collapse

Important Announcement

Changing the Guard at The Cauldron

Sunflower is the new Host of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum
Please read this thread for more information.

* "Unable to verify referring url. Please go back and try again" Problem Logging In?

If you get an "Unable to verify referring url. Please go back and try again" error when you try to log in, you need to be sure you are accessing the board with a url that starts with "https://ecauldron.com".  If it starts with https://www.ecauldron.com" (or "http://www.ecauldron.com") you will get this error because "www.ecauldron.com" is not technically the same website as "ecauldron.com". Moving to the more secure "https" means it is more picky about such things.

Author Topic: Risking Reputation: What's your "Coming Out as Pagan" story?  (Read 794 times)

Blu3Wanderer

  • Sr. Newbie
  • **
  • Join Date: Jun 2016
  • Posts: 18
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Risking Reputation: What's your "Coming Out as Pagan" story?
« on: April 22, 2017, 03:28:40 pm »
As my path develops I am finding myself wanting to talk about my newfound passions and be around more experienced pagans and witches to soak up wisdom and ideas. To my immense surprise, I stumbled upon this Facebook group of pagans in my (relatively) small city! However I'm facing a few key problems.
I haven't discussed my path with anyone at all. My partner and I have not practiced any type of religion, but he is very respectful of my need for reverent meditations and "Wow, so many rocks and candles." I don't have friends or family who have broken away from Christianity, so I feel that there would be a lot of shock. I do not feel that I have completely established what my "brand" of paganism is, I'm slowly practicing what feels right and exploring. However I do not want to be discouraged or discounted this early in my process, so I've kept quiet.
Secondly, I am getting established in the community as a business woman. Being young, this is very important and quite difficult already. I live in the bible belt, so not being a church-attending "upstanding Christian" isn't helping me get further accepted into business circles as it is.
I'm amazed that this 100-member group even exists in my city. I want to reach out and join but I am wondering if I can risk the consequences of the "witch" reputation where I live. I'm very torn.
I would love to hear stories from both those who publicly claimed their beliefs and those who have kept secret! Also, any advice on how I should proceed would be so so appreciated!
Many blessings!

Sorcha

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jun 2016
  • Posts: 387
  • Total likes: 33
    • View Profile
Re: Risking Reputation: What's your "Coming Out as Pagan" story?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2017, 03:33:02 pm »
Quote from: Blu3Wanderer;205356
As my path develops I am finding myself wanting to talk about my newfound passions and be around more experienced pagans and witches to soak up wisdom and ideas. To my immense surprise, I stumbled upon this Facebook group of pagans in my (relatively) small city! However I'm facing a few key problems.
I haven't discussed my path with anyone at all. My partner and I have not practiced any type of religion, but he is very respectful of my need for reverent meditations and "Wow, so many rocks and candles." I don't have friends or family who have broken away from Christianity, so I feel that there would be a lot of shock. I do not feel that I have completely established what my "brand" of paganism is, I'm slowly practicing what feels right and exploring. However I do not want to be discouraged or discounted this early in my process, so I've kept quiet.
Secondly, I am getting established in the community as a business woman. Being young, this is very important and quite difficult already. I live in the bible belt, so not being a church-attending "upstanding Christian" isn't helping me get further accepted into business circles as it is.
I'm amazed that this 100-member group even exists in my city. I want to reach out and join but I am wondering if I can risk the consequences of the "witch" reputation where I live. I'm very torn.
I would love to hear stories from both those who publicly claimed their beliefs and those who have kept secret! Also, any advice on how I should proceed would be so so appreciated!
Many blessings!


I'm deep in the closet myself and will be in the foreseeable future. Coming out as pagan would literally devastate my parents, and that's not worth it to me. Plus, my religion is very much a weird Christian/pagan mashup, so even explaining what it is I do would be really tough. I go to an Episcopal church, and they don't really major on doctrine, so it's pretty easy to practice my own private thing while also engaging in public worship.

My best friend knows some stuff, but even to him I'm revealing stuff slowly as it seems safe.

