Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Difference between Traditional and Eclectic Witchcraft?


  • Please log in to reply
88 replies to this topic

#41 Luthien

Luthien

    Advanced Member

  • Seekers
  • PipPipPip
  • 97 posts

Posted 05 December 2011 - 09:21 AM

I found this thread really interesting due to its different view points. I don't really want to join the discussion about syncretism as I am not that well read in this regard and don't have those experiences. However I was surprised to see that 'being eclectic' has such a discussion potential. For me it was just a logical 'label' as I don't follow a certain path. Yes, I started out reading wicca books and done rituals but I didn't like them. So I've done other things, read books about shamanism, which I find very interesting and I like the techniques. However, I'm no Native American their symbolism doesn't fit to me. So I kept searching (reading, trying out but always listenting to my gut) and ended up with Norse mythology and local folk believes. I am trying to find my personal path and it seems that I use techniques from other traditions. So what, I would call it eclectic but I don't think I have been disrespectful to any culture or being. Yes I change things but I make them my own, I don't just copy.

Anyway, after reading this thread I think I understand what the majority of you understand of eclectic and that's not me. I don't do a an native American ritual one day, a chackra meditation the next and call on some Yoruba gods during my full moon ritual, because in the end it's just an aspect of the whole......


Will refain from calling myself eclectic if it has such a negative meaning.




Luthien



  • 0

#42 Amberhawk

Amberhawk

    Advanced Member

  • Seekers
  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts

Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:04 PM

Syncretism has been a subject of interest and research for me over the past year. Most definitions are it is an "attempt" to reconcile disparate, even opposing, beliefs and to blend practices of varying schools of thought. It is especially associated with the "attempt" to merge several originally distinct traditions of theology, mythology and religion, forming unity.In addition to the ones you mentioned there is the Shinto/Buddhism, Egyptians/Greeks, Romans/Celts and Xianity /Euro /Native American infusions. If all of these seemingly different paths can be integrated without conflict and actually meld into a new path then there must be more similarities than differences. Is it animism, or shamanism? Is it survival? I dont know.. just where my mind has been...



You know, its funny. I haven't even heard of this term 'Syncretism' until this last year or so myself, and not for the lack of bouncing around. The definition used for it seems to be the same definition I've heard for eclectic for more than twenty years now. When did this change? Is this a more recent development or did I slip into a vacuum for a while and just not realized it??

At any rate I guess I'm going to have to stop putting eclectic in front of the Pagan Spiritualist that I usually go by to keep from being considered a fake.

  • 0

#43 LdyShalott

LdyShalott

    NecRomancer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 850 posts

Posted 22 February 2012 - 12:40 AM

You know, its funny. I haven't even heard of this term 'Syncretism' until this last year or so myself, and not for the lack of bouncing around. The definition used for it seems to be the same definition I've heard for eclectic for more than twenty years now. When did this change? Is this a more recent development or did I slip into a vacuum for a while and just not realized it??

At any rate I guess I'm going to have to stop putting eclectic in front of the Pagan Spiritualist that I usually go by to keep from being considered a fake.


Basically syncretism is the belief the majority of the worlds religions have more in common than differences and can be reconciled. To quote Sara from Forest Grove. “Eclecticism is Syncretism without context.”

I get the feeling fake is the last word to be associated with you.. so if you like and identify with Eclectic , then wear it Proudly.. our genuineness is in our actions not in words or labels we adopt... :grin_witch:

  • 4

Most witches don’t believe in gods. They know that the gods exist, of course. They even deal with them occasionally. But they don’t believe in them. They know them too well. It would be like believing in the postman.  T.P.

In order to understand the living.. you have to commune with the dead..
You are a tiny little soul carrying around a corpse.-- Epictetus
All experience is an arch wherethrough gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades for ever and for ever when I move.

 


#44 Aloe

Aloe

    ridge running Ozark banshee..

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3,420 posts

Posted 22 February 2012 - 05:25 PM

our genuineness is in our actions not in words or labels we adopt... :grin_witch:


That should be on a plaque, love it! :thumbsup:

  • 0
"The people who live in the Ozark country of Missouri and Arkansas were, until very recently, the most deliberately unprogressive people in the United States. Descended from pioneers who came West from the Southern Appalachians at the beginning of the nineteenth century, they made little contact with the outer world for more than a hundred years. They seem like foreigners to the average urban American, but nearly all of them come of British stock, and many families have lived in America since colonial days. Their material heirlooms are few, but like all isolated illiterates they have clung to the old songs and obsolete sayings and outworn customs of their ancestors." Ozark Magic and Folklore

#45 Amberhawk

Amberhawk

    Advanced Member

  • Seekers
  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts

Posted 22 February 2012 - 09:36 PM

That should be on a plaque, love it! :thumbsup:


It most certainly should. Thank you LdyShalott.

