Spiritual Practices and Cultural Appropriation

After @wendy4 shared her experiences studying Irish Paganism as an American practitioner, I took some time today to research more into cultural appropriation.

There’s really too much to talk about but I stumbled upon this article by Rina Deshpande, an Indian-American Yoga teacher, about the cultural issues of practicing Yoga in the West.

I feel it’s a good summary of how someone from a given tradition can feel about people, e.g. in the US, “borrowing” their ancestral rituals/traditions. I think it applies to Wicca, Neopaganism, New Age, and other spiritual paths as well.

I strongly recommend that everyone reads it but if you don’t have time, my takeaways:

  • Try to understand the underlying philosophy, principles and teachings of Yoga (or any other tradition) completely, not just the superficial aspects or the ones that are “useful” to you at the moment.

  • Never erase, even for practicality, the roots, history and origins of a practice/ritual. Honor the original names, languages, places, symbols.

  • If possible, approach it as a life-long learning path and not just as a “30-day challenge”.

  • Don’t use cultural legacy in commercial ways, or at least, don’t exploit anyone in the process.

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Great article. It helps me understand the issue better because yoga is not an emotionally charged issue for me. It allowed me to remove myself so I could hear the issues. Now I just have to decide witch Celtic language to learn. Any advice?

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I’m glad you liked the article!

About the language, Duolingo offers Irish, Welsh, and Scottish Gaelic. That could be useful!

I would pick Irish because Irish mythology is one of the best preserved ones. But also because Ireland has been reviving the language, even so that it’s an official language of the European Union. There are Irish language TV networks and plenty of websites to read, and it will be easy to find other speakers.

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Thank you for this! I agree with your takeaways also! Great find!

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Thank you Fernando! I will look into it. I am copying your energy techniques into my BOS now. Plus I am thinking about my meditation experiences and need to update them on the Forum. I wrote the info in my planner.

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LOL! Can you tell I’m a Virgo?

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I have to share an experience I had today…

I was randomly clicking around & reading articles. I came across one with these things…

Then texted my best friend and said “why is our lifestyle a trend for people right now?! Why is URBAN OUTFITTERS selling rose quartz?!” And for a few minutes, I was annoyed. But I have to look at it like hey maybe this will help someone find their way, make their life better, bring them some real knowledge.

And although it’s nowhere near the same thing, it’s a very very basic comparison. And now I get it.

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welsh is beautiful im learning it at the moment on duolingo and its still spoken to this day so that would be a good place or gaelic

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hmm the way i see it as if more people become accustomed to our ways the more people will open their minds up, be less judgmental more accepting. More people may find our path to be intriguing and also it may help to demystify alot of practices. Theres alot of work to be undone as so much fear has been pumped into peoples minds through ignorance and hollywood productions, other religions generating fear of our customs too. I see what you mean though, its not ideal but hey at least its movement even if it is slow. Ideally they would be more educational as well but at least its a start which im grateful for. When i was 14 there was next to know info on wicca out their in melbourne now its more accesible to people through sites like this that just didnt exist when i first started the path which also meant my progress in this path was harder to move through also due to personal challenges with unsupportive partners and family members etc too which i wont go into further. Anyway i think its awesome the way things are moving forward more and more people are embracing new age ways and customs and before you know it hopefully it will make it easier for people to not be so closeted about being a witch or wiccan.

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@haley Thanks for sharing your point of view!

I agree that it’s a bit disconcerting to see a massive clothing brand selling healing crystals.

The other important thing to keep in mind when shopping for stones is whether they were ethically harvested.

The environmental impact of strip mining crystals is pretty bad and also crystals are being mined in countries with terrible working conditions if not near slave labor. We discussed it here earlier: Treated & Man-Made Crystals 🌀

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I went to the pharmacy today and they had rose quartz facial cleanser and something else with a crystal. The items were under the Trending Cleansers! I was just as shocked!

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that is a good point you’ve raised actually. I wonder how transparent they are on where they source it from?

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I looked and practiced with Duolingo today. Because I did teach English I need a grounding in Phonemes and Graphemes first. Then I need to know how they structure a sentence. For example, in English our sentence order is Subject-Verb-Object. I noticed in Irish it is Verb-Subject-Object. However, I notice that there are illogical appearing repetition of information, so I need to understand the structure of words (tenses, number, gender, etc.)better. I will buy a book that gives me these as well as use Duolingo. Stuffy, perfectionist, me. But I must understand to learn. I am a weirdo who has to go the long way round.

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sounds a bit like welsh. in that in english we would say good morning wendy but in welsh you would say wendy bora da so name first then good morning.

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Kira Marie, In any language I bid you good morning!

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I just saw crystals at Michaels the other day. I can see crafting with crystals more than a clothing store! But at least they aren’t calling them healing crystals at Micheals.

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The long way is really the only way with new languages! :laughing:

It’s definitely a long project, a commitment for the years to come! But you seem to have your Virgo traits in line with your goal! :+1:

I think Duolingo is a great start, I’ve been using it for Italian for a while now!

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@jill the last time that I was at Michael’s I saw some crystals and gemstone jewelry pieces. I was surprised they had them because I have been in that section before and never saw them there!

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This is a great discussion to open and have, @Francisco! The article has a lot of great takeaway points and does a great job navigating through the murky waters of this issue. It’s a great read- thank you for sharing it! :grin::+1:

I’m pretty sure Irish is the most widely spoken, so you would have the best chance finding ways to use or speak it :+1: . I believe @MeganB studies Irish language, so she may have some guidance for you if you decide to pursue this one!

I studied Scottish Gaelic for a while when I was living in Nova Scotia. It’s a very fascinating but tricky language, and I found it hard to learn because there were very limited ways to practice it. I honestly don’t remember much from the course- just that “bundata” means potato :potato: :laughing:

As for Welsh, in addition to@kira-marie, I believe @trey is also pursuing Welsh! They’ll have the best advice for that very interesting language :blush:

No matter which one you choose, learning a new language has a host of benefits! It can be tricky, but always very rewarding. Best of luck in your language pursuits! :raised_hands:

I agree- Duolingo is a great (and free!) intro to a new language, or way to practice and build on vocabulary for a language you’ve been studying for a while. Best of luck with Italian! :grinning:

This is a really great point! :+1: Even if sometimes companies and businesses don’t go about things as respectfully as they could- there is the silver lining that comes with making things “mainstream”. I also hope that these trends, while not always approaching things in the best way, do help to make witchcraft and magick more common and accessible to all. I love your positive take on this, @kira-marie! :blush::hearts:

I usually have the same first impression when I see cultural or religious interpretations/influences in very unexpected places! I think it takes a very mature and strong mind to be able to step back and try to see things from all sides, and to look for the positive in each situation like this :blush: I love your positive realization that hey- maybe this will help someone along their way! :+1::two_hearts:

I was at TK Maxx (the European version of TJ Maxx :laughing:) and they had a line of crystal jewelry with the magick properties of the jewelry written on the cards! I was so surprised to see them there! But the pieces were lovely, used authentic crystals (to the best of what I could tell lol), and the descriptions were very nicely written. I’m even considering going back and buying one or two! :grin: :+1:

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thank you darling i do try to find the silver lining in things. i’d love to wake up one day to a world where people are no longer afraid of witches but are curious and realise at the end of the day were just people and just because we dont fit into the mainstream norm dosent mean were evil or something out of the adams family were just a big bunch of hippies at heart really.

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