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Author Topic: Faith and Silence.  (Read 3841 times)

SatSekhem

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Faith and Silence.
« on: January 16, 2012, 04:46:40 pm »
I've been talking with people a lot lately about my practice and how I go about it. However, someone recently mentioned that they keep quiet about whom they serve for good reason: in effect, in knowing the entity that you serve, they are more likely to be able to work bad magic with the aid of said patron. This really has gotten me thinking a lot lately about silence and faith.

Do you think it is wise to keep your faith/practices quiet?
Do you think it is wise to keep the names of your patron(s) quiet?
Why or why not?
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Maps

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Re: Faith and Silence.
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2012, 05:21:00 pm »
Quote from: SatSekhem;38980
Do you think it is wise to keep your faith/practices quiet?

 
This + cultural appropriation could be it's own long-winded thread! But fake and hidden ceremonies and rituals is pretty well-documented within the context of Western interaction with NA/FN groups. And then you've got mystery cults and initiatory systems, among lots and lots of other kinds of rules, reasons, and taboos...

Anyways, don't mind me, I'm just here to take notes. :whis:

Vale

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Re: Faith and Silence.
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2012, 05:57:07 pm »
Quote from: SatSekhem;38980
.

Do you think it is wise to keep your faith/practices quiet?
Do you think it is wise to keep the names of your patron(s) quiet?
Why or why not?

 

Do you think it is wise to keep your faith/practices quiet?  faith no. Practices yes
Do you think it is wise to keep the names of your patron(s) quiet?  No strong feelings on this one.

I make no secret of being pagan. I don't shout it from the rooftops but the clues are there for those who chose to see them. If I'm asked outright then I'll give a straight and truthful answer most of the time.

I am much more circumspect about what I actually do. Trad Witchcraft is generally much misunderstood and quite frankly, any attempt to explain usually causes more misunderstanding. A signature that I use elsewhere sums it up pretty well -  for those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not, no explanation will suffice.  

It is a lot easier to say nothing. If a questioner thinks I'm wiccan/white witch /druid I don't bother to correct them. It is a useful smokescreen especially in this part of the world.

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Re: Faith and Silence.
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2012, 07:06:06 pm »
Quote from: SatSekhem;38980

Do you think it is wise to keep your faith/practices quiet?
Do you think it is wise to keep the names of your patron(s) quiet?
Why or why not?

 
In general:
Right now, yes, relatively private. (Um, for someone who under the persistent pseudonym - Jenett Silver - I've used for over a decade has various published work, a website, presentations at various events, etc.)

But I'm currently not out at work except to one co-worker (new job, I'm expecting to be quietly more open once I'm no longer probationary in August.)

But my boss is a (very thoughtful and open-minded) Mormon, and most of my colleagues are various strands of active Christian, and I'd rather be better established there before I get more specific about my own practice.) And I keep Pagan stuff away from my professional/work persona (which is the only place I use my legal name these days: everywhere else I'm Jenett.)

Information as power:
I do also believe that information is power. Both that it gives us choices - but that it gives other people ways to affect us, for good and for bad.

I am generally relatively private about a lot of specifics related to M'Lady and Himself (the two deities I work with most often personally, and to whom I am specifically committed.) I do talk about them at times, but basically, want a good reason, not just "Oh, someone asked."

(Various other practices fall in that category too, but that's the most obvious one.)

As you'll notice, those are use names - not the names I use for invocation. That's partly for the practical reasons that the names I use aren't vastly more informative than an explanation, but also because being careful how I use the names is important.

There are also things I don't widely discuss online because I am quite aware that pieced together with other sources of info, they're quite illuminating about my weak points. Various people do know those things, for one reason or another, but I try not to spread them around too widely, especially in broad open communication networks.

I try to keep the stuff I say as honest and open as I can. But there's also places I eye a post, and go quietly past. Or do the same in face to face conversations.

And finally, silence for other reasons:
I'm committed to (and partially responsible *for*, as a 3rd degree) an oathbound tradition: there is some stuff we have mutually agreed not to share. Most of these things are not that earth shattering, but are important: they're of the "you can learn a lot about someone by seeing their bedroom, but that doesn't mean everyone you meet gets to see my bedroom" sort of privacy.

(Mostly, our oathbound bits concern initiations and two other specific rituals, privacy of other members, and giving people a chance to have their own experiences without overly influencing their experience of them.)
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sephira

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Re: Faith and Silence.
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2012, 08:41:54 pm »
Quote from: SatSekhem;38980
Do you think it is wise to keep your faith/practices quiet?
Do you think it is wise to keep the names of your patron(s) quiet?
Why or why not?

