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Ideal Wiccan Household
The ideal Wiccan household involves freedom to practice your religion, and a deep connection with nature. Freedom means physical safety and privacy. You have a roof over your head and a door to lock against anyone who might harass you. You live alone or with other Wiccans and can practice ritual without feeling self-conscious. Nature means that you can get outside and connect with the passing seasons. If you own your own place, you already have freedom, and you can probably arrange a connection with nature. Everyone else must cope and compromise on these two issues. Consider the following two extremes between which most of us Wiccans fall.
Best case scenario: An adult Wiccan lives in a private rural setting. She has so much land that she can build shrines throughout her property Ė such as at a pond or stream into which to throw offerings as our ancestors did. Since she is paying the mortgage, she doesnít have to worry about a landlordís restrictions if she wants to light a bonfire for Beltane. Inside her house, she has enough space for an elaborate household altar and personal altars for each person in each bedroom. She gardens and raises pets (or livestock), and is closely in touch with the cycles of nature and the harvest.
With such a safe haven, she wonít have many problems that relate to being Wiccan in a non-Wiccan world. She probably has enough land and privacy to keep curious neighbors at bay. However, if she has children, there is no guarantee that they will want to be Wiccan once they are old enough to choose. Therefore, she may have to walk a fine line between keeping harmony within the household and giving the kids space to find themselves.
Worst case scenario: An underage Wiccan lives with adults who are hostile toward Wicca, and she must conform to avoid attracting negative attention. Depending upon how strict her parents are, she might not even be able to wear a pentacle discreetly on a chain under her shirt. What can she do? If she is only twelve or thirteen, it is going to seem like an eternity before she turns eighteen and can move out.
I would never advise an underage Wiccan to deceive her parents. To do so would confirm their suspicions that Wiccans are not to be trusted. It is her parentsí household and they are the ones sacrificing days of their lives on the job to pay the mortgage. As long as she lives in her parentsí house for free, she must abide by their rules, especially if she hopes someday to have them recognize her as an adult and respect her religious choices. She can study Wiccan books at the library or at a friendís house, but should not sneak anything into her parentsí house that they have banned.
While getting through school and looking forward to becoming a legal adult, she can engage in nonthreatening practices that will someday strengthen her Wiccan skills such as meditation, visualization, gardening, and even crafts and cooking. If she has the inner strength, maturity, and focus to compromise with her parents, work toward her goals, and wait until she is old enough to dive into a full-fledged Wiccan life, she will greatly lessen her parentsí fears while earning their respect. This might persuade them to listen as she explains about Wicca and answers their questions. Hopefully, as they trust her more, they might allow her more religious freedom before she turns eighteen.
(In an absolute worst case scenario, such as when an underage Wiccan is homeless or living with completely unreasonable parents, her best recourse is to concentrate on surviving, staying in school, and learning marketable skills so that she can support herself the instant she comes of age. Her Wiccan studies can start as soon as she has secured physical safety for herself.)
Meanwhile, the rest of us Wiccans live in households that fall somewhere between those two extremes, and we must work within our means and surroundings. If we need contact with nature, we can always have a few potted plants on the balcony and a cat, and we can go for walks in the park. The privacy / religious freedom situation can be somewhat more difficult to fulfill. Here are some temporary suggestions while you work for something better.
If you live with non-Wiccans, you can hike into the wilderness for private rituals, or observe sabbats during hours when everybody else is asleep. You can do ritual only at coven meets at a safe place provided by others. If you have no privacy in your dorm room, keep your ritual tools and portable altar locked in a suitcase under the bed. If you have no privacy at all, reduce your Wiccan talismans to only those things small enough to fit into pouch in your pocket similar to the Native American medicine bag. If even that would invite awkward questions, carry a pentacle and a photo of a nature scene in your wallet to bring out for meditation during private moments. Even a temporary situation like this is not an obstacle to your faith so long as you remain Wiccan in your thoughts and conduct.
Content copyright © 2013 by Ro Longstreet. All rights reserved.
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