I felt a bit bored today and decided to spend some time reading some books ,so I stumbled upon an online book called "The Wicca Handbook" by Eilleen Holland.So far so good, but just in chapter one I got already very confused.She mentioned that she is Wiccan Priestess that is solitary.I am not sure if you can be Wiccan priestess, without a coven to begin with.Second I am pretty much sure I remember people mentioning that they gained the title after many years training, and as being part of organisation (can not remember the name of it) only after they have demonstrated that they do have certain level of knowledge.I am fully aware that there are different types of Wicca ,but I am not a Wiccan, so I am not well versed in this religion.My knowledge on the subject comes from other books and what elders here have mentioned to me previously.Then the author goes on as follows :
"I do not follow any particular type Wiccan tradition.I am an eclectic ,which means I honor and work with gods and goddesses from different cultures and pantheons. Erzulie's flag ,a pentacle wreath ,and the Green Man all preside over my altar ,which is cluttered with pyramids , obelisks,scarabs and ankhs."
I would have assumed she mistakes witchcraft with Wicca as religion ,if I have not read those few sentences just a bit above the previous statement , already.She stated :
"All Wiccans are witches ,but not all witches are Wiccans. Wicca is a religion,a distinct spiritual path.I am a Wiccan priestess ,so this book is about the Wiccan way."
Is it just me or there is some logical contradiction between those two statements ?I thought witches can be eclectic and can study Wicca as one of the paths they can pick elements from ,but she states that she is Eclectic Wiccan priestess that does not fallow Wiccan tradition ,however in same time she teaches the Wiccan way.How is this even possible? I thought as religion Wicca has at least some canonical believes that need to be followed strictly ,despite it has branched out a bit in few separate traditions.No, God and Goddess mentioned so far,but Erzulie is loa in Vodou. Green Man sounds to me more as concept of Druidry ,but some people might relate him with the Horned God I guess.Maybe she is one of those people.Obelisks ,ankhs and pyramids sounds to me more related to Kemetism. I am so confused !
I would like to hear what is the opinion of the Wiccan Elders here on all this,like Lark and Brysing. Again ,I am no expert in the field and I do not claim any level of expertise ,so I might be wrong in my logical conclusions due not not sufficient data and experience in this path.Which is why I would like us to have open discussion,because I am rather baffled by all this.
I would like also to plead to forum readers to not answer to this thread if they are not 100 percent sure what they are talking about. If you have been a Wiccan for some time and are well versed in this path,please share your insight with us.
i guess if you're solitary you could call yourself Mayor McCheese and no one would argue. there are different types of covens, mine was primarily one to learn. the first few years of the coven it was full of friends and friends of friends who wanted to learn. while we did have a member who was a third generation, and another who converted at age 6 [she said] most of us only had a few years to our year and a day under our belt. we didn't have a Priest or Priestess, we rotated each Sabbat who would cast and lead the circle so we could all get a feel for it, and on Esbats we were solitary. after so many years we decided to become a more serious coven, we had lost and gained many members, we decided to do some votes, and i was chosen Priestess. in most covens, you need to study for years and pass some ritual/tests the coven had chosen to prove you were knowledgeable i think, but each coven operates differently [unless they're branches from one coven]
yea, even i'm confused by that Eclectic Wicca, not really Wicca, but i'll teach you Wicca thing. as far as i can tell Eclectic is a grab bag of views, it is still at the heart Wicca though, that's very important to tell the difference between Eclectic Wicca and a whole new path. an Eclectic might pray to Isis and Pan, or wear a celtic cross, but they still follow the Wiccan Sabbats, Esbats, Rede and Threefold Law. you can't just ignore or rewrite Lammas because you feel it works better as the tale of Osiris.
the Green Man, like the Oak and Holy Kings, are sometimes viewed by Wiccans as part of the God, or is the God. i hope i helped in some way and didn't just confuse you more, Lark is better at explaining Wiccan concepts. the point i'm trying to make is, you can call yourself whatever you want, but you need to follow the handful of Wiccan rules. every Wiccan path follows the Rede, and you can't just change it, or put a star beside it and add 'unless they're mean' or 'unless i'm don't want to'. the Rede is up for personal interpretation, but to outright ignore it [not saying she is, but if she is] then it isn't Wicca, it's something else.
1. There isnt just one rede. There are many and they all swear to do good. 2. Wicca is simply the brittish word for witch but a garderian lineaged wiccan will argue that you cannot call yourself that because of what they had to go through to earn their degree. Just as some pagans have adopted the term because they didnt like the wide- view negative connotations that were applied to the words witch and pagan and ther practices are more similar than not. 3. The trick to getting the most out of whatever book you are reading is to not disect it and publicaly point out every part that you think someone may find fault with, but cherish the spiritual nuggets you do find while reading it. 4. If you dont like the book, then stop reading it or commit to 2 pages a day until its done just to get through it. I absolutely didnt like the art of war after the second chapter i could tell but it was suggested material so i kept on at 2 pages a day.
