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Talking to Wiccans about Cultural Appropriation

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--- Quote from: Yells At Pretendians on July 31, 2012, 04:40:22 pm ---Atehequa, I have to repeat what I said above. I think this is a semantic argument. There is a language barrier here, even though we are all typing in English. The being you refer to in your post has been called a goddess in writings by non-Natives. I read that same story and think of her as a revered ancestor and Spirit Woman. Someone from another culture may call her something else. It's not about disrespect, it's about how one names these ideas based on what culture they come from. As long as you assume all the words mean the same thing to everyone in the conversation, I think you will keep having misunderstandings with people.

Also, speaking as a non-Native here, some cultures have a certain degree of ambiguity, punning, and multi-level naming about the spirits. In Gaelic lore, some think of our Creator spirit(s) as a deity or deities, others as ancestors, others as some other kind of spirit(s). It can also be argued whether one is talking about one spirit being or several. Or both. That paradox is part of the mindset and worldview of Gaelic tradition.

A monotheist, a henotheist, an animist and a polytheist all walk into a room with an elephant. They are all blindfolded. What do they say is in the room?  Then they relate their impressions to a traditional Lakota, a Cheyenne, a Cherokee, a Catholic, a Gaelic Polytheist, a Baptist, a Newager, a Mormon, and a Wiccan... whose version is correct?

I don't know...Maybe it helps to have done interfaith work. And to speak multiple languages.

--- End quote ---

Akee tepwe ? LOL!

Keewal leskawe,  ichquekie.

Smart Mule:

--- Quote from: Atehequa on August 04, 2012, 12:04:52 am ---Akee tepwe ? LOL!

Keewal leskawe,  ichquekie.

--- End quote ---

Haiha, nila niwaneleta Sawano.  Nualhige.


--- Quote from: debbieredbear on May 14, 2012, 02:04:28 pm ---What is wrong with people? They live in fantasies. I was talking to a friend who is "eclectic" to put it mildly. I was explaining why it was so wrong that someone she knows was using White Buffalo Calf Woman as one of her deities in her "pantheon.
--- End quote ---

I started wondering how non-Natives would even get the idea to try this. So I did some looking around. I think I have found one of the ways this misappropriation of White Buffalo Calf Woman started. Here is a book by a white author that makes some rather offensive claims:


Goddess Companion - Daily Meditations on the Goddess

"Now you can turn every day into a day dedicated to the goddess and your own personal spiritual evolution, when you get The Goddess Companion by Patricia Monaghan."

"This spirit-nourishing collection of 366 authentic goddess prayers, invocations, chants, and songs was culled from dozens of diverse eras and cultures."

"·Each is illuminated by readings about the ancient quote that offer rich material for reflection, inspiration, and bliss
·Explore the goddess as envisioned by 68 different cultures throughout the ages—including the Americas, classical Greece and Rome, Asia, ancient Sumeria and Babylonia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa
·Find prayers that encompass nearly 130 aspects of the goddess, from Aida Weydo and Amaterasu to White Buffalo Calf Woman and Zemyna."

Obviously, this is pretty shocking. So I looked further into the author's history. All it really took was googling her name plus "White Buffalo Calf Woman" or "White Buffalo Woman". The author has been selling altered and misinterpreted versions of Native stories since 1981 at the least. I have here a copy of her "Book of Goddesses and Heroines" from 1981. And it not only includes WBCW, but terrible renditions of stories from a number of other Indigenous cultures. In some cases, she has the wrong Nation of origin for the story. In others, she has a story that's almost right, but it's ascribed to the wrong spirit. In all of them she changes key details. She shouldn't be selling these stories, let alone her own changes to them, in the first place.

I don't know if Monaghan also tries to sell ceremony, but isn't it wrong for her to sell books with twisted misappropriations of Native stories, along with allegedly traditional "prayers, invocations, chants and songs" and suggestions for people to create their own ceremonies based on these stolen or imagined fragments? Isn't that how lots of the frauds we list here got started? Maybe this author needs her own thread.

"·Find prayers that encompass nearly 130 aspects of the goddess, from Aida Weydo and Amaterasu to White Buffalo Calf Woman and Zemyna.""

...its disgusting on other sides, too; as a Vodouisant (Haitian Vodou, aka Sevis Ginen) Ayida Wedo is *not* a goddess; we're a monotheist tradition with a heirarchy of spirits/intercessors created by (Bondye is our word for 'good god', how we view the creative intelligence) As a syncretic religion, Vodou services manifest themselves on a Catholic model with a Catholic view of God... referring to a single one of our non-divine spirits as a Goddess is both an insult to the tradition that carries her as well as to the religion's view/definition of it's own concept of divinity.

Outside of Haiti and the influence of the slave trade/shifts in beliefs from Africa to the Caribbean, Ayida is *male*.

But, like the NDN trads, it seems we arent able to define ourselves satisfactorily for them (as a living tradition and all) so they need to define us for us.

Speaking as someone who has been Wiccan for 8 years, this is extremely disturbing to me. Early on in my practice, I remember wandering into the Witch bookstore and thinking, "I want to learn the truth." That's the whole reason why I decided to convert to this religion. Now I'm wondering just how much of Wicca is stolen, and from what.


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