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6 years ago  ::  Jun 27, 2008 - 11:32PM #1
Rayzorblade
Posts: 89
Hey everyone,
I was just looking over the boards, and a question popped into my mind. I am a pagan, and open about it, i wont hide it away and pretend to be something I'm not. I was just wondering how other people react to you guys. I get met with hate and fear whenever someone finds out. I had a best friend of 5 years tell me I was going to a Christian hell. I have gotten death threats and all the yummy stuff and i am only 16! Just some thoughts.
Yours truly,
Brad
AKA Rayzorblade
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 28, 2008 - 11:27AM #2
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244
[QUOTE=Rayzorblade;592123]Hey everyone,
I was just looking over the boards, and a question popped into my mind. I am a pagan, and open about it, i wont hide it away and pretend to be something I'm not. I was just wondering how other people react to you guys. I get met with hate and fear whenever someone finds out. I had a best friend of 5 years tell me I was going to a Christian hell. I have gotten death threats and all the yummy stuff and i am only 16! Just some thoughts.
Yours truly,
Brad
AKA Rayzorblade[/QUOTE]


The broader question is somewhat more complicated than just how people react to someone who is open about being pagan.

Neo/Paganism has yet to be defined beyond the individual or limited consensus of autonomous groups in a recognisable way as a singular shared religion.  Each author who defines or describes Neo-/Paganism as if it was a singular or universal religion – when compared to other authors – can be broken down into having a different or even unique definition. In nearly 26 years as a self-identified Pagan, the only commonalties I have observed are: self-identification as NP/P, self-definition of what that means, experiential validation and lack of consensus as mentioned above.

I define Neo-/Paganism as a modern Movement (actually as the only modern but third Paganism Movement within Western history). Movement as in a broad spectrum of self-identifications and self-definitions that have evolved over the last 75+ years and from which a number of consensus-formed religions and traditions have emerged in addition to a wide range of individual traditions/paths. Neo-/Paganism I find also often used as an alternate name for any or all of these religions/traditions or as an adjective to associate them with or within or from this Movement. In addition to this, paganism has local, historic, literary, cultural and fictional definitions that are all valid in at least one context but none universally.  No one has a copyright on Neo-/Pagan.

My point here is that each and every time you (or anyone else) are open about being pagan, you are going to have to deal with the issue of non-consensus, both internal to the Neo-/Paganism Movement as well as externally.  When you told your Christian best friend, his reaction was based on how he personally was defining pagan and obviously drawing from the legacy of varying definitions that Christianity has evolved and promoted down the centuries. Within the context of your best friend, his definition is considered valid. On the other hand, within his/a Christian context, your self-definition (whatever that might be) is not considered valid and visa versa. 

With this in mind, some Neo-/Pagans choose to be discriminating about who they tell, what they share and why. For these Neo-/Pagans, it isn’t about hiding but rather about it simply being no one else’s business unless they choose to make it so. It isn’t about pretending to be something they are not but rather that the normal, everyday something that they are simply includes being Neo-/Pagan. No need for declarations or being in anyone’s face, just life as usual.

What seems to be a far more difficult type of emotional dealing that I have noted over several decades is what happens when someone comes out to other self-identified Neo-/Pagans who then fail to meet one’s expectations of consensus, community and universal acceptance. These expectations are created and fed by those self-defining authors I mentioned earlier. Most of whom sincerely and for the best reasons have sought to provide second- and third-hand interpretations of his or her experiences as a Neo-/Pagan to share or teach to others. Such is a thankless task I might add, as much as trying to be a poster-child for everything that others self-define as Neo-/Paganism especially within unfriendly contexts. Just the act of articulation (written or oral) often demands linguistic choices that must imply each author’s self-definitions are representative, widespread or universal within modern Neo-/Paganism. Otherwise, someone would be required to subject anyone on the receiving end of “I’m Pagan” to hours and hours to cover off the broad diversity found within all definitions of that term. I'm somewhat famliar with the latter as those here can attest to and it doesn't get any simplier, quicker or easier with practice.

That said, I have found that experience gained over time through broad studies, interaction with other Neo-/Pagans, perseverance and practice (however self-defined) do tend to put those second- and third-hand sources into the broader perspective of the Movement itself and in doing so, temper those initial emotional expectations. Or the individual or even group doesn’t get over that initial emotional reaction, decides they are right and everyone else is wrong and anyone who doesn’t agree is attacking them.

It remains your choice if you wish to be out or come out to anyone but consider these questions.
Can you articulate why you make or made this choice?
What were or are you trying to change? Yourself? Your life? Others?
Did or do you think through all the possible consequences beforehand?
Were or are you willing to accept those consequences?  Why?     

If you can answer the above questions for yourself, you may have a better understanding of how and why other Neo-/Pagans react.