Edited by Amberhawk, 22 February 2012 - 09:37 PM.

  • 0

#46 Oakbuchanan

Oakbuchanan

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 623 posts

Posted 22 February 2012 - 10:47 PM

That should be on a plaque, love it! :thumbsup:


I think so too...

  • 0

#47 Stacey

Stacey

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 673 posts

Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:34 AM

I'm a witch and I am eclectic and I am not ashamed to say it whether there are negative connotations to it or not. However I am not ceremonial nor am I wiccan. I simply pull from different paths and make it my own. I pull from the paths of green, hedge, hearth, cottage and garden and sort of roll them up into my own practice. One could argue that the trad witches of old were green/hedge/cottage witches because it would have fit in with the way they lived. I don't imagine they performed complex ceremonial magic and neither do I, I don't imagine they ran around saying 'Blessed Be' and neither do I so I think the opinion that eclectic is wiccan is not necessarily correct because there are those of us who are eclectic but are most certainly not wiccan.

Eclectic is a term that is easier to use than saying 'Well I am mostly a green witch but I do practice some hedge in there, I also like to use a little cottage witchery, most definitely some garden work and of course I do make my own herbal crafts, candles. I don't venerate or worship the God or Goddess but I do work with otherworld energies, I'm also an animist you see....." Can you imagine what it would be like by the time you finished explaining exactly what 'eclectic' was? It would be a dissertation.

That said, I don't know that Traditional would be any easier to define. I don't think they are that different to be honest, at least not in the context that I define myself as 'eclectic'. I pull from pre-wiccan ideas, I do practice traditional craft but I have adapted it for myself over the years and that has included taking from other traditions of witchcraft. As far as I've been able to discover or learn from this forum, there are not two trad witches who practice exactly the same way so therefore you could make the arguement that their practices are from the same source but eclectic because they are not the same.

We change. We adapt. We grow. In life and in our Craft.

  • 0
"The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by an invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing." Severus Snape - HP and the Order of the Phoenix

#48 sarasuperid

sarasuperid

    Wild Witch of the West

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,429 posts

Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:42 AM

Stacey, besides Hedge witch all the other terms you bring up are pop wicca phrases introduced in like the last ten to twenty years and as far as I can tell all mean the same thing. I worry that you have been mislead. No reason to call yourself eclectic in my mind, as those are all just regular old witchcraft once you strip out the wiccan parts, which, I trust you have.
  • 0
"A Craft, a calling, a set of Keys to unlock a particular cosmology that is borne, and born, in the blood of the practitioner, and sets the Work to be done with which one may commune with those who hold the patterns and keys of the life of the practitioner and hir stream. The Work is to be done, and we are to do it." --Aiseling the Bard

#49 Stacey

Stacey

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 673 posts

Posted 24 February 2012 - 01:21 AM

Stacey, besides Hedge witch all the other terms you bring up are pop wicca phrases introduced in like the last ten to twenty years and as far as I can tell all mean the same thing. I worry that you have been mislead. No reason to call yourself eclectic in my mind, as those are all just regular old witchcraft once you strip out the wiccan parts, which, I trust you have.


I have, of course. Perhaps I will just say I'm a witch with varied interests :).

  • 0
"The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by an invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing." Severus Snape - HP and the Order of the Phoenix

#50 Michele

Michele

    The Exiled Goddess

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 7,033 posts

Posted 24 February 2012 - 02:09 AM

I have, of course. Perhaps I will just say I'm a witch with varied interests :).


I would say to call yourself what you feel comfortable calling yourself - I could call myself Cindy Crawford or the Sasquach, but neither will change what I am, what I believe, what I look like, or how I practice :-)

A Tradition is something that has been done for generations - it is not necessarily right or worng, it is just something done repeatedly over time, usually more than one generation (like a bed-time story is a bedtime tradition in my family). As such, most "traditional witches" are eclectic becuase they pull from this and that which works for them, not following a specific tradition with developed spells and rituals used within a specific tradition over generations. Seidr (sp) is a tradition. Wicca is a tradition (although it is not "traditional" in the trad-craft meaning of the word). Few trad witches have been trained by an elder/knowledgable person in a specific tradition. A Path is a way of working that a witch follows, but is not necessarily a tradition.

