When I first began practicing Witchcraft it was as a Wiccan practitioner in a traditional coven setting. We had fairly structured rituals, our circle casting, corner calls and Sabbat workings all followed a very specified path. While we may have considered ourselves “eclectic” because we had created our own traditions and identity, I realize now how stringent and strictly Wiccan our rituals actually were.
Now, having moved on from there into a definitively eclectic path, I often miss some of that structure. I enjoy the freedom of creating ritual and worship of deity in any and all forms of my choosing. Yet sometimes I long for simplicity, the simplicity of knowing exactly what to do, when to do it, and why I am doing it. Sometime I feel that I am swimming in a sea of choices, unsure if I should be doing a smooth, practiced backstroke or just doggie paddle my way through it all.
Have you felt that way as well? If so, how can we develop some structure to our work yet keep the feel of a less formal path? Is there a way to incorporate our “bit of this and a touch of that” magick into a more traditional style? I believe we can, but we have some work to do.
Sometimes I feel that I am swimming in a sea of choices ,unsure if I should be doing a smooth, practiced backstroke or just doggie paddle my way through it all.
Releasing Old Thought Patterns
Before we begin to weld structure onto our eclectic framework we first must release some of our old thought patterns. We must not look at structure as boredom, rote behavior or “the easy way”, but instead embrace it for what it can bring us. A bit of structure can allow us to more easily slip into ritual or spell crafting modes. If we know that we begin, move and end in a certain way each time we work then our minds are more focused on the journey, the magick, not on how we are going to get there. It doesn’t matter if we are combining Celtic deities with Southern Hoodoo, if the mechanics are familiar we are more able to feel and connect with our Eclectic workings.
Secondly, we need to accept that being “eclectic” doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to do things differently every single time we do them. Being eclectic, by definition, denotes an individual practitioner who does not belong to any recognized tradition but selects doctrines and ideas from diverse sources. As an eclectic practitioner we derive our “traditions” from what we connect to, what resonates with us. We do not follow blindly but experiment, experience, and then embrace the magick that has meaning to us. Yet, once we discover those connections, find what fits into the mosaic of our Craft, we can use that pattern to consistently create magick that works.
Building Our Structure
Once our old thought patterns have been demolished and our connections discovered we can begin to build the structure to add onto our current magickal foundation.
Start by adding one block to the structure, maybe to the cornerstone of your practice. If you feel devotionals to your chosen deity is a cornerstone, then add the recitation of your deities epithets to the beginning of your daily devotionals. Perhaps seasonal rituals are the glue that binds your practice together. Create some structure by writing rituals, or a portion of each ritual, that will remain the same for each Sabbat.
Do you call your corners differently each time you have circle? Does it make it more cumbersome to try and memorize each new call? Do you flip written pages, distracting yourself from actually connecting? Then add a brick to your structure by using the same calls for each rite, allowing your mind to slip easily into ritual mode.
Keep examining your current practice until you feel confident you have gathered all your blocks together and are ready to make the small changes that will make a big difference to your magick and your Craft. Then move on to the final phase, making those change permanent.
Cementing Your Structure’s Future
Now that you’ve identified where you feel some structure can be most helpful, it is time to cement those bricks onto your Craft. How, you may ask? Just do it. Read that poem to Goddess upon waking tomorrow morning. Then the next day, and the next. Repeat that new mantra with your meditation time in the afternoon and again the next time. Each repetition adds structure and substance to your eclectic practice while increasing stability, focus and power.
Remember, all this structure can be added without compromising the freedom that is eclecticism. Why? Because even the most solid of structures can be remodeled or demolished when it is no longer meeting our needs. If in a year, two years or two months, our lives and our Craft have profoundly grown or changed, we can modify the structures we have created to accommodate our new lifestyle. While it may have been built in stone, we can still chisel out the mortar and rebuild it to our liking.
Take it from one Eclectic to another, adding structure will not change who you are, what your path is. What it will do is add another dimension, another place for your magick and Craft to flourish from. It’s time to give structure a chance to prove its worth. I think you will be happy with the results.