Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
Dec. 4 2003 11:54 AM

Witch Way

How do I tell my family I'm a Wiccan?

9_dearprudence_01

Get "Dear Prudence" delivered to your inbox each week; click here to sign up. Please send your questions for publication to prudence@slate.com. (Questions may be edited.)





Dear Prudie,

For more than a decade, I have been involved in my city's pagan community (Wicca to be precise). My husband is also Wiccan. I'm not some 20-year-old flake rebelling against her parents. I am educated, intelligent, and articulate, and I came to Wicca in my 30s, spending these past years soul-searching and learning. After advice and support from my husband, my teachers, and members within the community, I have decided to leave behind my 15 years in the corporate rat race to begin spiritual mentoring and teaching, full time. My dilemma is this: Virtually everyone—except my business contacts, my parents, and sister—knows that I am a devoted pagan. Believe me, coming out of the "broom closet" is a one-way trip. I have never hidden the fact that I'm Wiccan, but I have also never advertised it. I'm worried about my parents' and sister's ability to cope with what they will see as a very sudden and "weird" change in my life. How do I tell them about my religious practices and my choice to go "public" without them trying to have me committed and deprogrammed? Seriously, can you help me?

—Bewitched

Dear Be,

Perhaps you shouldn't have "saved up" your religious conversion news for a decade, but since you did, your best bet is a sit-down with your folks and your sister. If Prudie were in your broom closet, er, shoes, she would explain that believing your selection of religions would strike them as weird, you spared them the information. Being a practicing Wiccan for all these years, however, you can tell them that you wanted them to know at a time when they would no longer think it a hasty decision. Be prepared, however, for some resistance to what is still a misunderstood and minority religious practice. Chances are that people who know nothing of Wiccan culture imagine it's about pointy hats and cauldrons. Good luck.

Advertisement

—Prudie, enchantingly

Dear Prudence,

I have a dilemma. My aunt (my mother's sister) has been a source of conflict in my family for many years. Over the past few years, I have noticed that my aunt has been very close with my father (his sister-in-law). She will call when my mother is not home and talk to him and cry on his shoulder. My mother seems to ignore this behavior. The other night, when my mother is usually bowling, my aunt called, and when my mom answered the phone, her sister proceeded to say, "What are you doing there?" My mother's response was, "I live here." I do not believe that my father would cheat on my mother, but he is very defensive about my aunt's behavior, and it is very suspicious to me. I have thought about spying on Tuesday nights and seeing if they are together. What should I do?

—Concerned Son

Dear Con,

For a start, skip the James Bond Tuesday nights. You are not a P.I. What you are is a kid who's perhaps witnessing something most uncomfortable for a kid. While you could very well be right about your aunt's intentions—or even that something might be going on—you have no standing in this situation. What you might do is go to your dad and tell him you think your aunt is trying to get something going with him and it's making you nervous. He may tell you to M.Y.O.B., but he will get the message that perhaps what he thinks is hidden is actually quite visible. Prudie would be interested in the nature of the "conflict" this aunt has caused in the family for years. And your mother, by the way, has Prudie's admiration for her wonderful answer to "What are you doing there?"

—Prudie, cautiously

Dear Prudie,

I am a 17-year-old senior in high school. I'm told I'm attractive, and I get much attention from boys my own age, but I'm usually not interested in them. Here is where my problem comes in: I think I'm falling for my music teacher. He is 23, straight out of college. He's not the best-looking guy around, but his personality is what captivated me. I know you're probably thinking this is a normal school-girl crush where I daydream about him taking me into his arms in the middle of class, but it's nothing like that. I honestly feel we could have a functional relationship. Even my friends say they notice him treating me specially or even (dare I say) flirting with me, which gives me hope. I'm thinking of opening the subject with him on my graduation day. Am I being crazy and hopeful where there is obviously nothing to be hopeful about?

—Young and Restless

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 23 2014 6:00 AM Naked and Afraid Prudie offers advice on whether a young boy should sleep in the same room with his nude grandfather.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.