Integration

I’ve been thinking about this post from Teo Bishop, another ADF Dedicant  I’m enjoying getting to know and whose thoughtful questions often spark some self-reflection for me. Te0’s question is this:

How do you integrate your spiritual practice into your ordinary life? What tips could you give someone who is struggling with this challenge?

I want add another layer to this question: How do you integrate your spiritual life with your ordinary life? Or, even further, do you integrate your spiritual life into your ordinary life?

Some pagans still seem to fear social and professional judgment or retribution  for their religious beliefs, even maintaining a “double life” to prevent that from happening. In Drawing Down the Moon, Margot Adler dedicates an entire chapter to “Paganism and Prejudice” and discusses the plight of those pagans whose suffer when their “coming out” results in a negative or even violent reaction from their neighbors. Adler mentions that the word pagan itself was a “derogatory term” in third-century Rome, and even today the word has connotations of “occult” or just “cult” rites. (I’m thinking of X-Files, in which local-yokels typically assume some horrible murder was committed by a pagan cult, and Scully always has to say, “Well, remember, most Satanic sacrifices are actually urban legend…” Okay, that’s not exactly what she says, but the fact that the show’s writers felt the need to include that point speaks volumes about popular misconceptions.)

This is an issue that has been over-hashed, I’m sure, in the larger pagan community, but I’m starting to deal with these questions on a personal level. I’m self-employed, so I have no fear of professional retribution, and I’m pretty sure my landlady smokes pot alone in her house at least once a week, so she’s not really one to judge.

But I haven’t told my parents about my choice to pursue druidism as my spiritual path.

I’m not sure why. I’m an adult: I can make my own choices now. My parents are not religious, so that won’t be an issue.  They can be a little judgmental, though, and I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with that. I’m still answering my own spiritual questions… do I have to start answering someone else’s? To put it that way sounds selfish, but it is a personal journey, after all.

This also leads me to ask, Why is it often more socially acceptable to believe nothing rather than something? But that’s another whole (and probably quite long) blog post.

Anyway, I’m not sure what exactly I’m asking with this post. Maybe I’m just exploring my concerns in a more public forum. But… is finding the courage to speak out about your beliefs part of the spiritual journey? Or am I just being cowardly?