You definitely want to weigh the pros and cons of coming out as pagan, especially as a business owner. Perhaps you could connect to some other pagans in the community and find out how things have gone for them.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Blu3Wanderer

  • Sr. Newbie
  • **
  • Join Date: Jun 2016
  • Posts: 18
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Risking Reputation: What's your "Coming Out as Pagan" story?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2017, 03:53:51 pm »
Quote from: Sorcha;205357

You definitely want to weigh the pros and cons of coming out as pagan, especially as a business owner. Perhaps you could connect to some other pagans in the community and find out how things have gone for them.

 
I'm honestly just trying to find a somewhat anonymous way to do so...I've gone so far as to having separate email and social media sites that aren't associated with my real name, but if you want to make friends there has to be a certain level of being real. Like I can't tell them a fake name and then they see me at a social event and hear my real name you know. *sigh* I feel like a fraud to a certain degree because I can't just openly talk about it like so many talk about Christianity. :o

Sorcha

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jun 2016
  • Posts: 387
  • Total likes: 33
    • View Profile
Re: Risking Reputation: What's your "Coming Out as Pagan" story?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2017, 03:56:41 pm »
Quote from: Blu3Wanderer;205364
I'm honestly just trying to find a somewhat anonymous way to do so...I've gone so far as to having separate email and social media sites that aren't associated with my real name, but if you want to make friends there has to be a certain level of being real. Like I can't tell them a fake name and then they see me at a social event and hear my real name you know. *sigh* I feel like a fraud to a certain degree because I can't just openly talk about it like so many talk about Christianity. :o

 
Yup. Same. I have multiple social media accounts for that very reason.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Noctua

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Apr 2016
  • Posts: 211
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 88
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Blue Star Wicca
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Risking Reputation: What's your "Coming Out as Pagan" story?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2017, 04:27:21 pm »
Quote from: Blu3Wanderer;205364
I'm honestly just trying to find a somewhat anonymous way to do so...I've gone so far as to having separate email and social media sites that aren't associated with my real name, but if you want to make friends there has to be a certain level of being real. Like I can't tell them a fake name and then they see me at a social event and hear my real name you know. *sigh* I feel like a fraud to a certain degree because I can't just openly talk about it like so many talk about Christianity. :o

 
I would hope that in the pagan community people would tend to be more understanding about the need to conceal your religious beliefs from the general public, and would probably be understanding if you were to tell them "yeah my pagan facebook name is X but I'm really Y in the public sphere". I'd imagine you could at least send a PM of some sort to the person organizing the get-together and let them know what's up before you get there so there's no surprises on their end.

Having said that, though, I'll admit that I'm also still in the closet myself. My husband is the only one who knows about my religious leanings. I'm currently in a health professional program run by a Catholic organization, and intend to get a job at the Catholic hospitals here when I graduate so I haven't been very forthcoming about my beliefs. There's a couple reasons for it; one being that although I know the school legally can't discriminate against me in any way and there are plenty of students (and faculty!) that aren't Catholic or even religious, I kinda got a weird vibe about coming out at school when after an orientation session one of the ladies leading the orientation, when talking about religious inclusivity, dropped the "we even had a Wiccan!" line on the group and the way she worded it just sounded like they'd gotten one of the rare foil collectible cards. I know it's likely just me but I didn't feel like being another checkbox on their inclusivity list.

The other issue I have is that I know if I were to come all the way out that I'd have family and friends ask me a TON of questions about my beliefs, questions that I'm not really prepared to answer because I'm still gathering those answers for myself. I've had my eye on a couple of pagan groups in my area that I'd like to reach out to and possibly in the process get some of those ideas I'm looking for. I've been putting it off though because I don't think it's fair (for me or for a group) to join a group and tell them I can only do things with them on school breaks.

Jenett

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3099
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 650
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Risking Reputation: What's your "Coming Out as Pagan" story?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2017, 04:51:59 pm »
Quote from: Blu3Wanderer;205356

I haven't discussed my path with anyone at all. My partner and I have not practiced any type of religion, but he is very respectful of my need for reverent meditations and "Wow, so many rocks and candles." I don't have friends or family who have broken away from Christianity, so I feel that there would be a lot of shock. I do not feel that I have completely established what my "brand" of paganism is, I'm slowly practicing what feels right and exploring. However I do not want to be discouraged or discounted this early in my process, so I've kept quiet.


