Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...

Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]

Views: 18,721,187

January 22nd. 2016 ...

Coming Out of the Broom Closet

Energy and Karma

Community and Perception

December 20th. 2015 ...

Introduction to Tarot For the Novice

Magia y Wicca

October 24th. 2015 ...

Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self

Native American Spirituality Myopia

The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans

A Dream Message

Feeling the Pulse of Autumn

October 16th. 2015 ...

Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts

September 30th. 2015 ...

Into the Dark

The Other-Side

September 16th. 2015 ...

Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents

Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate

Weeds and Seeds

August 6th. 2015 ...

Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale

July 9th. 2015 ...

Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Magic of Weather

June 7th. 2015 ...

A Pagan Altar

A Minority of a Minority of a Minority

The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?

Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism

May 6th. 2015 ...

Sex, Lies, and Witches: Love in a Time of Wiccans and Atheists

Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism

I Claim Cronehood

13 Keys: The Crown of Kether

March 29th. 2015 ...

A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft

March 28th. 2015 ...

On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations

March 1st. 2015 ...

Choosing to Write a Shadow Book

Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story

My Concept Of Grey

February 1st. 2015 ...

Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader

The Three Centers of Paganism

Magick is No Illusion

The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames

The Gods of My Heart

January 1st. 2015 ...

The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch

Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft

Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs

Pagans All Around Us

Broomstick to the Emerald City

October 20th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits

A Microcosmic View of Ma'at

October 5th. 2014 ...

The History of the Sacred Circle

Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots

September 28th. 2014 ...

Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials

Creating a Healing Temple

September 20th. 2014 ...

GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)

September 7th. 2014 ...

Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery

Web Oh-oh

The All

August 31st. 2014 ...

Coven vs. Solitary

A Strange Waking Dream


August 24th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation

The Pagan Cleric

A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)

August 17th. 2014 ...

To Know, to Will, to Dare...

On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows

The Darkness

August 10th. 2014 ...

As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?

The Power of the Gorgon

August 3rd. 2014 ...

Are You a Natural Witch?

You Have to Believe We Are Magic...

July 27th. 2014 ...

Did I Just Draw Down the Moon?

Astrological Ages and the Great Astrological End-Time Cycle

The New Jersey Finishing School for Would-Be Glamour Girls and Boys

July 20th. 2014 ...

Being an Underage Wiccan

Malleus Maleficarum - The Hammer of the Witches

Greed, Power, Witches, and the Inquisition

Thoughts on Ghost Hunting

July 13th. 2014 ...

A World Of Witchcraft: Belief Is Only The Beginning...

From Christian to Pagan (Part III)

Being Wiccan

My Wiccan Ways...

July 6th. 2014 ...

Keys: Opening the Portals into Other Worlds

The Lore of the Door

Leaves of Love

June 29th. 2014 ...

What Does the Bible Say About Witches and Pagans?

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: 1,981

Times Read: 4,541

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

Author: Fire Lyte
Posted: September 5th. 2010
Times Viewed: 4,541

Itís not a secret that Iím a pretty big fan of the book Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Itís 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, thereís 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. AndÖIím sure other ĎEí words.

One reviewer of the book calls Gilbertís bestseller Ďpriv-lit.í 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. Letís forget for a moment that the woman was drowning in depression and lack of identity. Hey, sheís flaunting her fabulous lifestyle in our faces! Raise the pitchforks! Light the torches! Roll your eyes and groan loudly!

I get it. Itís 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 canít go smashing them and running off to Italy to eat ourselves silly. We canít go pray for 3 months in India. And, we definitely canít go buy a house for a native healer and her three daughters in Indonesia while finding the perfect man. But, if weíre thinking that Gilbert is expecting us to live a year of our lives in the same way, weíre a little bit more of a jaded audience than I thought.

Sheís an author. She was a rather successful author, by most standards, before Eat Pray Love was published, and now sheís 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, itís 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 bookís 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. Youíre 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. Theyíre spiritually and emotionally balanced, and have the best that life has to offer.

How do you get this Ďbestí 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. Itís an interwoven issue: youíre not happy, so you have to spend money to gain access to the ability to be happy. Contrariwise, if youíre not happy and you donít have money, then you cannot be happy.

Iíve not read a lot of self-help books. (In fact, I would just like to say here and now that I donít think Eat Pray Love is a self-help book, but I suppose Iím no expert on the matter.) Iím just not really sure that Gilbertís memoir fits into any of these categories. Now, Iím not some extremist fan that thinks the book is flawless and should be regarded as religious liturgy. I just donít think itís 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 youíd 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 donít have a publisher willing to front you the dough to fly off to several countries in order to find enlightenment. Say youíd 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. (Thereís that terrible word Ďbestí 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?

WellÖ Thereís something to this argument. Thereís a difference between enjoying the best of life and purchasing the best of life. You donít 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 womanís happiness as we are? Would we begrudge her success? Those of us that donít like happy people because theyíre 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 isnít something for the wealthy or the meek or the Italian. Itís something each of us is entitled to. Weíre 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 ĎEastern Soundsí 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, ďOh I wish I could be like you and just let myself go, but nothing tastes as good as being thin feels!Ē

Donít you just want to smack those people while feeding them lard-covered donuts?

Happiness, spiritual enlightenment, internal wellness isnít 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 yearÖit wonít 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 donít 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 donít 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 canít seem to understand why we canít all head off to a summer-long yoga retreat to find ourselves doesnít mean that there arenít 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 isnít the reality for the majority of the population. ButÖmaybeÖjust 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


Fire Lyte

Location: Chicago, Illinois


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

Pagan Web
8,000 Links

Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.

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 1997-2016 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

 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).