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Author Topic: General/Non-Specific: Having trouble giving a name to my practice  (Read 2022 times)

Hippie-Witch

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Having trouble giving a name to my practice
« on: May 02, 2018, 04:02:58 pm »
Hi there! I'm having a bit of an issue that has been bothering me for a little while.
I'm ready to fully self-initiate into a practice and dive in. I have been studying many different forms of paganism and, for the most part, I follow about a 90% Wiccan practice with a bit of variance.

Like, I prefer a nice tea and an apple to cake and ale for ritual and as libations for the God and Goddess. In smaller ritual, simply ash and smoke.
I believe all Gods and Goddesses are simply different faces of the same dualistic energy that somewhere merge together and become one.
Yet I don't believe in things like the 3-fold law. I do believe what you put out will return to you, but it seems to be fairly equal to me rather than by 3.
I believe someone can curse someone, but they better be prepared to be cursed as well.
I'm not in a coven and likely never will be. I've been opening up a bit more lately, but I'm generally quite introverted.
I'm more drawn to the Goddess than the God but understand they live in perfect balance and are equally important.
I believe in an astral plane that we reside on until we choose to be reborn, but do not call that plane The Summerlands.

Sorry, I feel like that was a bit jumbled. Hopefully, I've explained well enough to be able to get some of your opinions.

Should I call myself an Eclectic Witch or an Eclectic Wiccan?
Does it not even matter?

I feel kind of silly to be fretting about title. What's in a name, and all that. I just feel like it's something that seems important to people.

Thank you so much everyone!
"There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn't that kind of the point?"

Sefiru

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Re: Having trouble giving a name to my practice
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2018, 06:22:30 pm »

Should I call myself an Eclectic Witch or an Eclectic Wiccan?
Does it not even matter?


If it matters to you, it's worth thinking about.

You could call yourself just Eclectic?

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Re: Having trouble giving a name to my practice
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2018, 06:44:34 pm »
I feel kind of silly to be fretting about title. What's in a name, and all that. I just feel like it's something that seems important to people.

I get it. I fretted for ages about what to call my own practice.

Bhakti Yoga? Hinduism? Vedic Paganism? Pagan Adjacent Hinduism? Ecclectic Hinduism? Hindu Syncretism?

I've probably used at least a dozen different labels on this site since I joined. I think I finally found one that works for me; somewhat ironically, I went for a rather straightforward, traditional label. "Sri Vaishnavism" is an traditional school of Hinduism that fits my practice -somewhat- closely and works for me.

I would recommend picking whichever label feels most comfortable to you. It doesn't have to fit 100%
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

Hippie-Witch

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Re: Having trouble giving a name to my practice
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2018, 08:45:14 am »
If it matters to you, it's worth thinking about.

You could call yourself just Eclectic?
Thank you very much  :)
"There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn't that kind of the point?"

Hippie-Witch

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Re: Having trouble giving a name to my practice
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2018, 08:46:46 am »
I get it. I fretted for ages about what to call my own practice.

Bhakti Yoga? Hinduism? Vedic Paganism? Pagan Adjacent Hinduism? Ecclectic Hinduism? Hindu Syncretism?

I've probably used at least a dozen different labels on this site since I joined. I think I finally found one that works for me; somewhat ironically, I went for a rather straightforward, traditional label. "Sri Vaishnavism" is an traditional school of Hinduism that fits my practice -somewhat- closely and works for me.

I would recommend picking whichever label feels most comfortable to you. It doesn't have to fit 100%
Thank you :) Hopefully I can find and really identify with whatever label I choose in the future.
"There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn't that kind of the point?"

Jenett

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Re: Having trouble giving a name to my practice
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2018, 09:19:42 am »
Should I call myself an Eclectic Witch or an Eclectic Wiccan?
Does it not even matter?

People use the term 'Wiccan' in a variety of ways, which is part of why this gets confusing. I've got an article up on my website about the different options that might help you sort through it.

