Eclectic Paganism

Eclectic Paganism, also occasionally termed Universalist or Non-denominational Paganism,[1][2] is a form of modern Paganism where practitioners will blend paganism with aspects of other religions or philosophies.[3][4] In the book Handbook of New Age, Melissa Harrington states that "Eclectic Pagans do not follow any particular Paganism, but follow a Pagan religious path, that includes the overall Pagan ethos of reverence for the ancient Gods, participation in a magical world view, stewardship and caring for the Earth, and 'nature religion.'"[1] The practice of Eclectic Paganism is particularly popular with Pagans in North America and the British Isles.[5][2]

Eclectic Paganism has been compared to Reconstructionist Paganism, as Reconstructionist Pagans try to reconstruct the religious traditions of specific groups or time periods while Eclectic Pagans will borrow from several different cultures, philosophies, and time periods.[6][7]

There are various benefits and drawbacks from labeling one's self as eclectic pagan. On one hand the label is broad and allows for various practices and beliefs. Without the concrete rules of organized religion the practitioner can explore various religions, philosophies, practices, and cultures while remaining within the bounds of the label. Individuality can also be expressed by creating ones own beliefs, philosophies, and rules. On the other hand, this label might be confusing, especially for an individual trying to discover their beliefs. The label also blurs the lines between cultures which can lead to accidental or even intentional cultural appropriation.

Use of Social Media

The use of social media within eclectic paganism is both a blessing and a curse. Within cultures that discriminate and oppress pagan or occult beliefs and practices, social media can provide a safe haven for learning and discussion; and within all cultures social media allows for the creation of pagan communities. In the past most pagan traditions were passed down through oral traditions and within families or covens. Now with social media information can be reached by anyone. [8] These communities are vast and can incorporate multiple religions, traditions, and cultures; and while this can be beneficial for an eclectic pagan, it may lead to Cultural appropriation.


Similarly to body norms and straight culture, the "witchy aesthetic" has been portrayed as normal and correct. This belief can be hurtful to some eclectic pagans. Not only do concepts such as this undermine the beliefs of individuals, they show an inaccurate description of the concept to outside people. [9]

See also

References

  1. Kemp, Daren; Lewis, James R. (2007). Handbook of New Age. Brill Publishers. pp. 435–436. ISBN 9004153551. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  2. Lesiv, Mariya (2013). The Return of Ancestral Gods. Mcgill-Queens University Press. p. 22. ISBN 0773542620. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  3. Davy, Barbara Jane (2006). Introduction to Pagan Studies. Rowman Altamira. pp. 5, 194. ISBN 978-0-7591-0818-9. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  4. Jennings, Peter (2002). Pagan Paths. Random House UK. pp. 113–116. ISBN 9780712611060. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  5. Kermani, S. Zohreh (2013). Pagan Family Values. NYU Press. p. 46. ISBN 1479894605. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  6. Strmiska, Michael; Strmiska, Michael F. (2005). Modern Paganism in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives. ABC-CLIO. pp. 18–22, 41, 47. ISBN 9781851096084. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  7. Rountree, Kathryn (2015). Contemporary Pagan and Native Faith Movements in Europe. Berghahn Books. p. 12. ISBN 9781782386476. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  8. Morrison, Mora (2018-10-17). "Witches of Instagram: how social media's Wiccans formed a 'community not a coven'". inews.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  9. Gorham, Bradley W. (2019-02-26), "Media Effects", Race/Gender/Class/Media, Routledge, pp. 13–18, ISBN 9781351630276, retrieved 2019-05-04
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