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Thirsty Fox
08 Dec 2015, 09:40
I read the term Eclectic Pagan. If I think of the meaning of eclectic I think perhaps that is where I fit in

thalassa
08 Dec 2015, 10:54
So...I'm an eclectic Pagan. There is (fairly and unfairly) a lot of criticism (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/panmankey/2014/04/rolling-the-religion-dice/)of eclectic Pagans (here's some refuting the criticism (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/2014/04/10/in-defense-of-an-eclectic-pantheon/)), particularly among reconstructionists and devotional polytheists...most of which comes from the idea that Paganism is a dualism of recon vs eclectic (https://books.google.com/books?id=7TF2BwAAQBAJ&lpg=PT83&ots=-SvEuAxr-V&dq=eclectic%20pagan%20stereotype&pg=PT82#v=onepage&q=eclectic%20pagan%20stereotype&f=false)(which is patently false as most people exist on a continuum of the two). The following is from my blog (https://nuannaarpoq.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/connecting-with-spirit-part-i/), but it explains a little bit why I'm an eclectic Pagan (in the context of a larger set of posts reviewing a book by a Pagan author, which is why some of the references might not make sense):
I’ve tried, but I’ve never been able to muster any more than an academic interest in the Celtic, Norse, Saxon, or Egyptian pantheons or cultures (with a few exceptions). I quite love history and mythology, but not from a personal religious interest or spiritual inspiration. The gods that I am interested in do not have a pantheon in common (for that matter, many of them have no myths to themselves), so much as they have what I call “proper context” in common. I’m (unabashedly) an eclectic–one of those people that Albertsson stereotypes as “scattered” who are “leaping from one pantheon to another, collecting “patron” deities* like Hummel figurines” (p 17). But I know very few people that actually do this in practice (except maybe when they are still in that seeking newbie stage). Eclecticism done well depends on thoughtfulness, particularly as it relates to how one views godhood, how one develops their relationship with their gods, and how one integrates their deities into their practice.

Let me say that again… Eclecticism done well depends on thoughtfulness, particularly as it relates to how one views godhood, how one develops their relationship with their gods, and how one integrates their deities into their practice. I’d do it a third time, but I think we all get the point here. Eclectic is not a dirty word. It is not a lazy practice. It is not something that should be dismissed out of hand. It is not because someone didn’t want to do their research. Its not because someone was hedging their bets. Are there eclectics that do these things? Sure there are–negative stereotypes always have anecdotal stories to accompany them. But by and large, eclectic Pagans have their own reasoning and understandings that they have come to with just as much research and practice and experience as a pantheon-specific Pagan.

(snip)

Unlike Albertsson, who recommends starting with mythology as a way to find the gods that one is interested in developing a relationship with, I would recommend figuring out what one’s “proper context” is. What is sacred? Where do you feel the most connected? Perhaps that connection actually comes from a specific mythology and culture–the ancient religions of the Greek or the Romans, or the Canaanaites or the Norse, or whatever. But maybe it comes from the ocean or from being a mother or from mountain climbing or from working in a homeless shelter or from teaching. Start where the feeling is and worship the deity that represents what you find sacred. Don’t depend on what someone else tells you should be your proper context. The worst thing that can happen is that is that a relationship doesn’t develop and you move on (but even from that experience you can learn and grow).


Also, if I'm remembering your introduction right, you might be interested in (if you are familiar with the idea of "the four centers of Paganism (https://nuannaarpoq.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/randomly-connecting-things-im-reading/)") in nature-centered Paganism (https://nuannaarpoq.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/connecting-with-spirit-part-ii/)more than deity-centered Paganism.



*heck, I don't have, have never had, and don't want patron deities to begin with...

B. de Corbin
08 Dec 2015, 11:12
The most valid criticism I've heard of eclecticism is that a "cafeteria" approach to religion allows a person to skate around "the hard stuff" - the unpleasant realities of a doctrinaire religion.

This is a good criticism, because this can happen.

The response to it is this - following a doctrine can keep one from doing the hard work of thinking, and it can force one to accept things that one knows are not true.

Each approach has potential flaws, and potential assets. Which is best depends on the individual in question, his/her goals, etc.

Spiny Norman
08 Dec 2015, 11:23
Also, if I'm remembering your introduction right, you might be interested in (if you are familiar with the idea of "the four centers of Paganism (https://nuannaarpoq.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/randomly-connecting-things-im-reading/)") in nature-centered Paganism (https://nuannaarpoq.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/connecting-with-spirit-part-ii/)more than deity-centered Paganism.


I liked this blog about the 3 centres of paganism: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/2012/05/23/the-three-or-more-centers-of-paganism/

I'm still trying to get an overview and this kind of stuff is helpful.

Thirsty Fox
08 Dec 2015, 11:34
As in animism, I do believe that all living creatures have a soul. I'm just not sure that I'm ready to include plants, wind, rocks, mountains, oceans etc. in that. Not that I will not change my mind. I can believe all those things can be healing in different ways. I think I can even believe that there could be spirits that have some control over them. Does this make sense?

