Out – Keeping it casual

Drake Spaeth, PsyD

The way that I came out as a Pagan did not involve choosing a particular time, place, persons, or persons. As strange it sounds, it never occurred to me to keep it secret. In 1991, I discovered that the ideas and values described in the book Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler applied to me, and that there was actually a name for what I was.  The attempt of my family and community to indoctrinate me in the Roman Catholic faith just never quite “took” for me the way it seemed to for friends and family.  I developed an elaborate fantasy life as a child revolving around myself as a a sort of druid figure working magic and rituals deep in the woods–and repeatedly saving the world through them!

DDTM gave me confidence that there were many others like me.  I started to open up to my parents about what I truly, deeply believed.  Ironically, it was only the actual word “Pagan” that gave them any problems. When my father died in 2005, he told me on his deathbed that he trusted my spiritual path and encouraged me to keep seeking earnestly for truth.  I think he believed that such efforts would inevitably lead me back to Jesus.  Still, his trust meant quite a lot to me.  My mother seems to struggle to hold onto a full understanding of what I am, and we still have many conversations abotu the nature of Paganism.

Outside of the family context, I simply started casually mentioning that fact that I was a Pagan
to colleagues, confident that if I ever suffered discrimination as a consequence of my religious beliefs that I had support and resources in the Pagan context to resolve the the situation. Those who have been curious as to the meaning of “Pagan” have invariably broached the question with me at some point.  Those insufficiently curious have clearly branded me as an eccentric and have not addressed the issue at all. Currently, I am employed at a professional school of psychology where three other faculty in addtion to myself are identifiably and openly Pagan. There was no “announcement” regarding my religion per se, though there has also never been any attempt to hide who I am.  I feel very fortunate!

Drake Spaeth

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