Posted in Cultural Appropriation, Witchy Tips

A Basic Guide to Open and Closed Religions and Cultures

What is an Open Religion/Culture?

An Open Religion or Culture is a belief system that any person can adopt. These belief systems are considered ‘dead’, as their original religion and culture have little to no pure descendants or followers, so the belief systems were adopted by the reconstructive movement and revitalized. These pantheons and belief systems are open for anyone to use.

What is a Partially Closed Religion/Culture?

These are religions and cultures that do accept outsiders or convertees into their folds, but they must be initiated into the religion by means of cultural or religious rites or rituals performed by elders or experienced members of said culture or religion. Examples of this could be that in most sects of Christianity, Baptism is required. Or in Wicca or Voodoo one must be initiated into the religion by a practicing priest or elder.

What is a Closed Religion/Culture?

This is a belief system that is still alive and well in the world among the cultures that practice them, and have practiced them for hundreds or thousands of years. These systems are closed to outsiders in order to protect the cultures and religions from further appropriation and cultural theft. Closed cultures and religions are cultures that have historically been the victims of genocide, colonization, assimilation and discrimination at the hands of the oppressors or majority cultures (IE European cultures, White American culture, etc).  Unless one is born into this culture or religion, they are not able or welcome to practice said religion or cultural traditions.

Open Religions and Cultures//

Partially Closed Religions, Practices and Cultures//

  • Traditional Wicca
  • Christianity
  • Catholicism
  • Judaism
  • Islam
  • Bahá’í Faith
  • Buddhism
  • Hinduism
  • Voodou
  • Hoodoo
  • Santeria
  • Brujeria
  • Taoism
  • Confucianism
  • Sikhism

Closed Religions and Cultures//

  • Shinto (Koshinto, Shugendo, Yoshida Shinto, etc)
  • First Nation (Tlingit, Anishinaabe, Cree, Oneida, Innu, etc)
  • Native American (Mvskoke, Lakota, Hopi, Zuni, Blackfoot, Inuit, etc)
  • Indigenous (Aztec, Mayan, Olmec, Incan, etc)
  • Pasifika (Maori, Hawaiian, Rapa Nui, etc)
  • Aboriginal (Australian, Philippine, Balinese, etc)
  • West African  (Yoruba, Isoko, Ashanti, Bori, etc)
  • Northern African (Berber, etc)
  • Central African (Bushongo, Bambuti, Lugbara, etc)
  • Eastern African (Akamba, Dinka, Lotuko, Masai, etc)
  • Southern African (Badimo, Lozi, Tumbuka, Zulu, etc)
  • Jainism
  • Zoroastrianism

Please note that this is in no way an all inclusive list. I’m sure I have forgotten a few somewhere. If you see that I have forgotten to include any, please message me and I will add it. Please do not send me hate over this post, as it is purely educational and I will not engage in any discourse about it, or conversations with hateful messages. I am neurodivergent and am very prone to panic attacks. I will not hesitate to delete and block anything that could threaten my mental health. Thank you.



24 year old Mvskoke Creek Two Spirit Artist and Author.

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