Halloween is this week.  The kids will be dressing up as ghouls and goblins, witches and monsters.  The world will be on a sugar high for the next week or so.  Mainstream America will be watching all the scary movies they can find and treating the paranormal as freakish. 

During a car ride with my mother, I was making conversation with her when she said she didn't like this time of year.  I said why not - thinking Fall is my favorite time of year and I adore the weather, the colors, the season.  She came out with "all the talk about witches and other bad things."  My immediate response in my head was - hey wait a minute.

My mother is 83 and a regular church goer.  With six of us, she has to put up with a lot of variety in beliefs.  Of my siblings, there are those who are like my mom and go to church but there are the outliers as well.  One of my sisters considers herself an athiest (I think) and one is a Pagan like me (though our beliefs vary greatly). 

You would think with this variety my mother would be used to the different beliefs but she isn't.  Again she's 83 and struggling with memory issues.  I cut her some slack - mostly. 

Diversity in the life means I cope with a variety of beliefs.  Working at a University means there are a lot of people with a lot of beliefs.  In my department, I've got hard core (but not offensive) Christians, Pagan esque, Jewish, and some I'm not sure of.  Since it is a public university, I like to keep my beliefs quiet.  I don't believe in mixing church and state, and since I work for the state essentially I like to keep beliefs private. 

I have to find the balance between what I'm willing to share and talk about and what I'm not.  I don't want to offend people but at the same time I'm not willing to listen to people make statements like my mothers. 

Respect is the key when working in the diverse mixture of people.  I respect their beliefs and let them deal with their beliefs while I respect my own.  Saying this, I have rocks on my desk (I have a thing for stones) dragons on my walls, Pagan affirmations posted on my desk. 

When I've been invited to Christian events, I say no thank you.  There's no need for me to go off on how I don't believe that way or get crabby with them for not comprehending my beliefs.  It was kind of them to think of me but I'm not interested - this is my standard answer. 

When I've discussed my tarot readings or other Pagan events, I am open and honest but not pushy.  I've had discussions about the moon and its affect on energy with some of the people I work with. 

I'd like to say I gave my mother an earful for disrespecting my beliefs but I didn't.  I don't believe she meant to offend.  I think she was talking about how Halloween made her feel along with the scary movies and modern take on what Halloween represents.  I don't think she thought about how it would make me feel to be lumped in as a witch and other bad things.  So this time - I cut her some slack.

Picture is by TJ Jahns