Eclectic Wicca

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Do you practice eclectic Wicca?.  rbv / istock / Getty Images

The Merriam Dictionary defines the word 'eclectic' as meaning "selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles ." Eclectic Wiccans (and eclectic Pagans, who are a very similar group) do just that, sometimes on their own and sometimes in informal or formal groups.

Overview of Eclectic Wicca

Eclectic Wicca is an all-purpose term applied to witchcraft traditions, often ​NeoWiccan (meaning modern Wiccan), that doesn't fit into any specific definitive category.

Many solitary Wiccans follow an eclectic path, but there are also covens that consider themselves eclectic. A coven or individual may use the term 'eclectic' for a variety of reasons. For example:

  • Mixed and matched traditions: A group or solitary may use a blend of beliefs and practices from several different pantheons and traditions.
  • Modified traditions: A group could be an offshoot of an established tradition of Wicca, such as Gardnerian or Alexandrian, but with modifications to their practice that make them significantly different from that original tradition.
  • Uniquely individual practices: An individual may be creating his or her own tradition of beliefs and practices, and because this system can't be defined as something else, it is usually defined as eclectic.
  • Uninitiated practitioner: A solitary may be practicing what he or she has learned from publicly available sources on Wicca, but not be using oathbound, initiatory material, and so recognizes that his or her practice is eclectic.

    Because there is often disagreement about who is Wiccan and who isn't, there can be confusion regarding existing lineaged Wiccan traditions, and newer eclectic traditions. Some would say that only lineaged covens (based on traditional practices) should be permitted to call themselves Wiccan. By that reasoning, anyone who claims to be eclectic is, by definition, not Wiccan but Neowiccan ('new' or nontraditional Wiccan).

    Bear in mind that the term Neowiccan simply means someone who practices a newer form of Wicca, and is not meant to be derogatory or insulting.

    Church of Universal Eclectic Wicca

    One organization that supports practitioners of eclectic Wicca is the Church of Universal Eclectic Wicca. They describe themselves as follows:

    Universalism is a religious belief that allows for the existence of truth in a multitude of places. Eclectism is the practice of taking from many places....What we encourage is experimentation and exploration towards those things in your religious life that work and letting go of those things that don't. UEW defines Wicca as any religion that calls itself Wicca, AND believes in a god/force/power/whatever that is either genderless, both genders or manifests as a male/female polarity that we agree to call "the Lord and Lady." AND upholds the Five Points of Wiccan Belief.

    The Five Points of Wiccan Belief include the Wiccan Rede, the Law of Return, the Ethic of Self-Responsibility, the Ethic of Constant Improvement and the Ethic of Attunement. The Wiccan Rede is written in many ways, but its intent is consistent: "do what you will, so long as it harms none." The Law of Return states that whatever positive or negative energy a person puts out into the world will be returned to that person three times over.

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    Wigington, Patti. "Eclectic Wicca." ThoughtCo, Feb. 20, 2018, thoughtco.com/eclectic-wicca-2562909. Wigington, Patti. (2018, February 20). Eclectic Wicca. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/eclectic-wicca-2562909 Wigington, Patti. "Eclectic Wicca." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/eclectic-wicca-2562909 (accessed April 22, 2018).