I think that there are definitely certain instances and certain traditions where particular practices should remain out of non-pagan conversation and even out of pagan conversation. Some traditions, I understand, are very private about the way they practice their faith and I respect that.

I live in the bible belt where being pagan is akin to being a satanist. Being a witch is completely misunderstood! Generally, I don't announce that I am a witch until I know the person/people relatively well, but that doesn't mean that it's going to be well received. There was a girl at the place I interned who just couldn't handle the fact that I wasn't christian and kept trying to convert me every day!!!  Even one of my best friends has a bit of a hard time with my spirituality from time to time.

Honestly, I don't think it's particularly fair that the Abrahamic religions can be more open and free about their spirituality and many pagans feel as though they need to hide theirs. Sometimes I even feel like hiding my spirituality. Again, it is related to where I live. It's not like I go around hiding my head in shame or anything. I used to have a bumper sticker on my car that alluded to the fact that I was a witch, but it disappeared one day (it was on a magnet). Since then, I just don't bother with one.

As for my patron...when I am around my pagan friends or online with them I speak freely of him. As for the general public, I have a pendant with him on it and when asked what it is I just say who it is and what he represents. Sometimes they are confused, giving me a quizzical look, especially if they know of him and wonder why a white girl is wearing a Hindu God around her neck, but they don't say anything, thankfully, because I may very well explain. ;)
« Last Edit: January 16, 2012, 08:45:56 pm by sephira »
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Asch

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Re: Faith and Silence.
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2012, 09:22:14 pm »
Quote from: sephira;39023
I think that there are definitely certain instances and certain traditions where particular practices should remain out of non-pagan conversation and even out of pagan conversation. Some traditions, I understand, are very private about the way they practice their faith and I respect that.

I live in the bible belt where being pagan is akin to being a satanist. Being a witch is completely misunderstood! Generally, I don't announce that I am a witch until I know the person/people relatively well, but that doesn't mean that it's going to be well received. There was a girl at the place I interned who just couldn't handle the fact that I wasn't christian and kept trying to convert me every day!!!  Even one of my best friends has a bit of a hard time with my spirituality from time to time.

Honestly, I don't think it's particularly fair that the Abrahamic religions can be more open and free about their spirituality and many pagans feel as though they need to hide theirs. Sometimes I even feel like hiding my spirituality. Again, it is related to where I live. It's not like I go around hiding my head in shame or anything. I used to have a bumper sticker on my car that alluded to the fact that I was a witch, but it disappeared one day (it was on a magnet). Since then, I just don't bother with one.

As for my patron...when I am around my pagan friends or online with them I speak freely of him. As for the general public, I have a pendant with him on it and when asked what it is I just say who it is and what he represents. Sometimes they are confused, giving me a quizzical look, especially if they know of him and wonder why a white girl is wearing a Hindu God around her neck, but they don't say anything, thankfully, because I may very well explain. ;)

 
I agree that it is unfair that many of us are forced to silence for fear of condemnation and censure by our peers and authorities.

Generally if someone point blank asks me if I'm religious I'll usually say yes and then clarify that I'm not Christian (mostly because every damn time it comes up they then follow up by asking what Church I attend :56:).

I have been 'bitten' by coming out. A friend I'd known for 24 years (I'm barely 28) condemend me to hell treated me abominally and sicced a pack of bigots on me when I politely asked herself and her mother to stop attempting to convert me. That was more disapointing than hurtful.

I am lucky enough to live in a reasonably liberal part of the country although my particular county is a bizarre mixture of fundamental Christians and other groups such as Ramtha followers as well as a robust Mormon Jehovah's Witness community. So talking openly about my religion can open me up to some pretty awkward and risky situations if I'm not careful.

Here's the thing though, ultimately, it's no one's business.  Most of the time if someone asks I'll (as I've said) agree that I'm religious and if possible leave it at that.

Jenett

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Re: Faith and Silence.
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2012, 06:30:05 am »
Quote from: sephira;39023

Honestly, I don't think it's particularly fair that the Abrahamic religions can be more open and free about their spirituality and many pagans feel as though they need to hide theirs.  

 
My standard line about that is that I actually got far more grief about being an active Catholic than I've ever gotten about being an active Pagan. (Totally true, and totally true even living in New England, where Catholicism is quite common.)