I recently had some interactions with a man who follows a tradition (not an eclectic tradition but a specific tradition). This tradition has been in his family for as long as anyone can remember. There are specific spells and ways of doing them, specific rituals, and specific spiritual beliefs. They do not deviate from them, and if one were to deviate from them one would not be following that tradition. This is neither right nor wrong, it is simply their tradition. They are also "traditional" in the trad-craft sense of the word. So one who does not have access to a specific tradition is eclectic traditional and pulls from several publicly-accessible traditions. There's nothing wrong with being eclectic. It's just very "en vogue" right now to have an actual "tradition" becuase the majority of peope do not have access to this. But that doesn't mean they're missing out on anything. You can do effective magic without a tradition as long as you learn how to do it properly and it's written down in enough places that with practice one can learn to do it quite well. You can access the spirit world or divinity if you want to the same way - you just would not be accessing the specific divinity of a specific tradition unless you were trained in that tradition. Divinities evolve with the needs of a society so you might connect to a sociologicaly evolved aspect of that diviinity. Bottom line is: be what makes the most sense for you and what works for you. Dont worry about what others think becuase there will always be someone who does and does not agree with you - be yourself, walk your path, and enjoy the journey :-)

M

  • 0

#51 Guest_LadyofTheRavens_*

Guest_LadyofTheRavens_*
  • Guests

Posted 25 August 2012 - 05:22 AM

I got to the second page of replies to this topic, and felt a sudden need to add my own piece in before I read any further. In my introduction I have used the term eclectic... because it was the only term I had learned to describe what I do. Personally I dislike the term, and it leaves a dirty taste in my mouth when others use it to describe my practices. Same with the term "pagan" - I got sick of arguments over this label and how it made me feel, and stopped using it. It seems with the term eclectic that many people on both sides of the wall use it as almost an insult. I have had wiccans throw it in my face as if what I did was disgraceful. And from a few comments I have read already, it seems that this also happens on the TW side of the fence, where it is used to insinuate that someone is not truly "traditional" or something. There is much power in words and labels. I for one had never heard of Traditional Witchcraft before a couple of days ago, but I have been doing some reading in the forums and it suits who I am and what I do.
  • 0

#52 Guest_atropa_*

Guest_atropa_*
  • Guests

Posted 25 August 2012 - 12:11 PM

Hello Errin and hello to all

The word ‘eclectic’ originally meant ‘selective, picking out, to gather or choose’, originating around 1650 from Greek language. It evolved around 1680 with reference to a group of ancient philosophers who selected doctrines from every system. The word was more defined during the 1800’s into ‘borrowed from diverse sources’

The word ‘traditional’ has at its core the word ‘tradition’ which has the meaning “to hand down memories, thoughts and actions through at least three generations with each generation considered to be twenty years.”

The words ‘eclectic’ and ‘traditional’ often get tangled around the subject of Witch, as has been said in some posts on this thread; Witch takes what is there from wherever it can be found, if it’s of any use then Witch will use it, if its proven to be of no use then it will be discarded

A Tradition with its foundations in Witch ways can have foundations stronger than rock, no matter what knowledge comes into said Tradition such knowledge will either fit within its foundations, or it won’t. If it doesn’t fit it may still be of use providing it doesn’t change said Traditions foundations, for to do that will cause the Tradition to fail.

So, is every Witch eclectic? If they use thoughts from the ways of others, test them to see if they work, use them if they do and dismiss them if they don’t, then Witch who does this is eclectic and thats a matter of personal choice.

Is every Witch a Traditional Witch?

To use the umbrella term ‘Traditional Witch’ has become a way of discerning the difference between thoughts that exist in wicca, and thoughts existing before wicca, i.e. before Gardner’s children.

Words evolve, and often what they evolve into is very different to the original thought that required the need to find a word to express that thought in language.

Gardner’s children or wicca is a tradition, it has existed for at least sixty years, Christianity is a tradition for the same reason.

The thought of 'Traditional Witch' is interesting, and the key here is the word Witch. If someone is of the Blood then this makes them Witch, if someone isn’t of the Blood then no amount of practising eclectic witchcraft will make them Witch. Is there such a thing as Tradtional Witch? Of course the is; Traditional Witch is one who is part of a Tradition by the meaninng sitting behind the word Tradition, and by the meaning sitting behind the word Witch, he or she is of the Blood.