Let's see if I can clear up some of the confusion that you're having.
One doesn't have to be a member of a coven in order to be a priestess. In Wicca all practitioners are considered to be a priest or priestess. We need no one to intercede for us with our Gods. We have direct communion with them. Now, when you talk about a High Priest or High Priestess then you have to be part of a coven, in fact leading a coven to take on that job description.
When she says that she does not follow tradition, I believe she is saying she does not follow one of the acknowledged Wiccan Traditions such as Gardnerian, Central Valley, Black Forest, etc. That is very different from saying she does not follow the beliefs and practices of Wicca. But I can see how this could be considered confusing.
There are a lot of people who practice what they call Eclectic Wicca in which they add bits and pieces from other spiritual systems to their Wiccan practice. While some Traditionalists look down on this, I personally do not as long as their practice does not stray so far that it is no longer recognizably Wiccan. As you noted, there are some beliefs and practices that are central to the Wiccan religion (you can find my discussion of these at http://www.spellsofmagic.com/read_post.html?post=248610 ) There does come a point when the practices of one claiming to be Eclectic Wiccan may go so far from the core as to become a different path altogether.
To use myself as an example, I was originally trained in the Oak, Ash, and Thorn Tradition, and I am now initiated into the Gardnerian tradition. But in my personal practices at home I work with several of the Egyptian Gods and my altar is dedicated to them..so by that fact I could also be considered Eclectic. It is entirely possible to be either or both. There's a picture of my altar dedicated to Sekhmet at http://www.spellsofmagic.com/view_pic.html?profile=66900&...
And to comment on something that Dunsuknup said, the term Wicca is not the British word for Witch. It was the Anglo-Saxon word for a male witch, but that term passed out of usage for nearly a thousand years. Today the term Wicca applies to a very specific Neo-Pagan religion and to say that it is simply the British word for witch implies that all Witches are Wiccan which is patently incorrect.
In regards to that particular book, it isn't a bad book at all although not really high on my recommended reading list. Note that her co-author is Raymond Buckland who was himself initiated by Gerald Gardner and who was the first Wiccan High Priest in the USA. He is also the founder of Seax-Wicca. So they actually do know what they are talking about.
If I can help clarify anything else please feel free to ask.
Artindark. This is a perfect example of what i was saying. Websters dictionary (the most widely used definations of the english language in america) shows my definition and then the gardner/valentine definition. Plus i have read my statement various other places so it is still being used and apparently not in american english until gardner brought it over. Both answers are correct.
Re: Eclectic Wiccan ? By: Artindark Moderator / Adept
Post # 6 Feb 16, 2014
Dunsuknup,as a person that has highly analytic mind I consider as my duty to get down to the nity-gritty and actually understand what this author is exactly meaning ,not just jumping on assumptions and continuing to read absolutely baffled.I read things to learn something and I create threads to learn also something from people.But you have to understand that there is information and disinformaton in books, sometimes. People who have better understanding than me on the topic and are able to clarify (explain) to me what is their insight on this information , that is behind my understanding.I have to make sure that I understood everything correct ,which was not the case due to not sufficient experience and data,also I wanted to make sure I do not learn from a fluffy book.Once I memorize information it is hard for me to train my brain to not analyze data via this information,so I am saving myself a lot of future troubles.I will not say so that I did not agree ,I just had different view than she has due to things I have read before and that I have been told ,which were contradicting herself.I could not possibly disagree very solidly with statement if I already admitted that my knowledge is limited and therefore my reasoning might be faulty.Further more different people use occult terminology differently even despite the fact that dictionary gives few precise definitions for the word ,they still might choose to call things differently.I do not know what is the exact case with this author or everybody else that I do not ask personally what they meant by using given word.English either British or American is not exact language in meaning that many words have many meanings depending of the context ,but sometimes even the context might not give you exact clue.This is not the case with my native language.In my language every single word has exact one meaning ,so I had to switch from very precise language to a language in which there are few possible interpretation and if you do not know other person well you can not be 100 percent sure if they use the term correctly or not.
Lark,thank you very much for taking the time to give me and others this insight.It is much appreciated.I can keep reading now ,without worrying that I have put misinformation in my head.Besides I really dislike to not be able to wrap my mind around something ,so it is a big relief to me that I can now.
I also would like to thank Nekoshema and Dunsuknip for their contribution for this thread.