Amanda’s Pagan Coming Out post, originally posted 5/2/13 on Rose and Lin (no longer online).

Today, May 2nd is Pagan Coming Out Day.  You may be wondering- so?  Who cares?  Well, , I care obviously, since I’m writing about it, and I care because…

I am a Pagan.

So, at this point you probably have one of four reactions:

  1. So? Who cares!
  2. WHAT!?! How could you!
  3. Huh? What’s a Pagan?
  4. Woot! Me too!

And really, any of those reactions is fine.  I’m not going to be changing based on your reaction.  To be honest, I haven’t changed who I am.  I’ve been Pagan for a long time.  Actually, I’ve been Pagan for over 17 years now, so there are probably some of you out there who think this is old news.  But since then, I’ve tried to not be Pagan, and I’ve tried going to church, because I hated (yes it is a strong word, and yes, I mean hated) myself for not being “normal.”  But, here’s the thing: you can’t be something you’re not.  And all that time I was trying to not be Pagan, deep down, I was longing for it, and holding tightly to my beliefs.  About two-three years ago, I told Mr. Rose & Lin that I was going to start doing my Pagan thing again.  I was so scared to tell him, which, looking back was just silly.  He has been wonderfully, amazingly supportive, even attending events with me.  He’s so freaking awesome.  My children, whom I told after a while, have not treated me any different, I’m still just mom.  They’re amazingly awesome too!  Actually, all this had a great side-effect.  The more open I’ve been, the happier I’ve been.  But, I have been yearning to be completely out and open, which is why I’m coming out.  So, overall, I’m really not any different.  The only thing that has changed is that this year I am actively trying to be more direct, more honest, more open and more myself.  I am tired of being the shy, meek person that’s afraid of everyone and everything.  Also, I’ve been getting involved with some Pagan organizations, including our local Pagan Pride Day.  While I have no desire to turn this into a Pagan blog, I want to be able to share openly about what’s going on in my life without wondering “who knows?  will this offend someone?  Oh no, I can’t say that!” and so on.  Continue reading if you want.  Stop if you want.  If you’re shocked or confused I’ll explain a few things and go into more depth.  And if you’re a pagan too, then: Hi!  Merry meet!  Love ya!

Before I go on, I want you to know that I’m not trying to convert a single person here.  I believe that who you worship and what you believe is your own personal business.  As long as you’re not hurting anyone or breaking any laws, it’s not my business.

So, lets get into the details here. A little background for anyone that’s confused.  Paganism is an umbrella term for a variety of traditions that tend to organize themselves and operate without a centralized religious body or a standardized dogma.  Pagan traditions are generally earth or nature-centered religions.  Some of the traditions that fall under the Pagan umbrella include Wicca, Witchcraft, Druidism, Heathen, Shamanism, Asatru, Voudon, and many more.  I consider myself to be an eclectic, meaning that I use bits and pieces from traditions that I find meaningful.  You can call me Pagan, or Witch, and both of those terms are ok for me, although I tend to use Pagan more.

I honor both gods and goddesses, and the ones I choose to honor depend on what I am in need of in my life at the time or the occasion.  I celebrate holidays that are based on the wheel of the year.  I honor the four “sun” or quarter holidays which are the winter solstice (Yule or Midwinter), vernal equinox (Ostara), summer solstice (Litha or Midsummer), and the autumnal equinox (Mabon).  Pretty self-explanatory there.  I also celebrate “cross-quarter” holidays.  These might be a little more confusing, but still follow the wheel of the year:

Imbolc, also know as Groundhogs day, Candlemas, or the Feast of Brigid.  This is a holiday to celebrate the return of the sun.

Beltane, aka May Day, is a celebration of fertility.  And while I no longer celebrate my own fertility (no more children, please!!), I do celebrate the fertility of our earth, and my garden, and are striving for fertile finances! 😉

Lughnassadh (pronounced “loo-na-sah”) occurs around August 1st.  This is the first of three harvest holidays and is also known as the Witch’s Thanksgiving.  My hubby particularly likes this holiday as it’s food centered.  😉

Samhain (pronounced Sow-en) is also known as Halloween.  While I enjoy the donning of costumes and trick-or-treating, that’s not what I celebrate for Samhain.  It is a very reverent time of honoring ones ancestors and preparing for going into the dark days of winter.  It is also the last of the harvest holidays.

I also honor the Goddess at the full moon and occasionally the new moon.  The moon is essential to life on Earth, without it, we would not have the tides that give life to our oceans, and the oceans were the origin of life on our planet.

I do not believe in a supreme evil figure, such as the devil or Satan, and do not worship any such entity.  Most Pagans don’t believe in Satan at all.  We are not evil.

I do believe in magick (the “k” at the end is used to differentiate from stage magic- you know, the pulling the rabbit out of a hat kind) and I do cast spells.  Spells are similar to prayer, except that instead of merely requesting aid from a deity, there is an energy that is raised and directed towards a specific goal.  If you’ve read the book “The Secret” you would see similarities to the spell-work that I do.  It’s not a pagan book, but “The Secret” works very similarly to magick.  I don’t use magick for evil or bad purposes, and I don’t do hexes or curses.  Most Pagans believe in some kind of karma system and there is no benefit to that kind of magick.

Those are the very basics to what I, as a Pagan, believe and do.  I really don’t want to bore you.  Just a few random thoughts that don’t really fit in anywhere:  We are an inter-faith family and my children celebrate both Christian and Pagan holidays, whatever they are interested in.  I have no problem with Christians wishing me a Merry Christmas (or Happy Easter), and will often reply back with a Merry Christmas.  I’m a member of a local group called Pagans in Touch, who’s focus is networking and discussion.  I’m also a member of the planning committee for the Central Illinois Pagan Pride Day.  There are many Pagan Pride Day events that go on around the country and if you’re interested in learning more about Paganism, or want to see what a ritual is like, I’d encourage you to go observe!    It’s pretty cool, and people are super friendly.  Want to see some pictures of Pagans in ritual?  There are some beautiful pictures of a Beltane celebration at St. Michael’s Tower in Glastonbury -may-day-photos-will-make-you-delighted-its-spring”>here</a>.

I’m hoping that through writing this, I can educate others and help normalize Paganism.  I hope that others can see through my actions that Pagans are not evil, devil-worshipping people.  I hope that I can give other Pagans strength through showing them that they are a not alone, and there are others out there that are like them.  And lastly, I hope that you’ve kept your heart and mind open and that you can still like or love me because I’m still the person I’ve always been.

I’d love to answer any questions you might have.  If I don’t get to you right away, it’s because I’ll be attending our Beltane camping trip this weekend, where I’m teaching a Garden May-Pole workshop!   Also, please know, I will not tolerate bashing of any kind, and your comment here (or on the Facebook page) will be treated as spam.  All comments are moderated, and I personally see every single comment before it is posted on the blog.  If you’re comment doesn’t show up immediately, that may be the cause.