Monday, December 10, 2007

I think that it's important that everyone is able to express their own opinions, but I feel it is equally important that we try to stop lumping stereotypes together. I have considered myself an ecclectic wiccan and have read many and written a few books.
I don't believe that anyone can or should judge a person's devotion based on length of time of a ritual. A hollow heart can pray all day, but that does not make him/her anymore devout than a sincere person who walks his/her talk, and doesn't perform any rituals. It's what's in a person's heart and soul that counts.
In my many years of study, I think the most important thing I've learned is that we're all still learning, still evolving... and a rose by any other name, would smell as sweet.
My reasons for incorperating different pantheons comes from past life connections. So, yes, I will have statues of Isis, Kuan Yin, and Ganeesh in my home. If I had to chose one it would be Isis. She speaks to my soul, and yet I am not Egyptian (not in this lifetime).
I say, it's the journey that counts, not the color horse you ride. Personally, I really don't like labels and that's another reason 'eclectic' works for me. Basically, as I've said in my bio, "I'm a spiritual being having human experiences."~ Wayne Dyer.
Of course these are just some of my thoughts on the subject.

With love and respect,Ella


VirtualWordsmith said...

I agree.

I am going to post on my blog about why I choose to be eclectic, and one of the reasons is that my ancestors are pretty much all from the general U.K. area, and one of my ancestors was a Native American.

Labels are a one-size fits all deal, and I'm not a one size kind of person.

wordsmith said...

Ella, I couldn't agree with you more. I'm by family faith a practicing Catholic, but encorporate aspects of many other positive belief systems into our family life and did so in my personal life before I was married and had kids. I think that when people are (for want of a better word) xenophobic thought about other religions/beliefs/practices, and stuck on labels is almost to go against all that is the essense of spirtuality. Goodness--I really hope that made sense. Great post!

Mary B said...

Boy do I hear you on this one. I'm a christian, but not of the fundementalist variety. And I live in Texas in the Bible Belt. Yeah. My husband and I are viewed as oddities and worse because we embrace ideas out of what is the mainstream here. Nice blog post.

~Soccer Mom

Virginia Lee said...

Nicely written, Ella. I've always believed that it's Faith that matters, not religion. Even though my dad was an Episcopal priest, I always seemed to understand that religion was something created by humans as a means of understanding and control. Faith, on the other hand, simply is.

DementedM said...

I totally agree with you. I have always found that the more rigidly people adhere to a belief system, they more petty and small-hearted they are.


Rebecca Laffar-Smith said...

The hardest things about labels is that they're so limiting. People 'might' label me an atheist. I don't believe in 'God'. But there is more to it than that.

It's not that I don't believe in a higher power simply that the representations of God in various religions around the world seem skewed. Are we really such egotists to believe we are made in God's image? Are we so limited to believe that God has to take some sort of form at all?

Sorry, not the time to get into a rambling about what I actually DO believe.

What I really mean is that labels don't seem to offer enough freedom for will. We can be all sorts of labels but it doesn't cover every nuance that makes us the unique individuals we are. Eclectic is just another label that doesn't say it all either.

It's interesting to see the discussion on this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Melanie Avila said...

I agree that you can't label a group a call it a day. I was raised a Christian and still believe, but I don't go to church regularly. My husband was raised a Jehovah's Witness but doesn't practise anything.

Now we live near his family and I find myself reexaming and explaining my beliefs to a group that want to show me the way. Meaning 'their' way. It's hard to convince a fiercely devout group that you believe when it doesn't come in the same shape as their faith.

plaidearthworm said...

I have a Kwan Yin, and tried to get a Ganeesh statue, but things kept happening to put it out of my reach, so apparently Ganeesh isn't for me. In the last few years, though, the Divine has been more of an energy, a connection that defies representation. It's interesting to see how my beliefs adjust and evolve as the years pass. Praying in the moonlight seems to connect me more than anything else, so tolerance and understanding of other faiths is coming a little easier these days. :)

Marilyn said...

It's awful when people apply stereotypes,but in all honesty it's also human nature.

I don't think there's a person on earth who doesn't hold some type of bias towards another nationality or sex, or sexual orientation. I also think that there isn't a person on earth who isn't racist. If someone claims they aren't (or have never been) then I think they're lying.

Maybe maintaining a facade of not holding stereotypes or being racist is a stereotype in itself - "I'm more evolved than you" thinking. No stereotype is true, no one is perfect, but no one is innocent either.

Kathleen Frassrand said...

I couldn't agree with you more about stereotypes and judgments. I am a very spiritual person.. though I am confused about all of my beliefs. I was born and raised atheist.. and am now married to a Catholic. Neither truly resonates with me (Catholicism or atheism). I have never found a defined religion that speaks to me. So.. .I just carry on with life and live by the basic tenants of many religions that feel right to me. I can't tell you the number of times I've been told I'm going to hell. Why? Because I don't believe like you do? Because I don't worship like you do? I don't think so.

You can't fairly judge others until you can see deep in their hearts and know their souls. Because that is impossible.. there is no way for people to judge.

Honestly, I think that most of the "eclectic" groups are much more tolerant of others. I have yet to have a wiccan condemn me.... can't say that for some of the other religions.

Live and let live. Allow me to worship (or not!) as I see fit. Allow me to take care of my own soul. You worry about getting yourself into Nirvana.. or Heavan. If I need help.. I'll ask!

Thanks so much for this post. It was beautifully done and thought provoking.

Ella said...

Thanks, for all your thoughts on the subject. I can't tell you how many times I've had my gold pentacle on (somehow the gold one gets confused more with the Star of David)and somebody thinks I'm Jewish. You really have to laugh when you see the look on their face when I explain,"no this is a five pointed star." Their eyes widen, jaw drops, "Ooooooo," is the response, as they step back. Then they try and save me. Luckily, it doesn't happen often. I graciously accept any prayers on my behalf that they offer. Can't hurt.
It is amazing though how closed minded some people are.