Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
Healing the Witch Within
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 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
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
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
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
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 Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
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
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
War of the Wicca: A Primer on Wasted Energy
Article ID: 11888
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: August 26th. 2007
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Why is it that almost everywhere I go, when Wiccans are involved, there's always conflict between the traditionalists and the eclectics? It seems that both groups vie for dominance in a religious movement that is much too young to even be considering who's a more faithful believer.
I was in a group at one time when this discussion actually came up. As happens in these types of arguments, you have the fundamentalists on both sides of the fence: the one side making a point to let all the eclectics know that their path is intrinsically less ethical because they don't have any rules or a central head to govern their practice, while the other side tried desperately to defend themselves amidst these accusations, while trying to even the playing field by firing their own little bolts of ignorance and such at the concept of working in groups and the need for traditions in the first place.
Now both members of these groups had been successfully practicing their faith for years before this discussion came up here, so I must ask the question: what's the point?
Now it should be understood that the traditionalists were members of what they feel is the one true branch of Wicca, and the more vocal member of this camp argued for the one member of the opposition, after a comment about Wicca being a religion of eclecticism, to prove his claim.
Now it doesn't take much of a theologist to prove the claim of the eclecticism of Wicca, especially given its current tides. One can read about said eclecticism in any book on the subject, and you can trace it roots to ancient spiritual practices.
Read those words again very carefully so that you understand what I just said. Note I used both words religion and spirituality, and note that neither can ever be used interchangeably because they are both different words.
Merriam-Webster defines eclectic as, “selecting or made up of what seems best of varied sources, ” the idea here being that when you pull ideas from a variety of spiritual concepts and ideas from even the ancients belief structures, and a few modern ones, you are making a choice to create something new from those parts because they work from those other beliefs.
Since its inception, Wicca has pulled its beliefs from classical, celtic, and shamanic beliefs. First of these are the deities that many Wiccans honor. Yes, more often than not they'll be referred to as the Lord and Lady, or often Diana and Faunus, or other such names. But it must be clearly understood now that those beings are classical in origin.
Next we have the eight holy days that almost all Wiccans honor (I personally don't know any that don't honor these eight days in some manner). These include the solstices and the equinoxes, as well as a few others that fit in to the overall mythology of Wicca.
However, many of these days were originally honored by previous faiths and religions before Wicca showed up. Looks to me like another idea pulled from antiquity with a highly eclectic flair.
Finally the shamanic beliefs of the afterlife, healing ideas and techniques, herbal uses, and other ideas that have marked Wicca as the religion it is now, and that is pulling in more ideas with each new coven that springs up.
Personally, I see nothing wrong with this eclecticism. I see it firstly as a mark of progressivism in a time when so many religions are becoming so sedentary and stalwart in their beliefs and not growing with its people. That it can evolve marks it as a living spirituality, not a philosophy that sat down and refused to get back up again.
But even all that is not the point of this writing. What has become the new big thing is when traditionalists, who have given themselves completely to their beliefs (kudos, by the way), see eclectics (and some solitaries) at fault because they aren't in the same group as they, or they aren't in a group at all.
When did religion become all about the group you're in? Suddenly, it all goes back to what church you belong to (or circle, coven, grove, depending on who you talk to). Yes, I do so love how we've fallen behind in our own spiritual practices that we can revert back to seven year-olds and tease people for not being in our group, or in high school for pushing around the individuals for not being in the in-crowd. That's what you traditionalists make yourselves out to be sometimes.
And then we get on this whole ethics tripe, and everything goes south.
My favorite is the part where eclectics are intrinsically unethical because, since they aren't in a tradition, they have no rules to adhere to. Where does that level of ignorance come from, exactly?
Now I'm all for people thinking highly of themselves, and I wish we could do it more often. But when it gets to the point where you're making a constant self-centered annoyance of yourself, I think the high horse can stand for a rest (or sit for a spell, if you will).
Traditionalists, where do you think your rules came from? They came from someone with an eclectic mind who saw a parallel with all these different beliefs and said, “Hey, let's put these all together and make a religion that will really get people going somewhere in their lives!”
Then there's the other side. The eclectics. Oh yes, don't think you're getting off scotch-free. Why work in groups? Why be part of a tradition? I have one word for you: fellowship.
That's right, the being together with like-minded individuals, all gathered together for one goal: to practice a faith, a craft, and to honor the divine essence of life and living. Why else would you work in a group?
Having fellowship with others is one of the best ways to maintain your own path while growing spiritually. You pick up new ideas (as eclectics are wont to do), and you learn new ways of interpreting old ideas, even concepts that you, yourself, may have developed.
There's nothing wrong with being in a group, as only people who have been in groups can tell you, it's worth it to join at least one group for a joint goal. Besides, when you're all gathered together for one thing, the collective power of you all is enough to break a dam. Think about it.
Furthermore, when you practice your own ways, you naturally develop your rules as you go along. What do these rules do? They formulate the basis for your own tradition (especially if your craft runs in your family), and you can only add to and strengthen what you've already got going for you.
Furthermore, there are deep parallels that run between your own personal practice and that of a traditionalist, one that I think you both can stand to learn from. And keep this in mind, as well: traditionalist views came from the eclectics because of the need to fellowship and get people to think along the same lines, not the same way.
An eclectic with a mind for traditionalism is a person who is thinking more about the effects that their actions will have on the greater whole, not always about hunkering down in one spot and refusing to move like a wet dog on the morning paper.
I wanted to illustrate to both sides the need to stop all this bickering, and backbiting that also tends to happen when you get both parties in the same group. There's this covert backbiting and underhanded comments, and the like that seems to plague these groups, and I hope that you all realize it before you destroy each other.
The group that I mentioned earlier suffered from this exact thing, which precipitated my departure from it. It didn't help that those moderating the group felt that there was nothing wrong with the comments being made, that it was a sharing pf ideas, while all the other members felt sorely at odds with each other and felt as though they were being attacked (they clearly were), it made discussions very uncomfortable, even though there were strings of discussions that clearly marked the group's ability to get along quite well.
So you both see your selves as being true to the heart of the faith. Wonderful. You're true for yourselves, not each other.
This goes beyond agreeing to disagree; this goes into not making a nuisance of yourself.
Believe me when I say that it's not an attractive sight to see a collective group fighting amongst itself because of its practical differences. There's a bigger conflict in the world than who's the better Wiccan.
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