A few days ago, my girlfriend and I celebrated the eight year anniversary of our relationship. We met when she was fifteen and I was sixteen and although we fell in love at first sight, we were both too young to be in a long-distance relationship. A few years later, when she was eighteen and I was nineteen, we met again and fell in love all over in that first moment. We promised each other we were going to fight for it this time and here we are, eight years later.

We work well because we are different but have enough commonalities to function together as a family unit. My girlfriend is the sweetest, most beautiful woman I have ever met. She is an incredibly skilled artist and painter, and a fantastic teacher. She is the only woman I see myself marrying and possibly having children with. She is also the most religiously-skeptical atheist you could ever meet. My girlfriend finds it incredibly hard to believe in anything that is not proven by science or in another way quantifiable.

When I still practiced Eclectic Religious Witchcraft, it was easier to live around my religious practice. I never did my rituals when she was around, and I didn't have a very strict daily practice, although it took up a lot of my computer time and witchy books could be found all around the house. I founded Little Witch magazine in that time. So while my practice took up a lot of my time, it was an issue she could turn a blind eye to. 

My progression into Hellenismos has made turning a blind eye pretty much impossible. I have a strong daily practice, I read, research and write a lot about it, and I have most certainly changed since I started practicing. Letting go of many conventions from my Witchcraft days has freed me from a lot of shackles I was unaware I was opposing at the time. Hellenismos functions so well with my world view and ethical code, I have fallen into it without much adoption time at all. 

The transition has been fluid for me, but my girlfriend--with whom I discuss very little about my religious practice unless she brings it up--has seen me practice one way for over seven years and now I seem to have turned on a dime. I don't blame her for being confused.

My girlfriend worries for me a lot. She worries that I am spending too much time on a construct--if you will--that does not exist. There is no proof of the Theoi, the Underworld or anything else that I believe in, yet I spend hours every day researching, writing, offering, and making sacrifices. From her point of view, what I do must be nuts. When I put myself in her shoes, I can see where she is coming from.

Quite recently, we got into a discussion about religion. She voiced these concerns to me. She told me that while she loves the kind of person my religion has made me and continues to make me--the person who is open, inviting to other, who has a strict moral and ethical code, who has a dedication to something that she loves, a person who would never compromise her believes for anyone or anything--she can't wrap her head around this major influence in my life and these beings I tell her are real but with whom, she feels, she will never bond.

She worries that, one day, I will ask her to participate in ritual for these beings she doesn't understand or believe in--something she won't be able to do--while I worry that one day, she will not be able to put up with my religious practice any more and I have to chose between my religion and our relationship. That's a Sophie's Choice I hope I never have to make. 

Right now, my religion (or her atheism)--thankfully--does not wreck the foundation of our relationship, but it is a point that we tip-toe around as much as possible. While it is still just the two of us, this is an arrangement that works relatively well, but should we ever have children together, our religious differences will most certainly become a challenge.

When we get married, I want--need--a religious ceremony. It doesn't have to be a public ceremony, but I want to ask for the blessings of Zeus and Hera when we marry. I want to offer libations to the Theoi to ask for Their blessing. while it doesn't have to look like this video at all, I do want something that conveys the gist of it.

Should we have children, I will want to present them to Hestia when our miasma wears off. I want to give them the protection Hestia offers to new members of the household. That child will be part of our family--our oikos--and I can't willfully withhold them the religious ceremony to make that a reality. I will want to read our child bedtime stories about the Theoi, and tell them about the Gods of other pantheons. When he or she gets older, I want them to be able to choose for themselves if they are religious or not. While my girlfriend is willing to indulge me in most of these issues, I also know that she is slightly embarrassed about sharing my religious views with anyone.

Hellenismos--while she is interested in Hellenic mythology and art--is something she doesn't understand. Why would you want to worship Gods that no one has worshipped in ages? Why specify which Gods you worship at all? She didn't get the Lord and Lady idea very well either, but at least that was relatively modern, and archetypes make much more sense to her than individual Gods somewhere up a mountain, cloud, or other mythical location.

Our religious differences will divide us at least for the foreseeable future. While she fully respects and encourages me to practice my religion, she does struggle with it, and I do not think I will ever become less religiously active. For now, it's not a problem, but it might be in the future. That thought is worrisome, to say the least, but it's comforting to know many families struggle with this situation, or a situation where two religions are actively practiced. I have no solutions. An open dialogue is encouraged, but I don't even have that myself. The situation is as it is, unfortunately, but when there is love and a willingness to compromise, major problems should be avoidable. Hopefully.