This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is about discussing your practice with others, or to be exact, how to approach others with the topic of one’s pagan practice.
Topic for the Week of 7/29: How do I approach the topic of my practice with someone new, while dating, or with children?
I don’t normally broach the subject, as I don’t really feel the need to shout from the rooftops what my belief system is. But, I am happy to honestly answer questions in a relaxed demeanor when they arise. While answering questions, though, I usually will try to avoid “trigger words” such as witch, pagan, spell casting, magick, etc. These words will often close down a conversation with someone that is not familiar with these faiths and practices.
This is not so much to force acceptance from them, but rather because I would like to teach them that perhaps any negative preconceived notions they might have about these labels could be wrong.
Instead, I usually explain that I follow an earth-based religion where I connect to the earth, the elements, and the energy that makes up us and all that is around us. I may explain some of my practices from this angle as well, if they have more questions. But, I usually will refrain from using the “labels” until -they- bring up these labels, either by naming some to seek the right one or by asking what the correct terms would be.
This approach will, of course, also depend on if I feel my personal safety would be at risk or not, as there are people out there that… will reject non-mainstream beliefs with violence. Fortunately, I live in an area of the country (and the world) where that is not so common place.
For children, it is much the same. I feel it is more important to communicate a connection and respect for the earth than to put a label upon myself. I’ve found that when it comes to this discussion, children are often less likely to need labels on a whole and more interested in the “meat” of a topic instead.
As for dating. It never really mattered until meeting you. With those that I was with before, it was just about sex. Those partners didn’t need to know about that part of my life, or really any part of my life. I wasn’t looking to connect on any substantial level back then.
I am pretty sure when the topic eventually came up with you, though, that I explained it to you much as I outlined it above. We have been together for over eleven years now, and just this year I have finally begun sharing more of my path with you beyond the basics I’d explained so long ago, and I have found this sharing to be a wonderful experience.