In the early days of my Pagan seeking I was interested in Native American spirituality, particularly because I feel a strong tie to the eagle, and in the USA the eagle is associated with three things: patriotism, motorcycles, and Native American cultures. (I know that this is not very precise, but it's exactly what I perceived at the time.) Since my Wiccan teacher didn't have a strong shamanic background and my shamanic teacher came from a Norse tradition, I turned to a friend of theirs for advice. I knew that this man was a member of a tribe in Canada, and I told him that I was interested in learning more about the ways of his people.
He was gentle in his rebuke, but nevertheless he told me, "you should follow the traditions of your people, and leave ours to us."
The next day I attended the handfasting of my teachers, and this particular Native American presided as high priest in the Wiccan ceremony, since he'd been practicing that faith for many years and was much respected. Typical for my thought patterns, the irony of this didn't dawn on me for some years - by his reasoning, Wiccanism should only be practiced by the British.
|Modern worshipers at a Hellenic temple|
Of course, this mindset is nothing new, as Winter points out in Kharis. Isocrates said, some 2400 years ago, "The name Greek is no longer the mark of a race, but of an outlook, and is accorded to those who share our culture rather than our blood. (p 32)"