This has been bugging me for some time since I started my path in Paganism over nine years ago. Is it appropriation when the Lwa or Orishas have called on you though you are not of that culture? I have felt extremly close to Shango who has helped me through some tough times. I have always gave him the proper respect to the best of my ability, honoring him on his days feeding him as well as asking Papa Legba for opening the crossroads. I never claimed that I am practicing Santeria, Ifa, New Orleans, Polo or any other Voodoo practice. I never claim that i am a priest of his or sell stuff that culture. I never looked him up and said thats who i want to honor he showed interests in me. 

Thank you all for your responses. 

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So Aradia and Diana are Minoan?

No, they're not. Aradia is Italian, Diana is Roman.

Both far older than that...

The Old Wietchcrreayafth knew them well , long ago...

But they were adopted into those cultures , long after...

We hid things very well...much better than most think...;)

I thought so

No , Diana is known in Italian Witchcraft , as is Aradia...

Most say Aradia's story of being the daughter of Diana ,

comes from Leland's work...( google that )

However , and this is what I did not want to start with

in my first post , but will address now...

All traditions , stem from one code , which has 44 base

symbols , each with 77 levels of meaning...

This much exponential possibility of combinations , produce

all stories , myths , and cultural beliefs , and praxis ( practice )

including all magical systems...

Whether those deities are real , I will not argue with anyone

about that , yet my Tradition holds that we are wired with this

code , in the brain / dna / and cellular levels , thus we experience

reality through the lenses created by the code...

So , in context with your thread , ultimately , according to my Tradition ,

there can be NO cultural appropriation , as all cultures and beliefs / practices

stem from this one source...

However , it is wise to approach this with caution , as there are those who

do not understand , or are unwilling to accept this , which my Tradition holds

as truth...others are sworn to secrecy , and may not reveal the code...

As one arrangement of our code , has eighteen symbols , and the sum of

1 to 18 inclusive , equals 171 , and by gematria :

Snake = 171

We have always said with many levels of meaning , including respect for other

peoples who have claimed part of the one code as theirs and created their reality :

"Do Not Tread On Me"

Forgot to tell you...

Top four symbols in column on left , in descending order ,

are as follows :

O - K - R - A

The main ingredient of the stew offering...;)

I really don’t think the gods, spirits, etc. etc. give a damn about your DNA or where you were born, particularly, if they called you out. If it feels good, do it.

Though this is probably not a popular viewpoint, I don't believe there is any such thing as "cultural appropriation". If you behave in a manner that is definitive of a culture, then you are living that culture. If your culture is influenced by another culture, taking parts and leaving others, that is an influence not an appropriation. Culture and race are not synonymous. Some older cultures, like Nordic and Aryan pagans (both North and South of the Caucuses), hold to an idea of racial memory however that is akin to the scientific idea of genetic memory.

In my humble opinion, if you buy into ideas like cultural appropriation you may find your studies and practice severely hindered.

Haitian Vodou and similar traditions are still alive. Go through the proper channels if you're trying to be respectful. To do anything but is a spit upon their gods/spirits. Talk to a houngan/mambo to see what you should do to honor and worship. It's similar to how one should handle asian traditions as well. Go through the proper channels. We as priests are here for a reason. We are here in the tradition for a reason.

I think it depends entirely on how you are conducting yourself. And I don't see harm in your conduct, you are being respectful. Such beings as these are beyond human cultural conflicts. I think you have much to gain from seeking out further knowledge in the proper contexts, from priests and practices of that culture. I think it may be prudent to do so. But we are all also individuals, we build up our individual beliefs and practices and these are our own, not property of our culture or of the culture of others. I think this is one of humanity's greatest strengths in a way, that we can operate equally well as individuals or as part of a collective and can find the strengths of both without necessarily suffering the weaknesses of either, provided we know which to be tapping into at what times.

So no, I don't think it is at all culturally insensitive to answer the call of any deity that might call to you, they call to you not to your culture. Perhaps though you might gain a great deal more insight and understanding from embracing a portion of that deity's culture.

I suggest that you have had a past life as a priest of Shango and that is why he sought you out!

Thank you all for your input I do think I am still going to keep doing what I have been doing and still honor Shango the way I have been for nine and a half years. I don't think I am being disrespectful to the Orishas or LWA so I don't feel bad. Thank you all again.


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