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Explain to Your Parents Wicca and Basic Skills to Learn in Wicca

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two articles from about.com talking about telling your parents you've converted [or wish to] and what you should learn if they say yes or no.

If you?re underage, then whether you like it or not your parents are responsible for you, and ultimately get to make decisions for you. If you?ve decided to convert to Wicca or Paganism, you need to have a serious heart-to-heart conversation with your parents. They either (a) won?t know what you?re talking about (b) are going to be really opposed to it because of their own religious doctrine, or (c) are willing to let you explore your own paths as long as you do so in an informed and intelligent manner.

If mom and dad have no idea what Wicca or Paganism is, it might not be a bad idea to educate them. To do that, you?ll need to figure out first what it is you actually believe ? because if you don?t know, how can you share it other people? Make a list of the things you believe in, so you can share it with them. This may include your thoughts on reincarnation, sin, your personal interpretation of the Harm None guideline or the Rule of Three, or ideas on how Wicca or Paganism can empower you and make you grow as a human being. If you can sit down and have a mature and rational discussion with them ? and that means no throwing stuff and shouting ?YOU JUST DON?T UNDERSTAND!!? ? then you may have a better chance of convincing them that it?s okay.

Remember, they are concerned for your safety, and so it?s important that you answer their questions truthfully. There?s a great book called "When Someone You Love Is Wiccan", which I would recommend sharing with your parents or other family members who might have questions.

In some cases, parents may strongly object to their child?s practicing Wicca or Paganism. This is usually because of the teachings of their religious beliefs ? and as parents, that is their right. They are entitled to tell their child that he or she is not allowed to practice Wicca, belong to a coven, or even own books about the subject. If this is the case in your family, there are a number of things you can do.

First of all, don?t lie. No spiritual path can get off to a good start if it begins with deception. Secondly, you can learn and study non-Wiccan subjects while you live in your parents? home. Mythology, history, herb and plant lore, astronomy, even the religion your parents follow ? all of these are things that will come in handy later on. Save your Pagan books for when you?re an adult and have moved into your own home. Wicca will still be there after you turn eighteen, so as long as you?re living under mom and dad?s roof, respect their wishes.

Finally, you might be fortunate enough to have parents who will allow you to practice Wicca or a Pagan path with their blessing, as long you make an informed and educated decision. In these cases, you may have parents who are Pagan themselves, or they may understand that spirituality is a very personal choice. Whatever their reasons, be thankful that they care, and share information with them at every opportunity. They will want to know you are safe, so be honest and open with them.

Even if they allow you to become Wiccan or Pagan, your parents may still have rules they expect you to follow, and that?s okay too. Perhaps they don?t mind you doing magic, but they don?t want you burning candles in your room. That?s fine ? find an acceptable substitute for candles. Maybe they?re okay with you learning about Wicca, but they?re concerned about you joining a coven while you?re still underage. That?s a legitimate worry. No sneaking out to meet with the local coven! Find ways to study and learn on your own, and when you?re an adult you can find a group then. Another option might be to form a study group of some sort with other people your own age, if your parents don?t object.

Remember, the key here is honesty and integrity. You may not like your parents? rules, but you do have to follow them. Lying will get you nowhere, and will present Wicca and Paganism in a negative light. Remember it?s their job as parents to be worried about you. It?s your job as the child to be respectful and honest with them.

IF THEY STILL SAY NO:

You finally sat down and had The Big Talk with your parents and they still won't let you practice Wicca in their house. It's not fair, you might just hate them for a few minutes, and they're the meanest parents ever. Take heart - there's a positive side to this. If you can't practice Wicca while you live under their roof, that means you'll have all kinds of free time to do other stuff. And that other stuff can be just as educational to a future Pagan or Wiccan hopeful.

Learn About Plants

Yes, I'm serious. Plants. Pick up a book on your local floral and fauna, spend time in the woods, grow a selection of herbs, or a flower or vegetable garden. Take a class on horticulture at your local college extension, if it's available. Volunteer at a local metro park or nature center. Study up on the Doctrine of Signatures so that by the time you're out on your own, you'll know exactly why herbs work the way they do.

Study History

Sure, they make you take an entire year to learn about a bunch of dead white guys, but there's more to history than that. If you are interested in Roman gods, for example, pick up the writings of Julius Caesar or Ptolemy. If Celtic history is more your flavor, grab a copy of Ronald Hutton's The Druids or Peter Beresford Ellis' books on the Celts. Choose the history you want to learn about, and learn it. Later on, when you begin practicing, you'll understand rituals a lot better if you can imagine them in a historical context.

Get Cooking

If you can learn to follow a recipe, you can learn to follow spell and ritual instructions. Not only that, Pagans will have a potluck at the drop of a hat, and you don't want to be showing up with a box of Chips Ahoy when your coven sisters have all spent hours making casseroles, trust me. If you don't know your way around your home's kitchen, now's the time to learn. Ask a parent or older sib to teach you -- they'll be impressed that you're taking some initiative, and it will give you some family bonding time. If no one's available to teach you, get a cookbook -- there are hundreds aimed at the beginning cook. Figure out a couple of dishes you're good at, and practice them until you're amazing.

Volunteer

Some high schools require their students to do a certain amount of community service, and if you go to one of them, then you're a step ahead. Be assured that most covens expect their members to be useful members of the community as well. Spend a few hours each week volunteering at your local library shelving books, or at the animal shelter scooping up. The adults will be impressed with your good attitude, and you'll gain something from the experience as well -- the ability to do things for others with no expectation of payment.

Study Your Parents' Religion

Okay, I know it sounds silly, why would you want to study Christianity/Judaism/Islam/Scientology/Whatever as a precursor to studying Wicca? Well, because believe it or not, a lot of times there's a lot more there than you've really paid attention to. If you've grown up in a certain faith, you probably take it for granted. Stop doing that, and take some time to really ask questions. Go in depth, and figure out what it is you disagree with or agree with. You may find that the religion you've been brought up in isn't so bad after all, even if it's not the right one for you, and you'll certainly gain a better understanding of where your mom and dad are coming from. Learn about other religions too.

Look At The Stars

Seriously -- if your city has a planetarium nearby, go there. For the ancients, so much of what they knew was determined by tracking the movement of the stars in the heavens. Learn about the constellations, the movement of the planets, all the things that go on thousands of light years away. It will come in useful later on, particularly if you develop an interest in astrology.

Get Healthy

Part of a well-balanced life includes taking care of yourself not only spiritually but physically. Exercise, even if it's just going for a walk on your lunch period at school. Take a yoga class, or meditate daily. Eat a balanced diet -- a lot of high school kids have to eat lunch at 9:30 in the morning due to overcrowding issues, so make sure that around noon you have a healthy snack, like an apple or a granola bar. Add whole grains into your diet, cut back on sugars and empty calories. You can tie this into your new cooking lessons too -- learn to prepare healthy meals for your entire family.

Trace Your Roots

Think you might be interested in Norse religion because your family's Scandinavian? Great -- start learning about your ancestors. Figure out who they were, where they came from, what they did, etc. There are a ton of great genealogy resources on the web to get you started, and this is a project you can share with your whole family. It's inherently satisfying to look at a huge list of names (I have over 9,000 people in my own database) and say, "I share blood with these people."

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