I decided to start a new thread about this to see if I can get some ideas. I mentioned in my Heathenism thread that I am nervous about the issue of baptism coming up especially with my mom. I have been a Pagan for over 15 years but she has it in her head that when it comes to big ceremonies in life (like marriage and now birth) that I might somehow go back to my Catholic upbringing. Baptism has not come up yet, but I know it will rear its head at some point in the not too distant future and I want to be prepared.
I was thinking one way to maybe bridge this gap a bit is by having a naming ceremony for our babe. Probably one more private that we do ourselves and another "public" one that we can invite family and friends to so that others can feel involved. Has anyone done this before (either a private or a public)? If so, can you tell me about it? I'd like to get some ideas. Thanks for your help!
I had the exact same concerns! Here is my experience, for what it is worth.
My husband is atheist, and I have always been drawn to earth based spirituality. I come from a very Catholic area, my family follows suit mostly for tradition sake without questioning. Since age 14 or so, I have had quite a few conversations with my family about choosing a more nature based path, but these happened mostly when I was younger and just discovering Wicca. More recently, after baptism became an issue, I thought long and hard about what caused my family to think that I would just go back to Catholicism whenever there was a life event.
What I have learned is that I never communicated as effectively as I should have, and never truly took a stand for what I believed was best for me and stayed consistent. I would have a conversation that I felt was a huge breakthrough, then I would just celebrate Christmas with the family for the next 3 years before it came up again. To them, they dodged a bullet, the conversation pretty much never happened. I tried to soften the blow too much, trying to make everyone happy, and never stood up strong enough. I went so far as to get married in a Catholic church to make my family (mother) happy. I wanted to have the perfect answer to explain exactly how I would raise my kids, exactly what I believe; the perfect answer may never come, but it is what we do that creates experiences our kids will treasure when they look back at their childhood (hopefully!). For me, it was Christmas. For my daughter, maybe it will be Solstice...(and Christmas at Grandma's).
I want to show my daughter that standing for what you believe is important and admirable - I want her to learn to think for herself and to find her voice in the world. I refuse to hold a baptism if my husband and I do not intend to raise our daughter catholic. I researched baby naming ceremonies, found a very sweet officiant who did handfastings and other life events in the area, and started planning a ceremony that I thought would satisfy my mother, though designed through my eyes and worded in a way that spoke to our family. Unfortunately my plan backfired, and we never ended up having a ceremony at all. My mother freaked out, even said...and I quote..."not that devil worship stuff again". It was a very sad moment. I planned a lovely ceremony, and feel strongly that it could be amazing and beautiful, we just didn't have the circle to invite (we were living in a brand new city). The truth is, some will be disappointed with our choices. The important thing is that we stand by our decisions and hopefully open their eyes to another way. Sometimes, though, it didn't seem to be worth the battle. We will see what the future holds!
My husband and I mostly see eye to eye, but we certainly have our differences. We are finding our way of celebrating the changing seasons/wheel of the year, but surely have not figured it all out. I still crave a like minded community, and would love to meet like minded families in the area. If you are out there, I would love to connect! We are in NYC.
THANK YOU so much for responding to my post. I was beginning to feel like there was no one out there that could relate to what I was going through. So I appreciate your story and your journey, again, thank you for sharing.
I am so sorry that you weren't able to have your ceremony :( That makes me sad. But I know it can be hard when you don't really have a circle nearby to celebrate with you. We are lucky that we have a nice circle of friends where we live now (after 3+ years). So I am starting to think if we do the naming ceremony that we might just do it with friends. I of course will invite my family but if they are uncomfortable doing it, then I won't hold it against them for not coming.
I think for me it is just that I can't fake things when it comes to spiritual beliefs and since I don't intend to raise my child Catholic, it would be a farce for me to do the baptism. That doesn't even take into account the fact that if I did so, I would also be dis-honoring the Gods that have blessed our family. That feels very wrong to me and I just can't do it.
So I feel pretty good about my decision and where it is coming from. The only missing piece is how to effectively communicate this, to my mother in particular - being sensitive to her feelings, but at the same time being firm.
With my last baby, we simply had a private Blessing with my husband and our kids, inviting only my sister and a very good friend. I made her a little head piece with ribbon and Fall flowers and foliage. Each of us put a flower into a bowl of water as we each offered a wish/blessing for her path/life, then I dipped her feet into the water. I also burned her special candle that we use at special times (birth blessing with friends when I was pregnant with her, after her birth at home, birthdays, etc.). Afterwards, we had a traditional celebration with friends and family in the park, with lots of Fall foods.
We did a blessing ceremony when my eldest son was 3 months old. We invited friends and family to a circle. We had a HP lead things and she talked about kids, blessings, and being parents. We then gave everyone a chance to bless our son in their way. What person doesn't need blessings. I had Baptists, Catholics, Shamans, Druids, Faes, and more give blessings. After blessings were done, we closed the ceremony and had a feast.
Another recommendation for a Unitarian Universalist church. Our congregations are made up of atheists, agnostics and theists of many faith traditions. They will help you design a ceremony that fits your needs. More info here http://www.uua.org/beliefs/welcome/paganism/index.shtml. Best of luck!
Unitarian Universalist Family: 06 & 08