Coming Out

Posted by Princess Eva Angelica On 7:55 AM
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," home page of Anne Johnson, She Who Believes in Everything! Don't believe me? Put it to the test! I don't even snicker when I drive through East Baltimore and see the window shrines to Elvis. Someone is drawing solace from meditating on a King, looking at his picture, and lighting candles to him. To me this is a sacred thing, and who am I to belittle it?

There's been some talk over at The Wild Hunt about having a Pagan Coming Out Day, where presumably anyone who considers themselves Pagan would openly declare their path to family, friends, and -- ulp -- workplace colleagues.

When I told my sister I had become a Druid, she asked if that meant I was going to slaughter kittens in a pentagram.

See? That could have snapped our relationship right there if I hadn't bitten my cheek and dug deep for the big, broad, flexible outlook.

Now we're down the road a few years, and Sis has come to a few faerie festivals. She calls herself a "Pagan Christian." I'm not sure what that means, exactly, but I do know that Sis has been more reflective on the people around her at her fundie church and has rejected their "legalistic" agenda. She has friended some of my Druid Grove members on Facebook. So I think "coming out" to Sis did help her to begin to question all those answers she was getting on "Focus on the Family."

But soft! What exactly does it mean to "come out" as a Pagan in the workplace?

My workplace is a public school. If my students were ever to ask my religion, I would evoke the First Amendment. I'm not Wiccan, so wearing a Pentagram is not an issue. I wear a wooden acorn on a hemp string at least twice a week, and my students sometimes ask me, "Why do you wear that acorn all the time?" I tell them I like trees. Which is true.

The reality at my particular school is that a great many of my students are Roman Catholic, and some of the rest are Evangelical Christian, with a smattering of Jehovah's Witnesses. Not only can I not "come out" to these kids, I have to be especially vigilant not to let it slip that I'm a Pagan. Do I need to sit here and tell you why it wouldn't work for me to be open about my Path? Because just now I have a workshop to attend, and I need to take a shower, and if you want more explanation you'll have to ask for it.

Having had extremely mixed results when I tell people I'm a Druid, I will go on record as not being supportive of a "coming out" movement. For Pagans, not for gays. The difference between Pagan and gay is that you choose to be Pagan. And as for closeted gays, I can totally see their point too.

Everyone's comfort level is different when it comes to discussing religion. My personal comfort level has declined over the past year, after I confided in a few teachers who I thought were friends, only to see them shun me and make snide comments about my apparel and behavior.

Remember that our U.S.Constitution gives you the right to worship in any way you please (or not at all) and does not demand that you reveal how you worship, to authorities, friends, or family. This, to my way of thinking, should be a personal decision on your part. The only pressure you feel to "come out" should come from within. Let your conscience be your guide.

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