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Does anyone find themselves... hiding??

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 2:02 am
by Crazy Healer Lady
I am very shocked and disappointed with myself. I am wondering if my fellow Pagans and virtual family members have encountered something similar, and if there are any words of advice for myself and others who may have come across this.

At first I hesitated bringing this up on the boards, but the problem is persistant, no matter how much I talk myself out of it.

Do you find yourself hiding your religion? (Ragnar, I know, will say "Bloody Hel No!")

As I've mentioned in a previous thread, I've made a big move to a different city - a city, away from my comfortable forest; although forest is only 1 minute walking distance away, I can still hear cars, the occasional siren, am blinded by street lights and the sky is BLACK... and orange.

My landlords are very Christian. Seventh-Day Adventists to be exact, and although they are wonderful people, I find myself nervous. They both work for the church, and are always away on trips around the continent serving their church. They burn incense and have a lot of the practices that I do, and when - off the record - they asked what I believed, I said I was searching, which is true, and they responded very well. Burning sage? They had no problem.
My partner's grandmother is a Fundamentalist. His family is very Christian. We have not told the grandmother, his cousin, or anyone that I am Pagan. His parents are aware, and I am sometimes poked fun at by his mother. "Can you eat this, or is it against your religion? Ha ha." I don't plan on hiding my beliefs from them. Only his grandmother, who is a kickin' old crone who would not benefit at all from such a shock to her foundation of beliefs - LORD FORBID her grandson should date a heathen! The fact that we live together is enough to set her over the edge! Dear LORD, living in SIN!

I have a bookshelf out in my livingroom full of my healing books, Pagan, Shamanism, Wicca, Intimate matters (ahem), and classic literature. When I spy one of my books, Advanced Witchcraft by Edaine McCoy, I immediately move my hand to hide it. I've found myself putting a Catholic Cross on the bookshelf. I see it, and I want to vomit.

I try to reaffirm the fact that my religion is valid, that it is beautiful, but the question that always comes up is, "Will they get it? Will they hear the word 'Pagan' and shut themselves off from any understanding?" I would hope that my personality would give a good name to Paganism. I open doors for old ladies, pay my rent before it is due, cook, volunteer for Hospice... WHY AM I SO WORRIED??

My landlord came to look at my dryer & set up my internet yesterday. He placed a tool on the bookshelf, and I saw him freeze when he saw the book I described. He was taken aback, yes, but stayed for pie, and made no comments. Perhaps he thought about how much he likes me, and all the good qualities he has commented on? He is an amazing person with a strong spirituality, which I greatly respect.

I do not feel guilty for my religion. I am proud. Why this feeling that I have to hide myself? I'm darn near ready to bang my head on the flippin' wall!

I am not looking to proclaim my religion to the world. I am happy to sit quietly and let everyone guess, because I believe it is better to remain silent than flap your mouth at every opportunity. However, I want to be comfortable telling Christians when they ask! I've been condemned to their imaginary Hell before. I should be used to this!

Why do religions have to conflict!?? Why do Christians have to put up arms against Paganism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism?? Why does everyone fight? Am I just a long-haired hippy??

Like all of my problems, I'll probably meditate or Journey on this, but I figured this would also give a good reference point & support for others in the same boat. Advice, stories... All are very much welcome!

Thanks for reading this post which, like many of my posts, is excessively long >__< Sorry for the length

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 3:51 am
by Windwalker
It's okay, I definitely know how you feel. While I haven't had a circumstance similar to yours, I've been reading all this stuff lately about persecution and there's this... weird kinda vibe coming out of the states and so on lately. There's something in the air. New Zealand is fairly liberal but all the same I've been feeling a bit... nervous. And I don't know why.

But! there is good news. I Journeyed on it myself and was reassured: the gods will give us strength if we need it. We shall not go gently into that good night.

Do not fear. You don't have to announce your religion, but it's your home and you shall bloody well put your books on the bloody shelf.

But I understand your heartfelt wail... I don't like the hate. It's madness. Can't we all just get along?!? I accept other people's right to worship how they choose, can't they accept mine?

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:08 am
by Willow
I very rarely call myself a pagan. I just get tired of looks and fights and whatnot.

Not all of us are called to stand on the rooftops. Some of us support our religion just by being good people.

either way I know how you feel.

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:17 am
by Stormy
It makes sense to be careful - people who don't understand often hate - when they hate, they attack. The powers that be don't ask us to shout out our beliefs - they understand the need for secrecy - they don't want us to do anything that will end up getting us hurt.

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:51 am
by Jescissa
Crazy Healer Lady wrote:I try to reaffirm the fact that my religion is valid, that it is beautiful, but the question that always comes up is, "Will they get it? Will they hear the word 'Pagan' and shut themselves off from any understanding?" I would hope that my personality would give a good name to Paganism. I open doors for old ladies, pay my rent before it is due, cook, volunteer for Hospice... WHY AM I SO WORRIED??
I know exactly how you feel. There are members of my family who will never know my true faith because it would hurt them too much. I consider it respectful to their feelings to keep my faith to myself and I don't think I'm selling myself short by keeping it from them. However, if someone else asked I would definitely consider their background before choosing my reply. I would never pretend to be anything other than what I am, but I am guilty of watering it down a little to try and get people to understand where I'm coming from before they launch an attack, which can make me sound a bit wishy-washy, I guess :-?
I'm lucky in that I can wear my pentacle quite openly around where I live and have people just say "that's a cute pendant!" rather than "OMG! Devil worshipper!!" and it makes it all the more special when I run into someone else wearing a pentacle too. There's a sort of "we're in the same boat" look exchanged and I feel so energized by it.