The thought of names has been muted in an earlier post with the thought that it names are mostly irrelevant, to which I would agree, as Shakespeare said in Romeo and Juliet

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Names are a way of recognition, if someone calls my name I will turn around. But there are many people with the same first name as I have

In the North of Britain, certain Clans don’t ask what your name is, they ask “what name is on you” and to have the understanding and ability to answer this question properly gives greater knowledge of exactly what a person is. When I go home my name doesn’t tell them who I am, it tells them what I am, and this works for me and mine.

  • 2

#53 Jevne

Jevne

    Former Member

  • Former Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4,441 posts

Posted 25 August 2012 - 01:01 PM

That is not half bad, Atropa . Generally, I hate the term eclectic, because it implies do whatever the hell you want and proclaim that is what all witches do.
  • 0

#54 aurora

aurora

    Senior Member

  • Former Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,690 posts

Posted 25 August 2012 - 02:16 PM

I agree,it is a pretty descriptive reply and answers well.
  • 0

#55 CelticGypsy

CelticGypsy

    Crazy NastyAss Honey Badger

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4,105 posts

Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:04 PM

Hello Errin and hello to all

The word ‘eclectic’ originally meant ‘selective, picking out, to gather or choose’, originating around 1650 from Greek language. It evolved around 1680 with reference to a group of ancient philosophers who selected doctrines from every system. The word was more defined during the 1800’s into ‘borrowed from diverse sources’

The word ‘traditional’ has at its core the word ‘tradition’ which has the meaning “to hand down memories, thoughts and actions through at least three generations with each generation considered to be twenty years.”

The words ‘eclectic’ and ‘traditional’ often get tangled around the subject of Witch, as has been said in some posts on this thread; Witch takes what is there from wherever it can be found, if it’s of any use then Witch will use it, if its proven to be of no use then it will be discarded

A Tradition with its foundations in Witch ways can have foundations stronger than rock, no matter what knowledge comes into said Tradition such knowledge will either fit within its foundations, or it won’t. If it doesn’t fit it may still be of use providing it doesn’t change said Traditions foundations, for to do that will cause the Tradition to fail.

So, is every Witch eclectic? If they use thoughts from the ways of others, test them to see if they work, use them if they do and dismiss them if they don’t, then Witch who does this is eclectic and thats a matter of personal choice.

Is every Witch a Traditional Witch?

To use the umbrella term ‘Traditional Witch’ has become a way of discerning the difference between thoughts that exist in wicca, and thoughts existing before wicca, i.e. before Gardner’s children.

Words evolve, and often what they evolve into is very different to the original thought that required the need to find a word to express that thought in language.

Gardner’s children or wicca is a tradition, it has existed for at least sixty years, Christianity is a tradition for the same reason.

The thought of 'Traditional Witch' is interesting, and the key here is the word Witch. If someone is of the Blood then this makes them Witch, if someone isn’t of the Blood then no amount of practising eclectic witchcraft will make them Witch. Is there such a thing as Tradtional Witch? Of course the is; Traditional Witch is one who is part of a Tradition by the meaninng sitting behind the word Tradition, and by the meaning sitting behind the word Witch, he or she is of the Blood.

The thought of names has been muted in an earlier post with the thought that it names are mostly irrelevant, to which I would agree, as Shakespeare said in Romeo and Juliet

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Names are a way of recognition, if someone calls my name I will turn around. But there are many people with the same first name as I have

In the North of Britain, certain Clans don’t ask what your name is, they ask “what name is on you” and to have the understanding and ability to answer this question properly gives greater knowledge of exactly what a person is. When I go home my name doesn’t tell them who I am, it tells them what I am, and this works for me and mine.




I can accept some of the points Atropa offers in her opinon thought process. It was well thought out. The key word here is in the Original Post is the word " difference " and that to me is not a wrong or erroneous or defective way to apply one's Craft/Path to suit a Witch for desired outcomes.

The whole " Blood " reference " if someone is of the Blood then this makes them a Witch if someone isn't of the Blood no amount of practicing eclectic witchcraft will make them witch. " I don't agree with this statement..


While a Witch can select what seems to be the best of various styles, methods, or ideas and still have desired outcomes, with out having a direct blood tie to those who came before. I really don't care nor do I know if I have " the Blood ", all I care about is today and the outcome I will have today, or tomorrow, or next week.


Certain words attach themselves to Witches, and therefore become a lable, and that puts one in a bind possibly of fear of not doing it right, or lumps one with those that are unsuitable to even be called a Witch. in my opinion.

