Pagan in Finland

Finland is quite a small country here in North, between Sweden and Russia. No, we aren’t a part of either, we are our own country, with our own president and government and all. We’re independent, kinda conservative people with a low selfesteem and strong feelings about our fatherland.

Our official religion is christianity and most of the people are either that or     Greek Catholics. So, you may have a clue that being a pagan in here isn’t as easy as it could be somewhere else.

My religion is neither. My path is a traditional nature based witchcraft, a nameless religion without any kind of official status in my country. I’ve been a witch over 20 years and I’m proud of it.

Size matters

Our society is, as I already said, quite conservative and people, society and country structure is quite centered with christianity. The bigger the city, more tolerant the people are – and the smaller the city, more intolerant the people are.

I have lived in a big city and no one really cared about my religion or  how I look. I have lived in a middle sized city and few people asked about my religion and about my appearance. Now I live in a small city and I hate it in here – everybody thinks they know my business better than me, everybody is interested about my religion (or the lack of it as they seem to think) and everybody turns around as I walk by. For goodness sake, I just your average mother, just a person like you or anyone else. Why in the hell is my life so much of an interest to you??

All I can say, if you’re a pagan and want to live in Finland, choose a larger city to live. I made a mistake religion-wise when I moved to so small town. I won’t make it twice…

Working community

My occupation was few years ago very social and I had a lot of children around me in my job. I had a boss and few workmates.

I’ve never been known to be very secretive about my self and I talked among the adults quite openly about my beliefs and how I’m not a member of the church. The children also knew, some guessed and some asked openly, about my beliefs. Of course I told them very nice and smooth version about my beliefs, but still, I told them true stuff – how I believe in many god and goddesses and how I honor nature and all the living things.

My boss was horrified, when she heard that the kids knew that I don’t believe in christian god and Jesus. She almost yelled at me, saying that I should not talk to the kids that way, the only thing they need to know is christianity and god and Jesus! After she calmed down, I asked should I lie to them – they had all seen that I don’t say the grace before lunch. The answer was, that I should say the grace “even if you don’t mean it”. Yeah, right. I said to my boss, with deepest of sympathy, that if she wanted me to still work there, I would be as I am, nothing else – I won’t fake my religious beliefs for nobody. I guess she then realized that she was being too demanding and let the discussion be bygones. (Finland is legally a religion free country, but still in 21st century that’s not the case).

My workmates were better with my religion (or the lack of it, as some clearly thought). They asked questions, tried to understand my beliefs and one of them said that she’s had same kinds of thoughts herself – she isn’t a member of church either and is quite fond of with nature. So my workmates were really nice and no one tried to convert me to christianity.

After this job I had another job as one kind of a freelancer, here in this small town. My appearence worked both ways; others saw me as artistic and professional while others were terrified that I tried to work with them – I had piercings and black clothes!

I also had a boss while living here and I was doing the same thing as I was as freelancer. My boss here was very nice, little naive woman and she was quite allright religion-wise, although she once said that I could wear something more conservative while doing business with clients. Well, I was so nice that I did so 😉

What was funny to notice, was that the bigger the client company was, the less they cared about my beliefs or appearance – they just thought that I’m a little more of a artist by nature than most of the people. But the private entrepreneurs that I worked with all seemed to think that there was something wrong with me. Some declined to work with me, some just looked me with a judgmental impression on their face.

Upbringing

I’ve been raised as a christian and I’ve been babtized as a baby. I was 14 years old when I told to my parents that I want to resign from the church. After a little talk, they let me resing without any preaching – they weren’t members of the church themselves anymore.

I knew from early age that there was “something fishy” about me – I had premonitions and could do other stuff that others couldn’t. After a talk with my mother I knew that I was a witch – my mother told me about her mother who had these same kinds of abilities that I had. And my mother had them too.

When I was a kid, there was not such thing as internet. There weren’t even books about witchcraft, not on our language anyway. So I had to learn all by myself. And I did. All the spells and herbs and stuff I learned from mistakes. I believe that’s part of why I’m such a strong witch – I’ve had a great deal of exercise!

Family and relatives

My whole family, including the kids, are on the same path as I am, so they know my beliefs very well. Even before I started dating my husband, he knew my beliefs and I knew his, so it’s been very easy this way.

My mother (and already late father) were once members of the church and my father was consecrated in a chappel after he died. My father wasn’t a member of the church when he died, but as he said “there must be something bigger out there, some sort of power that looks after us”. My mother isn’t a member of the church anymore, but she is some kinda believer – she believes in some form of a higher power.

My father never had the chance to really know my beliefs, he wasn’t interested and talkative enough for that. He teached me from childhood to honor nature and animals, so I guess he kinda is the reason I’m on my path. We talked about nature very much and he was very sad because of humans killed forests and animals just to make their own life cozy enough. So I thank my father a great deal – he gave me the first push on my path.

My mother knows my beliefs and thinks it’s kinda humbug. She’s a witch by blood herself as am I and even if she has premonitions and stuff, she declines to be a witch like me. She always says that she’s been witchy when she’s had omens, but a witch, no she’s not. And my religions polytheistic nature is all too much for her – there can only be one god, she says. Although my mother is this way, shes clever enough to respect my religion and ways and doesn’t bother herself too much with my things.

In the end, I’m grateful about my path, about my childhood and upbringing, grateful about different types of experiences in life. It makes me stronger, wiser and witchier 😉


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