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Thread: Cherry-Picking Vs. Traditionalism

  1. #11
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    A very good way to go, and one that Gardner himself endorsed for Wiccans, is to follow a specific path and work with a group for the Sabbats and Esbats (which is less than a month altogether) - and the rest of the time do your own study and work with whatever path or diety you feel called to work with - as long as there isn't a huge conflict between the two paths of course.
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lunacie View Post
    A very good way to go, and one that Gardner himself endorsed for Wiccans, is to follow a specific path and work with a group for the Sabbats and Esbats (which is less than a month altogether) - and the rest of the time do your own study and work with whatever path or diety you feel called to work with - as long as there isn't a huge conflict between the two paths of course.

    What would be an expample of such a conflict? How would one resolve it?

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by malkookoo View Post
    What would be an expample of such a conflict? How would one resolve it?
    In my opinion one couldn't really be a Wiccan and honor the gods of Wicca in group practice - and then honor a god like Jehovah who is extremely jealous. I don't see any way to resolve that conflict and make both those paths work for the same person.
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  4. #14
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    Cherry-picking is never a good thing unless you are a farmer or a pie maker.
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terra Mater View Post
    Cherry-picking is never a good thing unless you are a farmer or a pie maker.

    Har har.

    That'll teach to pick my title more carefully...

  6. #16
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    IMO, if you say you are of one particular path, you have to follow the rules/traditions that make that path what it is...there, though, is personal space to move around and learn, you can look at things from different view points, study in different ways...

    but, if you are taking a bit from here, a bit from there, you aren't following a particularly "described" path...not a traditional one...

    but, as i always say...YOUR path is yours...whatever you do whether it have to do with your lifestyle, your beliefs, your whatever...EVERYONE follows their own path regardless of the purity of their tradition and their direct and straight path through it...that's why, IMO, there are a lot of solitary practitioners...you can't fill a person completely all the time with one path...their beliefs/truths aren't always going to coincide with a certain tradition 100%

    like me, i could fit in with the Dianics...but i work with male deities...i work with darker aspects of the goddess/god....i see the goddess as three fold...my personal styles and non-religious thoughts resonate throughout my magical workings...IMO, you couldn't truly fit me anywhere...

    So, i suppose i shall remain solitary and, as i go down MY path, i'll pick up any stray cherries laying on the roadside...if i think it's rotten, i'll toss it aside...if not, i'll eat it...
    Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love

  7. #17
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    Both ways have merit, and things to be gained from them.

    The only problem is when people claim to do one thing and do another, thus falsely representing what they are claiming. Leads to confusion and misrepresents someone else's tradition.

    If your eclectic, cool, but don't claim to be following a certain specific trad if your not. That's just identity theft.

    I've done both ways, and have found them to be useful. You can get lots of growth out of really working a particular system. But that doesn't work for everyone, sometimes you need a more diversified spiritual portfolio..for a certain time in your life, or because situations change.

    But I think that people tend to give traditionalists a bum rap and that does bother me. There is much potential for real deep spiritual growth by following one path with deep respect and intent, it's not all about being narrow minded, feeling superior, being unable to think for oneself or all that other stuff. Sometimes it can be really helpful to just focus on one thing, to practice some discipline, to allow oneself to get very deep into a thing and get very practiced in it. It's like choosing a major in college, it doesnt' mean you don't appreciate the elective courses, just that you recognize the worth of giving one area more intense focus.
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  8. #18
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    This is an easier question to answer with religions like Islam that have a core statement of faith. If you believe that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet, that's all you have to believe. The other Pillars of Faith are all about action. So whatever else you believe, that one statement is your criterion. If you're on board with that, you're on board with Islam. If not, you're not.

    Religions like Hinduism, Wicca, etc. are much trickier. A hard statement of faith like that--while extremely useful from a perspective of creating and sustaining a cultural identity for the group--is difficult precisely because excluding what is "not us" from what is "us" is contrary to what many Pagans want to see happening. Which basically means that developing any kind of coherent cultural identity within the group is contrary to what many Pagans want to see happening.