After years of hiding my books in drawers and under my bed, I've finally started to put them up on my bookshelf and I'm happy with their placement in my little nook of learning and knowledge alongside my university books. I guess by putting them there I have a dual purpose: people will just scan the shelf and assume all the books are uni books, and also all the books there are contributing to my knowledge and well-being!

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:59 pm
by Kitsune
I do not shout my beliefs from the rooftops, but damn it, I'm not going to lie to anyone anymore about my religion. Unless I have previously heard a specific person spouting "evil" beliefs about my religion, in which case I simply don't bring it up (however, if they ask me, too bad, I ain't lying for no one. :lol: )

I just got tired of hiding it. My books proudly sit in my front room shelf on what I loving call my Craft section. I don't wear a pentacle, but that's more because I've only ever seen one that appeals to me, and since I'd have to order it from the internet... Well, I've been lazy, and it's really not that important.

The only person I'm wary of telling straight out is my Mother, but I'm out to the rest of my family. I would be out to my Mother, but we never talk about religion, and it seems an odd thing to throw into a conversation about carpeting. :lol: :roll:

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 3:38 pm
by Crazy Healer Lady
Thank you very much for your replies. Reading them has sincerely helped me and my feelings toward the matter.

I had - as silly as this sounds - a very emotional, spiritual experience in the bath. (I've got a soaker tub now! So I've started taking baths again if I have a day off.) I needed to relax, to mull over all of your posts, and eventually just clear my head.

I realized a lot, including why this paranoia has surfaced again when I thought I had so skillfully resolved it.

I found myself sobbing to the Divine, to Mother Goddess and Father God, feeling their energies separately, then in unity, within me.

I cannot explain what conclusion I have come to. I am still reeling, hours later. My religion is no one's business but my own, but because I have found steady footing once more, I am sure-footed, and do not find myself wanting to flee from prying eyes. My religion is their religion, though they call it something else, and therefore I am as worthy as they, and I do not need to feel these horrid things such as fear, insecurity, etc. I guess with everything around me shaken up, I lost my footing and forgot where I was along my path.

Something has changed inside me, as cliche as this sounds. Gods, it is fun when they do this, but so disorientating! >__< Who was I six hours ago? Was I so blind?

We shall see how this plays out in the next few weeks. Thanks again for your help - once more my virtual family has provided comfort and solace in a very dark moment.

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:49 pm
by Lotus
Maybe I'm a bit late to this topic....sorry.

I hide for my own protection. If news got out to my mother (even though she might already have a clue thus far) then there would be hell to pay.
I do not want the arguments or the conflict that goes along with being open to everyone. I still get the whole, "did you go to Easter mass?"
This is an intimidation factor to get you back into the fold.

Even in my own home I hide my things into rooms people do not have to go into.

Even though I wear an ankh to represent my faith on my free time......majority of fundies do not know what an ankh is and often mistake it for an elaborate style cross.

I cringe sometimes because I do not want my religious beliefs out in the open at SO opened his big mouth and blabbed it! Some of them assume that I am christian because we asked for Easter sunday off.
Certain people at work I do not want to get out that I'm pagan.
This is all for protection. Already a supervisor knows and I'm not sure how unless someone blabed it.

I've been descriminated against and yelled at. I know that The World Harvest Church a-la Rod Parsley is a hop skip and a jump away. I drive just a few blocks in Worthington, Ohio and there *is* a christian church on every corner. Church folk snear at me that they were just at church on Sunday mornings becasue I'm working (stupid because I work on Sundays because they shop on Sunday!)
This is why I hide.


Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:22 pm
by Crazy Healer Lady
Thank you Lotus. Certainly your situation merits what you do. You must be very strong to have to deal with such circumstances.

Yes... in Abbotsford, I cannot drive more than 45 seconds (50km/h) without seeing a church. When giving directions, I always get, "It's on the corner with this church," or "Do you know where this church is? It's right near there."

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:53 pm
by Ragnar
Just found this.

You have answred for me.

:smt077 :smt077 :smt077

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:41 pm
by daibanjo
There's a very fortunate position that comes with age. It's the ability to say whatever you like when you like and not take guff from anyone. I don't advertise my path but i don't hide it. But I have no need to.
I sympathize with you. As a child I was taught to hide my religion and not openly speak about the old ways and I understand the need for that at the time.
Times change but mostly I'm the one who has changed. Still, I tell my children not to make a big deal of their spirituality and to keep it hidden for the most part.
It seems that you found the answer yourself CHL. We grow strong through the spiritual experiences that we are blessed with and you were blessed with an extremely profound experience.
Live without fear my sister.

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 4:26 am
by Crazy Healer Lady
Daibanjo, you are a man I have incredible respect for. Thank you so very much for your comments on this topic. You are a wise individual and I am sure touch the lives very deeply of those around you.

I have started saying my prayers aloud alongside my partner before dinner (something I had difficulty with, as prayers to me were always silent, but when he prayed I found my own voice trying to speak). It has been met with open arms, except that he asked last night why I said Mother Goddess before Father God... heh.

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 7:10 am
by Willow
Tell him you alternate, goddess one day God the next :lol:

Or argue that numbers are a human invention and that 1st or 2nd has no bearing on how the divine is valued.

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:34 am
by Kitsune
A very true concept indeed, Willow. :-D

Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 4:38 am
by underlilith
when asked about my religion, i don't hide it, but i'm not brunt about it either. I'll explain, say someone askes who i know is christian, i'll say something like "I can promise you i'm not a satanist, nor am i christian. I think if you really want to understand you must have an open mind, and i'm afraid i don't see that in you."