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Cultural Appropriation & Geographical Significance


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#1 Cristofernicholas

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 11:58 AM

I've been circling these thoughts for a good while in my studies. The thought is how does a "Traditional Path" work in a separate land? For example; I've read that the spirits of those gods only reside in their own homelands. Which does makes since and why some snob practitioners preach what "true traditionalism" really means. I'm not saying I agree, I'm merely curious on how those of you that practice a "Traditional Path" here in the West view this and how it affects your practice.

Also quick question on cultural appropriation: My ethnic background is the definition of "The Melting Pot" that is Amerika. I know little about my ethnic background. My rh- blood holds African, Ulster, German, And English. How could I truly practice a Nordic path in the Midwest of Amerika?

Odd questions!? Maybe my problem is obsessiveness with detail.

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#2 Oroboros

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 12:18 PM

http://www.tradition... +appropriation

http://www.tradition... +appropriation

You may find these threads of interest. Many, maybe even most people at this point in history have a pretty mixed genealogy by now.

IMO: I would suggest, not worrying about the opinions of "snob practitioners", but instead what speaks to you. There is of course, importance in understanding and respecting a culture before "using" their symbols, practices etc... All this is discussed at length, including varying and respectable opinions in the above threads.

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#3 Cristofernicholas

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 03:32 AM

Cool, thanks for the redirect!


Edited by Cristofernicholas, 06 December 2016 - 03:33 AM.

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#4 Oroboros

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 04:00 AM

Hope you find it helpful. Best of luck.:)
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#5 Michele

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 11:28 PM

I am currently of the opinion that a specific tradition can't be practiced outside of the land that gave birth to it, and therefore most traditions need to be adapted to the place they are currently practiced. But I also believe that leaves a lot open to misinterpretation of the practice (like really working with fire and understanding it if one's never been dependant on it for life and food, etc.).

 

The gods - I believe that their original personifications most likely exist only with the people who practiced that tradition and within the land of that tradition... look how much so many personifications have changed since the new revival of paganism. I seriously doubt the original Freya was the lovey dovey oh you poor baby cry all over my shoulder rescuer of woman that she's been turned into in many practices today. I think she probably didn't have patience for self pity, lol, but I could be wrong. The land that birthed her didn't have time for self pity - you either had to get up and forage/hunt or starve to death, having a bad day and a cry-fest was a luxury most probably couldn't afford. But today's world is different and her personification has been changed to fit current values and emotions. Does that make the current personification less real? To me it does not; however, the god-force that animates the personification may well be a different vein of the force that animated the original Freya. I don't know... but it's something I think about sometimes, lol.

 

M


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#6 Cristofernicholas

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 08:52 AM

I am currently of the opinion that a specific tradition can't be practiced outside of the land that gave birth to it, and therefore most traditions need to be adapted to the place they are currently practiced. But I also believe that leaves a lot open to misinterpretation of the practice (like really working with fire and understanding it if one's never been dependant on it for life and food, etc.).
 
The gods - I believe that their original personifications most likely exist only with the people who practiced that tradition and within the land of that tradition... look how much so many personifications have changed since the new revival of paganism. I seriously doubt the original Freya was the lovey dovey oh you poor baby cry all over my shoulder rescuer of woman that she's been turned into in many practices today. I think she probably didn't have patience for self pity, lol, but I could be wrong. The land that birthed her didn't have time for self pity - you either had to get up and forage/hunt or starve to death, having a bad day and a cry-fest was a luxury most probably couldn't afford. But today's world is different and her personification has been changed to fit current values and emotions. Does that make the current personification less real? To me it does not; however, the god-force that animates the personification may well be a different vein of the force that animated the original Freya. I don't know... but it's something I think about sometimes, lol.
 
M


Humm...I'm afraid I agree with everything you've said. And it's the main problem I'm having in getting a foothold on a path. What archetypes can we draw from here in the americas?

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#7 Cristofernicholas

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 10:11 AM

I am currently of the opinion that a specific tradition can't be practiced outside of the land that gave birth to it, and therefore most traditions need to be adapted to the place they are currently practiced. But I also believe that leaves a lot open to misinterpretation of the practice (like really working with fire and understanding it if one's never been dependant on it for life and food, etc.).
 
The gods - I believe that their original personifications most likely exist only with the people who practiced that tradition and within the land of that tradition... look how much so many personifications have changed since the new revival of paganism. I seriously doubt the original Freya was the lovey dovey oh you poor baby cry all over my shoulder rescuer of woman that she's been turned into in many practices today. I think she probably didn't have patience for self pity, lol, but I could be wrong. The land that birthed her didn't have time for self pity - you either had to get up and forage/hunt or starve to death, having a bad day and a cry-fest was a luxury most probably couldn't afford. But today's world is different and her personification has been changed to fit current values and emotions. Does that make the current personification less real? To me it does not; however, the god-force that animates the personification may well be a different vein of the force that animated the original Freya. I don't know... but it's something I think about sometimes, lol.
 
