Invariably when you self-identify with a group that is not in the majority and are at all vocal about it, you’re going to have people who are confused, curious and sometimes downright hostile, especially in faith and religion. I mentioned in another post a long time ago that, in a sense, when you identify as Wiccan, you’re taking on the role of ambassador for all Wiccans. You’re representing each of us as a collective group. That’s a lot of pressure when you think about it, not to mention the fact that these people who are unfamiliar with our belief structure are often ones we have to interact with on a regular basis.
Being a minority religion means that at some point you will have to explain yourself, explain Wicca and explain the thought processes to someone else. Regardless of how defensive or angry they may become, there are ways to go about explaining that reflect well on yourself and on your practice.
- Know your definitions
The most frequently asked question I get is “I don’t understand. What is Wicca? Like devil worship or something?” These questions tells you that the person you’re talking to hasn’t had much experience with religions other than their own. You need to be able to explain in simple terms what Wicca is, what Neo-Paganism is, and the differences between Wicca and Satanism. If you as a practicing Wiccan can’t give an elevator pitch of your faith, it will appear as though you’ve not given serious study in the matter. Which backs up the all-too-common notion that Wicca is a teenage fad.
- Don’t be confrontational
This one is hard, especially if you feel under attack, which you probably will when dealing with mainstream “bible thumpers” of the bigger religions. Sometimes you will be told that your religion is false and fill-in-the-blank religion is the only true one. This is one of the oldest points of tension between Wicca and organized religion, primarily Christianity. Remember that this idea of there being only one way to the divine is part of their youth indoctrination, and people who are vocal about their way being the only way have never truly seen this religious landscape from a different set of eyes. In these cases, it is your responsibility to politely tell them that you understand that that is part of their religious doctrine, but there are other faiths in the world and just because you find a different practice more comfortable than theirs does not make either right or wrong.
- Be firm, but not pushy
One of the most effective techniques I’ve found for having these potentially volatile conversations is firmness and silence. People will say what they feel a need to say, and in general I let them. But when I speak in turn, I draw a hard line between their understanding and mine, especially if they’ve tried to preach at me or convert me. Let evangelists say their part, but don’t give them ground that belongs to you. They may want you to see their god’s light right that second, but you have to both respect that that’s part of their belief structure and tell them you’re happy where you are at the same time. Remember that it’s not in our doctrine or nature to try and convert others, so it’s okay if you agree to disagree. And how effective is it to answer with confidant, bemused silence when someone has been trying to provoke you?
- Walk the walk and talk the talk
If you’re going to self-identify as Wiccan to those around you, you have to actually be Wiccan in your mannerisms, your habits and your understanding of the world. This doesn’t mean you bring your spellbook to work. It means that you give others the benefit of the doubt, that you take all perspectives into consideration before making decisions, that you go outside as often as possible and fill your space with the elements of your faith that will soothe and keep you grounded. It doesn’t have to be overt; it just has to be you. Those who are interested in your faith will notice (which could open a door for them, if they are so inclined) and those who aren’t won’t be tuned in enough to care.
Also, please direct your attention to the newest tabs on Ayslyn’s Corner – Tarot Readings and Blue Moon Night! I recently set up online shops on Etsy and StoreEnvy, with tarot card readings as a couple of my wares. For the next couple of weeks, the two spreads are going to be on sale to commemorate the grand opening. Check out the tabs for more information.
Also, I am in the process of revitalizing the Witchy Blog Award. I have been searching through the WordPress sphere in search of blogs new and old that have been dedicated to anything Wicca or Neo-Pagan oriented, but in addition to those that I find, I want to know what blogs have influenced you (even if it’s your own blog; sometimes writing about your faith on a regular basis is powerful in and of itself.) If there is such a one in your blogroll, please tell me about it below. I will be releasing the newest award winners in the next couple of weeks.
As always, brightest blessings!