I am not exactly out to my parents. They know–don’t get me wrong–but we don’t exactly talk about it. They’ve encouraged me through my religious studies schooling and generously funded many of my crazier ventures to conferences and in pursuit of materials relevant to my projects. They even politely pretend to read my work sometimes, even when they think it’s weird or don’t understand how anyone could ever possibly get paid to do the things I do (“What does this have to do with religion?”). They’ve been to my house and have absolutely seen the runes chalked around the doors, the hundreds of occult books on my shelves (and floors), and the assortment of witchy oddities littering all available surfaces. My mother has noted to me more than once that my kitchen resembles an apothecary.
I have never told my parents than I am Wiccan, but they know. They know because they’re not blind and not stupid.
But we don’t talk about it. I think it’s probably just too uncomfortable for everyone. I’m the only one in our immediate family who really cares about religion (and I don’t even really know what that means anymore, thanks to too many religious studies classes), and we’re all-around just not real big sharers anyway. Feelings. Yuck.
But every now and then my mother surprises me. Yesterday, she sent me a link to a story from the Washington Post about England’s New Forest and said, “Isn’t this part of what you’re always going on about in school?” And I get overexcited and have to resist saying things like, “Yes! Oh, and I’m also a Priestess in the tradition that comes immediately out of this very area! I am a descendent of these people! And you wouldn’t believe all the work I’ve had to do in the last 15 years to be able to say that! Let me tell you why I hardly ever have free nights and weekends to visit! Because it’s not because of grad school!”
That just seems unwise. My mother knows all that she wants to, at this point, I think. I know she knows because she sends me all of the articles she finds in the local news on witches. She leaves me alone about my altars and suspicious habits and doesn’t ask about the bones on the kitchen counter or the runes on the windows.
And when, after reading this article, I told her, “I would kill to go there,” she responded by telling me that perhaps I wouldn’t have to kill anyone. “Maybe the next time you graduate from something,” she laughed. “Is there anything for me to do there while you’re hunting witches?”