Family Gatherings: How to Cope


…here’s my question.  This Thanksgiving I’ll be required to spend the holiday in the company of conservative Catholic and “born again” in-iaws who are very “in-your-face” with their views.  Is there a prayer or meditation I can do to remain sane and calm in this situation?  Also, is there even a spell to keep them at bay? I’d appreciate any help you could offer.

It’s hard when you have to spend time with people who aren’t as tolerant or respectful of others, particularly at the holidays. Rather than anything magical, my personal tried and true method for dealing with such people, especially when I know it’s not worth engaging them in any sort of discussion about the issue, is to just smile and nod, and then try to steer the conversation to another topic if possible.

It depends to on exactly what sort of things they are saying, but in cases where someone is continually offering prayer or blessings – a simple “thank you” works well. Remember that even if it’s not your faith, the fact that someone cares enough about you to petition their higher power on your behalf should mean something. I realize this is really awkward too, if it’s unwanted and, for some people, it really is a huge issue for them (having unwanted Gods “blessing” them), but sometimes, unless we are willing to make a big deal out of it, it’s easier to just take the words as a sign that they care and let it go. It’s important to note too, that sometimes, people don’t actually realize that they are doing these things. Their religion is such a huge part of their lives that a lot of what they say is simply ingrained habit and not done as a conscious effort to annoy others.

For the more condescending stuff or holier than thou type people, avoiding them as much as possible may be the best option. Of course this may not work if it’s a small gathering, but again, actively looking for ways to change the subject can help. If necessary, spend a little bit of time before the gathering to look up some neutral topics and keep them in reserve for when things get really bad.

In terms of mantras, really anything that is comforting should be fine. It’s hard to give something concrete without knowing more about your practice and beliefs, but would suggest just using a simple “God/Goddess give me strength.” (feel free to state a specific God or Goddess if there is one that you have a relationship with or work with frequently). Alternatively, or in addition to that, you can visualize a shield surrounding yourself which absorbs or reflects unwanted and/or negative comments.

Spellwork is a bit trickier. If you are going to their house or the house of someone who you know would not appreciate you using witchcraft, then I highly suggest avoiding doing anything magical in their house or even directed specifically at them. Obviously, they are being disrespectful to you (and possibly others), but being disrespectful back won’t necessarily make the situation any better. (this of course will depend too on how you feel about performing magic on others without their permission – some don’t do this, others have no issues with it, and for others it’s a mix of the two)

If the gathering is at your house, you could do something directed at having a peaceful day. For something super simple, I’d start by cleansing the area and “sweeping” (visually or actually physically sweeping the house as you go) the house of negative energy. Then visualize the house shielded (similar to personal shielding) from negativity. Alternatively, you can also create a spell directed at yourself for helping to maintain calmness in stressful situations. For something more extensive you can use/modify the following, and particularly if you don’t have a lot of extra time, just visualizing the desired intentions into any food that is made can help make a difference.

PART ONE

Items Needed:

– food item (ideally oil or seasonings or something that you know everyone will eat or that can be mixed into a larger dish) that will be used in the upcoming meal
– container to hold the item

Spell:

– Cast your circle/create sacred space, etc… (or however you normally do your spellwork).
– Take a moment to ground and center yourself.
– When you are ready… place both hands around the container, visualize peace and harmony (or whatever other intentions you want to promote) spreading from you into the food item within. Visualize it permeating the item and visualize those feelings transferring to anyone who consumes it. At the same time, see any negativity being blocked.
– Chant (silently or aloud) three times:

Only peace and harmony will be found
As strife and discord this day are bound
We gather today – joy in our heart
This food we consume must play its part.

– take a few extra moments to continue charging the food with positive energy, then, if you have no other ritual activities, you can banish your circle/end the ritual. Be sure to thank any deities (if called upon) for their assistance.

PART TWO

Items Needed:

– Your blessed food item
– Ingredients for the meal you will be cooking (your choice – as long as the food item you used in the previous step can be mixed in)

Cooking:

– If you are cooking before you guests arrive, you may cast a quick circle around your kitchen area (if you feel called to do so). Sacred Space is always nice and adds to the specialness of the meal. Obviously if you will have other people running in and out of the kitchen (or you are going to be going in and out), then this can be skipped.

