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Author Topic: Having to hide being a Pagan  (Read 12968 times)

Celtag

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Having to hide being a Pagan
« on: March 27, 2012, 02:14:41 am »
I have been a practicing Pagan for about 2 years now, and I still have to basically hide it from my family. My Parents are devout Catholics and they knew I had an interest in Celtic Polytheism, but to keep them off my back i basically have to keep saying I'm Catholic and all that. Does anyone else have this problem and what did you do.
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RandallS

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Re: Having to hide being a Pagan
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2012, 08:23:25 am »
Quote from: Celtag;47584
I have been a practicing Pagan for about 2 years now, and I still have to basically hide it from my family.

I'm selective about who knows. However, I'm a fairly private person so no one really notices that I'm selective.
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Re: Having to hide being a Pagan
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2012, 08:53:56 am »
Quote from: Celtag;47584
I have been a practicing Pagan for about 2 years now, and I still have to basically hide it from my family. My Parents are devout Catholics and they knew I had an interest in Celtic Polytheism, but to keep them off my back i basically have to keep saying I'm Catholic and all that. Does anyone else have this problem and what did you do.


This is a difficult situation for you.

When I started, for my grandma a black candle was already devil worship.
So it was not really easy, had to hide everything and hiding something from my grandma was a challenge. Privacy was not in her vocab.

When I finally started to really practice, I was my own woman already and there was nobody who had a right to stick the nose into my stuff.

So it all depends on your situation.
There is not really a need to let people know who either would be heartbroken by it, or giving your hell for it. You don't need to make your life a misery.

I agree with Randall, be selective.
After all religion is something private imo.
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That’s what people never really understood.….Things had to balance.
You couldn’t set out to be a good witch or a bad witch. It never worked out for long.
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Holdasown

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Re: Having to hide being a Pagan
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2012, 09:22:49 am »
Quote from: Celtag;47584
I have been a practicing Pagan for about 2 years now, and I still have to basically hide it from my family. My Parents are devout Catholics and they knew I had an interest in Celtic Polytheism, but to keep them off my back i basically have to keep saying I'm Catholic and all that. Does anyone else have this problem and what did you do.

 
I have been practicing for three or four? years now. I don't advertise but I quit hiding. My mother might freak if I came right out and said I was pagan and a witch but the rest don't care. I talk more openly about what I am doing and why there are bottles in my window and stuff. As I get more confident in my beliefs hiding them gets harder. Sorry your family isn't supportive.

Cannaid

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Re: Having to hide being a Pagan
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2012, 09:55:12 am »
Quote from: Ula;47624
I have been practicing for three or four? years now. I don't advertise but I quit hiding. My mother might freak if I came right out and said I was pagan and a witch but the rest don't care. I talk more openly about what I am doing and why there are bottles in my window and stuff. As I get more confident in my beliefs hiding them gets harder. Sorry your family isn't supportive.

 
I have been practising one form or another of paganism for 20 or so years.  I don't hide my faith but I find that the need to discuss such things quite rare.  

My heart breaks for those whom are unable to freely live their lives but I remain hopeful that one day there will be no need to "hide" one's true self.
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Aiwelin

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Re: Having to hide being a Pagan
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 10:26:19 am »
Quote from: RandallS;47614
I'm selective about who knows. However, I'm a fairly private person so no one really notices that I'm selective.

 
I too have always been very private about my religion.  I think the idea that you need to be open and out about your faith is a pretty Christian notion (and perhaps other Abrahamic faiths as well?) that a lot of people grew up with.  I for one was told a lot growing up that I needed to tell as many people as possible about my faith and then be a 'living example' of Christendom.  When I started getting into Wicca in high school, I still retained that attitude to a certain degree, but instead applied it to my new path - and yep, I was that stereotypical goth girl with the huge pentacle carrying her Wicca 101 book everywhere and talking to anyone and everyone about it.

