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
Crazy Healer Lady
Health and happiness to you!
The purpose of a relationship is not to have another who might complete you, but to have another with whom you might share your completeness. -CWG