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What is Eclectic Paganism?
At its core Eclectic Paganism celebrates all of the various ways to experience the Gods and Goddesses. From Native and Indigenous religions, to Celtic and Wiccan traditions, Eclectic Paganism opens up the possibilities of ritual and celebration. It is also inherently democratic. With everyone bringing their own viewpoint, everyone gets a chance to lead and participate. Eclectic Paganism welcomes all religions outside of the main "book" religions, with participants helping each other find their way on the many and winding paths that all, ultimately, lead to truth.
Because we are eclectic, and Pagan, we couldn't get away with only one voice in defining ourselves. Many voices speak for MoonFire, and we thought this would be a good forum for our members to speak out. We begin with a brief history of both MoonFire and UU Paganism. Written by Splash and Andy these entries appear in Trish Telesco's book Which Witch is Which? A concise Guide to Wiccan and Neo-Pagan Paths and Traditions (Patricia Telesco, New Page, 2005)
Brief History of MoonFire
Earth Chalice, as MoonFire was formerly known, was formed at the Unitarian Church of Arlington (UUCA) by a small group of both UUs and non-UUs in 1995. They began with one monthly ritual and potluck, during which all would have the opportunity to help plan the next ritual together. Over the next few years, as the group grew, Earth Chalice began holding steering committee meetings, delivering monthly newsletters via e-mail, semi-annual camping retreats with workshops, occasional church-wide Pagan services, and semi-annual service projects to feed the homeless. Gradually, volunteers began to plan rituals by themselves or in pairs. When two of the founding members suffered a tumultuous divorce in 2000, the remainder of the group, led by Coordinator Deborah, chose a new name--MoonFire--and continued more-or-less as usual. In 2001, Splash and Andy, new Co-coordinators, began writing and leading personalized rituals for UUCA's 7th grade classes, as well as quarterly stream clean-ups at nearby Holmes Run Park. In 2004 Splash and Andy took on Porphyry as a 3rd co-coordinator and eventually turned the whole mess over to him. He, in 2007, turned everything over to the current co-coordinators, Patrick and Leah. Splash and Andy continue to keep an eye on things, while Porphyry edits the website. Despite losses of some much loved and hard working Steering Committee members to moves, babies, and job changes, MoonFire remains an accepting, open, and democratic place to pursue the Pagan path.
Brief History of CUUPs
In 1977, the Unitarian-Universalist's (UU) General Assembly (GA) passed the Women in Religion Resolution, which mandated an examination of patriarchal norms in response to a growing feminist awareness within the liberal UU denomination. The continental Women in Religion Committee grew from the resolution, and in 1980, met at the UU continental Feminist Theology Convocation in East Lansing, Michigan. At 1985Õs UU GA in Atlanta, Georgia, CUUPs--the Covenant of UU Pagans--was envisioned by Dr. Christa Landon, Rev. Michael Boblett, Rev. Leslie Phillips, and Ms. Linda Pinti, and introduced at the Covenant of the Goddess Grand Council, a non-UU Wiccan authority. A year later in Rochester, New York, the fledgling UU organization was announced to the UU GA, and in 1987, began presenting programs and adopted its Statement of Purpose and bylaws. CUUPs secured Independent Affiliate status when the 1988 California GA ratified those bylaws. CUUPs' bi-annual Fall Convocation was kicked off in 1990 in California, and continues to provide a forum for addressing issues of concern, networking, and worshiping together. Major UU Pagan accomplishments include the incorporation of significant earth-and-Goddess-centered material in the UU hymnal, as well as the adoption of a Sixth Source--earth-centered spiritual traditions--as a formally recognized UU religious root. Today, CUUPs has grown to be 100 times its original size, has gained nonprofit status with the IRS, continues to facilitate networking among (and support for) UU Pagans nationwide, and helps to educated non-Pagans about UU Paganism.
Splash and Andy on Eclectic Paganism
Trish Telesco in writing her book had certain questions which Splash and Andy answered with clever succinctness:
Defining ethics/beliefs? UU Pagans generally believe that the sacred is an integral part of the web of life (and therefore, of us) and that no one spiritual tradition holds exclusive rights to 'The One True Way'. Therefore, we embrace an eclectic, open-ended, and flexible Pagan path.
Specific deities? It varies widely.
Specific ritual garb/tools? No; in keeping with UU tradition, UU Pagans may use common Wiccan accessories, those from other Pagan traditions, or none at all.
Porphyry on Eclectic Paganism
Instead of randomly rambling on here. He rambles on here. For which you should be grateful.