A Practice in Inevitability

This December was the one-year anniversary of my conversion to Paganism. I had gotten my first tarot deck on Halloween and was trying to bill it as a spooky thing to do for Halloween, but god knows I wanted one more than anything. That December, I finally gave in to an impulse I had been feeling for years: getting into Shinto. I had wanted to for a while, but when you’ve been raised as a southern Baptist all your life changing religions tends to be a thing that try not to consider. Now that I look back, I can see how my initial interest in Shinto planted the seeds for my eventual practice in it years down the road. Kemeticism came only a little while later, as I tried to get in contact with Anpu, whom I had loved for a long time from a purely mythological perspective. But my new-found freedom to explore other religions allowed me to approach him as a real, living deity.

And while all this was going on, my parents were (probably) none the wiser.

Or at least they were for the first 6 or 7 months. After my altars became more and more conspicuous (and I didn’t have the heart to put them away, as well as getting the feeling that I really really shouldn’t) they began to suspect something was up. I don’t know if I was a good enough liar to pull off the explanations I had, but that was all I had. I couldn’t tell them, I couldn’t be open with them. I was 18 years old but I was (and still am) dependent upon them. And they threatened me with an exorcism if they found out I was doing witchcraft. Which I was. And that scared me.

But when I move out, when I get a place of my own, I’m going to have shrines and an altar and they’re going to be in plain sight. And if my parents ever think to come and visit their child?

What am I going to tell them?

I refuse to put away my religious expression when it’s my own property, but I know that it will hurt them. And they will worry themselves sick over the fate of my immortal soul. So, is it an inevitability? How do I prepare to deliver news that will most definitely shock and disgust my own parents?

It’s one year later and I’m not keeping this secret as well as I thought I could. How do you take it upon yourself to prepare to break your parents’ hearts?

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One thought on “A Practice in Inevitability

  1. Sooner or later most secrets come out. The only difference is whether they come out under your power or at the whim of someone/thing else. I spent a long time (by which I mean at least a full year followed by another nearly a year of more obvious…) testing the waters, as it were. I started by talking about the issues I had with differing translations of a biblical story, and moved on to comparing similarities with other world myths, and from there moved on to addressing the half-forgotten symbolism within the Church in terms of the cultures which were subsumed in its earliest days. Being Catholic gave me a lot more to work with in that regard, since I maintain that Catholicism is really just warped paganism with a Christian veneer. Still, start slow and see if they react to something along those lines as “wow our kid is smart and does research” or if it’s more like “oh shit our kid is thinking outside of our carefully constructed box.” Fortunately my parents chose the first and by the time I was blatantly joking about it they really didn’t pay much attention anymore. Neither of them likes it but since I make a concerted effort to not put their religion down they don’t fight me on it. It helps that I’ve been out of their house for a few years now.
    So that’s all I can suggest. Test the waters. If the reaction is something you think you can work with, go slow. If the reaction is too negative, wait. It’s not worth being cast out or freaking exorcised over. Of course, looking them in the eye and reminding them that exorcisms really only work on the Goetic demons is always fun if everything really goes to shit.

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