Given what you've described, I think you have enough differences from common Wiccan practices that while Eclectic Wiccan might be okay ('Wiccan' without the 'Eclectic' would definitely be more misleading/confusing to others) but "Eclectic Witch" or "Religious Witch" (if you wanted to emphasise the religious/deity part more) would probably be a better fit

One thing that might be helpful is to think about what ways a name or label is useful or not useful. There's two sides to this: what people will assume or think about you based on what you mention as your chosen label, and how various labels will or won't help you find other people, resources, or options.

It may also be a thing where context matters - for example, what you put in your religion box on this site can be helpful for people to put your comments in context. A lot of people put in things that indicate 'it's complicated' in various ways, which helps other people reading know that someone talking about their experiences that reflect a variety of practices. But someone with a single widely used label like Wicca or a specific reconstructionist approach or whatever might be presumed to be talking more from that particular perspective, and to some extent representing it.

That's different than, say, explaining it to someone casually ("What's your religion") or making a choice for something like a hospital registration form (where you may just want to signal 'someone who is okay with talking about other options than the religions of the book.) In those cases you might use a more general term, or start with "Are you familiar with Wicca? Sort of like that."

Likewise, if you know that you're identifying your practice primarily at witchcraft, rather than Wicca, that will help you filter for resources that might be more helpful for you. (You probably don't want a book about trad Wicca, you might want one about specific kinds of practices from a Wiccan author, you are probably more interested in materials from people in the extremely wide variety of religious witchcraft practices that aren't trad or initiatory Wicca, and so on. And it will help you put comments from other people in a useful context for you.)

As a note, a lot of people struggle with the 3fold Law: there are different ways to view it that may make more sense to you. I should also probably note that 'self-initiate' is a complex term that gets pushback from people, and 'dedication', 'commitment', or something else like that may be better descriptors to others. (That's a whole other topic: I'm glad to go into it more if you'd like!)
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Hippie-Witch

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Re: Having trouble giving a name to my practice
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2018, 10:44:27 am »
People use the term 'Wiccan' in a variety of ways, which is part of why this gets confusing. I've got an article up on my website about the different options that might help you sort through it.

Given what you've described, I think you have enough differences from common Wiccan practices that while Eclectic Wiccan might be okay ('Wiccan' without the 'Eclectic' would definitely be more misleading/confusing to others) but "Eclectic Witch" or "Religious Witch" (if you wanted to emphasise the religious/deity part more) would probably be a better fit

One thing that might be helpful is to think about what ways a name or label is useful or not useful. There's two sides to this: what people will assume or think about you based on what you mention as your chosen label, and how various labels will or won't help you find other people, resources, or options.

It may also be a thing where context matters - for example, what you put in your religion box on this site can be helpful for people to put your comments in context. A lot of people put in things that indicate 'it's complicated' in various ways, which helps other people reading know that someone talking about their experiences that reflect a variety of practices. But someone with a single widely used label like Wicca or a specific reconstructionist approach or whatever might be presumed to be talking more from that particular perspective, and to some extent representing it.

That's different than, say, explaining it to someone casually ("What's your religion") or making a choice for something like a hospital registration form (where you may just want to signal 'someone who is okay with talking about other options than the religions of the book.) In those cases you might use a more general term, or start with "Are you familiar with Wicca? Sort of like that."

Likewise, if you know that you're identifying your practice primarily at witchcraft, rather than Wicca, that will help you filter for resources that might be more helpful for you. (You probably don't want a book about trad Wicca, you might want one about specific kinds of practices from a Wiccan author, you are probably more interested in materials from people in the extremely wide variety of religious witchcraft practices that aren't trad or initiatory Wicca, and so on. And it will help you put comments from other people in a useful context for you.)

