understanding of our ancestors, and hopefully will shed light on ourselves. Eclectics acknowledgethat things change, that the things written down in the history books are just the start of the story.The present and the future are just as important as the past. Perhaps the Eclectic complaint is thatReconstructionists are not focusing enough on the present, on their individual and currentrelationships with the Divine, in favor of focusing almost exclusively on what people did long ago.It doesn't really matter who is doing more ritual or more devotions as part of their religion. Itdoesn't really matter if the religious practices are strictly individual and private, or public andcommunal. It does matter if you are living in the present or sacrificing the present for a mythicalidealized past.
2. "Reconstructionism is too restrictive and doesn't allow for personal expression."
Sannion argues that Eclectic Neopagans are uncritical, that they accept everything withoutdistinguishing good from bad. It is also pointed out that within specific Reconstructionist traditions(for example Greek paganism) there is a lot of room for creativity: Greek Reconstructionismincludes Minoan, Myceneaean, Homeric, Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman periods spanningroughly from 1500 BCE through 400 CE. "And yet [Eclectic] Neopagans still want more freedom,"Sannion says.Eclectic Neopagans mostly work under the idea that they use what works for them. It's somethingthat varies from group to group, and often from individual to individual. If something doesn't work for an individual or group, they'll drop it or ignore it. That does not mean that individuals or groupsare not selective, that they do not hold some standards against which philosophies or practices aremeasured. Eclectic Neopagans, individually and as working groups, can be just as critical as anyReconstructionist. The standards might be different, but different does not mean one standard isnecessarily better or worse than another.Eclectic Neopagans as an entire group can be said to accept everything, because if you look you'llsurely find an Eclectic Neopagan who does believe whatever specific idea is brought forth. Thesame can be said of Reconstructionists as a whole -- pick an idea, and you're sure to find aReconstructionist somewhere who believes that particular idea.The selection of a specific culture and period in history as the basis for a religion is itself artificaland forced. For example, the Celtic peoples were varied and far from homogenous, yetReconstructionists will just as happily blend different clan or regional deities, myths, and practices.Ancient Greece, as another example, was a land made up of very independent city-states, each withits own set of deities and religious practices. Rome, on the other hand, did its best to institute a"state religion" or collection of religions, and to do this it consciously absorbed and adopted varioustribal religions from Italy, Greece, Egypt, and elsewhere. The idea of a "pure culture," "purereligion," or "pure ethnic group" is very artificial and arbitrary. Cultures adopt ideas and mythologyfrom each other all the time. To pretend that a religion or culture is "pure" is rather naive.Many Eclectic Neopagans (although not all, of course) also work under the philosophy that "allgods are one God, all goddesses are one Goddess," and often also believe that God and Goddess aremerely two gender aspects of a single, all-pervasive Divine that is beyond human understanding asa whole. They believe that we approach and interact with the Divine through distinct "aspects" thatappear to human perception as independent individuals. To expect an Eclectic Neopagan who believes "all gods are one God" to limit themselves to an arbitrary group of deities (whether selected by geographic region, historical period, or whatever criteria) is an artificial andunnecessary limitation. Eclectics allow themselves the right to decide how to approach the Divine,which names they feel most comfortable using when speaking with Them, and usually assume thesame right to others whether they are Eclectic or not.Sannion presented an analogy of two musicians to reinforce the idea that limiting study to onecultural and historical period is best. Of course, there are other analogies that can be presented toargue to opposite.