This article was first published September 18th, 2011, but it seems to have come up again.
As this seems to be the topic of the week, I would like to add to what I’ve watched in the channels in youtube. Some personal thoughts on the matter.
I agree with Annie on PaganPerspecti, who spoke about your privacy and how it is really up to you to whom you tell. That you don’t have to feel bad if you don’t go on your roof top and scream to the world “I’m pagan/wicca/witch!”.
In general I have been lucky. I grew up in environment where personal religion was what it was – personal. You didn’t discriminate people on this and it didn’t define you fully. It was part of you, but you didn’t get fired if anyone found out nor were you looked at any different if you walked around in your street. Rumors perhaps, but in general it didn’t matter. Also we have many natural witches around, thanks to whom nobody even winked if you told them you are “towards the woods” as we say (meaning you were nutty in a good way).
Still, this didn’t meant I would go around expressing my beliefs out and pressing them to be the best and the only way. With our openness on religion, there are still things we do not tolerate – pressure of any kind to start with. I’ve come to understand that this principle is pretty much universal.
I don’t usually bring up the subject in personal conversations unless people ask. I remember though how I thought about it years ago, when I started on the path. Then my mom solved my problem. In one word – respect.
1. No religion is better than other. I follow this rule firmly as even the though on religious intolerance makes me angry – there is no religion better than other. Study them and you’ll know what I mean. Rather find the common traits than differences. My father is Buddhist and Christian. My mother has same traits and my siblings have their own worlds. We are one odd bundle, but we never attack each other based on religion. It’s just one thing out of many and there are too many other factors that actually do keep you together.
2. Do not act provocatively. You do not erect altar in the living room and use this as your “coming out”. And you do not walk in the family meeting and land the bomb. That’s the worst one can do. I’ve seen my sister use this tactics and it always ends with fights and eating nerves. Your nerves. Rather do it gradually – read, do small things, act out the philosophy. No need to pick a fight.
3. Be honest and respect YOUR OWN privacy. You don’t often realize, but your liberty is in your privacy. If you put an add in your newspaper that you are a witch, there are always people, who feel they MUST turn you from the wrong path. Your privacy on the other hand gives you the liberty to do be free in your path without having to constantly protect yourself. You don’t need acceptance from every stranger out there, but you need it from your family. If you do trick like that you are not only risking with your own privacy, but also with theirs and it will put all of you in threat.
4. Practice. No point to go around saying you belong to some religion without going through the pits and bolts.
Celebrate their holidays with them – you will miss it later if you block it. And if you can’t make a bigger holiday out of your holidays, you can always celebrate it anyway. Bake a cake! No one minds a cake and you can still celebrate with your family. Or if it seems offensive, don’t tell, but still bake a cake! Clean the house before your holidays the day before your holiday. You still don’t need to spill the beans, but the house will be neat and everybody feel better. Doesn’t take them long to understand that there’s a reason behind it, but by that time it seems natural for both your family and to you.
At some point I started leaving my decks on the window for moonlight. I was fretting it would insult my father. He laughed the first time, joking on how stupid it was. But I did it next time and the next and now he doesn’t even rise a brow, just marks that it must be full Moon again. Same went with spells. I started with small things in secret, but now they have nothing against something boiling on the stove or anything else I take up. Because they know I don’t do something that would harm them.
Show that your religion is not threatening to their way of life. Show that your way of life is just as warmhearted and open as are theirs. Don’t press it to go faster than it goes. Show respect towards others and they do give you the same courtesy.Show your religion through your actions, but don’t use it as excuse to live out your anger.
Won’t keep the fights away, but it will make your life much easier and coming out wouldn’t be a problem. Because if the signs are there and it doesn’t threat them, they will take it as something normal. You learn over time how to deal with it all without having to come out with the answers within 5 minutes they will usually give you to explain yourself.
That’s how I got accepted by both my family, my friends and strangers, who happen to see my pentagram. I learned over time that my privacy is my freedom and this gives me confidence. I don’t have to feel threatened and act upon it. I didn’t walk out in the war without first learning what I’m fighting for. Don’t make the mistake – it’s better to know beforehand than to be put in stupid situation, because you were too eager to expose yourself.
Your mightiest tool is your brain – think and ask guidance from your gods/goddesses. If there is a need, you’ll find the way. The nice way, not the in-your-face! way. It’s a path that will last your entire life, you DO have the time.