As a note, a lot of people struggle with the 3fold Law: there are different ways to view it that may make more sense to you. I should also probably note that 'self-initiate' is a complex term that gets pushback from people, and 'dedication', 'commitment', or something else like that may be better descriptors to others. (That's a whole other topic: I'm glad to go into it more if you'd like!)
Thank you so much Jenett! You're always so helpful  :D
The way you describe the 3 fold law makes so much more sense. It doesn't come back 3 times, but it effects us in 3 different ways.

One of my main issues was my lack of ability to descibe my practice. I suppose there is nothing wrong with saying, "It's very similar to Wicca, but I follow a more eclectic and intuitive path rather than an organized path"

Sorry, by "self-initiation" I really did mean more of a dedication. A full-bodied commitment to walk in my path the best that I can each and every day. To learn and grow, even when I don't feel like it. Read a chapter of a book, meditate, not be lazy about spirituality. I have a bad habit of just smoking up and zoning out for most of the day. I want my life to be more than that.

How would one dedicate to a path without a name? I think one of the reasons I liked Wicca is because I like neat little boxes. Yet, at the same time, if something doesn't feel 100% right I'm probably going to do it in a way that feels better to me. So I'm not really a person who fits into neat boxes very well.

Thanks :)

Reason for edit: typo
« Last Edit: May 03, 2018, 10:47:29 am by Hippie-Witch »
"There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn't that kind of the point?"

Hippie-Witch

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Re: Having trouble giving a name to my practice
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2018, 01:25:08 pm »
How would one dedicate to a path without a name? I think one of the reasons I liked Wicca is because I like neat little boxes. Yet, at the same time, if something doesn't feel 100% right I'm probably going to do it in a way that feels better to me. So I'm not really a person who fits into neat boxes very well.

So I chose to meditate and follow that meditation with a writing of a potential dedication.
I really like what I wrote and plan on building on it.
I ended it with "As I will it, So shall it be" and then chose to Google it to see if that's from anything.
Turns out it's from "The Craft" lol
Apparently, I'm subconsciously inspired by this film
"There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn't that kind of the point?"

Riothamus12

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Re: Having trouble giving a name to my practice
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2018, 02:16:07 pm »
Hi there! I'm having a bit of an issue that has been bothering me for a little while.
I'm ready to fully self-initiate into a practice and dive in. I have been studying many different forms of paganism and, for the most part, I follow about a 90% Wiccan practice with a bit of variance.

Like, I prefer a nice tea and an apple to cake and ale for ritual and as libations for the God and Goddess. In smaller ritual, simply ash and smoke.
I believe all Gods and Goddesses are simply different faces of the same dualistic energy that somewhere merge together and become one.
Yet I don't believe in things like the 3-fold law. I do believe what you put out will return to you, but it seems to be fairly equal to me rather than by 3.
I believe someone can curse someone, but they better be prepared to be cursed as well.
I'm not in a coven and likely never will be. I've been opening up a bit more lately, but I'm generally quite introverted.
I'm more drawn to the Goddess than the God but understand they live in perfect balance and are equally important.
I believe in an astral plane that we reside on until we choose to be reborn, but do not call that plane The Summerlands.

Sorry, I feel like that was a bit jumbled. Hopefully, I've explained well enough to be able to get some of your opinions.

Should I call myself an Eclectic Witch or an Eclectic Wiccan?
Does it not even matter?

I feel kind of silly to be fretting about title. What's in a name, and all that. I just feel like it's something that seems important to people.

Thank you so much everyone!

Kind of reminds me of when I tried to come up with a name for my own tradition. I tried several different languages to see if there was a word that could accurately sum up my theology. I was attempted to use something along the lines of Dharma given it's complex, multilayered meaning, but given that the core teachings are derived from Western/European Pagan and esoteric religions and philosophies, it would prove misleading and appropriative. I could find no satisfactory word in English, in Gaelic, in Latin, in Greek, in Nordic tongues or any other. For what word means wisdom, justice, balance, righteousness, mysticism, universal, truth, reciprocity, natural, and manifold all at once? What word conveys that? So I just call it the Nameless Path, for no one word or series of words that would require a paragraph I could find accurately sums it up in short form.
https://inthespiritofconversation.wordpress.com/
I started a blog. Feel free to peruse. It's still in it's early stages and I have to write more, so do bare with me if it's all a little basic so far.

