WITCHCRAFT, YOUR LIFE AND HOW TO MAKE IT FIT TOGETHER
The single greatest problem that most Wiccans and ‘proto-Wiccans’ especially face, is that of shifting our lives around so that our Craft fits in with all the day to day demands that we have as members of a modern society.
Family, work, non-Wiccan friends, clashes between festivals or Esbats and other demands, explaining to others why we can’t go to their parties or why they can’t come round and visit at certain times, and those awkward moments when you frantically scrabble for a ‘reasonable’ explanation as to why there are candles, figurines, flowers and stones on a table in your front room and a lingering smell of incense…..
Been there- done it- lied creatively as to why there’s an altar in your living room and candle wax on the carpet?
I have to say that it’s at times like this that we sometimes find out who our true friends are.
We have to start from this: If someone truly likes or loves you, then
discovering that you’re into something that makes you happy, encourages and focuses your creativity, and brings meaning, purpose and fulfillment into your life should make them happy too.
If it doesn’t, well then perhaps their friendship or love isn’t as deep as you thought. Sure they might be worried about you- the gutter religions have managed to link Wicca and Satanism together very successfully in many peoples minds, and those not too well informed can be concerned to discover that their nearest and dearest are ‘suddenly’ into something strange and potentially threatening, but if you take a deep breath and explain simply but clearly what these things are about for you, then if they truly do love you they’ll at least listen positively and be prepared to accept that what you’re into isn’t harmful.
That’s ok for real friends, but family and our circle of less deep relationships might not be so simple:
We all tend to have few real friends, but a much larger circle of ‘mates’,
acquaintances, and people we might term friends, but who we are perhaps more accurately just on friendly terms with.
These are the people we might go out for a drink with, might work with but get on sufficiently well with to socialize with them also, the mates from the local, from school and similar.
If some of these discover that you’re a Witch/Pagan/Druid you may well very quickly discover whether they truly are friends or not. My best advice here is to do your best not to let them find out, and then to take a strong stance if they do- stand your ground without being aggressive, don’t bother trying to explain if they try to give you grief, and simply out stare them- if you are ‘outed’, you may as well be strong as you’ve nothing to lose have you? I don’t mean you should be ashamed of who and what you are, but rather that the Craft is something to treasure, and like me with that bottle of 12 year old malt Whisky I received for my birthday, you may also be choosy of whom you share your treasures with.
In among your circle of acquaintances though you may well also discover that some of them are more open and interested than others.
And then there’s family: Family are easy to deal with. Unless you are a Witch with dogmatic born-again in-laws, then the simple strategy for dealing with family relative to this is to just let them make their own explanations, steer that in a vague but positive direction, sprinkle in some general-purpose new-age terms- Feng Shui, crystals, sun sign Astrology, Reiki, empowerment, healing, etc. and guide them towards creating a bland, vague rationalization for themselves that will help them come to terms with your strangeness but without it being anything for them to get excited about. They might make little jokes at family gatherings, but in front of non-family members they’ll actually become quite proud of you- having a weirdo in the family is almost as good as having a child with an ‘ology in the family.
I’d advise caution if you have children at school as your children may well be taunted or even bullied on account of your activities if you aren’t too careful of what gets seen or talked about. If you can avoid it by being discrete that is the best policy. if it is discovered that you’re a Witch and your children are bullied, go see the head teacher. There are very few schools in Britain now without at least a few Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Jehovah Witness children. if their kids are protected from bullying because of their beliefs, yours should be also. If push comes to shove threaten the press, civil liberties, play the ‘race card’- if Muslim/Hindu/Jewish children can’t be picked on, neither can Wiccan children, and use your wiles and wits to make the teaching staff as uncomfortable as possible. Most people will take the path of least resistance. If you cause no trouble but your children are bullied, cause lots of trouble. if it’s out in the open, bring it right out- or at least convincingly threaten to. Most normal people will back away nowadays without the mob of accepted prejudice to back them up- if push comes to shove, always put them on the spot but provide an easy way out for them. let them know clearly that if the bullying stops you won’t need to talk to the press about institutionalized prejudice at their school.
Work: Potentially this is tricky. Strictly speaking you are protected from
religious discrimination by recent European rulings, but in practice some of our people will be subtly discriminated against at the very least if they are outed.
If possible use the same kind of strategies at work as I’ve outlined for dealing with family. if you are found out, stay vague, guide them in bland, vague but positive directions, and let them create their own rationalizations. Most ordinary people will go along with this if you don’t shove what you do in their faces- unless you’ve seriously upset your boss or work colleagues so that they leap at any opportunity to do you down, they don’t want their vague apprehensions of day to day ‘reality’ to be shaken or disturbed at all. if you insist on wearing ‘goth’ to work when everyone else is in office ‘uniform, then you’re asking for trouble. if you keep your pentagram under your blouse/shirt but get ‘caught’ reading a book about Wicca in your lunch break, then your colleagues will either be easily led into bland rationalizations or may even make an appointment for a Tarot reading. You’d be surprised.
Fitting it in: Is never so difficult if you have learned how to use ‘headology; as I’ve detailed above. Actually it’s often easier if you are a Witch, as many Witches; especially Wiccan-Witches; are quite adept at the art of creative social camouflage and aren’t usually inclined towards gothic clothing styles or standing out in crowds- more often than not you can spot the Wiccans at pagan gatherings by their knowing look rather than their clothing. Unless of course they’re in the mood to dress up, but that’s another matter.
If you are newly upon the Wiccan path and have joined a Coven you’ll undoubtedly have clashes between such as Esbats or Sabbats and social and family activities at times. There’s no easy way around this and sometimes you’ll just need to decide what is most important in your life. More often than not you can compromise or make arrangements in ways that make life easier by not having clashes between coven, work or family activities, but sometimes you just have to set your priorities and choose how to work with them.
If you persevere you will find that your life shakes down around what else is going on- just like having a new child in the house when you start a family, or starting a new job with shift work. There’s a period of upheaval, but then that settles into new patterns and new routines. Just the same with Wicca: There may well be a temporary period of upheaval in your life, but a new, better pattern will emerge if you stay with the process and flow with that.
Above all else remember this- if you’re a Witch you’re not a victim, and
sometimes you have to be crafty to be a Crafter.