As I grew older (and entered a much more supportive and tolerant college environment), it became clear to me that this wasn't the way everyone lived their life.  I am a naturally private person anyway, and so my Paganism, though I never made a conscious effort to hide it, gradually became less and less a part of my public persona.  Years afterwards, I was engaged and living with a wonderful and supportive man, and I still put up my altar in the closet - I wasn't yet totally comfortable sharing space completely, especially where my religion was concerned.  Though the altar has come out of the closet these days, and I do occasionally discuss Pagan goings-on with my husband, I still maintain that sense of privacy - I am most comfortable doing ritual when I have the house to myself, and I like to shop for Pagan supplies on my own.

Not that I believe every Pagan must be private about their faith (obviously ridiculous!), this is just what works for me.  My husband does occasionally question it - he's under the impression that I wouldn't 'hide' my faith if I wasn't ashamed of it - but I completely disagree.  It's just the kind of person I am.  I have no problem referring to the Wiccan rituals I attend as a 'church thing' when talking to my parents or in-laws (they are, after all, held at the local Unitarian church!).  It's not because I'm ashamed; I'm just not interested in outlining my very personal and complicated beliefs to everyone I meet, especially those who probably won't take the time to understand what I'm talking about anyway.

Quote from: Celtag;47584
Does anyone else have this problem and what did you do.


From my experience, the best solution is just to let it be.  Your parents or anyone else aren't going to be convinced that you're pursuing a fulfilling path if they haven't been already.  If they ask, answer honestly; but there's no point in bringing something up that the two of you don't agree on.  Time may help a great deal with this - as you grow older and they realize you're still following the same path and nothing terrible has happened to you, and you're becoming a fully capable adult - they may warm up to the idea.  Then again, they might not, and it might just be one of those things you don't discuss with your parents.  My mother is rather homophobic, doesn't believe in global warming, and honestly thinks that the pill kills babies; these are things we've just stopped talking about.  It's not worth the loss of our relationship to try and convince her of her errors when she's just not willing to be convinced.
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SatSekhem

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Re: Having to hide being a Pagan
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2012, 11:05:36 am »
Quote from: Celtag;47584
I have been a practicing Pagan for about 2 years now, and I still have to basically hide it from my family. My Parents are devout Catholics and they knew I had an interest in Celtic Polytheism, but to keep them off my back i basically have to keep saying I'm Catholic and all that. Does anyone else have this problem and what did you do.

 
My mother's family is devoutly Catholic and my father's are pretty close to just-as-devout with Methodism. So, here's what I did.

I didn't talk about it. I would let out little bits in public forums and if someone would ask me questions in relation to either side of the family, I would shut down the conversation. I would change the conversation or I would say something like, "Huh. I'm not sure I know what you're talking about." I would deflect and deflect until it left me dizzy and irritated.

Now, I don't care. I'm almost thirty years old and my mom supports what I do. If either side of the family doesn't, then oh well. I don't need them.
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Etheric1

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Re: Having to hide being a Pagan
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2012, 11:29:23 am »
Quote from: Celtag;47584
I have been a practicing Pagan for about 2 years now, and I still have to basically hide it from my family. My Parents are devout Catholics and they knew I had an interest in Celtic Polytheism, but to keep them off my back i basically have to keep saying I'm Catholic and all that. Does anyone else have this problem and what did you do.

 
I am very selective about who I tell my beliefs to.  My folks are Catholic, but I've been fortunate that they've been okay with it.  But really, I think it's no one's business but my own regarding what faith I have.  For the most part I prefer to just not bring it up.  I won't exactly hide it, but I don't broadcast it either.  The exceptions to this are when I see or hear judgmental actions about other faiths, and when I'm chatting with other people I know to be pagans already.  

I think it is important to realize if and when it's necessary to speak up about this.  If nothing positive can be gained from it, then I find it's best to keep quiet.  It's not worth the energy trying to force a mind open that's welded shut. ;)  

However, I will say I am beginning to rethink this a bit due to some of the incredible levels of intolerance toward all things not christian being uttered by the likes of idiots like Rick Santorum and his moronic followers.
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Dragonfly68

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Re: Having to hide being a Pagan
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2012, 01:50:36 pm »
Quote from: Celtag;47584
I have been a practicing Pagan for about 2 years now, and I still have to basically hide it from my family. My Parents are devout Catholics and they knew I had an interest in Celtic Polytheism, but to keep them off my back i basically have to keep saying I'm Catholic and all that. Does anyone else have this problem and what did you do.

