Wednesday, April 27, 2011

International Pagan Coming Out Day

Last summer, my friend Cara Schulz posted over on Pagan+Politics her idea for a formalized Pagan Coming Out Day. I thought this was a great idea. Not long after that, I received an email from her asking if I would be willing to help with the launch of the movement. She put together a team - a real who's who of the modern Pagan community (felt humbled to be included) - and we got to work on what is now International Pagan Coming Out Day.

I am very proud to be a part of this project. It is very important to me that everyone is able to practice their own religion or spirituality in this country without fear of retribution or worse. In spite of what some people are saying today, our country was actually founded on a principle of religious freedom. Thomas Jefferson was famously quoted as saying "But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

As is evident by this blog, my spirituality is an important part of my personal identity. I honor the gods of the ancient Greeks, most especially Persephone, and I believe that there is a lot of wisdom to be found in this tradition. It is beautiful, poetic and philosophical. Human culture would not be where it is today without the influence of the ancient Greeks and that is why I find their traditions and teachings still viable today. As a devotee of Persephone, I also find great beauty in the cycles of nature. As the seasons turn from year to year I find myself in absolute awe. I certainly understand the science behind it all, but I still want to connect with a divinity that I feel embodies that natural rhythm.I want to feel a part of something bigger than myself.

Why am I saying all this? Because no matter what traditions I follow or what Goddess I honor, I am still a good person. It makes me sad to think that so many people in this world are so afraid of what other people think - whether it is society, friends, or family - that they are willing to keep something so important to them so secret. When I have kept a secret in my life it is because I thought that somehow that thing must be inherently wrong. That people would judge me or I would "get in trouble." It was a lesson I learned at an early age. I don't want that the be the lesson about Paganism. I don't want it to be considered "Wrong." And I know you can't please anyone. I have certainly heard the counter arguments and people who are angry about Pagan Coming Out Day. People who say that it isn't anyone's business but their own. That is fine, then this might not be for you. One thing we're not doing is forcing people to participate. But as you are ready, as you chose to, do this thing on your own terms. I have a very good friend who has chosen this Coming Out Day to tell his family. I am very proud of him. It takes a lot of courage and he is exactly the reason I am behind this mission. I have even been surprised by some of the response I have been getting and I have never been "in". I share things about the movement on social networking sites and non-Pagan family and friends express their support as well. It makes my heart happy to see that people are willing to embrace these religious differences.

So, this May 2nd I will be celebrating International Pagan Coming Out Day at a local bar with really good beer. Pagans and non-Pagans will be there to honor our religious diversity and our choices.

1 comment:

  1. I've been mostly out for a very long time, and my family found out not long after I started on the Pagan path. But I don't talk about it with family or at work. I've taken to wearing my pentacle to work every once in a while and I plan to on May 2nd.

    Recently a distant, definitely Christian, family member saw my link to IPCOD on Facebook and started asking me about it. I responded with the truth and in a way, it was like a coming out for me.

    Unfortunately, now I have to deal with the 'God is just a prayer away' messages.