to be experienced. This is the point of the book. You learn Spanish best when plopped in the middle of Veracruz and forced to ask the man in the market for food or starve. The best way to learn anything is by involving yourself in the culture of those that live that lesson the best. (There’s that terrible word ‘best’ again.)

But, how dare we white westerners feel as though the world owes us something. Right? How dare we expect that we should have the best?

Well… There’s something to this argument. There’s a difference between enjoying the best of life and purchasing the best of life. You don’t become spiritually enlightened by buying a native priest and putting him up in your mansion for daily sessions. Sure, that might be convenient, but at some point the guy becomes an accessory. Hell, if your house is big enough he might become a lost accessory found years later in the basement living off leftover caviar and Gruyere. You get what I mean. Hopefully.

If we overlook that the woman was given the financial means to trot the globe and find inner peace, would we all be as pissed off by this woman’s happiness as we are? Would we begrudge her success? Those of us that don’t like happy people because they’re happy, maybe, but not the rest of us. If she had gone to Idaho, Illinois, and Indiana instead of Italy, India, and Indonesia, would we still call this priv-lit?

Being happy isn’t something for the wealthy or the meek or the Italian. It’s something each of us is entitled to. We’re not meant to be miserable creatures fighting for the last shred of bliss. We can each have it. We just have to realize that it is priceless. The book did well, because it was a mental getaway. You went with this woman around the world learning the lessons of 3 beautiful cultures. But, if the takeaway for you was that you could only be happy by doing the same thing, then you missed the point.

How many pagans do you know that own every single flippin book on paganism that has ever been, is currently, and ever will be published? How many pagans own every tool, have an entire room devoted to their craft supplies, and wonder how on earth you could possibly meditate without your ‘Eastern Sounds’ mp3 playlist, imported gong, and semi-precious crystal collection? These are the same kind of people that are like those gym rats that say things like, “Oh I wish I could be like you and just let myself go, but nothing tastes as good as being thin feels!”

Don’t you just want to smack those people while feeding them lard-covered donuts?

Happiness, spiritual enlightenment, internal wellness isn’t something that can be bought. If you have every single tool, book, cd, podcast, and you take yearly trips to every single major pagan festival around the globe every single year…it won’t make a lick of difference. This woman could just as easily have made this yearlong journey only to find that she had spent a hell of a lot of money and not learned a damn thing.

We need to be open to the lessons of life as they are being taught to us. We need to recognize those aspects of ourselves and of our lives that are not working, and we need to realize that, yes, we are entitled to fixing them. We deserve happiness. We don’t necessarily deserve first-class tickets to a globetrotting adventure, but we deserve happiness. That is, and should be, the lesson of Eat Pray Love.

We need to see beyond the bounds of what we don’t have. We need to see the lesson and not the pearl necklace worn by the teacher. Just because the new self-help/priv-lit genre seems to be focusing on upper-middle class white people that just can’t seem to understand why we can’t all head off to a summer-long yoga retreat to find ourselves doesn’t mean that there aren’t lessons to be learned there.

We gripe. We spend tons of money to get over those gripes. We swoon and fall into the arms of the perfect person. We must be smoking something, because that isn’t the reality for the majority of the population. But…maybe…just maybe we can get the same result without steps one or two. We just have to plop ourselves down in the middle of life and listen for the lessons.




Copyright: (c) Fire Lyte - Inciting A Riot - 2010



ABOUT...

Fire Lyte


Location: Chicago, Illinois

Website: http://www.IncitingARiot.com

Author's Profile: To learn more about Fire Lyte - Click HERE




Other Articles: Fire Lyte has posted 32 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE




Email Fire Lyte... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)

To send a private message to Fire Lyte ...



Pagan Essays
1996-2014





Pagan Web
8,000 Links





Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.





Pagan/Witch
80,000 Profiles














Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops



Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World




Search Articles
1996-2014










 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide


NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).