I know this topic is going to be touchy for some. I apologize if I offend anyone.
Ever since I changed religions about seven years ago, it amazes me how many people react to someone choosing to worship a religion different from their own. Growing up, we are taught a little about a few of the religions that make up this world, but we are not taught about all of them. That would take a long time and I belive that religion should be kept out of schools.
My family is a mix of religions and that always seems to shock people especially with the fact that we all get along (for the most part). In my family, we have Christians, Catholics, a Jew, a Buddhist/Taoist/Neo-Paganist (I’m not sure what my brother is), and a couple of Pagans/Wiccans. I know. As different as our beliefs may be, we respect each other and the choices that we have made over the years.
I grew up Christian. I firmly believe that when I was fifteen, my friends convinced me to go to Youth Group and it helped save my life. I was threatening suicide and I gave up on God because I didn’t feel like he was doing anything but torturing me. I now believe that the things that I have experienced in my life have happened for a reason and they have made me the person I am today. I wouldn’t change anything. While I remained Christian until I was twenty-one, there was something that I felt was missing in my soul. I wasn’t sure what it was. I knew that some of the things that I believe, didn’t quite fit with the Christian beliefs. My views on death and the afterlife confuse people and I tell them it is hard to explain, but it makes sense to me.
One day I was at my cousin’s apartment and her books caught my attention. She has quite a few books on the occult. I picked one up and began reading out of curiosity. It is called Everyday Wicca by Gerina Dunwich. I was hooked. There were aspects of Wicca that made sense. For the first time in my life, I felt that hole in my soul closing.
One of the problems with choosing a path like Paganism/Wicca is that society has given the occult a bad image. People have a mis-understanding about the religion. We don’t do sacrifices, human or otherwise, and we don’t curse people, at least not without a huge consequence. Yes, some choose to dance naked under the full moon for rituals, but that is one thing you will never get me to do. Fully clothed is the way for me to go. People tend to get Paganism/Wicca and Satanism mixed up because of movies and TV shows. Charmed was the closest show to getting the religion correct. I miss that show. When people ask, I tell them that yes, I call myself a witch.
What people don’t know is that there is a beautiful poem called the Wiccan Rede. The last line sums up what the religion is.
“Eight simple words the Wiccan Rede fulfill. And it harm none, do what thou will.”
When people tell me that I worship the Devil because I wear a pentacle around my neck, I simply tell them that it is hard to worship something that you don’t believe exists in the first place. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in evil but not the Devil.
“A supernatural source of evil is not necessary. Men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.” ~ Joseph Conrad
I’ve lost track on how many people react when they see my necklace. Their reactions are always different. Some avoid eye-contact, which makes me chuckle. Some people don’t say anything and act like they didn’t see anything but I always catch the stealing glances. Other ask and I answer. A handful have gone into how I’m losing my soul following such a horrible religion. There are some who refuse to believe that Wicca and Paganism can be categorized as a religion.
When one of my cousins got married, they were married in a Catholic church shortly after I put a couple of stickers on the back of my van. You cannot miss what religion I am when you look. I went back to the car to get something out before the wedding began and when I turned around the priest was standing across the parking lot. He looked at the stickers, then at me and pointed at me with a questionable look on his face. I nervously nodded and he gave me thumbs up. Then I completely confused him during the ceremony by reciting the Lord’s Prayer. I like the prayer. He and I talked for a bit after the ceremony. I told him that I did a kind of soul search. I explained to him that I do believe in God, but I don’t believe that he is the only one.
Everyone is different. I hate when I am treated differently and poorly based solely on the path I have chosen for myself. Most of the time when I get flipped off while driving due to the stickers on the back, when they get ahead of me they usually have a Jesus Christ sticker on the back of their car. I don’t do anything. People need to learn to respect others. I know that people will always disagree with one another. It’s human nature to do so. I have told people to read into what a religion is before you trash anyone’s beliefs when you know nothing about it. You don’t have to practice a religion in order to understand it and those who believe.
I always tell people that if you don’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge a person based on their religious beliefs.