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Author Topic: Prayers, good energy and maybe some advice for my transition into exploring Paganism.  (Read 1668 times)

Kraken

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As the title states...I am in need of prayer as I transition into my religious and spiritual journey away from Christianity into Paganism.

All my family is Christian...and I have no idea if or how any of them would understand my transition. Especially my husband's family...I'm afraid I will be given the cold shoulder or even disowned for exploring the pagan path. It's causing me great anxiety, not only to imagine the possibility of my family being at odds with me on this, but suffering from "Christian guilt" as paganism (at least the dark practices) and witchcraft is something outright forbidden in the tradition. I want to break away from that because I strongly believe that the path I am exploring is healthy for me.

I am extremely blessed to have a Christian husband who is very supportive of my journey and is willing to learn and work with me.

Have any of you encountered something like this? My heart is heavy over this...

Thank you <3
« Last Edit: August 13, 2015, 10:28:48 am by Kraken »
"you have risen from the ashes, with outspread arms, face to the sun, eyes closed, full of radiance..."

Jenett

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Quote from: Kraken;178667

All my family is Christian...and I have no idea if or how any of them would understand my transition. Especially my husband's family...I'm afraid I will be given the cold shoulder or even disowned for exploring the pagan path. It's causing me great anxiety, not only to imagine the possibility of my family being at odds with me on this, but suffering from "Christian guilt" as paganism (at least the dark practices) and witchcraft is something outright forbidden in the tradition. I want to break away from that because I strongly believe that the path I am exploring is healthy for me.

 
First of all, it's good to think about your specific situation. Some people may have very Christian relatives, but a lot of support. Other people may have very nominally religious family, who suddenly throw huge fits.

You also don't necessarily need to tell everyone immediately. My usual advice is to look at telling people who might figure it out themselves *before* they figure out something is up. (It gives you more control about the conversation, and among other things lets you time it for a time you have energy/focus/etc, to deal with it as your best self.)

There's an essay on my website at http://gleewood.org/seeking/practices/sharing-with-others/ that goes into this in more detail, but basically, if you live with someone, see them all the time, or you're shifting away from doing religious things with them/that they're aware of, you probably want to figure out telling them sooner than later. If you see them rarely, or discuss religion with them rarely, then you can take more time.

(The other note here is that figuring out how you want to handle things like Christmas and Easter before they come up is probably smart. They're times a lot of people are already often a bit on edge for various reasons, and it can make for much more difficult conversations.)

You can also do things to feel out the conversation down the road - bring up a news story about something Pagan, or reference a book or a movie, or make up a friend who's been telling you more about it, and see how they react. They might still be dubious about *you* doing it, but it can at least give you some more understanding of what you should be ready for.

(My mother is a devout and active Catholic, still holds out hope I will be a musical horse-riding nun sometimes, but learning how to put the parts that mattered to me about being Pagan in language that made sense to her made the conversations work a lot better.)
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Kraken

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Quote from: Jenett;178701
First of all, it's good to think about your specific situation. Some people may have very Christian relatives, but a lot of support. Other people may have very nominally religious family, who suddenly throw huge fits.

You also don't necessarily need to tell everyone immediately. My usual advice is to look at telling people who might figure it out themselves *before* they figure out something is up. (It gives you more control about the conversation, and among other things lets you time it for a time you have energy/focus/etc, to deal with it as your best self.)


I've told only a couple of my family members that I'm trying to steer away from Christianity but I haven't told them what I'm studying. I don't want to say much until I know what I want to practice. It'll be easier for me to talk to my family about this but very difficult to talk to my mum in law. Even talking about homosexuality really wigs her out (my brother came out this year <3). The few family members I've told of course have given me the "paganism and witchcraft is dangerous so be careful" speech...and it breaks my heart to have reactions like that but at least knowing the few I've told won't throw me out the door for it...just asking for their prayers to lead me in the right direction is all I need. I don't know if I will ever tell my mother in law though... I will check out the link to your essay. Thank you.