– Cook your meal with the food item. Visualize as you mix/prepare it, that the dish is taking on the blessings that you have charged the food item with. See the peace and harmony permeating your meal, see everyone gathered together having a good time.

Serving:

– When serving your meal, take a moment to give thanks for those who are gathered and offer blessings, as appropriate to help continue the positive intentions of the spellwork.

_____________

Hopefully, there is something in here that you find helpful. Here’s wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.

🙂

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Dealing With Being Shunned/Disrespected


Hello. I find myself in a number of a tough spots concerning my spirituality.

I am a male eclectic who tends to consult the female divine before the male, with an emphasis on the Norse gods of my ancestors, though I also worship Lilith.

But this has created a number of problems for me, as I live in a strongly christian family and community.

My worship of Lilith has led to me being likened to a virtual satanist by members of my parent’s church, and I am often ignored completely by those people, even when I volunteer my time and effort to help them set up sound or computer equipment as an act of good will. Nobody speaks to me unless they have no other choice, yet when I was a christian, they were the nicest possible people to me.

My parents are a little better, but they still repeatedly try to convert me to Christianity by trying to guilt me, or worse yet by calling the stories of my Norse ancestors, which I cherish as much as any christian cherishes the word of Christ, “fictional tales”, which I find deeply insulting on a number of levels. I love the gods and stories of my ancestors, and I wish that my parents could respect that, if only when I was around, at the very least.

It’s sad, because I feel I should be able to speak to my own parents about spiritual matters without facing constant ridicule.

Despite my friends who are all supportive of my path, I feel very alone, and I would like to know how I might approach these situations in a manner that is kinder and more respectful than how I have been treated so far.

Not sure how old you are, and if you are still living at home then I’ll speak to that as well a bit later on, however if you’ve tried being nice and/or the “smile and nod” approach whenever they start denigrating your beliefs, then it’s probably time to be more forceful about it all. Make it very clear that if they can’t respect you and your beliefs, that they need to either keep it to themselves, or if they can’t manage that, then (if you feel strongly enough about it) you need to tell them that you want nothing to do with them – at least until they can stop being rude and disrespectful to you. It may seem harsh, but if you don’t – they will likely keep harping at you over it. It’s understandable, as in their minds they are attempting to save you from “Hell”, so on the one hand, we should (in some small way) appreciate their concern. Of course on the other, we aren’t in need of that “saving”, so it’s annoying at the very least, and at worst abusive and hurtful.

The flip side, would be to continue trying to educate them, so that they can understand that you aren’t a Satanist (or that even if you were – that’s not a bad thing). I would also maybe make it clear as well, that there is very little difference between the Bible, and something like the Eddas and other Sagas – in terms of provable facts (certain things may have basis in history, but on the whole, not so much). So if they feel that your sacred texts, are just a bunch of stories, turn the tables on them, and see how they like it. If they complain that you are being disrespectful to them, or about their beliefs – mention that they’ve been doing the same to you, and if they don’t like how it feels, then at least now they know how you’ve been feeling. Hopefully they will get the point and stop.

Of course in the end they still may not stop, and unfortunately there’s just not much that can be done about it, other than to (as I mentioned previously) limit contact. Personally if I was helping out at a church, and they were being rude or disrespectful to me, I’d stop volunteering my time there. There’s no need to put up with that sort of thing. It’s probably worth mentioning as well though, that this is one of the unfortunate pitfalls of being open about our beliefs. So once we’ve made that choice to tell others, then we have to accept that it’s probably going to be a bumpy ride – at least for a while.

If you are still living at home, or are underage, things are a bit more tricky. The key is to be really calm and respectful about it – since it’s their house… their rules, however I would explain to them how the way they’ve been treating you makes you feel, and that you would appreciate it if they would please stop. If they are not open at all to being understanding of your situation, you may seriously need to consider going back into the “broom closet”. There is a point where it’s not worth it to be open, and if it’s negatively impacting your life, then that may be the best option. It’s definitely not fair to us (I’ve had to do it before), but if it makes things a bit more manageable, then it’s something to think about. This doesn’t mean you have to turn around and pretend to embrace their beliefs either – we definitely do not advocate lying to one’s parents, but if you remove any outward signs of your beliefs/practices, then whatever assumptions they want to make are up to them.