|Hindsight is 20/20|
Broken window in an abandoned shack outside West End, NC
Last week while I was in the hospital having Little Bitty Baby I didn't get to birth at home, Superman just couldn't come to terms with the plan I had the chance to discuss Paganism with two of the nurses. Living in a rural area with very little outside influence, neither of them really knew what a Pagan was beyond "not a Christian."
The first to ask was "K" the sweet nurse assigned to my care. She had seen the listing under my religious preference and about mid morning just had to ask,
"What is a Pagan?" Having a strong community of Native Sioux in the area I responded,
"Paganism is a nature faith similar to the Native beliefs and is based on a reverence and oneness with the Nature." Very basic and simplistic, but I didn't want to overwhelm her. When she appeared to understand, I went on to tell her a little about my belief in The Power or Universal Energy and the inner connectedness of all that is in the Universe. All of which she related to the faith of a Scientologist family member note to self, look up what Scientologists believe.
"Don't you worship multiple gods and goddesses?"
"Some Pagan's do," I responded. "I am Pantheistic, meaning I worship no deities. To me, deities are a way to break down the different aspects of The Power into more relatable units or personalities. I reverence The Power as a whole."
To tell the truth, I was pretty proud of the conversation. I held my end and didn't flub around for answers too much. Later we talked about auras and how science can now see the electric and magnetic energy the body emits.
The following day when I returned for Little Bitty Baby's weight/ bilirubin check I convinced the doctors to let us go home the same day I gave birth I had a second, less successful conversation with "D". Apparently the listing of "Pagan" on my chart had led to quite a bit of discussion among the nurses and "K" had done some explaining on my behalf, but "D" still had some questions. After reiterating what "K" had told her, "D" asked,
"What does Pagan mean?"
"Really, Pagan is the umbrella term for all European based Nature faiths. The word pagan itself really just means rural. It was the country people of Europe who held on to their ancient beliefs the longest during the spread of Christianity." It was an answer straight from a witch's textbook, but she still looked confused so I continued. "Druidery and Wicca are both forms of Paganism."
At the mention of Wicca, the light went on.
"Oh, I use to work with a Wiccan. She was strange, she even did magic." Uh-oh, this is definitely not the time to announce that I'm a witch. I pulled a quick answer out of my hat.
"Witchcraft is a part of Paganism, but not all Pagans are witches." She seemed satisfied with the answer and the conversation moved in a more neutral direction-the baby, but on my way home I couldn't help but start rewriting the script.
What I wish I had told her was this.
"Magic and witchcraft really isn't anything like what you see in movies and on TV. You know how Oprah talks about releasing intent into the Universe to make positive changes in your life? That is the basics of spell casting: using your own energy to communicate with the Universe about what you would like to see happen."
I imagine she would have looked quite shocked and I would have finished up with,
"Anybody can cast a spell, but not all spells are successful. You've probably cast a few yourself with out even realizing it."
How comfortable are you about explaining your beliefs to others? Do you sail right on through or flub along as I do?