Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hiding My Faith

Do you ever find yourself hiding your faith simply because it's just easier at times to avoid the glances, comments or conversations that it may spark?  I'm quite shamed to admit my guilt in doing so. 

I have identified as Pagan since my late teenage years and am wholly content with the religious path that I've chosen.  Having said that, I do find that after a decade and a half of proudly defending this often unfairly mislabeled faith of mine, I've grown rather tired of the tireless tango toward tolerance.  [Oh my! Alliteration overload!!]

The other day I took my children to visit a local farm that is funded and operated by a Christian foundation.  Wonderful place!  Not only free range, well cared for livestock, but also an establishment that employs adults with developmental disabilties as a means of both therapy and skill-building.

So, as we're heading in to pick up a map and kind, welcoming word from the managers of the Visitor's Center, I find myself tucking my much-beloved pentacle pendant into my shirt.  As I was doing this I scolded myself and yet, even so, I couldn't muster up enough will power to pull it back out.  Great Goddess in the Sky, how dare I?!  What witches of the past have gone through in order to permit me the freedom to wear my silver symbol proudly!!  How could I simply think "meh-- not worth the hassle" and drop my shoulders with deflection?

Is it shamefully repulsive that I wanted to avoid yet another stereotypical comment, sideways glance or conversion attempt?  Should I always be ready to galantly ride into action with my Witchy flags flying?  Maybe.  I suppose that would be the honorable thing to do. 

Still, I'm just a mom hoping to take her children for a visit with baby goats without the need to face significant stand-offs or righteous causes.

Perhaps it was cold and calculating of me to assume the worst of these Christian farmers.  Maybe, just maybe, they would have intriguingly embraced, or at the very least accepted my different path.  It's possible.

Are we as Pagans so beaten down by constant questioning and fearful or hateful reactions that we would form our own possibly inaccurate assumptions of others and in turn live by avoidance? 

[ *holding up her palm with purpose and honor* ]: "I, Em Graves, vow [going forward] to never secret away that which I am and to portray the world of love & light permeating the Pagan heart by living always as a manifestation of its beliefs."


  1. I'm guilty of hiding my faith also, but from many parts of my family, my grandparents know and none of my in-laws know. My inlaws are extremely right wing Christians who my husband and I already had a round with before we got married (3 years ago) because we were living together. We're sure they'll find out eventually but right now they don't know that I'm pagan, but I look forward to the day I don't have to hide it anymore

  2. Elizabeth, thank you kindly for sharing. I've heard stories like yours too often throughout the years -- hiding a faith, hiding sexual orientation, hiding true feelings and genuine opinions for fear of being belittled. The diversity of this world is what makes it the beautiful place that it is. Why some people would rather everyone be just like them is beyond me. Blessings to you on your path Elizabeth. I hope you'll come back and share with us the developments of your 'coming out of the broom closet'. Love & Light. -- Em

  3. Girl sometimes it's just not worth it, sometimes, just shutting up and not rising to the bait, I recently moved and its so ingrained in my to hide that i only realized after the third day here, it;s my space I can hang the Goddess out where ever i want without retribution, maybe it is wrong to believe they will react a certain way, but it comes with experience and sometimes, not giving your children the same experiences will make it easier for them to walk around without fear

  4. This is a tricky question, I find, when to openly say this is who I am, and when it is best to just stick to the shadows. When I am home, I pretty much stay to the shadows because I don't want the wrong person to find out and it cause a rift in my family because the older folks found out. I love them dearly and want to avoid any kind of rift, especially now when time may be running out to spend time with my Pawpaw.
    But, when I'm at college, it is a whole other story. I openly put up my drawing of the wheel of the year in my dorm, I have an altar set up, and I really don't care who sees it. Up here, I do not care who knows. I would actually love for more to learn what I am and start a riot full of religious debate and discussion and where I can openly praise the Goddess the same way I see Christians praising God. It makes me green with envy that their faith is so accepted that they can do that whenever they please and I have to watch my words often.
    Ok. Mini blog/soap box over. lol Great post, btw! In case I haven't already said that.

  5. I don't hide who I am, but then I don't flaunt it too much either. However, the bumper sticker on my truck that says "No wars have ever been started in the name of Wicca" may give me away ;)

    I have been very lucky in that I have only had one person who knew me turn when they found out I was a witch. But then again it was my ex-MIL and I can argue a case for her being "witch" of the year. LOL

  6. In a lot of ways, I tend to hide my faith too and scold myself for it quite often. Sometimes, in a world that tends to be so full of judgement, it's hard to let the true you shine through. That being said, your little pledge at the end to "live always as a manifestation of its beliefs" has really inspired me to start living in my beliefs a lot more.

  7. Thanks so much for sharing ladies! I'm definitely in agreement that there are times when we should raise high our Pagan banners and other times when discretion is the better option. That said, I don't think it's appropriate to ever have to hide who we truly are.

    Sing it with me! "This little light of mine... I'm gonna let it shine!!" LOL LOL LOL ;)


  8. Hi Em, I also loved this post, and am afraid I am just as guilty! I hide it from everyone. I feel shame when I buy ornaments of witches, a Goddess figure and a Green Man Tree ornament. I feel I have to hide them, and everytime I look to buy anything like this, I ask myself how can I lie about it to pretend it's some fantasy thing and not at all to do with Paganism or Witchcraft! Silly isn't it? I haven't come out of the broom closet as such at home, but my parents are certainly suspicious, and have probably guessed from the books I collect, and the ornaments. My mother even asked me once if I saw myself as the girl in one of my ornaments - the girl in the ornament was a witch reading a book! I joked maybe if I had the purple tights! I'm still not comfortable discussing it, I'm frightened they're going to ask if I worship the devil!

    Thanks for writing this post and getting me to think more about my path and how best I might want to discuss it - that day is probably going to come around someday, and maybe it might not be as difficult as I fear!

  9. Snowygirl, coming out of the broom closet is definitely something that many people have felt [and still feel] anxious about. You're not alone there. Sometimes it's easier to keep this often misunderstood path hidden [your own personal secret]. And there's certainly nothing wrong with that -- most especially in a world that is sadly overrun with intolerance.

    It does sound however as though your mother is trying to reach out to you [in her question about the ornament]. Perhaps she'd be more accepting than you give her credit for.

    And even if you come to be questioned about things like devil worship [those of us who have been openly witchy have certainly responded to similar slander], you might find it empowering to use such an occassion to enlighten those you know about the true beauty within Paganism, Wicca & Witchcraft.

    Whatever you decide, please know you always have support and companionship from your fellow Pagans. Love & Light to you. -- Em

  10. Thank you Em, I think you might be right, my mother may well be more accepting than I think, I'm just frightened of her trying to tell me she doesn't want me to follow or believe in any of this. Sometimes we worry something will be much worse than it actually will be. I may have to pluck up the courage to discuss it!

    Thank you so much for your support, it's very welcome! :)

  11. Sadly, I also find myself hiding my faith at times. As a Pagan I find that I am judged with different standards and if I goof in any way it reflects back on the entire Pagan community. I am a walking billboard, lesson, etc and sometimes I just want to be snarky and tired or just enjoy my afternoon without having to be education central.

    Of course, I also have my office at work completely decorated in Halloween stuffed witches and cards.