Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Out of the Broom Closet: Easy Peasy

My parents were divorced when I was four, so it started like this: my father is Pentecostal (I like to describe it as one step away from Snake Handling,) and my mother was an atheist. So on my visits with my dad, it was pounding the devil out of the church floor with the bible, and singing in Sunday school and a lot of fire and brimstone. And when I went home, my mother would tell me that all the stories in the bible were just made up by ordinary people, and that I shouldn’t believe them. So of course, I was confused. However, I held on to my father’s faith for a long time - I guess something was better than nothing. It didn’t take me too long, however, to start to ask questions that he couldn’t answer - If there was a Father God, where was the Mother Goddess? And if the End Times came, and I was pregnant, would my baby be born? I don’t know why that question seemed so important. I was ten. Whatever. Questions like that. I became kind of angry at the idea of God, some old guy in a throne who had, obviously, no real idea what it was like to be a pre teen girl. Why should that guy be the boss of me?

I read a lot as a teenager. Books and books. And I lived out in the country, so I spent a lot of time alone, with only my books. This was important to my religious exploration in two ways: you can learn a lot from books, especially historical/fantasy fiction featuring proto Celtic races who worship Mother Deities and other Female aspects of the divine; and when you spend a lot of time alone with oak trees and a moon so bright you think you could touch it, you start to get in touch with other energies, things outside the realm of the Bible.

So over the years I read more, this time non fiction by Pagan writers and philosophers. And I tried to figure out just what I really believed. The term ‘witch’ scared me at first. So I just focused on the term ‘Pagan.’ Old Christian habits can be hard to shake. When I moved to LA, nearly a decade ago, everything sort of fell into place. I mean here, anything goes. Really. Being a witch is tame compared to most of the stuff you see.

So then I was just honest about it. When friends asked, I explained I was Pagan. And all of them were Ok with that. It never even raised an eyebrow among my LA Christian friends. People asked questions and we had discussions and I learned things about myself and what I really believed in through those talks. I don't really know many other Pagans, and I've never dated one, but I don't feel like an outsider at all. Actually, it made me feel rather normal and confident about the whole thing. But there was still the family.

My mom was first. Over the years, my mom had moved to some sort of Buddhism. Whatever kind of Buddhism it is that allows you to still really enjoy hunting. One day she found some of my bookmarked web sites featuring Paganism and witch craft, which I was more and more beginning to relate to. I tried to explain it as best I could in calm, normal tones in pretty simple terms. She listened and said that it really sounded very much the same to what she believed, which was that “it was all about energy.” And then she started sending me links to interesting Pagan sites she found! Go Mom!

My Dad’s Mom was next. She’s a Scientologist, which used to drive my Dad nuts. She also believes in energy and lots of other stuff, and that she is a reincarnated priestess from Atlantis. And she was explaining to me one day about my cousin, whom she is very close to, who kind of brought together all the stuff he believes in from Hinduism and Christianity and Buddhism etc. to create a body of beliefs that ‘served his needs.’ And we started this long and really awesome conversation about how faith should serve our own needs, and how we have the right to believe in whatever gives us strength and makes us feel loved by the universe. It was all very new agey but very cool, and she was happy for me.

I still haven’t told Dad. Not because I’m afraid of him, or afraid that he will disown me or something like that, but I know that if I do, he will just spend all of his time worrying about my soul and feeling bad, and my Dad is the most loving, caring person I know, and I don’t want to burden him with that kind of worry. He’s happy with his faith, and I’m happy with mine, and he shouldn’t have to fret about that.

And that’s it. I’m out, mostly, and it was pretty painless, and I’m really happy that I have such a loving, supportive family.


Sparrow said...

I feel the same way with my Grandmother that you feel with you Dad. Thank you for sharing your story :)

Catpriestess said...

Really beautiful way of finding and describing your path and soul purpose, Lynelle. Sounds like you have some wonderful supportive and light "energy" as your mom calls it ; )
Thank you for being who you are and sharing what you're about.

Mother's Moon's Message said...

It is wonderful to have the support of family.. Yet I so understand your feelings with your dad. I think all of us someone like that. For me it is my grandma. She is not really my grandma but the grandma of my ex, yet to me she will always be grandma.... I love her dearly and would never want to hurt her.

JJ Beazley said...

You went your own way and avoided hurting others in the process. Sounds about right to me. Good on you.

Bridgett said...

What you said about your dad is EXACTLY how I feel about my parents.

I know if they find out, all they will do is worry about my soul rotting in Hell for all eternity. And when I say worry, I mean actually make themselves sick over it all.

So I stay quiet and they think I'm a completely different person than I am. Not because I lead them to think I'm a certain way, but just because it's how they WANT to see me. And so they do.

Excellent post. Thanks for sharing!


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