 
Well, my mother is basically agnostic/atheist, depending on her mood.  She doesn't care what I believe as long as I'm happy and content.  My step-father, on the other hand, suddenly went "Christian" when he discovered that my daughter was very much pagan.  He is constantly telling her he's dissappointed that she didn't give christianity a chance. *eyes roll*.  

Very few people outside of my grove or local pagan friends know about my religious beliefs, because, frankly, it's no ones business but my own.  My grandmother, a very hard-core southern Baptist, taught me that religion was a personal thing, not to be discussed just willy nilly.  lol, so I still hold by that belief.  :)

earth_dragon

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Re: Having to hide being a Pagan
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2012, 02:25:00 pm »
Quote from: Celtag;47584
I have been a practicing Pagan for about 2 years now, and I still have to basically hide it from my family. My Parents are devout Catholics and they knew I had an interest in Celtic Polytheism, but to keep them off my back i basically have to keep saying I'm Catholic and all that. Does anyone else have this problem and what did you do.

 
I'll be very honest, as I always am. I have never hidden who I am or what I practice. I can't. It's completely against my personality and everything I morally stand for. That's not to say I don't understand those who do have to practice more discretion. But for me, I decided, right from the off, that I would discuss my religion and beliefs openly (even going so far as to do a presentation on it in a college class). If others didn't like it, including my family, then I didn't need or want them.

Again, this is all just for me. My own personal decisions. I know these same decisions wouldn't necessarily be right for everyone. I hope you find peace, soon, hon!

monsnoleedra

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Re: Having to hide being a Pagan
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2012, 02:29:59 pm »
Quote from: Celtag;47584
I have been a practicing Pagan for about 2 years now, and I still have to basically hide it from my family. My Parents are devout Catholics and they knew I had an interest in Celtic Polytheism, but to keep them off my back i basically have to keep saying I'm Catholic and all that. Does anyone else have this problem and what did you do.


Wish I could offer some sage advise but i'm afraid that I can't.  I was basically a loner all of my life so walked my own way from the begining.

For me my spirituality and religious beliefs are tied to my spirit and soul so they are hidden to begin with.  I simply do not see a need to broadcast who or what I am to the general masses.  Not to say I do not have facets that shine through for one can not walk a pathway and be true to it without having it reflected upon the surface of thier life.  

Nor do I side-step issues when they come up.  Yet I choose to engage or ignore the topics at hand and whether I shall contribute or not.  Yet I have been that way all of my life as well, so my family, friends and acquaintance's know I am pretty vocale on strange topics or issues.

A suggstion though might be to tell them you are looking into the Celtic Church as I seem to recall it is still pretty strong.  Still alot of Celtic lore and history tied to it.  Might even go into how your interested in Celtic history and mythology and broaden your whole perspective and thiers as you look at more than just the gods / goddesses.

But at the end of the day it is up to you as to how much you hide or reveal about your pathway.  It is also up to what demands and insistences your gods / goddesses place upon you in representing them and conveying their truths and messages.

My gods (Sekor & The Huntsman) and my goddesses (Hekate / Hecate - Artemis - Bast - Pahket) do not demand I be vocale and in people's faces about them but they do demand I speak their truths as I know and understand it to be when they are brough up.  Sometimes going so far as to place me in situations when my understanding or perspective of them is wrong or incomplete.  You can ask Sunflower about my perspective about Artemis and Women's lib for instance.  I defended but I was also wrong in a global content versus family experience, so had to re-evaluate my thoughs and conclusions and change to reflect what was more correct.

Sometimes one also has to do some serious consideration as to do the trappings of thier pathway match or accurately reflect the depth and truth of thier pathway.  Altar's are nice for instance but is it a true reflection of your pathway or simply something one thinks they need?  The same with all the other trappings that people tend to collect and showcase.

Vale

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Re: Having to hide being a Pagan
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2012, 02:34:32 pm »
Quote from: Celtag;47584
I have been a practicing Pagan for about 2 years now, and I still have to basically hide it from my family. My Parents are devout Catholics and they knew I had an interest in Celtic Polytheism, but to keep them off my back i basically have to keep saying I'm Catholic and all that. Does anyone else have this problem and what did you do.

