When I was seventeen, I became a Pagan. At first a Wiccan, but by the time I was in college I'd drifted towards Druidism. Druidism, being more specifically polytheistic and Celtic, appealed to me more. And eventually I joined ADF, and have become pretty well known in both Pagan and online Celtic academic circles because of my website (which, btw, was started via help from Apatrix, and inspired by some old nodes of mine).

All this time, however, I kept this secret from my ultra-Catholic mother, who had sent me to Catholic school. Yes, the plaid skirts and white blouses and all your misplaced sexual fantasies. If she were to know, I knew I'd never have a moment's peace.

Fastforward to when I'm twenty-five. I'm unofficially living with my boyfriend (now husband), and we decide to make it official by getting a place together, since his mom was selling the house, and he was on the verge of homelessness.

"Oh god, how the hell am I gonna do this?" I thought. My mom? Speak to me after living in sin? I didn't know if it was a blessing or curse.

So, one Friday morning in December, I called my mom to tell her our plan--that he and I would find an apartment together in Philly. And yeah, she was livid--not that she could do anything about it. I'd moved out when I was twenty-two, and have held down full-time jobs since college. But it strained our relationship even further.

Marriage, of course, was the pink elephant in the room. I said yes, I did think we'd eventually get married. And she said,

"No Pagan weddings."

"Um... what?"

"You heard me. If you get married, it has to be in a house of God. I don't want any of this pagan crap."


"Anne told me."


"Please don't kill her."

"I'll try."

And so, I couldn't hide my Paganism anymore. Well, that it had been secret for seven years or so is impressive, I guess--and she still doesn't know I'm bi.

And so, Dennis and I took to living in glorious sin. And an overstuffed apartment with boxes everywhere. My mom, trying to get on better terms with me, offered to help me organize the apartment. "Sure," I said--I needed the help, so why not?

Box after box, most of it Den's stuff, things of his late father's, old art projects, and one religious curiosity.

A crucifix.

Den, you see, was a lapsed Catholic who at one time was engaged to a Jewish lesbian who became a heterosexual born-again Christian. And so he flirted with religion off and on, before settling for agnosticism, and was happy to have a Druid girlfriend.

My mother picked up the crucifix. "What's this?"

"A crucifix."

"What do you want me to do with it?"

"I don't know--put it in Den's pile. It's his."

She paused. Said nothing. And then,

"I don't want you using this in your rituals."


"I don't want you using this."

"Mom... Mom, that's ridiculous."

"I know what you do."

"Yeah, I go out in the woods and dig nature. Just put the crucifix with Dennis's stuff."

And since then, my mother has been plaguing me with offers to visit her church, join her choir (which I briefly did for a free trip to Europe), talk to her priests. I can't do it, and she can't stop.

And meanwhile? My mother would rather believe I'm Satanic than just a different religion.