I'm quiet about the Pagan bits for more complicated reasons: most often that I don't want to spend tons of time explaining in situations where it's really not the appropriate focus, or where (for various reasons) the situation places weight on conversations in a way that doesn't serve what I'm supposed to be doing.
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thorsvin

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Re: Faith and Silence.
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2012, 10:35:44 am »
Quote from: SatSekhem;38980
in knowing the entity that you serve, they are more likely to be able to work bad magic with the aid of said patron.

 
I would think that if your patron is happy with what you are doing for him/her, then that patron would not help somebody work malefic magic on you. I actually think the Pagan community needs more publicity if we are ever going to have any kind of mainstream acceptance.

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Darkhawk

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Re: Faith and Silence.
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2012, 11:13:01 am »
Quote from: SatSekhem;38980
I've been talking with people a lot lately about my practice and how I go about it. However, someone recently mentioned that they keep quiet about whom they serve for good reason: in effect, in knowing the entity that you serve, they are more likely to be able to work bad magic with the aid of said patron.

 
... because everyone works with backstabbing double-crossers or is so bad at their service that the Powers will think them worthy of a smite?  I mean, putting aside the idea that bad magic is sufficiently common to require extreme measures to deal with.

Quote
Do you think it is wise to keep your faith/practices quiet?
 Do you think it is wise to keep the names of your patron(s) quiet?
 Why or why not?


As a general rule, I think it tacky to talk overmuch about religion in spaces in which that is not on point; this is how I was raised, to treat religion as a private, personal matter.  This means that I find overwhelming chunks of public discourse to be tacky.  This is not wisdom; this is the standard of civility and privacy I was taught by my environment as a child.

Being pagan doesn't change that.  It just makes it more likely that, should it actually be a relevant conversation, I will have to use more words to be understood.  Which Powers I deal with are even less likely to be relevant in conversation.

Wearing religious details on my sleeve feels approximately as socially appropriate as leaving the house naked.  And quite likely to be chilly, especially at this time of year.
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veggiewolf

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Re: Faith and Silence.
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2012, 12:16:09 pm »
Quote from: SatSekhem;38980
I've been talking with people a lot lately about my practice and how I go about it. However, someone recently mentioned that they keep quiet about whom they serve for good reason: in effect, in knowing the entity that you serve, they are more likely to be able to work bad magic with the aid of said patron.

This seems akin to the notion that giving out one's true name gives others power.  

I cannot, of course, say I know the motivations of the deities I serve, but worrying that someone else might be able to direct magic at me by knowing who They are isn't something I do.

Quote
Do you think it is wise to keep your faith/practices quiet?
Do you think it is wise to keep the names of your patron(s) quiet?
Why or why not?

I think it is wise to keep quiet in situations that don't call for religious discussion.  Since I'm a WASP-by-birth, that means pretty much everything outside of TC and my in-house family.  ;)
« Last Edit: January 17, 2012, 12:16:53 pm by veggiewolf »
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OpenHands

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Re: Faith and Silence.
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2012, 12:58:44 pm »
Quote from: SatSekhem;38980
I've been talking with people a lot lately about my practice and how I go about it. However, someone recently mentioned that they keep quiet about whom they serve for good reason: in effect, in knowing the entity that you serve, they are more likely to be able to work bad magic with the aid of said patron. This really has gotten me thinking a lot lately about silence and faith.


I've never heard that before, huh.  Does this person believe that they are associating with people who would try to cause them trouble or do they worry that the information will find its way to somebody they don't know well who would do it?  And if it's somebody they don't know well, why would a stranger be trying to perform harmful magic against them?  I'm genuinely curious, not trying to pick what they said apart for the sake of picking.

Quote
Do you think it is wise to keep your faith/practices quiet?


I think keeping discussions about your faith low-key or hidden is dependent upon a person's circumstances and their audience.  I don't bring it up out of the blue and I don't mention it to just anyone (working in customer service, it amazes me how some people feel perfectly comfortable asking a total stranger about their religion, but then again I grew up in a mainline Protestant church culture that generally felt this was rude).  

Discussing practices, hm.  I'll discuss if I want some feedback or if I feel like my experiences may be helpful to somebody else- provided what I'm doing isn't too personal.  I write about how I worship and observe holidays on my blog because there are still just a handful of resources available for modern adherents about ways to practice the religion.  

Quote
Do you think it is wise to keep the names of your patron(s) quiet?
Why or why not?

