This is an argument I’ve seen so often, with the rise and fall of fads, trends, and other human ‘herding’ characteristics. It seems everyone nowadays wants to be a Traditional Witch. I’m no Trad Witch, just a spirit worker in the boonies. I’ve seen countless blogs and browsed forums – the trend is there. The other trend now is apparently Shamanism and more macabre forms of occultism. Apparently the religions weren’t ‘special,’ enough, too mainstream I guess. Damn hipsters/hippies. There is still much to learn in a Wiccan framework, but it does require work, dedication, and loyalty to your Gods. It’s too hard to many people to just wait for answers, they want everything to be instantaneous. Sad… I think. The Gods are NOT Burger King – you don’t always have it your way – just think about that.
There is also those who are young and grab onto Wicca or Paganism for the wrong reasons – control, power, the need to be ‘special,’ and so forth. Some, are called fair and square to these faiths. Some, I do wonder about. So many people want to be individuals – now everyone is like everyone else. It seems like a paradoxical loop – trying to be unique has made a unique conformity. Strange no?
I’m somewhere in the middle myself – I have researched (and will continue to do so) the old and ancient – but I do not deny the power and validity of the new. Remember: When these people in the ‘ancient era’ or even the ‘old era’ learned their arts – it was modern then. How is it any different now?
The techniques and rituals I’ve learned might be traced back – but what is important to me is the fact that I can use them NOW. True, the art of smoke is nothing new to damn near any culture – nor is the need for sacred space (in it’s innumerable ways and types), the ‘alignment’ or mystic’s link to the Gods, spirits, and Ancestors.
There are differences I’ve seen, that will keep me in the middle. I agree with the Traditionalists, the need to preserve tradition in whatever form the Gods have given you is very important to me. I am an American mutt not only by genetics but by the fact that I have lived and worked in so many different cultures their mark is undeniably made. My tradition is unmistakably American in it’s ecclecticism – but the word itself has gotten a ‘do what you feel like’ atmosphere to it. Ask any serious and life-long ecclectic – they’ll tell you that their tradition is a carefully grown orchid, or a tenderly and devotedly created project that makes up the essential parts of their very being. This doesn’t happen overnight, or hell in a period of a year. It takes YEARS, and in my case – now coming onto 19 – only 9 of them I would consider careful construction, because I was too young and inexperienced – but still…
I also agree with the modern views of the American persuasion – that we have become such a mixed culture – how are we to deny the daily influences we see from say – the Mexican immigrants, the Russian, the Italian, the Chinese, and so many more depending on the local area. In mine there is a deep German and Mexican overlay to cuisine, customs, speech, even personal mannerisms. That’s just my boon-dock area. Can you imagine what a metropolis would be like?
This is where I stay in the middle. I have met spirits from the Sioux peoples, the Mexican, as well as the German (not to mention one place that has Polish spirits about… From a failed Polish town not far from here) – the answers are pretty cut and dry for me – I do not – however, agree with cultural purists.
There’s really no such thing as a ‘pure’ culture – well, not in Europe, anyway. Most of Europe was so interconnected and with trade, human movements, and as well as cultural movements (i.e. such as the Romans and Greek ), there isn’t much that could be ignored in history. For one example is a Jade Buddha that was found in a Viking Grave (I remember reading about this – but I will have to track down the source). Perhaps the ancient world is not so ‘pure’ and as separated as some would like to think. Perhaps some of the rituals are a conglomerate, such as the ones in our modern era? Think of the ‘Isis,’ figures and the folklore on Diana – far from their original cultures ingrained into new ones. Just a thought.
My thought is – are we really doing anything new? Are we really the Neo-Pagans, or the most recent of a wave of belief? I don’t doubt the Gods’ influences can be like the tides – maybe we aren’t the Neo’s we think we are – just the most recent?