M


What about the idea of using folklore, historical fiction as a medium to get your mind in the correct framework?

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#8 Oroboros

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 01:00 PM

I cannot speak to the experience of others, as far as whether a specific tradition CAN be practiced outside of its place of origin.  But, I can say it has felt wrong to attempt to do so for me.  When I first started practicing, I was under the impression that one had to find an existing tradition that suited them and follow it.  So, my first leanings were to look toward Irish and British traditions as that is my dominant genetic make-up- and I thought that was "how its done".  I found this very frustrating because it did not feel right.  Since then, I have begun to move toward a mixture of things that rather matches both the land I live on and my genetic soup.  Not because it matches, but because it feels right.  This is not a "specific tradition" though.  Other than my own I suppose.  But it draws from my ancestors and the past of my land. 

 

This statement " But I also believe that leaves a lot open to misinterpretation of the practice (like really working with fire and understanding it if one's never been dependant on it for life and food, etc.)."-by MIchelle

I find to be VERY true.  I don't think one can enjoy and appreciate and be privy to the true power of a thing, until and unless they learn the breadth and depth of it as it was originally seen and utilized.  It is possible to develop a very superficial practice, that is much less powerful and meaningful than it should or could be without making those deeper connections that were perhaps easier to come by in an earlier simpler time.  This, is the hard way, no doubt.  Looking at the tip of the ice berg just never dose it justice. 

 

As far as the bit about the gods... I don't know about them only existing within the confines of the place and people of origin.   BUT I definitely agree they have been morphed and corrupted into something I would think, would actually piss them right off.  I mean some of the ways some of them are being portrayed by certain neopagan movements- Well, I'll put it this way, if one of these god's actually SHOWS UP at certain ceremonies I think it is likely to result in a herd of screaming "witches" scattering and running through the woods (if their lucky).


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#9 IslandBruja

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 05:50 PM

The gods - I believe that their original personifications most likely exist only with the people who practiced that tradition and within the land of that tradition... look how much so many personifications have changed since the new revival of paganism. I seriously doubt the original Freya was the lovey dovey oh you poor baby cry all over my shoulder rescuer of woman that she's been turned into in many practices today. I think she probably didn't have patience for self pity, lol, but I could be wrong. The land that birthed her didn't have time for self pity - you either had to get up and forage/hunt or starve to death, having a bad day and a cry-fest was a luxury most probably couldn't afford. But today's world is different and her personification has been changed to fit current values and emotions. Does that make the current personification less real? To me it does not; however, the god-force that animates the personification may well be a different vein of the force that animated the original Freya. I don't know... but it's something I think about sometimes, lol.


What archetypes can we draw from here in the americas?


As far as the bit about the gods... I don't know about them only existing within the confines of the place and people of origin. BUT I definitely agree they have been morphed and corrupted into something I would think, would actually piss them right off. I mean some of the ways some of them are being portrayed by certain neopagan movements- Well, I'll put it this way, if one of these god's actually SHOWS UP at certain ceremonies I think it is likely to result in a herd of screaming "witches" scattering and running through the woods (if their lucky).

As an agnostic witch I don't have much to contribute about accessing the gods of different lands BUT - these posts brought to mind the excellent book by Neil Gaiman called "American Gods" (it's currently being adapted into a television series).

It deals with all of these themes you guys mention above in a very interesting and thought-provoking way...

(I plan to start a thread on it when the show comes out to explore these very themes. (it's been too long since I read the book to have a meaningful discussion about it in the books section without re-reading it))

Edited by IslandBruja, 07 December 2016 - 05:53 PM.

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#10 Cristofernicholas

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 04:19 AM

As an agnostic witch I don't have much to contribute about accessing the gods of different lands BUT - these posts brought to mind the excellent book by Neil Gaiman called "American Gods" (it's currently being adapted into a television series).

It deals with all of these themes you guys mention above in a very interesting and thought-provoking way...

(I plan to start a thread on it when the show comes out to explore these very themes. (it's been too long since I read the book to have a meaningful discussion about it in the books section without re-reading it))

Yes I saw a preview for that now, I read the book once many years ago. Ill be doing some more soul searching to figure out to to do this.