My usual advice is "Telling the people who will have reason to notice before they notice is usually a better move than waiting" because the conversation usually goes better when you can plan it than getting blindsided because they stumble across something.

That usually means people you live with (probably more details sooner), or people who are in your living space a lot, or people who will notice changes in behavior / schedule / etc. (Not necessarily details quickly, but something to explain the change, even if that's "Thinking a lot about religion, taking some time to do that." or something else very general.)

I've got a lot more thoughts on an article on my website here, but beyond that, I think waiting until you're fairly sure what path you want to at least explore in more depth (no point having uncomfortable and disruptive conversations if it turns out you want to go a different direction 3 months later...) and until you can answer some general questions about what you're interested in makes a lot of sense with most people in your life.

(Of the form: Not that you know everything yet, but can answer things like "I'm exploring X path, which I'm interested in because Y, and my plans are to spend a year learning more about these things which interest me." and maybe handle a couple of common misconceptions that you think are likely to be brought up by those people.)

Quote

Secondly, I am getting established in the community as a business woman. Being young, this is very important and quite difficult already. I live in the bible belt, so not being a church-attending "upstanding Christian" isn't helping me get further accepted into business circles as it is.


This is part of why I get really frustrated by Pagan community stuff centralising organization on Facebook (which has a 'legal name' requirement in their terms of service)

I think it puts a number of people (me included) in a very difficult position because of both how the site works (and that site's history of making changes to who can see what without much warning and of policing name use) and because a lot of people want to keep some distance between legal name and personal topics like religion, or chronic illness, or details of their private life (not just Pagans: this is an issue for teachers and doctors and lawyers and social workers and therapists and lots of other professions where there's a very public facing expectation.)

So, the first part is that smaller Pagan groups are often very explicit about privacy: it's actually part of the oath in many oathbound traditions that you don't reveal someone else as a witch (at least without explicit permission), and that's usually considered to include communicating with them in a way that doesn't expose their interest.

(So when I was helping run a training group, c. 2002-2007, as cell phones were starting to become more common but were not most people's default phone, one of the things we asked was "Is it okay to leave an explicit Pagan message if we need to reach you?" For a lot of people it was, but sometimes not, and we'd make a note and follow that.)

Anyway, there are plenty of groups out there who educate about this as part of early interactions, but a random group on Facebook, it's often less clear (and also, people on Facebook may, depending on a whole host of settings, like who has friend-of-friend access to whom) have access to information about you that you may not realise (and vice versa) especially if you're in a fairly tightly knit geographic space.

My usual personal practice is that I use different names (my legal one for professional stuff and legal-name-required stuff, Jenett Silver basically everywhere else) for the two things, and I basically don't do Pagan stuff on Facebook (nor do I talk about chronic illness stuff, etc. under that name.)

You'll find this is very common in the Pagan community, and many people will respect it. (I've even met someone who takes it even further, and doesn't give any kind of usename or other information, like "Have you lived in the area a long time or just recently?" which I find taking it a little too far - it's really hard to have a conversation with some of that! But a 'here's the name I use, I do have some privacy concerns' is not a big deal.)

I take some steps to keep the two names separate (including not posting photos of myself in Pagan settings and generally wanting to avoid them if I can, because photo matching software is a thing) but I don't stress *too* much about it these days.

I'm a librarian who's worked in a high school (where I was out to staff, and that may have backfired at me...), a university campus, and now a special library.

In the latter two, I'm out to specific close friends (people I do things with outside of work) and will occasionally do a "Oh, I'm taking the week before Christmas off because I do a solstice vigil when I can arrange it." comment with my closest co-workers (who I like, but we don't talk about religion) but nothing that's explicitly obviously Pagan.

I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be a big deal at my current job, but when I was working in that high school, I both knew there were teenagers exploring Paganism (and I didn't want to end up in an uncomfortable situation there) and also teenagers in the school whose religions would have made them very uncomfortable approaching me in my professional role if they'd known, and that made it a very tricky line to walk.

