I know I’ve gone on briefly within many of my posts about what a witch should be. What a pagan should be. I’ve said that we are leaders, that we are role models, and we should always be so to both our fellow pagans and to the outside world. But, what exactly is Pagan Pride? And why should we be celebrating it?
Pagan pride is having pride in your religion and your path. It doesn’t have to be coming out of the ‘broom closet’, but if you plan on doing so, there are probably events in your surrounding area. The Pagan Pride Project is dedicated to these festivals, and they’re going on right now. Where I live, for college, in Buffalo, the event was this past weekend. I didn’t attend, but it was partly because I had spent the previous night up until five o’clock in the morning. Close to me, in Rochester(I live right around there when I’m not in college) the pride day festival occurs this upcoming weekend.
Now, for me at least, this is a daunting concept. I am openly pagan online, but I will admit that my current employer doesn’t know my religious affiliation. Only a few of my professors or ex-professors know. And, let’s face it: some of those ‘new age freaks’ that others talk about really are, well, freaks. The unfortunate aspect of a festival is that any one can attend – so, although I’m sure there are many respectable members of the pagan community present, there is always a chance that someone is there for the wrong reason – to attract attention, to talk about D&D, etc. I use my real name, but there are many Samantha Davis’ around.
Anyway, back to the main discussion. We should be role models – especially because of those ‘new age freaks’ that many people use as a base stereotype any time that the word ‘pagan’ or ‘magic’ is used in a sentence. We have to fight through those stereotypes, any bad experiences, the commercial psychics who charge for readings…to get people to start to understand the path we walk and where we come from.
Also, in explaining yourself and your path to others, you may almost feel pulled to tell people about the amazing astral experiences you’ve had, or the omens you’ve received – almost as proof that yes, the religion is valid. Don’t. At least, not immediately. These revelations may make them leave the conversation convinced that yes, you are crazy, and yes, you need help. Instead, for a first contact in terms of religion, this is what I’ve found, works.
- The conversation about religion can come up randomly. Be prepared. You should never lie, but omitting details is another ball game altogether. If you don’t have the time, want, or energy to deal with, “So you like, worship the devil?”, but have been asked what church you attend, stick with, “A very small community of us meets about once a month” or something similar, depending on your situation.
- You will most likely, upon the revealing of your path, be asked any number of questions. I’ve been asked all sorts:
- You worship the devil?
- Do you believe in God?
- Do you believe in Jesus?
- You can practice magic?
- Do you cast spells?
- Can you do love spells?
- Are you a black or a white witch?
- Isn’t that a cult?
- Do you dance naked around fires?
- Answering these questions can be challenging. Work out your beliefs before you come out of the closet. Some of the questions can and will be offensive, and others will be impossible to answer easily. Some can be confusing, or double edged. Usually, people mean no harm – they’re just curious.
- Decide what you’re comfortable telling people, and what you’re not. Remember to respect the privacy of other witches by not revealing their association with our path unless you have permission. Follow your coven’s rules, if you’re a part of one. And please, if only for the rest of us – don’t try to scare people off!
- If people pursue, you can always recommend them to books, or other resources. I’ll probably be listing a few on here eventually, but compile a small book list and commit it to memory.
In the end, how far, if, and when you come out of that closet is your choice. But never, ever feel like your religion and path is not valid. Always have pride, and make sure you give all of us a good reputation!