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#11 westofthemoon

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 08:23 PM

You might enjoy the podcast New World Witchery, they talk a lot about "American folk magic" on there, and all the different practices. I don't currently work with any gods, so I can't help with that bit.
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#12 Oroboros

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 08:36 PM

Love New World Witchery :)!
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#13 Cristofernicholas

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 08:43 PM

I love that podcast!
New World Witchery
Down at the crossroads
Rune soup
Occult of personality
The Higher side chats
On The Black Chair/ Witch Talk
And season of the witch.

Those last two don't really upload anymore.

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#14 Oroboros

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 09:42 PM

The first 3 and on the black chair are favorites of mine. you have mentioned a few I have not heard of - so thanks, something new to check out!
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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#15 Oroboros

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 09:44 PM

Geeze, sorry, anywhere a thread wanders off topic -you kind find me right in the middle of it:).
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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#16 Cristofernicholas

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 11:46 PM

True, a bit off topic. But to add back to it I'd have to say that most if not all of those pod-cast we mentioned have discussions on cultural appropriation and tradition in concerns to geological location. I know for a fact that Gordon White usually gets down deep into everything nook and cranny of his topics of discussion.


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#17 Oroboros

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 12:38 AM

Good point. I think the whole idea behind new world witchery was they wanted to do something reflective of the melting pot that is American witchcraft.
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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#18 Leighqt

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 12:17 PM

Not much to add as I havnt looked into this enough, but wanted to thank you all for this post. It is of relevance to me somewhere deep in there. This is such a broad topic. I will be following this thread.

My heritage is English, Welsh, possibly Irish and I was born in Germany. I identify as English but live in Wales, I believe if you are called to something go with it, it could be the right or wrong thing for you but it will open other doors and you can never have too much knowledge and experience.

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#19 Madame

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 10:09 AM

This is a topic I think about often. I don't follow gods or goddesses, but I do utilize a lot of lore and beliefs from my mother's Slavic Catholic background, but what really brought me to this path was the land around me. I live in the Great Plains, and was sent to a tiny parochial school that taught us more about the history of Native people and pioneers more than other aspects of American history. While most kids were learning about the Civil War, we were learning about the Three Sisters, the lodges the Pawnee lived in and the Sioux chiefs like Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. We learned about how Custer got what was coming to him. We learned about the violent removal of these people in detail. 

 

My paternal ancestors came to modern day Nebraska thanks to the Kansas Nebraska Act which forcefully displaced these populations. They directly benefited from the bloody removal of Native people. 

 

Despite growing up in more urban areas in this region and not in direct contact with the land--which is unrecognizable from what it originally was, anyway--I have always felt like I can't leave here. Not because of guilt really, but because I feel a gravitation toward here. 

 

When I go out and about in what passes for wilderness here, I connect with the land under my feet, the trees I might sit under, I have learned the names of a decent amount of the grasses, flowers and herbs here. I don't have any interest in co-opting Native practices here, but I do feel a sense of duty to prioritize relationships with the plants native to this area over traditional witchy plants that aren't from here, as well as standing with Native people whenever another treaty gets broken or attempted to become broken, and making people aware of the fact that winter on Sioux reservations comes with a death toll most Americans are woefully ignorant of.

 

On the other hand, I am not really supposed to be here, either. I sort of grapple with this from time to time.

 

I don't ask my Native friends for any guidance or tips for working with this land, ever. Not because they wouldn't give pointers, but because I have no right to their knowledge that their ancestors learned and were taught the long way. Instead, I try to listen to what the land tells me...if it mirrors Native practices, then it will. If it doesn't--and I don't believe it does or ever will--then it's what the land and the flora and fauna here want me to know.

 

On my mother's side there were a lot of New World concessions and substitutions. It works for me all the same. But I don't try to force the Old World onto the New World, I focus on ways they can blend together rather than trying to conform to something that would be appropriation or trying to force the Old World ways onto the scope of the New World. 

 

This probably sounds incoherent, but it's a topic I keep to myself almost always because I simply don't have many platforms where I can be part of a forum on this topic. It feels nice to get to talk about it more, as we do on this site.


Edited by Madame, 22 December 2016 - 10:12 AM.

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#20 odalibuc

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 10:50 PM

That's a good point about listening to the land around you and the possibility that what you come up with might mirror Native practices. I have a similar view with my craft - none of my ancestors are native to the area I'm living in, but that doesn't mean the gods their ancient ancestors knew came with them. The land here knows how it wants to be honored, what it wants to work with, and how it can be and wants to be used. That, I feel, is the fundamental starting point of any practice. However, Native cultures developed their traditions to suit their cultural needs, and those traditions grew with the culture. You are starting at the same point they did all those many, many years ago, but you are in a different culture, and have different needs than they did back then. The land is giving you the tools you need, and I think its up to us muggleborns to decide how best to use them in the society we live in now.


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