I’ve already talked about this a lot in my previous posts, but I’ll revisit it.
I was raised pagan, basically, with a Buddhist mom who was friendly to more pagan-y things, and a friend of hers I called Auntie M. who introduced me to goddess spirituality and empathic healing and oracle reading, and gifted me with my first trance rattle. My bio-sire was anti-theist, but when I told him I was converting to Wicca he did buy me Uncle Bucky’s Big Blue Book, so he tried.
There was some tension between my Oma and myself over my religious choices, but ultimately our love won out. I just kept the fringier aspects of my religious life quiet from her, and we agreed that “Jesus was a nice man.”
My mom and I are on very good terms and don’t really argue over religion. My Oma is in heave, and she occupies space on my ancestor altar. My bio-sire is no longer in the picture.
As far as friendships go…I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I’m actually fairly quiet about my religion until I know a person fairly well. I used to be loud and in your face about it, but now I just figure it’s no one’s business, and so long as we get along on other matters, it doesn’t really make a difference.
I truly appreciate the deep friendships I’ve made where I can say things like “So Manannan, He’s my dad right, and the other day I realized He wanted apple lime cider whenever I had some and I heard/felt this sort of “WELL DUH” feeling from Him. He’s got a good sense of humour.” and they’re not calling the psych ward, or telling me to repent, or saying I’m stupid for believing in any deities. Even if they don’t share these beliefs or have similar experiences, they still are able to listen to me, and understand, and not shun me for it. These friendships are precious, and I guard them like a dragon guards her hoard.
Sometimes I feel it’s difficult to be pagan and have friends…in the same way I discovered it was difficult to be queer and keep friendships, back in high school. The day I came out as bisexual was the day I lost some female friends, because they thought I was suddenly going to start hitting on them. I’ve also lost friends when I’ve come out as a witch, because they were afraid this meant I was going to hex them.
(If anything, this shows that bigotry and logic don’t mix. Logic dictates that if I were attracted to my female friends and the sort to hit on people I would have already done so, regardless being open about my sexuality or not. Logic also dictates that if I were the sort of witch to hex my friends, I would not go ahead and tell them I’m a witch because to do so would immediately make them wonder if I’d hexed them or not.)
At some point I reached a point of no longer giving a fuck, with an added dose of angry shell: if that stopped them from being my friend, they don’t deserve me anyway. Which is true. But it’s also true that not every friend needs to know my religion, as not every friend is at that level of friendship with me.
But then I think about how much I want pagan community….
I guess the point here is that I have complicated feelings about these things and don’t really know what I think, except that life as a pagan has been relatively easy for me, at least on the family front, and pretty much on the friend front too. The few instances I’ve had with people being shitty about my religion haven’t really outweighed the overwhelming positivity I’ve received — though that can be hard to remember, as people’s shittiness always seems to cloud over people’s niceness. Especially in memory. The hurts burn harder than the fire of love.
But I’ve been really lucky, overall, and I hope that that luck continues to hold out.