Question from Rowan Pendragon of Pagan Blog Project...
"Eclectic Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism – Eclectic practice is something that can be a big debate in different parts of the Pagan community. Some feel that being eclectic opens you up to a whole world of ideas and tools that with the more narrow view of a specific tradition just isn't available. Yet others feel that being eclectic equates to a practice that is lacking in structure and commitment to anything. Are you eclectic? What are your thoughts on eclectic vs. traditional practice and how do you feel eclectic work benefits you if that’s the path you follow?"
To me the term Eclectic in the Craft means that the Witch (or Pagan/Wiccan) is not tied to one particular Path, but instead implements practices from several different Paths into his/her personal practice of the Craft. In my case I have been pulled towards Native American Path as well as the Celtic Path, but I also have an interest in Greek, Roman and Hindu mythology, I have been taking courses in the Correllian Tradition, and I have a Christian background... I am Spiritually Eclectic.
As for Eclectic practice equating to a lack of structure and commitment, well in my case the lack of structure is essentially correct as I have never been a person of structure. I am not an organized person nor a person that abides by a daily schedule, other than getting my butt out of bed and going to work during my work week. My rituals are simplistic vs. the more elaborate structured rituals, and my Spell Work is also simple and basic, usually Candle Magick. I rarely do a full blown structured ritual, as my schedule is willy nilly. I pull from several different Paths/Traditions and use what feels right to me, when it suits me, so yes I guess you could say that I lack structure... but that falls into one of the benefits of being Eclectic and a Witch.
As for the commitment issue, yes I guess you can also say that I do lack commitment in that I have not committed myself to any one particular Path or Deity; however I am committed to respecting the Earth, acknowledging the Seasons and the blessings each of them brings, giving thanks for the blessings in my life, growing spiritually, helping others however I can, and to continue to learn.
I prefer the term Witch; I do not consider myself a Wiccan per say, and I say that because I do not follow a specific Wiccan Tradition, yes I have interest in Wicca but my Spiritual Path is more open as is my ritual style... instead, I practice Witchcraft. What's the difference? Let's see if I can explain this without making a total mess out of it, shall we...
Wicca is a religion, specifically an initiatory religion where students, or more specifically initiates (or in some cases dedicates) begin in a basic level of the religion, called a Degree, and work their way up to Clergy; they usually work in a Coven, however there are Solitary Wiccans who prefer to work alone. Wiccans worship specific deity... the God and Goddess, or the God or Goddess, either way, they also celebrate Sabbats and Esbats. The Wheel of the Year (the changing Seasons) is an essential component of Wicca.
Witchcraft, otherwise referred to as the Craft, is a skill that is learned over a period of time, and in case you are wondering, it is NOT devil worship, let's get that clear right now. The belief that Witches practice devil worship or human and/or animal sacrifice is a misconception created by the Church and fictionalized by Hollywood for its fear factor. The Craft involves spell work (casting spells) and the practice of Magick but it is not geared to any specific Spiritual Path or any specific deity; it can be practiced in a Coven or as a Solitary and is more of a generalized practice open to a variety of magickal practices. Witchcraft may also include celebrating the Sabbats and Esbats, however it is not limited to these times, as spellwork may be conducted on any day of the year.
You may be asking, what is Paganism? Paganism quite simply, is the belief or worship of other deity other than the Christian God, or more than one deity such as the God and/or Goddess. The God and/or Goddess can be of a certain Pantheon or a variety of Pantheons.
In my case I am Eclectic, a Witch, and a Pagan.
You will note that I have linked the terminology for additional information that may aid in understanding the definition of these terms. Hopefully this post clears up any confusion, rather than generates confusion LOL