Sunday, June 10, 2012

Living in a multi-faith family is doable, my story.

Hey guys,
This is a long post but emails and questions recently have proven that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. It's a common issue and it involves family tension. I'm going to skim as much as I can allow to avoid exposing people but other than that it's all true and relevant. If you want to know how to combine multiple faiths then maybe my story will help.

As some of you may or may not know, I come from a catholic family. While yes there are other forms of christianity mixed in with my family, the mass bulk is catholic. Now it doesn't seem like a big deal to me now but early on in my teen life up to a few short months ago I was petrified at the slight chance that someone in my family would figure out that I switched teams to join up with at first wicca and now general eclectic paganism.

I hid and I hid well, I give credit to the fact that I'm a spiritually lazy person and tend to also be a wall flower at family gatherings.
The entire family (except dad) was dragged to church every Sunday morning and we all had to play our part, which although I didn't realize it at the time, made me look like the model catholic school girl sans short skirt. What I did realize at the time though was that I could learn more about christianity so that I wouldn't be too harsh on it after I left the church. What better way to learn the religion than to read the book, and what timing too as the catholic church in my town was looking for lay readers. (a lay reader is a person that reads the bible in from of the congregation,  there are 3 passages read during the service, the first 2 can be read by 1 or 2 lay readers while the third must be read by the priest. Lay readers are supposed to be only male but some churches have changed that rule because male tend to not volunteer) I was a lay reader for 4 years...I think reading the bible more than once all the way through done me some good in learning what the rest of my family believed in, but it also made my fear worse.

In college I opened up a bit more as I met more religions and what not. I eventually set up a small portable alter in my room and although I couldn't burn incense I still did a few things to show my dedication. (note that I was still living with my parents at the time)

My mother knowing that I was into weird stuff anyways, that I was deeply into fantasy art, and knew that I  loved to study other religions (my excuse was to be able to understand people better) figured that it was just a weird set-up to give me inspiration for a drawing while I studied some dead or fantasy religion.
I didn't tell her for 5 years after I graduated high school, and I had to tell her twice. Once in front of friends (mainly because she found my books) and once at brunch with one other relative...this other relative proceeded to piss me off with her uneducated views of the world and it's "one religion". I don't know if mom cares or if she's still just in's been a while but I'm still not sure because she really hasn't really said much about it yet.
(I love my mother and I believe that I get my absent mindedness from her, even though I still find that extremely funny that I could have went on worry free and mom would have forgotten that day completely)

My Dad...Well he has yet to say anything but I think he knew anyways or at least had an idea, he didn't bat an eyelash when the alter was set up and even made a few very well hidden but sweet comments about were stuff like that could be bought around town...yes the first metaphysical shop I found was suggested by my not so religious father. I never actually came out and told him and the topic has yet to come up but I know that he knows, I mean I don't hide it anymore especially around him and he's so obvious now that I would bet money on it. And my sister agrees.
(My dad is awesome, never underestimate a quiet person, especially if they're short and small)

My sister was the first person that I told outright. As soon as I found out that she wasn't going to church anymore (I had stopped going when I went to college) I asked her what was up and we told each other our religious changes. Her to Agnostic and myself to paganism, she was cool with it and apparently was toying with that same idea herself for a while. She was worried about what mom would say about it, we were both petrified by the idea, and she figured that Dad probably already knew because for some weird reason he seems to know anything and everything before the involved person(s) even knows themselves.
(my sister is pretty laid back, it's easy to talk to her if you manage to find her.)

Now I live on my own engaged to a wonderful man who is not really religious...but then again I'm still lazy spiritually as well a lot of the time, so it evens out.

I still see my family on a regular basis and we just act as if we were normal. (what is normal anyways? ) I don't think trying to BBQ steak on a gas grill in -40°C on the patio is normal but we tried anyways.
(You thought I was going to say something disturbing? Sorry that would have given away too much info, that and what has been seen can never be unseen *shivers in disgust*)

Now to present day I still interact with my family where we compromise to make everything work with the two religions.
We have Sunday feast which is family tradition, yeah originally it was tied to the christian sabbath day but over the generations it's mostly an excuse to get together, stuff our faces, and poke fun at each other.

It's all in good fun, Christmas and other holy days?

Well look around at Christmas, it seems more about Santa now than anything. But we worship separate then get together to exchange gifts and again; stuff our faces, and poke fun.
Easter? same thing but with more chocolate.

It's doable, very doable and considering most holy days are around the same time anyways (give or take up to a week) it's not too bad for convenience.

And if there is one thing christians and pagans have in common, it's our love for food and celebration that revolves around family. Merging the two is easy as long as no one decides to dis-agree or take offense.

Just try to break the news softly to very religious relatives just in case and it's always good to get the idea that paganism isn't evil out there first for a while to soften the perceived blow.

I know people who just out right and stated it matter of factly at a family gathering, who were promptly kicked out of the family the the family priest.
It happens so proceed with caution if you have a very religious family, but remember that no one will blame you for not telling them. Especially if telling them will put your well being at risk.

I hope this clears up a lot of the questions

Blessed Be

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