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Stand Your Ground: Teen Pagans and Pressure

Author: CerrayaSlaughterHouse
Posted: July 18th. 2010
Times Viewed: 4,207

My eyes did not flutter open until around 9:45a.m. on Sunday. Always on Sunday, the first thing on my mind is the updated homepage articles on Witchvox. It seems that Sunday is a reserved day for all religions. It just happens that the first ritual of my day is reading new pagan articles. I'm always inspired after getting off of Witchvox. Ideas pop into my mind all throughout the day for new articles to post. As I was feeding my hamster, I remembered last Samhain. Now you might ask why I'd bring up Samhain at the time of summer. It just so happens I learned a lesson around that time I still abide by.

It was only a week before Samhain, which was to take place on a Saturday. I prepared for my usual Saturday class I helped instruct, and for my meeting. When class was over and our meeting began, I sat down with the other instructors waiting. I fixed my leg earners and was proceeding as usual: filling out papers and opening my notebook to take notes. This was when our boss *Ann began to fill us in on the upcoming Halloween party for the studio.

Immediately she immersed us in her vision for that night, where everything was to be set up, et cetera. The problem was the time this yearly celebration was set for. I already had set plans with a large group of friends and could not make it. Especially being Halloween I thought all would understand if a teenager had plans that would conflict.

I did not like having to let my work down, but it was a voluntary activity they had said. I was a very dedicated worker and although I love them, how can anyone expect a pagan to be present at a work function on a Sabbat when they also already have plans? Though they were unaware of my religion, they would not expect any of us present on say, Christmas, correct? I believe Halloween/Samhain, no matter your plans for that night, is just as worthy having a position as a holiday as any other. It's always been a holiday in my book, pre-Pagan life of mine and now.

What really got me were my boss's and even co-workers disappointment and expectation. Being a dedicated worker should not make any of you (teen or adult) feel obligated to take part in voluntary events whether you have plans or not, on a holiday/Sabbat. Now being a teen, adults might (not all of them!) Look at this as me being selfish so I could have time with friends. It's not; I spent religious and secular type Halloween time that night. No part of me or anyone else is obligated to do something unwillingly.

Back to the meeting room...*Ann began to go around the table of us instructors and asking expectantly what game/event/responsibility they'd take; just automatically assuming we'd be at this event. When she got to me I simply told her I had plans and would not be here. Like I stated in the beginning of this paragraph, she was disappointed.

I knew they needed help Halloween night, but I also owed a bigger loyalty to my religion, friends, and myself, I do help my work a lot. A sabbat like Samhain is to be set aside for just that, no exception. They had attempted persuasion by telling me to bring my friends and family, neighbors even. But I just honestly did not want to work on a sabbat like Samhain whether I had plans or not. Others, I knew, didn't look forward to leading small children's games all night, but I knew they felt pressured to do so.

Now of course every teenager and adult has been pressured, pagan or not. It might be to (like myself) work more hours or volunteer more, buy the latest Droid phone like your friends, or have parties, but how do you say no? Well with my example with work, you don't need to give them your reasons, especially if you wish to keep your religious preference away from work. You needn't tell them your reason that you are actually going to your best friend's birthday party, if you wish to avoid your professional level being questioned.

I am not saying to lie to anyone, but when you must inform him or her of an absence in the near future, I believe its better to say, "I will be gone on this day due to important prior plans." Or just say you'll be gone. Why go in-depth? It keeps them from pressuring to skip those important events, which aren't all the time may I add.

Now a lot of people would most likely understand and respect the importance of an absence due to a religious occurrence, but what if they knew it was a pagan one? Not all jobs or friends or families would discriminate, but because of society's larger view on modern day Paganism, we're sometimes afraid of judgment from people in work, school, even our own friends and family. I'm not trying to play the victim or loading card here.

But we must face it, most jobs, if told to them, would accept it more if you took off for Easter than if you took off for Ostara. This is not true everywhere, but we know that it is the case some places. True that Paganism is coming more and more into this society, also true that it’s sometimes laughed at and probably lost people jobs.

I have what I like to call Pagan Pressure. It has two sides, the pressure to not stand up for your religion because of fear (for losing a job, friends, etc. Cetera) and the second side- the pressure to stand their ground and keep themselves and the community in mind. This can apply to any religion. Now, the two sides are completely opposite, but if you pay attention, both happen all the time, at the same time. I chose the second option.

I truly hope that this helps someone, anyone out there, realize, the next time you feel pressured (especially as a teen) to do something, whether it conflicts with sabbats, esbats, or anything, to stand your ground. Wear your pentacles/pentagrams or whatnot proudly. Know that you owe it to yourself to stand up and be firm. Whether anyone knows your reasons or not, don't give in to the pressure. It can seem sometimes that we should be expected to do something because an authority figure would prefer us to, or our work, or what not. But we all have our free will, and priorities. Even for some adults, don't let others push you into obligation. Free will and priorities.

Stand your ground.

Blessed be.:)

*Ann is not her real name. For protection of the individual.
-in memory of my hamster Pippa who passed away a short while ago.2007-2010.



Location: mesa, Arizona

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