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Some Spiritual Consciousness

I saw this show on TLC called "My Unique Family." This particular episode is about a Wiccan family. As I watched, I was painfully reminded about how I strive to keep my own spirituality in check in my own community; how I do not wear my pentagrams in public anymore after experiencing both ridicule and ignorance, how many members of my own family believe that I am not religious at all, how my altar is "an eclectic collection of knicknacks" and my goddess art and writing are "expressions of my feminism." It's hard enough to explain to my family and some friends why I keep my own last name and why I had issues getting married, let alone explain my pagan faith.

I experienced deja vu twice while watching this program; the priestess in it received her first deck of Tarot cards when she was eleven, which spawned her interest in Wicca; I, too, received my first deck around that time (though I may have been ten) from my grandmother, and the deck had been hers throughout her life as well. Some of my family members made fun of my interests in herbs, gems, mythology, and pagan folklore as I grew up and called me the little witch; later they dismissed it as a phase (we seem to have a lot of women in our family who have gone through such "phases," and some who still seem to tap into unconscious abilities, but that's another story). Today, it's "Sara doesn't believe in God."

In fact, Sara does believe in God—a one universal being, who is both female and male at once; one Great Spirit who is personified by thousands of names and aspects, which many people take as being polytheistic (having multiple gods) which, in fact, it is not. The other misconception is the whole "devil worshipping" thing, which is simply ludicrous considering that was a Christian creation, which seems to be, at least to me, a direct attack on the Greek god Pan. 

So the second sense of deja vu I experienced was when this man claimed that these peaceful Wiccans were going to "hell," something that I don't even believe in (hence the phrase "It's your hell, you burn in it!"). I have had quite a few people tell me the same thing—many of whom I once called friends—and even a little girl who told me that at the restaurant I once worked at. Everyone else there was allowed to wear their crosses—some with disembodied figures on them, which is quite gruesome—so why couldn't I wear my pentagram or my goddess figures? The restaurant allowed me to, but customers were sometimes offended or told me that I was going to "hell." 

This whole judgmental, going-to-hell thing really irritates me. These are the same people who tell you to love your neighbor, that you shouldn't kill (I guess unless it's in a war, which most mainstream religions are famous for creating), and that you should be nice to your neighbors. I once asked a friend if all of the native tribes in the Americas went to hell even if they hadn't heard the "good word," and she gave me an emphatic yes.

Look, can we just respect each other's religions? I know I'm hard on Christians in general and I shouldn't be, so how about if I promise to practice a bit of tolerance if you do? I was raised a Baptist. I know some things about the Bible; some I agree with, some I do not. Why can't everyone try and do a bit of research, too, before spouting of lies and making assumptions? I really don't know much about Judaism at all, and I'm not about to say that the Star of David is a devil sign! So why make the same assumptions with Wiccans? Can't we just accept one another as creatures of Divinity, all connected—or not, whatever your beliefs are—but just practice a bit of respect? While we're at it, how about a bit of separation of church and state, too?