Over eight years ago, while living in Montreal, I walked into a magic store, bought "The Spiral Dance" and never looked back. I just couldn't identify with a male, patriarchal religion. I couldn't connect, I couldn't reconcile the history, so many of the teachings and it just felt so disconnected from where I found Spirit. In Nature.
Eclectic Wiccan (or pagan) I find myself. It feels right. I feel like I found my Spiritual Home.
So, obviously I must take part in sexual ritual in my 'coven' of Engorged Lunar Mists (ELM), sacrifice small animals and make 'magick' with a "K". Right?
My spirituality is an extremely private matter that I don't discuss with hardly anyone. Not my friends, not my family and rarely even my husband. It's not because I'm embarrassed, I just feel like it's Sacred.
Unfortunately, with all the hoopla recently around Mr Friend and his apparent 'Wiccan' status I feel that not enough pagans, or yogi-pagans have written about it. So- I thought perhaps I'd share what being Eclectic Wiccan means to me. (please understand that the beauty of Wicca and Paganism is it's diversity. What you read here will be MY practice, but do not assume that another Wiccan or Pagan that you meet will believe or practice similarly).
For a Pagan response and nicely linked post, check out The Wild Hunt on the John Friend Anusara Scandal. Then come back here :)
Firstly, I don't practice within a coven. Like I said, my spirituality is intensely personal and private, solitary Wiccan I remain. From what I've read (which isn't exhaustive, but is plenty), covens most certainly do NOT engage in sexual acts or orgies. With Beltane, a Wiccan (and pagan) holiday approaching, the symbolism of the sexual act may be re-enacted, or even a sacred coupling between two consenting adults, but never willy nilly to 'raise energy'. See more at The Wild Hunt.
Wicca is a recognized religion and is generally thought to be formed as it stands today about sixty years ago (give or take). Despite early theories that Wiccans and Pagans practiced the 'old religion' they haven't been substantiated. Please check out wiki for a brief intro.
What I believe:
- I believe in a Divine Force that for myself is the Goddess. She resides in all of us, in all of Nature from plants to rocks to the water we drink. I recognize that there is a Male aspect, but I honestly don't recognize myself in any 'God' practice- for myself all, including the Male, is a part of the Goddess. (This is kinda a huge hiccup in my calling myself 'Wiccan'- it's a bit of a requirement to believe in both the God and the Goddess... but I don't like identifying as 'Dianic Wicca')
- I believe in the Elements of Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Spirit as being Sacred, True Energies.
- I believe that Life is a Cycle and we're all turning on the Wheel. Our Energy doesn't fade, but after death we are reborn as part of Nature or as another person. Thusly, I firmly believe in reincarnation.
- I believe that as Energy is a part of All, which comes from the Goddess, and that it can interact with other Energies- whether they are human or not.
- As a result, I believe that I can subtly direct my Energy and guide it (perhaps not always successfully) along a certain path.
- I believe that what I send out comes back to myself Three Fold and that my actions have consequences. As a result I will strive to harm none. (Wiccan Rede).
What I actually "do":
- I celebrate 'Sabbats' which are solar based, seasonal and comprise of Eight holidays:
- Yule: December 20-23 (winter solstice)
- Imbolc: February 1-2
- Ostara: March 20-23 (spring equinox)
- Beltane: May 1st
- Litha: June 20-23 (summer solstice)
- Lughnassadh: August 2
- Mabon: September 20-23 (autumn equinox)
- Samhain: October 31 (Wiccan New Year)
- Lunar phases are sacred- New Moon, Waxing Moon, Full Moon and Waning Moon. The Moon represents the energy of the Goddess and this guides my practice (below).
- I read Tarot cards, will cast a circle, purify a room or an object and imbue objects with Blessings, Protection or ask for the Energy of the Goddess.
- My main time of 'worship' or connection with the Goddess is during my Yoga practice (but it can occur if I have the opportunity to sit quietly in some space).
- I Ground my Energy with that of the Goddess's (through the Earth) and reconnect during meditation.
What being Eclectic Wiccan truly means in my world:
- I sometimes lie when people ask my faith. Knowing that I'm Wiccan or Pagan would have a significant effect on my professional working relationships in Acadian communities. Last week, at one of my presentations a principal asked if I was Catholic (in reference to discussing guilt). Most Acadians are, and since culturally I was raised one I said 'yes'. Even if it felt wrong, being openly Wiccan or Pagan isn't 'safe' or 'acceptable' yet.
- I'm constantly explaining what I believe (and that no Pagans didn't actually participate in human sacrifice).
- I couldn't ask to have my spiritual belief as part of my public family wedding. Jesus got invited and was announced while I had quiet moments of asking the Goddess her blessing, placing ourselves in a circle of white candles near the ocean to simultaneously represent the four elements and a circle. All surreptitiously and secretive.
- I celebrate my holidays quietly, privately and try to incorporate all that I can into Christian timetables for family, friends and work (as, like other non-Christian religions, I don't have my holidays off).
- Reading how Wicca is being warped and changed by this JF fiasco, or how some yoga bloggers felt it would be acceptable to poke fun at the word 'magick' (see comments) is difficult and disappointing. I expect yogis to be more open and accepting. (that said, there have been many fabulous yoga bloggers who've been quite clear that what JF did was not 'wicca', or this post on Yoga Modern).
All that said, and I wouldn't trade this beautiful spiritual practice for anything. I have never felt more connected and at Home than with my belief in the Goddess.