When I was a young mother, and some one elses child called out " Mom " I looked, but now not having small children, if some one I don't know or recognize their voice, I dont bother to acknowledge it. Part of maturing in the mundane, as well as making steady progress in the fulfillment as a Witch.

Regards,
Gypsy




  • 0

" The last thing you wanted a Witch to do is get bored and start making her own amusements, because Witches sometimes have erratically famous ideas about what was amusing "

 

Terry Pratchett Legends 1 


#56 Gramayr

Gramayr

    'Mysterio'

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,282 posts

Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:29 PM

The thought of 'Traditional Witch' is interesting, and the key here is the word Witch. If someone is of the Blood then this makes them Witch, if someone isn’t of the Blood then no amount of practising eclectic witchcraft will make them Witch. Is there such a thing as Tradtional Witch? Of course the is; Traditional Witch is one who is part of a Tradition by the meaninng sitting behind the word Tradition, and by the meaning sitting behind the word Witch, he or she is of the Blood.


I like what you have written but something is puzzling me.
If someone is 'of the blood' but doesn't practice nor want to practice then by your definition they are still a witch whether they like it or not. If someone is not 'of the blood' then by your definition it doesn't matter how much work they put in and how much success they see in what they do they won't be a witch.
Or am I missing something?

  • 0
"Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds." - Albert Einstein

#57 The Exile

The Exile

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 676 posts

Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:40 PM

.

Also

How do you know that the ones that "is not of the blood" is actually "of the the blood" but their lines been dormant for a couple or more generations because no one chose to practice as a witch for a while in that familiy blood line?

.

  • 0

#58 Michele

Michele

    The Exiled Goddess

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 7,033 posts

Posted 25 August 2012 - 09:36 PM

I would guess her answer (and I'm not her so apologies) would be "One who is of the Blood is part of a particular Race; Race Witch; etymology of the word ‘race’ provides the meaning ‘having one originating Ancestor’; in the matter of Witch the originating Ancestor is the Mother of Race Witch, known within Red Thread as: Witch Mother."

I think that in today's world (and this is merely my opinion) many people seem to long for an ancestor who was involved in the trials, or accused, or had a practicing witch (or someone with talents) in their family like it is some sort of "confirmation" that they really are a witch. And I don't think that is correct - it is confirmation that they had someone who was psychic in their family, or someone who was rightly or wrongly accused, or someone who shared their interests. I think one has to look much further back than the immediate last 2 to 3 hundred years. If Isobel Gwodie (spelling way off) was my ancestor it wouldn't prove I was or wasn't a witch. From the above explanation it seems to have the belief in one originating race. Rather like some of the beliefs and interpretations of the "Children of Cain." Much like Lilith is to some the witch-mother and Cain the witch-father. I don't think it means literal "my great aunt was psychic and read tarot so I'm a witch."

M

  • 0

#59 Michele

Michele

    The Exiled Goddess

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 7,033 posts

Posted 25 August 2012 - 09:38 PM

I like what you have written but something is puzzling me.
If someone is 'of the blood' but doesn't practice nor want to practice then by your definition they are still a witch whether they like it or not. If someone is not 'of the blood' then by your definition it doesn't matter how much work they put in and how much success they see in what they do they won't be a witch.
Or am I missing something?


I believe from the writings of her tradition they take witch to be a specific race, not a learned skill/way of life.

M

  • 0

#60 Jevne

Jevne

    Former Member

  • Former Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4,441 posts

Posted 25 August 2012 - 09:41 PM

I am certainly not going to speak for or imply that I know how Atropa will choose to respond to the inquiries, as we are not of the same Tradition, but for clarification, I do not use the term "of the blood" to indicate that one has to be of a certain blood line to practice Witchcraft.

To me, "of the blood" means possessing a specific, and (yes) inherent talent for connecting to, drawing on, and transmitting power or energy. You don't have to come from a long-line of "Witches" to possess this power. That is silly, especially considering that we are all 'related' somewhere along the line, anyway.

Yes, everyone has some special talent or power about them, but to claim that -Everyone- possesses the same type or level of power is also silly. It is not mean or elitist or whatever to say that not everyone has the same abilities. We are unique.

Saying that I am "of the blood" means I have acknowledged that I possess that innate "spark". Whether anyone else does or doesn't possess that "spark" is not for me to say. Atropa may, indeed, see it differently, but I believe there is plenty of magic to go around for those who choose to work with it.

  • 0