One thing to consider with business is that yes, you may lose business from some people, but in some cases, it's also possible to build a business by being comfortable working with religions, relationship styles, or interests that are frowned on in the majority culture where you are. I know a bunch of therapists, for example, who have a bustling business working with people in the Pagan, queer, kink, etc. communities and I've heard the same thing from things like house cleaning services, accountants, and a wide variety of other small business owners.

You obviously know your area and business area best, but looking at that market might be worth considering. (You don't need everyone in the area to hire you, after all, just enough to have a sustainable business.)
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

Cinder

  • Apprentice
  • ***
  • Join Date: Dec 2016
  • Posts: 40
  • Country: 00
  • Total likes: 9
    • View Profile
Re: Risking Reputation: What's your "Coming Out as Pagan" story?
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2017, 05:59:35 pm »
Quote from: Blu3Wanderer;205356
As my path develops I am finding myself wanting to talk about my newfound passions and be around more experienced pagans and witches to soak up wisdom and ideas. To my immense surprise, I stumbled upon this Facebook group of pagans in my (relatively) small city! However I'm facing a few key problems.
I haven't discussed my path with anyone at all. My partner and I have not practiced any type of religion, but he is very respectful of my need for reverent meditations and "Wow, so many rocks and candles." I don't have friends or family who have broken away from Christianity, so I feel that there would be a lot of shock. I do not feel that I have completely established what my "brand" of paganism is, I'm slowly practicing what feels right and exploring. However I do not want to be discouraged or discounted this early in my process, so I've kept quiet.
Secondly, I am getting established in the community as a business woman. Being young, this is very important and quite difficult already. I live in the bible belt, so not being a church-attending "upstanding Christian" isn't helping me get further accepted into business circles as it is.
I'm amazed that this 100-member group even exists in my city. I want to reach out and join but I am wondering if I can risk the consequences of the "witch" reputation where I live. I'm very torn.
I would love to hear stories from both those who publicly claimed their beliefs and those who have kept secret! Also, any advice on how I should proceed would be so so appreciated!
Many blessings!

 
That does seem like a very tricky situation. I have told four people explicitly about my religion (that I was Kemetic and why, and invited them to ask questions/ talk to me about their own religious beliefs) and I've told one person that I'm "not Christian" and asked him what his beliefs are, as I'm still unsure whether or not I want to go into more detail with him.

However, I live with my mother and I haven't told her. My brother is obviously interested in Paganism and he talks about it with her, but whenever I get close to sharing that I am Kemetic or skirt the line conversation-wise I always end up being too cowardly to go through with it. I don't think she'd disown me or anything, but I'm still unsure of how she would react.

I agree with others that this early in your path it might be better to not tell everyone everything too quickly, or at least only in a general way. I know from experience that even if you don't expect it to, things can change.

Blu3Wanderer

  • Sr. Newbie
  • **
  • Join Date: Jun 2016
  • Posts: 18
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Risking Reputation: What's your "Coming Out as Pagan" story?
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2017, 11:36:06 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;205375
My usual advice is "Telling the people who will have reason to notice before they notice is usually a better move than waiting" because the conversation usually goes better when you can plan it than getting blindsided because they stumble across something.

I have been cross-studying several religions and it has opened the door to lots of conversations. I am a little nervous that they will be unforgiving as I was critical of the religions I was comparing. :o

Quote
This is part of why I get really frustrated by Pagan community stuff centralising organization on Facebook

Facebook creepers are prevalent and scary to me.:eek: Should I attempt to make private contact with the leadership instead via my separate email perhaps?

Quote
My usual personal practice is that I use different names

I would love to, I'm just so darn uncreative with names. Heaven forbid I ever have to choose offspring's names.  :56:

Quote
I'm a librarian who's worked in a high school (where I was out to staff, and that may have backfired at me...), a university campus, and now a special library.