Hariti

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Re: Having trouble giving a name to my practice
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2018, 02:42:44 pm »
I could find no satisfactory word in English, in Gaelic, in Latin, in Greek, in Nordic tongues or any other. For what word means wisdom, justice, balance, righteousness, mysticism, universal, truth, reciprocity, natural, and manifold all at once? What word conveys that?

I know one! Dharma! Sorry... I couldn't help myself. I understand your hesitance to use the term, but it does fit quite nicely. Speaking as a Hindu, I know some people are touchier than others; I wouldn't care if you used it, but other's with different sentiments might.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: Having trouble giving a name to my practice
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2018, 09:05:57 pm »
Sorry, by "self-initiation" I really did mean more of a dedication. A full-bodied commitment to walk in my path the best that I can each and every day. To learn and grow, even when I don't feel like it. Read a chapter of a book, meditate, not be lazy about spirituality. I have a bad habit of just smoking up and zoning out for most of the day. I want my life to be more than that.

How would one dedicate to a path without a name?

I think Dedication is definitely the word you want there - for two reasons. One is the complexities and implications of the word 'initiation', but the other is that usually dedication is the first step. You want to give yourself time to try things out, make a commitment but not a significantly long-term one. It takes time to figure out what you want to commit to, and time to figure out what kinds of commitments are good for you, and what aren't.

You don't actually need a handy short name for doing a dedication - you can dedicate to learning, to studying. Some people dedicate themselves to learning more about a particular deity, or a particular technique.

(And in group contexts, people dedicate to learning about the group and learning different things: I am actually doing a class on dedication with my current students on Saturday, so I will see if I manage to produce a written version of what we talk about.)

Initiation, on the other hand, has implications of being connected to a tradition or religious mystery or set of experiences that connect you with other people - so doing it to/for yourself is a bit complicated. (I think there are some applications of the word that may make sense in solo practice, but they're not usually the ones people mean when they use the word.) Because of the potential confusion, I think it's really good to be clear with yourself and with others about what you're doing and what you mean by it, which usually means using more words anyway.
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Hippie-Witch

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Re: Having trouble giving a name to my practice
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2018, 07:38:19 am »
I think Dedication is definitely the word you want there - for two reasons. One is the complexities and implications of the word 'initiation', but the other is that usually dedication is the first step. You want to give yourself time to try things out, make a commitment but not a significantly long-term one. It takes time to figure out what you want to commit to, and time to figure out what kinds of commitments are good for you, and what aren't.

You don't actually need a handy short name for doing a dedication - you can dedicate to learning, to studying. Some people dedicate themselves to learning more about a particular deity, or a particular technique.

(And in group contexts, people dedicate to learning about the group and learning different things: I am actually doing a class on dedication with my current students on Saturday, so I will see if I manage to produce a written version of what we talk about.)

Initiation, on the other hand, has implications of being connected to a tradition or religious mystery or set of experiences that connect you with other people - so doing it to/for yourself is a bit complicated. (I think there are some applications of the word that may make sense in solo practice, but they're not usually the ones people mean when they use the word.) Because of the potential confusion, I think it's really good to be clear with yourself and with others about what you're doing and what you mean by it, which usually means using more words anyway.
Thank you very much :)
I think "Eclectic Pagan Witch" works for me right now. I didn't like it before because of how vague it is. However, maybe being vague is a good thing. I'm not constricted by a set of rules so I can always keep learning and growing in my practice.

I feel much more comfortable and confident dedicating myself this way now. Thanks again!
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