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Cultural appropriation

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Forums -> Misc Topics -> Cultural appropriation

Cultural appropriation
By: / Novice
Post # 1
Im all for an eclectic approach to magic.

but as I started to look into it there are some boundaries that exist and should exist especially when it comes to appropriation of cultures or using methodologies that are diametrically opposed to one another.

One are that seems to come up a lot is that voodoo, hoodoo, Santeria and paths within that "sphere" (a term I don't like to use, but im not sure how to put it properly)

Some African traditions come from tribes that in no way would mix with traditions of other tribes as they were enemies of one another.

But I wonder if the notion of "melting pot" is apt here in the Americas or if it goes too far?

Some of these religions and practices are quite ancient and there is a process of initiation and moving forward. Just as the term "wicca" gets bandied about so much that the religion becomes blurred with vague notions of witchcraft and even other traditions.

Yet syncretism is at the heart of evolution of religions and certainly significant for any adept that would call her/him self "eclectic"

At what point does syncretism morph into leaving the original intent and concept of the original path?

I read this article on it and the author brings up some significant points.

http://santeriachurch.org/safe-alert-cultural-appropriation-of-lucumi-religion-by-non-initiates/


What do you guys think?

~Thor
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Re: Cultural appropriation
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 2
There's three types of cultural appropriators on the internet;
The ones who mix and match because they want to make a buck, and by creating things from every tradition imaginable, they expand their target audience...

There's the people who have this need to have a title/label attached to their internet persona because they want the notoriety of looking like they have a clue about the "super special tradition".

And then there's the people who run around thinking that they can practice what they want, call it what they want and it's totally ok because "It's my belief and my path! I can do what I want!" (yes you can. but you don't have to tell people about it either)

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Re: Cultural appropriatio
By:
Post # 3
I think that relgion, like people, is constantly evolving. And i feel that if i cannot be openminded enough to approach a free thought of someone else, with my own understanding, rather than one that someone has abruptly told me i must have, simply because thats what they were taught, or thats the way its been in the past, then i am doomed to be bitter, numb and stagnant, while i sit alone atop my aquired pile of knowledge that may or may not have become irrelevant. Don't get me wrong. I beleive in limits, boundaries, ceremony and initiation. But i beleive that too much emphasis has been placed there in the past rather than applying some simple human emotion. I've done it, repented so to speak and prayed i dont do it again. I am human, therefore i am not perfect. Adaptation is neccessary for change and growth though. If i had wanted to blindly follow another, or even could, i never would have been drawn to alternative religion in the first place. My opinion.
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Re: Cultural appropriation
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 4
The thing is, is that people who are not part of an initiated tradition, who didn't grow up with a specific religion or tradition, etc. are guests to it.

I have not been initiated into Vodou, Lucumi, Palo, Wicca, etc. so I have no right to say it's evolving and they need to get on board or they need to be more open-minded, should change this, that or the third.

I'm limited to following time honored traditions because that's the respectful thing to do as an outsider.

It's like someone coming into your house and telling you to move your furniture, how to decorate, raids your fridge and sleeps with your mate because..well..times are a changing and all of the above mentioned should be allowed because they decided it was kosher.
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Re: Cultural appropriatio
By:
Post # 5
Lol. Thats a funny take on it... And thats how i felt when it was happening to me. Seriously. And your right. If i had a piece of paper that was recognized by all initiates in the tradition i chose then i could always hope to be taken seriously by just those people. And i am no exception. I follow elders direction simply because i respect them, as long as it doesnt cross any personal moral bounds that every human has a right to. And its not the same as going into someones house and doing those things, to me. They have been done to me. And on numerous occasions. By other practitioners. To an extent you would think too personal to post here. Im not speaking of voudoo, as the original post first mentioned ecclectic. Nobody, and i mean nobody owns knowledge that can be tapped into by anyone with a shred of psychic ability or internet access. Nobody has a right to tell someone they are not allowed to talk about what they practice unless it is breaking secrecy in some way. Gently urging is cool if you care.
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Re: Cultural appropriation
By: / Novice
Post # 6
I just see myself being so results oriented that I get past myself and don't think of what im doing.

That's why I get concerned because im not into being unbelievably insensitive, more than any typical guy, I guess. but I get super a type with results.

Whereas, really practicing a religion or spells from a religion has a context to it. it is not just follow this formula and get this result...theres more to it...

~Thor
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Re: Cultural appropriation
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 7
Well, keep in mind thor, what you do in the privacy of your own home is your business.

If someone is sitting at home putting Isis oil in their hot foot or..putting Ra next to Legba, that's on them.

It's that moment when it stops being personal practice and starts to be announced everywhere else. Which is what we see a lot of online. UPG is great. We all have it. But that's what the P is for - personal. So long as it remains personal, it's between that person and the spirits of the tradition they are borrowing from.

Once it's present to others in a factual manner..that's when we cross lines.
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Re: Cultural appropriation
By: / Novice
Post # 8
That's an important distinction Con!
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Re: Cultural appropriatio
By:
Post # 9
Agreed. That is why when i am doing spellwork, which isnt always. Like right now. I just finished my alter yesterday and today i am trying to catch up on my book of shadows. But when i do, i dont like to try to do something that would label me another path as i have chosen mine and i understand what it means. I would just like to point out that all religions borrow from each other in private and in public. Some are pretty obvious without having to do much research.
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Re: Cultural appropriation
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 10
Just to stir the pot with the gumbo ,I am going to throw in the idea of so called plural psyche or collective unconscious.
I do not know how other eclectic practitioners choose the elements of different traditions they add to theirs,but I rather let elements to find their way in mine.Most people judging eclectic practitioners (in general not in this post) assume often not so correctly that the practitioner picked and chose whatever they pleased consciously ,just because they had to add new things to make their path more colorful and just because they felt like insulting the tradition of someone else.Yes,there are people who do that and do not back up ,when someone tells them that is not the way to go about things,but sometimes Entity,Deity or other type of spiritual being from certain path chose to work with you instead and let say they gave you different instructions to follow when worshiping them or working with them.What way will be more valid then the one that you have been given to practice or is it the way of those that worked for many years with the entity in question ?This is more related to the personal relation between the practitioner and the forces he or she work with ,but there is also the notion that on certain level we are all connected and that most paths/religions streamed from the same source ,but since humans are incarnated spirits their cultural background and their connection to their body demanded for certain taboos.
Many taboos stem from the physical and cultural element in us,not from the soul.So while the plural psyche unites us culture and taboos divide us.Culture is important ,because that is where our roots developed ,but we should not forget also that the scope of the mystic is to ascend beyond physical or cultural things eventually.It is questionable that one can achieve such transformation ,while holding on too tightly to" terms and condition", as I call them.I do not believe that arguing with others all day along for their wrong ways really does any good to you and the other person.When told off people tend to persist that their way is the best way for them ,and some traditionalist simply get way too obsessed with the idea of others insulting their tradition or practice,so both sides resist to see other side views and a lot of tension is created.I will rather hold on for the bliss and peace in my soul.
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