Beliefnet
Project Conversion

Last night after the kids’ soccer game, a family friend walked up to me and said, “Oh wow! You look weird not looking weird! You know, with the turban and the knife…”

I suddenly felt self-conscious, as if I was out of Wiccan/Witch/Pagan uniform. Maybe everyone would feel better if I looked like this:

Yes! Because all Witches have green skin and a pointy hat!

 Wait, wait that’s not right. You’re a dude Witch. You can’t look like a girl one. Dang! I should look more like…

Yeah baby! Flying that Nimbus 3000 like I stole it!

Hopefully with my flying broom, my pointy hat (and nose), and a creepy disposition, I’ll better fit the Wiccan stereotype, because stereotypes make us all feel more comfortable. It makes me uneasy when a Muslim isn’t a terrorist or speaks the American vernacular because then I’m forced to assess him on his own terms. I’m also uncomfortable with a Pagan who doesn’t dress in all black or don flashy pentacle bling like a mid-90’s rapper.

It makes me uncomfortable when I can’t classify you…because regardless of what you believe, you don’t seem much different than me. I need to label you so that I know what to think of you before I get to know you.

That was me about a year ago. Screw that prick…

Now I’m not making fun of my friend, but what she said did inspire this thought. She and others actually look forward to how I look/act every month because it gives them a chance to learn. She also had no idea that I was wearing a pentacle necklace or that I had my Shiv lingam stone in my pocket (to channel/absorb extraneous energy).

Sometimes we act this closed-minded, don’t we? On the other hand, turn it around. Those of us who are usually classified and teased by others, aren’t we just as quick to stereotype someone who looks like they’ll judge us? In short, we are all guilty.

Never judge a book by its cover, because if you do, you’ll never know the wonderful story inside. The whole episode reminded me of the following Wiccan quote:

We are not dangerous. We are ordinary people like you.
We have families, jobs, hopes, and dreams. We are not a cult.
This religion is not a joke. We are not what you think we are from looking at T.V.
We are real. We laugh, we cry. We are serious. We have a sense of humor.
You don’t have to be afraid of us. We don’t want to convert you.
And please don’t try to convert us.
Just give us the same right we give you–to live in peace.
We are much more similar to you than you think.”
–Margot Adler, Wiccan priestess

We are much more similar than you think. This applies to everyone. In fact, I’d say it applies to everything. The mother hen cuddling her chicks, the dog nursing her pups, the male seahorse carrying his young (stay-at-home dad, anyone?)…the parallels are endless. If we treat every being as a wondrous story regardless of its cover, what a marvelous and enchanting world it would be.

It would be awesome to have a flying broom though. Just saying…

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