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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tradition vs. Eclecticism

Since Wicca came out of the broom-closet in the 1950's with Gardner, it has been the subject of controversy by outsiders and even others who identify as Wiccans/witches.

The witches of yesteryear put a great deal of emphasis on Tradition. It seemed that you weren't a "real" witch unless you belonged to a tradition or coven. Today's witches have moved away from that belief and have moved toward more eclecticism, picking and choosing their beliefs and practices from various traditions AND even other religions.

In many ways, I think that the eclecticism was a product of the late 80's early 90's with the whole ME generation and the emergence of solitaries. And let's face it, the solitary movement was also fueled by those who felt disenfranchised by the covens. Even during the 80's and 90's there were plenty of circles that did not want to accept members that were gay, non-European (white), etc....and these people had no other choice but to become solitaries to find fulfillment on their spiritual path. 

Personally, I think that the eclectic approach did help to keep Wicca/Witchcraft somewhat fresh and helped the new generation of seekers break away from the previous generation and establish their own identity. This king of growth was a natural progression.  I don't think there is anything wrong with eclecticism as long as the person has a strong foundation and understanding of basic principles. Without this strong foundation, new seekers can get in over their head. I also think that it is important to be respectful of other religions and cultures from which concepts and practices are borrowed. I compare it to Christians who pick and choose what verses they choose to believe in the bible and ignore those that are contradictory.

How do you all think this has helped or harmed the practice of the craft? And what is the next stage of evolution for the Craft? Use the comment section to share your thoughts and ideas.

Carolina Dean

1 comment:

Raven said...

I think, to be honest, a lot of harm has come from the "do whatever you want" movement. Nowdays, you meet so many "witches" who aren't witches at all, and it's usually because they didn't have any traditional training. I've had so many people tell me that "Witches don't cast spells" or who quoted TV shows like "Charmed" or the movie "the Craft" as though it were "Wiccan" and you wonder what they're thinking.

To be Wiccan, you must be initiated into the religion by a valid, lineaged group. To be a Witch, you must be able to perform magic, commune with spirits, etc. Neither of these are easy things to accomplish and require real, hard work....which are not traits I see in a lot of would-be Witches these days. That's not to say you CAN'T learn Witchcraft by yourself, but it's a lot harder, and there's a lot more nonsense to wade through.