On a discussion board it was asked on how to handle coming out to your parents that you are a pagan. There were lots of thoughtful answers. Here is mine.
I’m throwing out a couple of different thoughts here. Some might be pertinent, or not, connected to each other, or not. But they are various trends and such that I’ve seen, read, or experienced from time to time.
1. To evangelicals we are damned and must be saved. Some very good and loving people genuinely believe they have OUR best interests at heart by trying to convert us as they believe that the real life, the lasting life, the ultimate truth, is what is in the afterlife. This is an idea that extends back to pagan thought (Plato for example) though they believe it is purely a Christian one. Point is, do not mistake hate for love. I’m not saying put up with abuse (gods know I do not) but to return with love when able to.
2. We are seen by many as a fad, a perception with more than its share of truth. There are many many books that are commercially oriented. We’ve got our share of ‘seekers’ like many other religions do. I am guessing there is an inverse correlation of age and willingness to go outside of social norms in terms of religion (a belief that isn’t too novel, but still an unfounded belief without research on my part as far as demographics). There are so many deeply held social conventions in the other dominant religions that have shaped, in major ways, the social fabric. It is easy to see pagans as counter-culturals (a term I mean in its literal sense and of which does not denote shame nor pride). What have we got other than some younger generation folks, or lasting hippies, who gather at various festivals or under moons? The answer is plenty. An approach to this might be to study traditions of the British Isle (with Mummers Dancing, hobby horses, wassailing, etc..) or Appalachian folklore, or whatever area you are in (chances are you’ll find pagan beliefs and practices well camouflaged into mainstream society). Showing these common threads is one way to assuage the fears of our following some shallow fad but that of some deeper and meaningful ‘way’.
3. The guilty person is nervous, the insincere is shaky. When questioned about our beliefs and such, an apologetic is discredited and discounted. Such tones of apology support views that there really is nothing to us, or that we’ve got something to hide. This is especially predominant in terms of sexuality in our pagan culture. Not so much within as on our edges in relations to others. When talking to non pagans some of us adopt tones that are closer to puritanism than Dionysius. For what do we have to be ashamed of? Being earthly bodies with passions? Because we acknowledge that fire exists doesn’t me we sleep with it in a bed of straw. So too with matters of sexuality, and yet some still have the ‘sinful’ attitude towards this because we are afraid of looking bad in the eyes of the puritanical majority… a majority, I believe, that has a warped, twisted, stunted, and unhealthy view of sexuality as a whole. So when talking to someone when you are coming out of the broom closet, trust in your path and feel that grounding in it giving you strength. Instead of looking for their reassurance that you are correct, wish them the same joy on their paths as you’ve found on yours. Return what comes at you with love.
4. Humor. Remember to laugh at our absurdities and hilarities. We are human, we are mammals, and mammals play. We learn through playing. We grow wise through pain. All in all this is good for your soul’s path, your journey through the phases until you too are called to go into the next world, taking what you’ve learned here with you.