Although this hashtag was created by Shadow Harvest back in August, I originally saw Amethyst Ascension’s reply that she did the other day. I found both of their thoughts on the matter very interesting. I think that this topic is one that most people are a bit awkward with, whether they are under the pagan umbrella, or just of a different religion to whatever is being worshiped in the moment.
Essentially, the question is what do you do in situations where you are stuck with people worshiping where there is an expectation of the “accepted norm” of following along, or risk standing out due to lack of conformity.
The example given was being a pagan at a Christian wedding where they request everyone to bow their heads to pray during the ceremony. This included mention of certain scripture or vows that you do not agree with personally, or have an issue with.
For me? This also fits into when I visit other people’s homes. J’s parents like to hold hands and say Grace before they eat. Out east, some of my family also say Grace (without the hand holding, because my family is NOT a touchy feely type of family).
So…. what do I do?
First, I accept that I can’t control what other people do, I can only control my own actions and behavior.
Second, it depends on the situation. Do I wear my pagan jewelry when visiting a church? Absolutely. I do not see it as a disrespect to the church, but rather feel I am presenting myself as… myself, and showing that I have come FOR a reason. I’m essentially saying “although this is not my faith, I’m here for you”.
This follows as well with prayer. No, I do not participate in the bowing of my head and entreaty to their god. But I am there for it. I’m standing tall and projecting my own well wishes, my own hopes for their future, my own entreaties to my own entities and energies. I don’t know their religion. I don’t know their beliefs. It would, in my opinion, be disrespectful to pretend to be doing something I don’t know anything about or does not follow MY beliefs. It would be, essentially, being deceptive within a sacred space. And for me? That’s not okay.
As for Grace… In J’s parents home as well as other people’s homes when they want to say Grace? I will hold hands if it is a part of their tradition, because I believe this creates a circle of energy that goes beyond prayer and into intention. But, I do not bow my head and pray their prayer. Instead, I again put out my own entreaties to my own energies and entities. Entreaties that will align with the spirit of saying Grace, and will add to that circle of energy created in that moment.
This is how I deal with these situations.
There are plenty of times when life has required me to intentionally hide my faith. There have been places I have traveled where personal safety made it an imperative. Personal safety trumps everything else, including my feelings of being disrespectful by being dishonest in a sacred space. That aside? I do me, and I expect others to do them and LET me do me.