I have read so many articles on your website, I have often wondered if you were a professor or librarian! Thank you for your wisdom!
« Last Edit: April 25, 2017, 03:47:10 am by Morag »

Jenett

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3099
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 650
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Risking Reputation: What's your "Coming Out as Pagan" story?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2017, 10:22:08 am »
Quote from: Blu3Wanderer;205482
I have been cross-studying several religions and it has opened the door to lots of conversations. I am a little nervous that they will be unforgiving as I was critical of the religions I was comparing. :o


That's a pretty normal part of the process (though being critical of religions the people you're talking to follow or feel strongly about gets complicated, obviously!)

Your public library probably has some good books on having difficult conversations that can help you figure out how to frame it (though the "I want to tell you this important thing, can you listen while I explain, then I can answer questions" model works pretty well in a lot of cases. It won't work with entirely unreasonable people, but that's an issue of the people being entirely unreasonable.)

Quote
Facebook creepers are prevalent and scary to me.:eek: Should I attempt to make private contact with the leadership instead via my separate email perhaps?


You could, yes.

I watn to make clear that the issues with Facebook here aren't just creepers (though that's a thing too) but fundamental issues with the design of Facebook and their priorities (which are to get a lot of information about you and your connections because that is how they make their money.) I'm glad to go into this in more detail, if you or anyone else is interested, but it may take a few days (especially since I've got a thing this weekend that is going to eat all my spare brain until it's done.)

Quote
I would love to, I'm just so darn uncreative with names. Heaven forbid I ever have to choose offspring's names.  :56:


Names are hard! It doesn't have to be a perfect name for these purposes (and again, all of this is complicated on Facebook by Facebook's requirement for a legal name - you can create an account without proving one, but if someone reports your name, they may yank your account without warning, which makes it a really complicated choice for Pagan networking compared to, say, an email list where you could set up an email account with a nickname or whatever and just not include identifying info of any kind. Also, Facebook will press you for other identifying information like location, job, connections, and those things can be very identifying over time even without a photo or legal name.)

Quote
I have read so many articles on your website, I have often wondered if you were a professor or librarian! Thank you for your wisdom!

 
Librarian! (Pro tip for evaluating sites: that kind of thing is often in the 'about' pages, as it is for mine. Being curious about who's behind a site and what their background is a great impulse, and a good way to help weigh different sources.)
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

Dynes Hysbys

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Feb 2016
  • Location: Snowdonia
  • Posts: 276
  • Country: wales
  • Total likes: 64
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Cunning Craft
Re: Risking Reputation: What's your "Coming Out as Pagan" story?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2017, 04:45:52 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;205555



Names are hard! It doesn't have to be a perfect name for these purposes (and again, all of this is complicated on Facebook by Facebook's requirement for a legal name - you can create an account without proving one, but if someone reports your name, they may yank your account without warning, which makes it a really complicated choice for Pagan networking compared to, say, an email list where you could set up an email account with a nickname or whatever and just not include identifying info of any kind. Also, Facebook will press you for other identifying information like location, job, connections, and those things can be very identifying over time even without a photo or legal name.)


None of the details that are on my FB profile are true  - my name is fake but sounds "real" ie Jane Smith rather than "Crystal Dragonslayer". Everything from my location to my date of birth is made up and the email address is a disposable gmail one which I don't use. All my info is private including my friends and groups lists. I'm sure I'm far from the only one who does this.

 The only social media where I use my true name is Linked In

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
10 Replies
2593 Views
Last post July 29, 2011, 06:54:04 pm
by Gelfling
2 Replies
705 Views
Last post May 02, 2012, 08:53:08 pm
by Dashifen
1 Replies
2018 Views
Last post May 06, 2016, 04:36:27 am
by Flaming Tsunami
2 Replies
610 Views
Last post October 18, 2017, 02:04:57 pm
by ehbowen
3 Replies
542 Views
Last post October 26, 2017, 11:19:09 am
by SunflowerP

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 35
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 7
  • Dot Users Online:

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Host:
Sunflower

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Darkhawk

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Senior Staff:
Aisling, Jenett, Sefiru

Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, EclecticWheel, HarpingHawke, Kylara, PerditaPickle, rocquelaire

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, LyricFox, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Site Administrator:
Randall