©2012 Holly Golightly
I have a mother-in-law who is a nice lady but very Catholic and “old school” while my husband is a “recovering Catholic” and wants to observe Wiccan holidays with me. When he told her that I was a Wiccan, she said,” Oh well, you’re going to have to fix that.” Should I sit her down and talk to her about it or wait until she starts asking me about it? I’m dreading the next time it comes up.
— Wiccan Wife in Washington
Dear Wiccan Wife,
In general, the best way to deal with Christian relatives is “Don’t ask, don’t tell...” Obviously this does not work if you are living in the same house with your in-laws, but otherwise, how is your mother-in-law going to know what holidays you are celebrating and how?
If she expects you to join the family for Midnight Christmas Mass, you may have to explain why you aren’t coming, but otherwise, your only real problem is going to arise if and when you have children and have to explain why you are not having them baptized. Even then, a compromise can sometimes be arranged.
I once co-officiated with a Catholic priest at a baby naming for the child of a mixed-marriage couple. I blessed the baby with fire and water, and he did air and earth — effectively, the “prime signing” rite which used to precede baptism. Of course this was in a liberal California University town, so it might not work for you.
Dear Wiccan Wife,
I’m guessing that you don’t actually intend to have your in-laws over for your Fourth Annual All-Coven Mabon Great Rite. So why, exactly, do you need to even open your mouth? Look, coming out of the ole’ Broom Closet is a splendid thing, assuming you’re not going to get fired, disowned, or have your kids be scared to go outside. It’s not something everybody wants, or needs, to do; in your case, silence may be golden. Chances are your husband won’t ever have to choose between going to Mass with Mom or Sabbat with you: worship times are pretty drastically different.
On the other hand, you might question whether you’re actually dealing with another issue here. You obviously realize this discussion could put quite a strain everyone involved, yet you still feel like this is something you need to bring up. Maybe you’re feeling a bit threatened by your mother-in-law’s desire to have you “fixed,” or the fact that, if she’s like most “old school” Catholic moms, she probably has a pretty domineering relationship with your husband. If this is the case, leave Mrs. Pope-on-a-Rope to her own devices (you won’t be good enough for her baby, no matter what you do) and work on your marriage instead. I recommend a trick every “old school” Witch knows (and most non-witchy wives as well): SEX. It’s the one place she can’t even try to compete with you.
Try setting up an altar in your bedroom: think lots of candles and musky incense; try freezing your spring water (remember 9½ Weeks?) and using strawberries to represent earth; toss in a bottle of good mead, and have fun reveling! By the time you’re finished with him, hubby will be tied so tightly (and perhaps literally) to your bodice lacing that he won’t even remember about Medusa Momma’s apron strings.
» Originally appeared in newWitch #04
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