Quote
(The other note here is that figuring out how you want to handle things like Christmas and Easter before they come up is probably smart. They're times a lot of people are already often a bit on edge for various reasons, and it can make for much more difficult conversations.)


The difficult thing here...is that over 5 years ago, I went from casual Roman Catholic to passionate Jesus-freak Evangelical. This threw my family for a loop and I was considered the kooky religious girl in my family. That has certainly died down over the past 2 years...and finding that it's not something I want to live my life by. I don't fit into the Christian lifestyle...and I've been hurt by Christians with "good intentions" to lead me in the right direction. So usually I am asked to lead family dinners in prayer during Christmas and Easter. And I work for an Anglican Church and I end up going to service once in a while...I just love  studying religious culture in general (world religions was my university major). So...to appease my family's values and traditions, do I take part in those things while I practice privately at home? I plan on letting everyone know...I just want a better foundation first.
"you have risen from the ashes, with outspread arms, face to the sun, eyes closed, full of radiance..."

Jenett

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Quote from: Kraken;178721
I don't want to say much until I know what I want to practice.


That makes a lot of sense - because people do have this thing where they want to ask you questions, which, when you're really new to learning about things yourself, can be really tricky to answer. (Because either you haven't decided what you think about some different options, or you don't really know how to explain it well, or you don't have enough experience to deal with the question well - there are some things it's a lot easier to explain, like "What holidays do you celebrate" when you've actually done all the ones you think you want to celebrate at least once, and that takes a while.)

Quote
The few family members I've told of course have given me the "paganism and witchcraft is dangerous so be careful" speech...and it breaks my heart to have reactions like that but at least knowing the few I've told won't throw me out the door for it...


This is one of those places where the "There's so much floating around out there, and so much stuff that isn't what I'm doing or interested in, do ask?" can sometimes help. And then being able to explain things in a way they understand.

(My mother got significantly less worried about things when I pointed out that my basic view of magic the way I do it is that it is about 75% psychology, most effectively applied to the self, because you have the most leverage and control there, and the other 25% is being open to options and a certain amount of prayer, both of which she's fine with. And a certain amount of theatre tech when in groups.)

Quote
So...to appease my family's values and traditions, do I take part in those things while I practice privately at home? I plan on letting everyone know...I just want a better foundation first.

 
If your family has a fair bit of variety anyway, why not volunteer to lead, but use that to choose things that are less explicitly Christian, and more about other things (so a prayer for Easter could focus on renewal, new life, hope, etc. and mention "Christ is risen" along with other seasonal symbols. Christmas prayers could talk about a light in the darkness, the symbology of the evergreen, the importance of coming together as a family in the dark times. Interfaith sources will have tons of stuff for you.)
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softlight

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Quote from: Kraken;178721
I've told only a couple of my family members that I'm trying to steer away from Christianity but I haven't told them what I'm studying. I don't want to say much until I know what I want to practice. It'll be easier for me to talk to my family about this but very difficult to talk to my mum in law. Even talking about homosexuality really wigs her out (my brother came out this year <3). The few family members I've told of course have given me the "paganism and witchcraft is dangerous so be careful" speech...and it breaks my heart to have reactions like that but at least knowing the few I've told won't throw me out the door for it...just asking for their prayers to lead me in the right direction is all I need. I don't know if I will ever tell my mother in law though... I will check out the link to your essay. Thank you.



The difficult thing here...is that over 5 years ago, I went from casual Roman Catholic to passionate Jesus-freak Evangelical. This threw my family for a loop and I was considered the kooky religious girl in my family. That has certainly died down over the past 2 years...and finding that it's not something I want to live my life by. I don't fit into the Christian lifestyle...and I've been hurt by Christians with "good intentions" to lead me in the right direction. So usually I am asked to lead family dinners in prayer during Christmas and Easter. And I work for an Anglican Church and I end up going to service once in a while...I just love  studying religious culture in general (world religions was my university major). So...to appease my family's values and traditions, do I take part in those things while I practice privately at home? I plan on letting everyone know...I just want a better foundation first.

