"Eclectic" It's a big word in the Pagan community.
By definition, eclectic : composed of elements drawn from various sources
So what about the sources where these elements come from?
For some it's not a big deal.
But for others, It is.
Many Native American communities resent
other people claiming to be part of there culture.
There is nothing wrong with learning the ways
of another people.
In fact it forms a bridge to understanding.
However, When someone begins to teach or spread
the ways of a culture they do not truly understand,
a chasm is created.
When the ways of a culture are molded to fit
An individuals need or perspective,
That chasm grows.
Recently I heard about a tiny a controversy in the Pagan community.
This one involved the Spiritual practice called Santeria.
First, I must say that Santeria and Palo are beautiful traditions.
they are not the basis of all that oogity boogity stuff people believe.
I'm also not going to get into the roots of the tradition -
One can wikipedia that.
Neither am I going to discuss all the rituals & ceremonies.
I will explain one simple concept which may shine a light on
where issues develop from...
Many eclectic Pagans choose which deity they work with.
They may feel called by a certain deity but ultimately,
They make the choice.
Not so in Palo or Santeria.
To begin with, Some follow this tradition
because of family. Some have a need for the
protection, Spiritually and some are called by Spirit
to be Priests,Priestess, Diviners.
It is the Spiritual Elder who receives the message that
one is called to the path.
Also to what degree one shall be initiated.
It is also SPIRIT who decided who shall crown the initiate.
Spirit decides through divination by one's Padrino, Madrina
or Babalawo; who Your Mother & Father is in the tradition.
These traditions are celebrated in a grand manner.
Houses come together to prepare the initiate.
Huge, glorious altars prepared, feasts, music.
Above all, Respect.
When someone outside the tradition says,
Oshun is My Mother, or Chango is My Father
The intention may not be to disrespect but to
those who follow the path of the Santo or Palero
It is considered so.
Better perhaps to say simply, "I honor Oshun"
Then to widen a gap already in need of bridging.
We are all children of the Divine
No matter how We see it.
May We give one another the gift of respect