I have been practicing Wicca for approximately seven years in what my mentor has dubbed "Free Form" (another fancy name for Eclectic) Wicca. I grew up in North Carolina and was raised a non-strict Jew. We celebrated Xmas and Hanukkah, but that was about it. Sure, I hunted for Easter Eggs, but I liked money and candy, the same as many other children. I had always believed in metaphysical phenomena. This interest got jolted into overtime when I was in 7th grade.
Some of my friends as well as myself started playing with the Ouija board, just as the rest of the curious world. At the time, I still perceived it as a game. That was until, it told me the exact birth date, death date, and location of the spirit I was talking to. Curious as always, I ventured down to the local cemetery and there it was, the tombstone I was looking for.
A few years later, I ran into who would become my mentor. He opened my eyes to the Wiccan faith, and have been ever since. Now, I had one last dilemma on my hands — how to tell my parents. Keep in mind that my discovery coincided with the Waco, TX / David Koresh incident. None the less, once I decided that I was on the path for me, I still had to tell them. These procedures were not the wisest — but gave me the courage and knowledge on how to do it the right way.
The first approach I tendered was the "blunt and to the point" method. This went a little like, "Hey mom, dad, have you ever heard of a religion called Wicca?" If I had a ruler, I would guess that the diameter of their eyes were approximately 7 foot wide or something. "What in the h**l is that?" they asked. So in a quick (and stupid) response, I simply answered "It means I'm a Witch." I thought my mother was going to faint or something. My father's first and immediate response was "Is that the David Koresh s**t?" I was such a neophyte at the time, I really didn't know how to explain it, save for the fact that it involved a God and a Goddess. This conversation was going on about a week into my studies. My mother then dubbed it, "White Angel Stuff."
In 1994, I journeyed off to the military. This landed me in Haiti and Bosnia with a permanent station in Louisiana. While in Haiti, I acted as the point of contact for the Pagan personnel in my unit and helped get supplies and the like through the Chaplain. I got married in 1996 to someone that was "Pagan friendly" and has since become Pagan herself. I went to Bosnia and started getting into conversations with some of the Rabbi Chaplains that was in Bosnia about Kabbalah. I called my mother a lot over there and told her that I was talking with Rabbis and she immediately assumed that I was Jewish again. This reinforced the fact that I had to come out of the broom closet again.
Once I returned from Bosnia, I started getting extremely proactive in the Pagan community. I became a member of the Military Pagan Network (MPN) and the Sacred Well Congregation of Converse, TX. I also became the leader of a provisional congregation in Ft. Polk, LA. How was I going to hide this from my mother? Time to tell her once again, this time, with knowledge as a backbone.
Time passed and Yule '99 was almost upon us. My father had passed away in June '98. I decided that it was time for me to start letting my mother know. I decided to do it gently and in "waves." We got in a conversation about my father and how hard it was for her to still cope a year later. I was on the phone and said something to the effect of "We all live in a cycle of life, we are born, we live, and we die. It was his time in the cycle to move on, just as it was the time in the cycle for my child to be born. We all pass away, and when the Old Ones determine our time, it happens. Doesn't make it any easier, but makes it a little more understood." She didn't know where that came from, but she did know it made sense. I think that she just perceived it as me growing up, even though I was now 25.
Since it was Yule time now the phone calls were starting to sound a lot like "What do you want for Xmas?" So, in my usual cockiness told her that I just wanted a big candle because of her finances. She immediately popped up and said, "I'm not helping you do that black candle stuff." O.K. so she still thinks I'm into what she called "The White Angel Stuff." Time for me to finally set the record straight.
I informed my wife that I was going to breakdown and tell mom the truth. After all, she deserved it, and she has an idea, albeit a wrong one. So, I made the phone call. I called my mother to ask a question about my sister. I subtly asked her "What did you mean by 'The Black Candle Stuff'?" She said, "Well, you're still into the White Angel, whatever you call it stuff, aren't you?" I simply replied, "You mean Wicca?" After she said that was it, I told her in the following way.
"Yes, I am still Wiccan. Did you know that in 1986 the fourth circuit appeals court named it a legal religion in a case? By practicing the faith I have chosen, it is allowing me to be a better man, a better father, and a better husband. It is no different that a person having faith in any different religion. I teach, I reach out in the community, belong to a church, and I work closely with the Chaplains here to help the Wiccan community on post. I am teacher and am part of a study group in the next town over, and I do my best to educate the people that don't know. You may have never heard of it, outside the people in North Carolina, but there are Wiccans all over the world, same as any religion. I hope this helps you to understand me and my chosen path better." Her response was simply put: "If it helps make you a better person and you are doing right, then that's all I want." We are now looking at the understanding of a 67-year-old woman that grew up on strict religious backgrounds. It was my delight that she now knows, understands, and is good with it.
My advice is if you are going to tell anyone, subtlety and knowledge is your best support and approach for such a thing. Blessings to all.
By the Way... I got my gigantic white candle from my mom for Yule.
Bio: 25 year old male that has been practicing Eclectic Wicca for approximately 7 years. Married with 2 children. Currently living in Louisiana. Ordained Deacon of the Sacred Well Congregation in Traditional Craft Wicca. Point of Contact for the Military Pagan Network. Play guitar. Enjoy networking with other Pagans. Attempt to educate other people whenever given the opportunity.