 
I work on the "don't ask don't tell" principle. It's no real secret but I don't make a point of mentioning it unless I'm asked outright  - which has only been once. If the conversation is with someone I don't care to share with is heading too close for comfort I will deflect it.

I don't know whether my parents know or not. I guess they must suspect and my mother has commented on the statue of Lord Buddha I have in the corner but as she has Lord Shiva and Ganesh statutory around her house it isn't really noteworthy.

Anyone pagan visiting me might well guess from some of the things lying around but  I'm not big on the usual commercial tat embossed with pentacles.  Unless you realise the significance of the bowl of hawthorn berries on the shelf or recognise my beautiful antler tipped "walking stick" for the stang it really is then I pass totally under the radar.

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Re: Having to hide being a Pagan
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2012, 02:40:03 pm »
Quote from: monsnoleedra;47655
...

 
Just an additional though.  It seem's your at a juncture where you have to define just what your beliefs are and what being a Pagan means to you.  For when we know who and what we are we know that much better how to represent and express ourselves.  

It's been my experience a great many issues arise simply because we really can't explain what we belive and the depths of our beliefs.  That makes it that much more difficult to present them to family who might take offense or issue with them.

Makes it difficult to face thier arguments and nay saying when you really can't support your position.  Stating its not Satanism with no because and ability to support your position really never changes anything in thier minds.

Katefox

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Re: Having to hide being a Pagan
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2012, 02:42:44 pm »
Quote from: Celtag;47584
Does anyone else have this problem and what did you do.

 
When I figure out what to do, I'll let you know. :P

Well, really, for the most part, it isn't an issue for me.  I don't live at home anymore, and haven't for years.  I also live a good eight hour drive from my parents, so they don't exactly come calling very often.  Actually, about the only person who visits my apartment with any regularity is my boyfriend (well, and my landlord when he comes to collect rent), and my boyfriend knows what I believe, so I really don't have to worry about hiding books, or anything.  And generally, I don't feel a need to tell the world I'm Pagan.  It's really not relevant to most conversations I have, so I don't bring up my religious beliefs very often, anyway.

The problem comes with my stepfather, because he's still convinced I'm a born-again Christian.  Usually, this doesn't matter, as religion doesn't come up super often, but occasionally it is rather awkward, just because, well, I'm not, and I feel dishonest when I don't say anything to counter his conception of my religious affiliation.  However, I don't think he'd take the news that I'm not Christian anymore terribly well (not that he'd disown me, or anything, but I'd probably never hear the end of it).  So I'm in a quandary of "how do I let my parents know I'm not Christian anymore in as gentle a manner as possible?" which I really haven't figured out yet.

Rhyshadow

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Re: Having to hide being a Pagan
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2012, 03:16:27 pm »
Quote from: Celtag;47584
I have been a practicing Pagan for about 2 years now, and I still have to basically hide it from my family. My Parents are devout Catholics and they knew I had an interest in Celtic Polytheism, but to keep them off my back i basically have to keep saying I'm Catholic and all that. Does anyone else have this problem and what did you do.

 
I never had the issue - was agnostic the last couple years I was home, out of the house and in the Air Force when I finally realized what path I wanted

I don't hide it, but I don't flaunt it either, someone asks what my viewpoint is, I tell them, but my pentacle and Celtic Tree stay under my shirt unless I'm purposfully showing it to someone.

Of course my parents were always accepting of different viewpoints - even though dad's a lay minister in the Lutheran Church.

When I did come out to them, dad's first words were "At least you believe in something."  Twenty years later and I've never forgotten that, and when I got my ministerial license, dad and mom both told me that I would be the officiator at their funerals - funny - A Pagan Priest officiating at a Lutherans funeral

As for advice, I'd slowly feel them out - let tiny tidbits out, see how they react - if it's with understanding and love, then let more out - if it's not, then it's best to keep it quiet.  I know I'm very lucky to have parents like I do after hearing stories from my own wife as well as from friends.

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