This week’s talking point is on a subject that anyone following a non-mainstream religion or practice will have to face at some point. Who knows about it, and how do you tell them?
Specifically, this week is looking at who amongst my close family members knows, and how do they feel about it.
I think any family member who doesn’t know at this time that I am Pagan and a practicing witch, well they must not be paying attention. I’ve been following these particular beliefs for all of my adult life, and I decided early on that I would not hide who I am. I do this for me, and I do it for my children.
I can’t tell them that Paganism is a valid religion, then hide it from anyone who might disapprove. And I cannot tell them that it is okay to be who they are, and then demonstrate through my own actions that I don’t think it is okay to be who I am.
I’m not *in your face* about my religious beliefs, other than my headcovering, I wear no outward display of my spiritual/religious practices. Even in this, because so many women from so many different cultures wear head coverings where I live and interact with the public, no one bats an eye. In the course of a single day I can walk amongst Sikh men and women wearing turbans, Hindu women wearing pashmini scarves, Muslim women in hijabi, or Afro-Caribbean women with their hair wrapped.
If I am asked, I am honest in my reply. But, I don’t volunteer the information either. Again that is mostly cultural. A person’s religious beliefs are considered to be personal, and not waved about.
So, how do my family members feel, or what do they think?
Starting with my immediate family –
All 3 of my sons know I am Pagan and witch. My eldest son, aged 26, also identifies as Pagan as does my youngest, aged 10. My middle son, age 12, is leaning more towards being an atheist and sees no reason for holding any religious belief. I am okay and support each son as and where they are. All I insist upon is that they show respect towards the spiritual and religious beliefs of others, even if they disagree.
My birth family also knows – mother, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, and anyone who has friended or followed me on Facebook. For those who weren’t told directly, it’s written very clearly on my Facebook profile for them to read. They will also, of course, see any posts I make with regards to my beliefs, and reference to blog posts made here.
At this point, they have chosen to not give me their opinions on my personal religion. It wouldn’t change anything for me if they did though. I am long past the point in my life where I need the approval of my extended family or friends in order to be true to my own religious practices. In return, I respect whatever religion they may adhere to.
Which isn’t to say that I won’t poke at any hypocrisies that I may see within a religion as a whole, or point out inconsistancies. However, here I am looking at institutional religion, and not personal faith. There is, I believe, a big difference between the two.
Who knows? – Everyone who knows me.
Have you had to stay in a broom closet with your beliefs? Are you able to share them with others?