…. like the proverbial sore thumb. Like a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Or as my mom used to say, like a red-headed step child at a family picnic.
That’s what it’s like to be Pagan in the Deep South. My son and I moved back to Baton Rouge from Denver about three months ago. Baton Rouge is home for me. I grew up here, I still have family here. There are alot of things about this town that I don’t like, such as the lack of inclusion and tolerance. But it’s never going to change unless someone makes it change, right?
So this is where we are. After going through a divorce (thank the Goddess that it was relatively non-confrontational), my son and I moved in with my sister and her husband. My sister is a progressive Christian. She knows I’m Wiccan; she knew about my involvement in the Pagan Community in Denver. And my brother-in-law is a member of a Druid Grove, so no need for a broom closet in this house. So thankfully the challenges of being a Pagan here don’t come from within my household.
My ex-husband is, for all intents and purposes, also Pagan. He has never had a problem with the majority of my beliefs and doesn’t oppose the involvement of our son in Pagan Circles and practices. So, again thankfully, challenges don’t general come from that angle.
Ah, but the rest of the family. Even those who are accepting of my Pagan beliefs have had issues when it comes to my son. Upon hearing that I was going through a divorce, one of my sisters recommended that I “give up the Pagan stuff.” She was concerned about the in-laws using it against me in the divorce. They are the family members who would be most likely to vehemently object to my son being “exposed” to Paganism. After explaining that the in-laws didn’t have a say in the matter, I also informed her that, even if they did, I wasn’t giving it up. Why was I working so hard with the Pagan Community to create an understanding of Paganism if I was just going to run away from it when trouble could possibly come to my door? So even “accepting” members of my family had a hard time understanding how important it is to me to be able to share my faith with my son.
One of the first questions kids ask other kids around here is “Where do you go to church?” Well, in Denver, we could have easily answered that we attended the Unitarian Church. Unfortunately, the UU church here isn’t as accepting of Pagans as other UU churches, so we don’t have that option. My son can still say that we’re UUs, because we do appreciate the overall principles of the UU Church, but unfortunately he just doesn’t get the community that goes with them.
Which is why I’m so engaged about building the Pagan community here. Strengthening it, fortifying it. Giving it a public face so people can see who and what we truly are. Then he’ll be able to have the community, the Village, he needs.
So as I start on this venture of writing blogs on The Pagan Village’s website, I do so with a purpose. To give my son, and all those in areas where Paganism is not accepted, a voice. A chance to be seen and heard as everyday, regular folks who want the best for their children as they grow and become the next generation of leaders in the Village.
I hope you enjoy the blogs! And remember, Gaudeum Veni Incus, “joy comes from within.”