This is area of PaganPath is for questions submitted by email. Each week we will select a question from those we receive and publish Friday's response. All private information will be removed of course, and anonymity preserved. Questions are abbreviated and summarized to assist in maintaining privacy. This week we have a question about living in the broomcloset, and how to handle conflicts about your Witchy or Pagan views when you are under 18 or are living in the same house with people who do not agree with your beliefs.
I live with my family and they do not like me studying Witchcraft. Every time I bring up the subject of Paganism or magic they shut me down. How can I practice my beliefs and how can I share how happy my path makes me?
Did you know that the word occult comes from the Latin shadows and cannot be open with everyone. Nor should we be! This is not the path for everyone.? There are many reasons for Pagans and Witches to be discrete. We must often live in the
This is a tricky topic and I'll start with your later question, which is a bit easier to answer. You ask how you can share how happy your path makes you.
Ask yourself why you wish to share this with them. If it is to alleviate their fears, that is a great motive. But look deeper and see if you also want to prove yourself or that your path is right for you. You never need to prove this to others. Sharing your path with them will not make them happy for you if they are afraid of that path. They may believe you have been deceived, or that you are going through a phase.
Persistence and patience are the keys here. Remain happy with your beliefs. No one can get inside your head and take them from you. But don't expect to share right now. Show them how happy, balance and responsible you are through your attitude and actions. It may be decades before they accept that your path is legitimate and that you are not being deceived.
Rather than sharing your fire (passion and enthusiasm), share your water. By this I mean that even a mountain cannot stand in the way of water. Rain and rivers will slowly wash a mountain into an ocean over time and with persistence. Your fire will scare people so be gentle and persistent.
The first part of your question about how to practice your beliefs is clearly more challenging, and I don't think you my response is what you want to hear.
I've been through some tough times at home with my beliefs, and I can only offer my opinion born from my experiences. Your parents deserve respect.
Yes, they really do. Even if some days it doesn't seem they've earned it, they still deserve it. If it helps, try to remember to treat others the way you wish to be treated.
This won't be a picinic, but think of your time at home as a test, like an initiation. You are learning responsibility for others and respect for others. The skills you learn now will pay off in future work, covens and personal relationships. No one will ever believe exactly the way you do, and not everyone is going to like you or agree with you. Learning to develop a community and to communicate is critical.
The skills of working with others of different beliefs (without scaring them and while staying true to yourself) is a challenge every Pagan and Witch will eventually tackle. When you make it through this situation and have more independence, you will be far ahead of the game!
You can internalize much of your practice. You don't need and altar and tools to meditate, pray or even work magick. When you are in a deep alpha state as you drift off to sleep, you can reinforce many of your thought forms to do energy work. While you are walking to work or school you can praise nature around you. Experiencing awe, wonder and joy at the beautiful world we live in is very much a type of celebration. "All acts of love and pleasure are Her rituals."
You can also spend time doing research online or at libraries and bookstores. Even if you cannot bring home a book about Witchcraft, Wicca or Modern Paganism, you can very likely study aromatherapy, herbs, gardening, physics, art, music, biology or any other subject.
Your studies now will also set you far ahead of your Pagan peers when you have more independence. You will know which topics interest you, and you will find that they are all connected. You may also discover your speciality early on!
Respect, responsibility, and good research skills are essential requirements for a Witch and you are in the best school to learn these things, home. Don't expect to change your family overnight, and consider not changing them at all but accepting who they are right now. Perhaps they will return the favor.
A Witch does not try to push people into agreeing with their beliefs, does not try to scare people or evoke negative reactions, and above all avoids lies and chooses honesty as much as possible. It is the only honorable (if maybe more difficult) way.
Many blessings on your path.
You may notice that both the question and response have been edited. This is to preserve privacy and I apologize for any disjointed thoughts or incongruencies in writing that this causes. The responses to the letters to the editor will reflect my views. This is entirely appropriate as everyone has a different approach and there are few absolutes in the paranormal or Witchcraft. Some of the responses may have been written without enough reflection on my part as I often reply to many dozens of email messages daily. Hence, the letters and responses are presented here for us all to learn from and share in each others' celebration of life. I have no technical qualifications as a professional counselor and simply offer an opinion (which may change even after I write my response).