Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Evolution of the Eclectic

The term eclectic is one that I have heard more or less consistently for some 15 or so years now and mainly amongst solitary practitioners. Today however it seems as though every pagan I meet identifies with the term eclectic in one way or another and I am curious as to how far the term actually extends. This speculation is of course a personal perspective based on my individual observances.


“The transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way” (

Tradition or at least the thought of it can seems a little stifling to some but if you step back and take in a broader view of what tradition actually means in terms of spirituality then the only things really standing between the term Eclectic and Traditional is time.  At some point the founders of well know pagan traditions from all around the world would have been eclectic to some degree. The only difference being that someone one somewhere struck up a conversation with said founder and basically decided “yeah, that makes sense, mind if I get in on the action?” And then there were two, four, six and a few generations later, hundreds. Regardless of numbers the focus should still be kept on the fact that it all began with one, one pagan who shared their thoughts on spirituality that resonated with another.


Eclectic – from Greek eklektikos, from eklegein ‘pick out’, from ek ‘out’ + legein ‘choose (

For those who embrace the title of eclectic and choose to take a wider and more open minded approach to pagan spirituality, carefully selecting and adopting portions of traditions, doctrines, ideals and spiritual practices from around the world to meld those portions into a more unified personal practice. Are such individuals still eclectic or have they in fact done just was Gardener and Valiente et al (among many others) did all those years ago and formed something modern based on something ancient which eventually grew into a tradition.

In my eyes paganism is an organic spiritual path that like a living entity will grow and evolve; and the term Eclectic lives to serve a valuable purpose in that evolution allowing one to claim a title amidst that very state of growth. And I believe that there is indeed a portion of pagans out there that have found wholeness and a sense of unique tradition through the term eclectic and that these individuals are more than capable of imparting that accrued knowledge on to another. So in saying that, what happens when an eclectic adds to their family tree? Does the incorporation of their loved ones into their path organically perpetuate their unique pagan path?

While I personally, come from a tradition, when I moved from Brazil to Australia at the tender age of 16 and by myself (to live with my father), I must confess to having felt a little lost. After having not one not two but three older generations to guide me up until that point and then suddenly have such distance between us was perhaps the most difficult transition I’ve thus far had to face. So, I turned inwards and began my own spiritual search to fill the enormous longing I felt. I studied many many many paths and practices, travelled extensively, went way way out of my way to sort out individuals whom I thought could enrich my spirituals foundations.

Not surprisingly, in this instance I felt eclectic, because what I was doing was growing beyond my original foundations and forming something new and unique. And now that I am a mother almost twice over (new bub due in May). I have this inexplicable renewed desire for tradition and I wholly and solely intend on perpetuating my knowledge (both ancient and modern) as it stands to my children. Is this the natural evolution of the Eclectic? I think that maybe it is, but again that is my personal opinion.


Earth, Air, Fire & Water – The Elemental Presence

In a recent conversation with my friends at the Witches Gathering ( Sirena, bought up a topic that inspired me to write this Blog, Thanks Sirena.
The sacred elements are at the very centre of our spiritual practice; they rule, guide, inspire and at times scare and infuriate us. As practitioners of the craft we are constantly interacting with these elements, working with them in some way, incorporating them into ritual or spell craft, invoking their presence within a cast circle, honouring them in some honest and humble way so that they are present to aid our magickal workings. Alchemically speaking for life to exist so to must the four elements, they are the sacred building blocks of life.

ImageHence, it stands to reason that the power of elements doesn’t just end when the spell is done and the circle closed. Aside from ritual work we as human beings work within a fundamentally elemental realm whether we acknowledge this or not. That pull one feels to a particular element is in actual fact, your Expression Element and that element which you find homely comfort in is your Cardinal Element. And like astrology you also have a Mutable Element, an element that is fleeting and you are at constant odds with, that can change to both inspire and terrify you. And then of course there is the Transient Element, this is the element that can cause coincidence and idiosyncrasies within your life or bring about moments of enlightenment.
Take me for instance (just a few very brief examples)
My Cardinal element is Earth as I am a fixed earth sign and am able to truly relate to the attributes of both my sun sign and its fixed quality. I love my garden and my home, I like surrounding myself with beautiful material possessions made of wood and metal or those of a more feminine nature such as perfume and jewellery. I love trees and have been known to drive distances to see some of my absolute favourites and I prefer mountains to ocean views.

My Element of Expression is Fire; I am a fire dancer and candle and incense maker. I work well with fire and have a deep respect for its power. Furthermore I can get extremely passionate about those things that matter to me the most and I am known for possessing a volcanic temper (it’s the Latin temperament). I will also go crazy if I don’t have some sort of a creative outlet.

My Mutable Element is without a doubt water. I feel uneasy when surrounded by water. I find the ocean both alluring and terrifying all at the same time and while I can swim very well, I rarely do which seems odd to some as I live in a very hot and humid part of Australia. And then there are times when I’m inexplicably drawn to rivers, creeks and waterfalls. Or those times when I feel the need run out and feel the rain on my face. It’s a very push and pull sort of relationship I have with water, Ironic really as I married a water sign.

This leaves my Transient Element to be Air. This too I am certain of, I feel that for the most part I seldom have moments of Clarity (this of course could be that I am currently 35 weeks pregnant) and when I do I’m not surprised to see that it’s usually during a Gemini or air moon. As a student and academically speaking, I do some of my best work under a Gemini moon and my marks clearly reflect this. On a natural level, when I experience a really windy day here at home, I need only step outside for a minute and I feel immediately awake, it’s like the wind stirs something that would otherwise lay dormant inside of me.

Examining the effects of the elements within our lives can present us with great clarity. It can help us to stop and examine out strengths and our weaknesses so that we can function more harmoniously within our everyday lives instead of feeling as though we are constantly fighting against the current.