C.H.
No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 28, 2008 - 11:27AM #3
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244
[QUOTE=Rayzorblade;592123]Hey everyone,
I was just looking over the boards, and a question popped into my mind. I am a pagan, and open about it, i wont hide it away and pretend to be something I'm not. I was just wondering how other people react to you guys. I get met with hate and fear whenever someone finds out. I had a best friend of 5 years tell me I was going to a Christian hell. I have gotten death threats and all the yummy stuff and i am only 16! Just some thoughts.
Yours truly,
Brad
AKA Rayzorblade[/QUOTE]


The broader question is somewhat more complicated than just how people react to someone who is open about being pagan.

Neo/Paganism has yet to be defined beyond the individual or limited consensus of autonomous groups in a recognisable way as a singular shared religion.  Each author who defines or describes Neo-/Paganism as if it was a singular or universal religion – when compared to other authors – can be broken down into having a different or even unique definition. In nearly 26 years as a self-identified Pagan, the only commonalties I have observed are: self-identification as NP/P, self-definition of what that means, experiential validation and lack of consensus as mentioned above.

I define Neo-/Paganism as a modern Movement (actually as the only modern but third Paganism Movement within Western history). Movement as in a broad spectrum of self-identifications and self-definitions that have evolved over the last 75+ years and from which a number of consensus-formed religions and traditions have emerged in addition to a wide range of individual traditions/paths. Neo-/Paganism I find also often used as an alternate name for any or all of these religions/traditions or as an adjective to associate them with or within or from this Movement. In addition to this, paganism has local, historic, literary, cultural and fictional definitions that are all valid in at least one context but none universally.  No one has a copyright on Neo-/Pagan.

My point here is that each and every time you (or anyone else) are open about being pagan, you are going to have to deal with the issue of non-consensus, both internal to the Neo-/Paganism Movement as well as externally.  When you told your Christian best friend, his reaction was based on how he personally was defining pagan and obviously drawing from the legacy of varying definitions that Christianity has evolved and promoted down the centuries. Within the context of your best friend, his definition is considered valid. On the other hand, within his/a Christian context, your self-definition (whatever that might be) is not considered valid and visa versa. 

With this in mind, some Neo-/Pagans choose to be discriminating about who they tell, what they share and why. For these Neo-/Pagans, it isn’t about hiding but rather about it simply being no one else’s business unless they choose to make it so. It isn’t about pretending to be something they are not but rather that the normal, everyday something that they are simply includes being Neo-/Pagan. No need for declarations or being in anyone’s face, just life as usual.

What seems to be a far more difficult type of emotional dealing that I have noted over several decades is what happens when someone comes out to other self-identified Neo-/Pagans who then fail to meet one’s expectations of consensus, community and universal acceptance. These expectations are created and fed by those self-defining authors I mentioned earlier. Most of whom sincerely and for the best reasons have sought to provide second- and third-hand interpretations of his or her experiences as a Neo-/Pagan to share or teach to others. Such is a thankless task I might add, as much as trying to be a poster-child for everything that others self-define as Neo-/Paganism especially within unfriendly contexts. Just the act of articulation (written or oral) often demands linguistic choices that must imply each author’s self-definitions are representative, widespread or universal within modern Neo-/Paganism. Otherwise, someone would be required to subject anyone on the receiving end of “I’m Pagan” to hours and hours to cover off the broad diversity found within all definitions of that term. I'm somewhat famliar with the latter as those here can attest to and it doesn't get any simplier, quicker or easier with practice.

That said, I have found that experience gained over time through broad studies, interaction with other Neo-/Pagans, perseverance and practice (however self-defined) do tend to put those second- and third-hand sources into the broader perspective of the Movement itself and in doing so, temper those initial emotional expectations. Or the individual or even group doesn’t get over that initial emotional reaction, decides they are right and everyone else is wrong and anyone who doesn’t agree is attacking them.

It remains your choice if you wish to be out or come out to anyone but consider these questions.
Can you articulate why you make or made this choice?
What were or are you trying to change? Yourself? Your life? Others?
Did or do you think through all the possible consequences beforehand?
Were or are you willing to accept those consequences?  Why?     

If you can answer the above questions for yourself, you may have a better understanding of how and why other Neo-/Pagans react.

C.H.
No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 28, 2008 - 10:31PM #4
Rayzorblade
Posts: 89
wow thats deep, thanks CH. I'll have to think long and hard about the questions stated above. I dont blast my religion in others face, or try to convert them, i just tell the truth if they ask.
Yours truly,
Brad
AKA Rayzorblade
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 29, 2008 - 9:32AM #5
itty
Posts: 2,949
I am pretty discriminating about with whom I share my religious affiliation. I am Wiccan and so am pagan. I don't feel that I am hiding my self-identification as a Wiccan/Pagan. My practice of my faith is simply a normal part of my life. I am also a lesbian. That too is a part of who I am that I don't necessarily share with many people. It just isn't  important to me that my neighbors know.