    Christianity is somewhere in the middle. There are certainly statements of faith ("Jesus Christ is the son of the One True God and he died to redeem us from sin" or the like), but because there are so many definitions with their own interest in developing a unique core identity (which means they allow and exclude beliefs or believers based on criteria of their own in order to keep a coherent definition of their group)... there is a lot of fuzziness there. For example, multiple schools of thought about the nature of Christ.

    There are the Nestorians, who feel that Jesus the man and Christ the son of God are effectively two different essences, even though they're centered around one guy and one name. Catholics are obviously not down with this (since whether the Virgin Mary was mother to just the human nature of Jesus or whether she birthed the whole kit and caboodle is kind of an important disputing point for them).

    What I'm saying with all of this is that there are a lot of Muslims who meet the clearly-defined criteria set out by Islam, and are therefore justifiably defined as Muslim. There are Muslims who fit culturally but may not believe in the Shahadah. Islam has an easier time defining one as Muslim and one not than traditions like the various Pagan groups.

    My personal feeling is that traditional groups are including and excluding certain beliefs out of a desire to maintain a cohesive identity. They basically just want to be able to know who they are. This isn't important to some Pagan groups, but out of respect to the ones that do place a priority on it, I wouldn't claim their name unless I fit their definitions. For groups that don't care who claims their name, sometimes I will when I'm intersecting with them.

    So for me it's not about needing to define myself "correctly." It's about defining myself in a way that is respectful to the groups I may or may not be a part of depending on how much of a priority they place on being cohesive and how important it is to them to know who they are as a group.

    So for me, it's not about an "Old Guard" needing to control their followers. It's about a group controlling their own identity, and if I respect them I'll let them do that for themselves if they need it. I won't take away their power to know who they are by clinging on to the group and muddling things up if the truth is that I'm actually something different from them.

    That felt like a long ramble, but I hope I sort of got around to the point in there somewhere.
    "There are mighty few people who think what they think they think." Robert Henri

  9. #19
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    I think that a person should stick to one path and work with it. If only because if we only choose to work with or study what we like then we're not really learning what we need to. Some times the stuff we like the least is what we need to learn. And like other people have said you also get conflcits that arise between the paths, and those can be hard to get around unless you do some real planning before hand.
    As I was walking all alane, I heard twa corbies making a mane, the tane unto the nither did day, What sall we gang and dine the day?

  10. #20
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    Contrary to what some reconstructionists seem to think, I respect the basic principles of traditionalism. I can understand why some people would want to try and stick as close to the original traditions of whatever it is they're interested in as possible. If that's what it takes for you to advance spiritually, then I say do it.

    But at the same time, I don't like how ecleciticism receives the criticism that it does. It's one thing if you don't like it and it doesn't float your boat. It's another if you think you have any business telling other people how to live their spiritual lives. I personally do not see anything disrespectful about "cherry picking" so long as it is practiced for the right reasons. Say, if you feel like Kali Ma and Odin are both calling you to their service at the same time, and you feel a bizarre necessity to combine Hindu and Norse mysticism in some way. If it's a deep spiritual need you have, then GO with it. And forget about the people who would criticize you for it. If they feel "insulted" by it then IMO that's their problem, not yours.

    And whatever you choose to label yourself is your business...Doesn't matter if other people agree with the word choice or not. Not everybody who uses the same label really agrees on just what that label's supposed to mean, anyway. (Case in point: "Christian.") But then again, I tend to think of labels as being expendable anyway.
    Last edited by Darth Brooks; February 23rd, 2009 at 08:28 PM.
    My God is a real Ass; He butchered the Dying-and-Rising Lord, He stole the Eye from the Hawk, He sires the Children of Rebellion, and He lusts after God and Goddess alike. Every green and growing thing shrivels into dust at His touch; every convention is violated by the seed of His loins. He brings drought and infertility to the land, and He has no respect for the crook or the flail. Yet without Him, the slave would never break free from his bondage, the evil serpent would devour the sun, and the future would never come to pass.

    The song of the tempest is His name.


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