I’m part of a witchcraft forum for trad witches (those not of the Wiccan persuasion and who practice and enjoy the pre-Gardenerian Wiccan traditions. Basically practicing and enjoying old school folkloric witchcraft) and a post was posted about the word ‘eclectic’. It seems it is considered a dirty word in the pagansphere because it denotes a lack of commitment to one specific path or makes one appear quite ‘fluffy’. It is also apparently considered a Wiccan term.
I don’t agree. The thing with Traditional Craft is that it is so open to interpretation; everyone has their different style and different way of doing things. I tend to think trad witches are eclectic by nature because they pull from different sources in folklore, some practice family traditions, others adopt traditional practices from other countries and make it their own. Any Craft that is not mainstream or specific to a tradition is eclectic in my opinion. I don’t think it is a term that should evoke a sense of derision, it is a term used simply to say that one does not necessarily follow one particular tradition. Most witches who are eclectic will take from these traditions and create their own path, it is not invalid nor is it wrong, and it is some one making it work for them. A true path is complex because it has many elements and many truths, Wicca is great for those who like structure and order but for those of us on a different road – well we like the adventure of the unknown.
My path is a long and winding road with many different branches. I pull from the green/hedge/fae path – green to me incorporates green, garden and hedge witchcraft but also includes the ‘green world’, the world of Fae or Otherworld as it is sometimes called. I am also interested in exploring the cunning craft and wise woman working of old. Although I am new to the Fae/Hedge paths, having not explored them and being hazy (or lazy) on the actualities of these paths – they are areas that interest me and areas I will incorporate into my ‘craft’. Again this makes it eclectic because I am pulling from different traditions and ideas – creating my own path specific to my needs while honouring the traditional practices of those who came before me. A lot of my path and practice is traditional; it doesn’t mean I can’t add to that from other places – to see this as ‘fluffy’ or ‘non committal’ makes no sense to me. The Craft as it stands is fluid, ever changing. If we got down on people because they find their path to be eclectic….it’s ridiculous because all things must change, must grow else they stagnate and become stuck.
So if anyone happens to wave the ‘bad word’ flag at you when you mention you are an eclectic witch, ignore it. Be who you are and know that your path is yours and no one else can offer an opinion on it because they are not you. Only you know what roads you travel and if they are eclectic embrace it.
For some great definitions I have linked articles from “The Witch of Forest Grove”, one of my favourite blogs.