When it comes to dating, disclosing the particular religion or spirituality you happen to follow would seem to be relatively unimportant. In the overall grand scheme of things, it would seem that having a basic connection is more important, and there are plenty of different topics to discuss before even thinking about bringing up the subject. After all, how often do religious views come into play during the first three dates? The first five?
If I had to make a general estimate, I would say that they don’t. Unless you make it a deciding criterion in finding someone, such issues are not as important. This seems even truer when you look at the LGBT or queer community. There is a general assumption that we all tend to either follow a spiritual path, or something other than Christianity, as most of us are probably too scarred from earlier experiences with ostracism and bullying, or we’re still battling inner demons of guilt or inadequacy.
But the question still stands. When dating someone, when do you reveal your religious or spiritual leanings? For the most part, many online dating and other social sites take the guesswork out, letting you fill that information in from the get-go. This system generally has two manifestations, with either (a) choosing Wicca or (b) choosing the more generic “Spiritual.” But each of these two issues can present new predicaments.
With the first point, it doesn’t seem too major, until you remember that in a spiritual movement that emphasizes the importance of forging a personal path, semantics can play a major role. While there are those who identify as Wiccan, there are just as many, if not more, that do not use that identifier. Perhaps they choose the term Witch, Pagan, Neopagan, Heathen; the list could, in fact, be almost inexhaustible.
When it comes to the term “Spiritual,” while it adheres to the idea of being politically correct, there is something almost troubling, not just about the generality, but also the attitudes and assumptions that seem to go along with it. For whatever reason, it seems that many people see the “Spiritual” label as a lack of focus or dedication. As Witches, Wiccans, Pagans, or whatever term we choose to identify by, we know that there could be nothing farther from the truth.
These, of course, are only the initial issues. After all, there is no guarantee that anyone actually will see this information, nor is it certain that we won’t decide to just leave it blank. If either of these is true, then there are some other issues that must be taken into consideration.
Dating opens up our personal space to another person. As Witches, our altars are an important part of that personal space. Many of us have semi-permanent altars, while some of us have adopted more temporary altars out of need for space or other considerations. In either case, there is the lingering question about what happens when your significant other just happens to walk in and see your altar. There are the obvious questions, then it becomes a battle against Hollywood fantasies and social stereotypes if you aren’t lucky.
Holidays are another issue. While some of the Sabbats are fortunate enough to line up with other mainstream interpretations, there are others that lack this synchronicity. The more long-term the relationship, the more likely, it would seem, that you would be questioned about why you disappear to “go camping” or “meet up” with “friends” that your significant other may have never met. Before too long, jealousy and suspicion are likely to kick in, and after that point, it’s liable to take more than a simple plea for space to alleviate those concerns.
Let’s say that you decide to introduce your significant other to members of your coven. And let’s suppose that while they are going along with this, they become aware of how involved you all are in one another’s lives. A new series of questions comes into play, as they worry about how much you’ve told your coven-mates about them, about your relationship. It may be viewed as a breach of trust.
One could say that there is a similar issue when it comes to your personal Book of Shadows. While the overall content depends upon your own tastes and predilections, some, if not most of us will also include personal musings, rantings even. Should a significant other happen to stumble across your Book of Shadows, one would hope that they are mature enough to keep from reading, but, as we are all human, there is as much likelihood that such will not be the case.
So much of dating is founded in uncertainty. After all, we cannot predict the other person’s behavior. At some point, we have to open up about things, whether we want to or not. Generally, we hope for the former. That seems to be easier to deal with, at least on a personal level. This is true for any number of issues, but in the interest of this article, it’s restricted to our identity as Witch or Pagan.
However it comes out, if the person reacts poorly, and decides that it’s a deal breaker, then I guess you know that they really weren’t the guy or girl for you. And when it comes to those people who avoid you because they see it on your profile, remember: it’s their loss, not yours. Those people have allowed that one label to become the entirety of who you are. And while we understand that our identity as Witch or Pagan informs the many aspects of our lives, we are also aware of the fact that we are ultimately so much more. There are some people out there willing to see the same as we do, regardless of their own identifiers. And then there’s always the possibility that we will find a nice Witch or Pagan to settle down with. There’s no definitive answer to the situation. You just can’t rule out any possibilities.