DragonsFriend
08 Dec 2015, 12:27
I believe it makes sense. I also believe that when you are standing next to, or touching, a tree that is a couple of thousand years older than yourself you will "feel" the spirit within it reach out to you. I was born in an area that has such trees nearby, as well as places where crystals lie in the ground to be gathered for our use. The mountains are huge pieces of granite formed in the heat and compression of the colliding plates of continents and are still growing. It was easy for me to accept that they were alive. It was easy to see how little I knew and that my experience was limited and the need to expand was obvious.
I am an animist, deist, and individualist. Of those three I am least interested in worshiping deities. I believe that they wish to partner with us to create a "better" life. I found that I had a lot of "personal growth" to do before I could even attempt to understand the spirits of those around me. I am still learning and growing after some 40 plus years as a practicing Pagan.

Thirsty Fox
08 Dec 2015, 15:21
You know, Dragons Friend that your post touched me. I live amoungst the giant Redwoods of which there are at least a few ancient ones left. I walk through them frequently. What I am finding as of late and what I am doing is slowing down on my walks thru the forest. There is so much to gain from listening and feeling all that is there.

Thanks for this post!

habbalah
08 Dec 2015, 17:12
For me, I don't follow a dogma because after research and having conversations with myself, I realized that I couldn't follow a dogma that would either demand I do something I don't agree with, or require me to ignore it to get along. I am careful with what I do, and spend a lot of time researching and working so I'm not playing Pokemon with the vast array of entities in the world (e.g., the gods are not Pokemon, and I cannot catch them all). I don't have less respect for someone for following a preset path, but it's just not for me.

Thirsty Fox
21 Dec 2015, 17:14
I have enjoyed reading all the comments here. I do find myself very centered on nature and earth and sky and even the ocean as I live next to it. I have reached out to the spirit of fox and of the vultures that live here as I have felt a closeness to both since childhood. I believe they have a spirit and if I may I'd like to learn from them. I feel the wind and feel there are things to learn there also and the moon. Anyway I am just trying to stay open to what comes to me and what I discover as I journey down this path.

As for gods; I have reached out to a god in Ethiopia. He is the sky god of the ethnic group of a boy I sponsor there and his family. I greeted him at my altar and gifted him with an Ethiopian espresso. I had a short conversation with him via my pendulum and he was very strong but I felt good after, like I'd made a connection. I want him to watch over my friends there and felt like he would also be there for me and he is a god I could honor and pray to. I want to create a time each week to come to him. I'd love to hear of others weekly rituals to honor their gods, deities and other spirits. I'm not looking to be told what to do, just to hear what others do as I am trying to form rituals in my life.
Thanks!

DavidMcCann
22 Dec 2015, 10:16
Eclecticism done well depends on thoughtfulness, particularly as it relates to how one views godhood, how one develops their relationship with their gods, and how one integrates their deities into their practice.
Yes, yes, yes!

As an Hellenic Reconstructionist, I don't feel I'm missing anything. If I were in a Hindu temple or at a gathering of Heathens, I'd be happy to worship their gods, but I don't have the urge to do it at home. But to anyone who wants to worship one of my gods, I say go for it. But please worship them as they have manifested themselves, and don't try to slot them in an alien framework: Hekate isn't a "crone" or an "archetype" -- she's Hekate.

Aetius
22 Dec 2015, 18:55
Yes, yes, yes!

As an Hellenic Reconstructionist, I don't feel I'm missing anything. If I were in a Hindu temple or at a gathering of Heathens, I'd be happy to worship their gods, but I don't have the urge to do it at home. But to anyone who wants to worship one of my gods, I say go for it. But please worship them as they have manifested themselves, and don't try to slot them in an alien framework: Hekate isn't a "crone" or an "archetype" -- she's Hekate.

Hekate is fascinating in that respect, isn't She? Even if we don't agree about how others perceive or honor Her.

World Soul to the theurgists. Crone Goddess of Witches to millions of Wiccans. Thracian Goddess of the wilderness (among other things) to Devotional Polytheists.

By the Gods, if Pagans ruled the world, Hekate-related theological disputes would rival the Sunni-Shia and Catholic-Protestant bloodbaths.

DavidMcCann
23 Dec 2015, 10:34
Hekate is fascinating in that respect, isn't She? Even if we don't agree about how others perceive or honor Her.
She does seem to be one of the most popular Greek goddesses. Of course, she always was: so many books on Greek religion never mention that in Classical Athens everyone worshiped her as one of their household gods.


By the Gods, if Pagans ruled the world, Hekate-related theological disputes would rival the Sunni-Shia and Catholic-Protestant bloodbaths.
But when Pagans did rule the world, there never were any theological disputes. People just said "You think what? That's a bit weird!"

habbalah
23 Dec 2015, 10:54
But when Pagans did rule the world, there never were any theological disputes. People just said "You think what? That's a bit weird!"

Or if you were Roman, you'd conquer a culture and invite their gods in.

thalassa
23 Dec 2015, 13:36
If the gods are the gods, then they are fully capable of letting their followers know that they have a problem with how they are worshipped. If they don't, its either because they don't care, they aren't as dogmatic as some of their followers, or they lack the capacity to do so. Over the 25 years I've been Pagan, I've been a hard polytheist, a duotheist, and a panthiest before I got to where I am now, and the gods have never treated me any differently for the manner in which I intellectualize them afterwards.

Aetius
23 Dec 2015, 17:10
She does seem to be one of the most popular Greek goddesses. Of course, she always was: so many books on Greek religion never mention that in Classical Athens everyone worshiped her as one of their household gods.


But when Pagans did rule the world, there never were any theological disputes. People just said "You think what? That's a bit weird!"

Fair point.