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.