 

I don't think you HAVE to tell your family anything. I do NOT tell a lot of my family about my spiritual path. Often I find ways to state my spirituality as if I'm speaking as a Christian, or I might use the word god which might mean something different to me but I DO agree with the idea of compassion being an important force (whatever that force is whether in nature, atoms, energy or just the human self).

I do tend to talk about being "interfaith" and will share things about Brighid/St. Brighid on facebook or about indigenous faiths/rights. It's easier for me to be an advocate for interfaith movements/tolerance when my uptight Christian relatives think I am leaning on their side (and I like some things about Christianity so I personally feel I can do this without being a liar.. we share come common goals and I like plenty of the teachings of the Jesus fellow if not all).

So I guess what I mean is, I support you in sharing or not sharing whatever you feel comfortable with, or even saying Christian prayers and acting Christian if you think you need to for self protection. It wasn't that long ago that pagans were actively attacked, and that sentiment of fear and persecution is still unfortunately strong in some people and communities.

I hope your spiritual path unfolds and you have the guidance and support to grow in connection, compassion and wisdom and whatever goals you are seeking (that do not harm others... I don't wish people any aid or success in wrongfully harming others lol)!

Kraken

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Quote from: softlight;178990
I don't think you HAVE to tell your family anything. I do NOT tell a lot of my family about my spiritual path. Often I find ways to state my spirituality as if I'm speaking as a Christian, or I might use the word god which might mean something different to me but I DO agree with the idea of compassion being an important force (whatever that force is whether in nature, atoms, energy or just the human self).

I do tend to talk about being "interfaith" and will share things about Brighid/St. Brighid on facebook or about indigenous faiths/rights. It's easier for me to be an advocate for interfaith movements/tolerance when my uptight Christian relatives think I am leaning on their side (and I like some things about Christianity so I personally feel I can do this without being a liar.. we share come common goals and I like plenty of the teachings of the Jesus fellow if not all).

So I guess what I mean is, I support you in sharing or not sharing whatever you feel comfortable with, or even saying Christian prayers and acting Christian if you think you need to for self protection. It wasn't that long ago that pagans were actively attacked, and that sentiment of fear and persecution is still unfortunately strong in some people and communities.

I hope your spiritual path unfolds and you have the guidance and support to grow in connection, compassion and wisdom and whatever goals you are seeking (that do not harm others... I don't wish people any aid or success in wrongfully harming others lol)!

 
Thank you very much for this <3 :)
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Scent of Pine

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Quote from: softlight;178990
I don't think you HAVE to tell your family anything. I do NOT tell a lot of my family about my spiritual path. Often I find ways to state my spirituality as if I'm speaking as a Christian, or I might use the word god which might mean something different to me but I DO agree with the idea of compassion being an important force (whatever that force is whether in nature, atoms, energy or just the human self).

 
I completely agree with this.  I have never discussed my personal religious thoughts/beliefs with anyone in my family.  My mother is a hard-core right-wing fundy of the self-righteous and totally intolerant type (but I love her).  She's the kind of person who would invite the Jehovah's Witnesses in and send them out in tears.  Yoga is Satanic, Catholics are idolators, heck, even nightmares are caused by demons.  She would not understand and would have difficulty even trying.  If I talked to her about Paganism she'd immediately go into "I'm right, you're wrong" mode, possibly followed by the Silent Treatment, then into the endless attempts at Conversion and threats of Hell.  To keep the peace I never discuss religion except in the broadest terms.  

I do have issues personally with PTSD from my Christian upbringing, and that's something else to deal with.  

For me, my spirituality is for me, it's private.  I've lived in some very fundamentalist places where being "different" would get you shunned, harassed, possibly physically attacked.  Be careful, because sometimes the face of intolerance doesn't show up until you reveal yourself, and then it's too late to take it back.

I hope you are able to walk your own path, and find your way.  Sounds like you are lucky to have a husband who you can talk to.  We'll all here for you, too.

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