I am a very complex person hence there are many facets to my being and character. I choose not to bring one of those facets to the front and represent it as the whole of my being. I am comfortable with who I am. If people ask me about my faith or about whom I may or may not be seeing a general sort of way, I tell them. Otherwise it doesn't come up. I am more likely to be discussing how  family is; or  how my tomatoes are doing and if the copious rainfall will ruin the cucumbers. That's what my neighbors are interested in. :)
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 02, 2008 - 12:42AM #6
Rayzorblade
Posts: 89
[QUOTE=itty;594282]I am pretty discriminating about with whom I share my religious affiliation. I am Wiccan and so am pagan. I don't feel that I am hiding my self-identification as a Wiccan/Pagan. My practice of my faith is simply a normal part of my life. I am also a lesbian. That too is a part of who I am that I don't necessarily share with many people. It just isn't  important to me that my neighbors know.

I am a very complex person hence there are many facets to my being and character. I choose not to bring one of those facets to the front and represent it as the whole of my being. I am comfortable with who I am. If people ask me about my faith or about whom I may or may not be seeing a general sort of way, I tell them. Otherwise it doesn't come up. I am more likely to be discussing how  family is; or  how my tomatoes are doing and if the copious rainfall will ruin the cucumbers. That's what my neighbors are interested in. :)[/QUOTE]

Yeah, i dont go around yelling it out, but honesty is definitely key.
Yours truly,
Brad
AKA Rayzorblade

P.S. I love tomatoes!
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 02, 2008 - 3:18PM #7
mainecaptain
Posts: 21,762

itty wrote:

I am pretty discriminating about with whom I share my religious affiliation. I am Wiccan and so am pagan. I don't feel that I am hiding my self-identification as a Wiccan/Pagan. My practice of my faith is simply a normal part of my life. I am also a lesbian. That too is a part of who I am that I don't necessarily share with many people. It just isn't  important to me that my neighbors know.

I am a very complex person hence there are many facets to my being and character. I choose not to bring one of those facets to the front and represent it as the whole of my being. I am comfortable with who I am. If people ask me about my faith or about whom I may or may not be seeing a general sort of way, I tell them. Otherwise it doesn't come up. I am more likely to be discussing how  family is; or  how my tomatoes are doing and if the copious rainfall will ruin the cucumbers. That's what my neighbors are interested in. :)


Excellent post, and how are your tomatoes?, OUr Peas are doing very well. but I have discovered Zucchini  comes in boy and girl, (I know I should have known:o) So they are both flowering but one is not producing fruit. I learn something new all the time. Especially in the garden. The cabbage looks very happy.

Sorry for going off topic, but  could not resist. :p

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. Aristotle
Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. Plato..
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives" Jackie Robinson
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 03, 2008 - 1:06AM #8
Rayzorblade
Posts: 89
[QUOTE=mainecaptain;600815]Excellent post, and how are your tomatoes?, OUr Peas are doing very well. but I have discovered Zucchini  comes in boy and girl, (I know I should have known:o) So they are both flowering but one is not producing fruit. I learn something new all the time. Especially in the garden. The cabbage looks very happy.

Sorry for going off topic, but  could not resist. :p[/QUOTE]

I didnt know that about zucchini either... thats cool. our orange trees are dying in the intense heat and from the winter chills
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 03, 2008 - 1:00PM #9
itty
Posts: 2,949
[QUOTE=Rayzorblade;599572]Yeah, i dont go around yelling it out, but honesty is definitely key.
Yours truly,
Brad
AKA Rayzorblade

P.S. I love tomatoes![/QUOTE]

:)

My cherry tomatoes are coming along. The cucumbers are a different story.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 03, 2008 - 11:54PM #10
Calabi
Posts: 15
[QUOTE=Rayzorblade;592123]Hey everyone,
I was just looking over the boards, and a question popped into my mind. I am a pagan, and open about it, i wont hide it away and pretend to be something I'm not. I was just wondering how other people react to you guys. I get met with hate and fear whenever someone finds out. I had a best friend of 5 years tell me I was going to a Christian hell. I have gotten death threats and all the yummy stuff and i am only 16! Just some thoughts.
Yours truly,
Brad
AKA Rayzorblade[/QUOTE]

My mother's reaction will always stick with me. When I confided in her my conversion to paganism, she at first had no visible reaction. She worked as a circus clown, and that night when she came home from the carnival she was terribly drunk. I was half asleep when she entered the trailer. Suddenly she bursts into my room and starts beating me with one of her oversized clown shoes, screaming about Satan, Jesus, Joseph Smith, and gods know what else. After a while she collapsed from exhaustion and heavy intoxication, and I thought it wise to go bunk at my father's trailer. The next morning, mother seemed to have no recollection of her fit.
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