 
I don't have a patron, but there is a deity who I'm particularly close to.  If I'm discussing to better understand her, to give context to a meaningful discussion, or to help a fellow devotee, then that's fine.  I've become more uncomfortable over the years just talking about her when it's not in a helpful context though.  It's the same for all of my gods, really.  Doesn't feel respectful.

MarieBay

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Re: Faith and Silence.
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2012, 07:44:46 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;39008


Information as power:
(...)

There are also things I don't widely discuss online because I am quite aware that pieced together with other sources of info, they're quite illuminating about my weak points. Various people do know those things, for one reason or another, but I try not to spread them around too widely, especially in broad open communication networks.

I try to keep the stuff I say as honest and open as I can. But there's also places I eye a post, and go quietly past. Or do the same in face to face conversations.

 
I feel the same way, but my circumstances are a bit different. I've been a pagan for quite a while now, but it's only been during the past couple of years (and especially the past year and a half) that I've been doing a ton of research and experimentation and soul-searching to better understand my spiritual self. I know that there are so many weak points and an ocean of stuff I just haven't thought about yet that to voice my opinion with impunity would quickly make me sound (and feel) like an asshat.

That being said, TC is a place where I generally feel okay with talking about the deities I serve and some aspects of my practice. The conversations I have here, or the ones that I follow but don't comment on, have been pretty helpful, informative, interesting, etc. I certainly wouldn't have a conversation say, at work, or with certain friends, about some of the things I'd talk about here, but I think that's plain old common sense, not necessarily protecting myself from magical attack.

(goodness, do I ever love using commas!:eek:)

I think you can (and probably should to a certain degree) feel reverence toward your deity/deities, but there's one heck of a lot of room for fun.

Shadow

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Re: Faith and Silence.
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2012, 08:27:16 pm »
Quote from: SatSekhem;38980
I've been talking with people a lot lately about my practice and how I go about it. However, someone recently mentioned that they keep quiet about whom they serve for good reason: in effect, in knowing the entity that you serve, they are more likely to be able to work bad magic with the aid of said patron. This really has gotten me thinking a lot lately about silence and faith.

Do you think it is wise to keep your faith/practices quiet?
Do you think it is wise to keep the names of your patron(s) quiet?
Why or why not?


As seems to be the general consensus across all replies, I think there is a time and a place for discussing faith and practices. It is not something that I will drop in to random conversation, or discuss with anyone who sits still long enough to hear it, but if it is pertinent to the conversation I am happy to discuss it. How much detail I will go in to depends on the person I am talking to and the context of the discussion.

Again echoing others, I would have to wonder why a) you would be discussing these things with someone who wanted to do you harm and b) why your patron would want to assist them with this. I currently wouldn't call the deities I worship patrons as I am still building a relationship with them but I have never got the impression that they mean me harm, although they are quite happy to put me in the way of some pretty harsh lessons should they think I need them.

SatSekhem

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Re: Faith and Silence.
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2012, 10:11:24 pm »
Quote from: OpenHands;39093
I've never heard that before, huh.  Does this person believe that they are associating with people who would try to cause them trouble or do they worry that the information will find its way to somebody they don't know well who would do it?  And if it's somebody they don't know well, why would a stranger be trying to perform harmful magic against them?  I'm genuinely curious, not trying to pick what they said apart for the sake of picking.

 
The person in question lives in NOLA. She says that even friends will steal from you where she is. She says that, magically, the community is nothing more than a euphemism. When she first told me that a friend of hers tried to work bad magic on her, I was shocked and appalled. Obviously, friend wasn't the best descriptor. However, she lives in a very "fuck you" area of the "magical community" in NOLA (from what I gather). This appears to be the norm.

And more normal in Vodou circles than I'd care to admit.
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nbdy

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Re: Faith and Silence.
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2012, 11:18:07 am »
Quote from: SatSekhem;39186
The person in question lives in NOLA. She says that even friends will steal from you where she is. She says that, magically, the community is nothing more than a euphemism. When she first told me that a friend of hers tried to work bad magic on her, I was shocked and appalled. Obviously, friend wasn't the best descriptor. However, she lives in a very "fuck you" area of the "magical community" in NOLA (from what I gather). This appears to be the norm.

And more normal in Vodou circles than I'd care to admit.

 
Even in a welcoming and supportive community I would keep personal things personal. Without conscious intent objectives can be nudged one way or another by others who are aware of them. The moment they form an unspoken opinion of what you have related, the nudge has occurred. My best results have always been things kept absolutely secret.

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