I'm a Jungian and an eclectic Neopagan, which means that I am doubly vulnerable to charges of cultural appropriation. Jungianism and eclectic Neopaganism are criticized for their borrowing of symbols from other cultures for a variety of reasons. First, the removal of religious symbols and practices from their cultural context may be seen as trivializing. Second, the adoption of the traditions and practices of another culture may be seen as a form of cultural theft, and another form of Western colonialism. In many cases, these charges are well-founded, but I don't think it is fair or accurate to condemn eclecticism automatically as either trivializing or as cultural theft.
I’m going to step away from my usual blogging theme this week to share a topic that came to me while driving the two hours it took me to get to my camping destination. (Hubby and I are on staff for a Pagan retreat here in Colorado and this was our work weekend.) We had stopped for lunch at a place where the server recognized our t-shirts as Pagan in content. So she proceeded to ask questions which required long answers. Neither of us had the time. I needed to get back on the road and she needed to help her other customers. So in hopes that it will be of service to her (I so hope she emails me!), those just starting out and those that are trying to make sense of what the broader community is, here is my viewpoint. I am NOT trying to start up the “my way vs. your way” debate again…most of this is based on my own experiences and observances. Your mileage, as always, may vary.