Eclecticism and Wicca
This information comes from the chapter of her book entitled "Modern Wicca Described" and I have to admit that I found it tremendously helpful and very easy to understand. So, I hope you won't mind if I quote Ms Lipp a few more times in this post.
- Polarity: Wiccans may be monists, meaning they believe all gods are ultimately One. They may be duo-theists, meaning they believe that, in Dion Fortune's words, “All Gods are One God, and all Goddesses are One Goddess.” They may be hard polytheists, meaning they believe that each individual deity is precisely that, an individual and not an aspect or component of a larger One or Two. Whatever they believe, however, they work with polarity—ritually and spiritually. However many deities a Wiccan may worship, there is always only one goddess and one god on the altar during ritual.
- Immanence: The sacredness of the human being is essential to Wicca. This can be described in many different ways: “If that which thou seekest, thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee”; or “Thou Art God”; or “An' it harm none, do what you will.” Not everyone will embrace every description, but a Wiccan will always have some creed that includes the idea that the gods/goddesses within us are our truest guides.
- Nature: Wiccans celebrate holidays that are attuned to the seasons and perform rituals attuned to the phases of the Moon. They worship nature deities, almost always including Mother Earth in some form, and they recognize the sacredness of the physical, including the human body and sexuality.
- Magic: Not all Wiccans practice magic, but Wicca as a religion accepts that magic is real, something that people can do, and something that people are allowed or encouraged to do.
- Circles and quarters: The ritual structure of Wicca can vary enormously, but a cast circle with four quarters, representing or corresponding to the four elements, is the fundamental format of Wiccan ritual. My friend Ben Schuman describes the fifth element, spirit, as the “sometimes Y” of Wicca. Some Wiccans add a fifth element and some do not, but air, fire, water, and earth are always present.
I would like to add that Wicca, although it allows a lot of freedom to its practitioners (even the traditional ones), does have its boundaries, or better said determinants, as does any spiritual path. There must be some sort of "checklist" which can help people determine who is a Wiccan and who isn't. I believe that the above list is that checklist. Even if a path is eclectic and does incorporate many ideas (even from different religions) into its system, there has to be some framework into which it will fit and thus be called Wiccan. It is therefore necessary for any eclectic Wiccan, who calls themselves that, to sit down, have a heart to heart with themselves and find out whether or not they really do fit into this framework. Even if they don't, there's nothing bad in that! Since Wicca is essentially a part of Paganism, which is a much broader term, it may be more applicable to the individual at hand.
Traditionalism Contrasts Eclecticism
|1.||Lineage||No lineage necessary|
|2.||Initiations||Self-initiated or not initiated|
|3.||Degree system||Movable degrees|
|4.||Oath of secrecy/loyalty/brotherhood||No oath|
|5.||Group/coven work||Solitary practice|
|6.||Book of Shadows||Book of Shadows (different perception)|
|7.||The Rede and Rule of Three are acknowledged||Importance of the Wiccan Rede and Rule of Three|
2. Initiation / Self-initiation
Janet Farrar being initiated by