Why Can't We All Just Be Friends?

Roommates can be an issue. Although I hope it doesn't happen, you might get a roommate who looks at you a little funny for the altar or books, or worse, someone who is far too close-minded. Yet the fact still remains: you must be courteous to your roommates. You're going to be living with them, and anyone who's lived with siblings (whether in the same house or the same room) will tell you that life is a lot easier when you're on good terms with one another.

I warned both my roommates that I was going to bring a shrine with me, and asked them if that would bother them. Again, I'm lucky: my roommates are an Atheist and a non-practicing Hindu, and neither of them had a problem with my shrine.

If your roommate seems concerned or curious, I would suggest talking with them about the subject. (You should try talking with your roommates anyway, mind you!) It might be a tad awkward at first, but if you are going to an altar or another give-away sign out in the open, you should be comfortable enough to handle any possible questions about it.

Answer them as best you can, be understanding of potential reactions; don't pounce on him/her if s/he wonders out loud if you worship Satan, just politely explain. Remember, the media and popular gossip have not always been kind to our way, and that might be the only thing your roommate has had to go by before this.

If you and your roommate are having serious difficulties that you cannot seem to work out despite trying, going to your Resident Advisor. They are there to help and most are really nice (my RA is wonderful!).

As far as rituals go, it's up to you how you wish to go about it.

I personally take advantage of times when my roommates are absent to perform ritual work. One reason is that I feel I shouldn't ask, however politely or kindly, for my roommates to please get out of their own room so I can do ritual work. I didn't kick my sister out of the room we shared; I'm not going to kick out my roommates.

The other reason is avoiding the odd/curious glances, and the bonus of not having to worry about being disturbed in the middle of meditation or something. (Unless, of course, the fire alarm goes off in the middle of ritual; if that happens, I just hope you weren't practicing skyclad. Have your clothes nearby always.)


Location, Location, Location

My school is located only a stone's throw from a major city. I personally dislike cities and this was almost enough of a reason to refuse attending (but alas, I be but a poor college student; highest bidder wins...). This poses a problem for a person who worships the Earth Mother. What is a Pagan to do if seemingly separated from nature?

First, remember that civilization can never truly separate itself from nature no matter what some people might think. The air you breathe, the wind that ruffles your hair, the vaulted sky above you - even if you are in an urban wasteland, there is nature around you.

Second, there has to be green somewhere! There is bound to be a tree or shrub somewhere on your campus and even if it's a part of the landscaping and not wild, it is still a part of nature. I'm fortunate that my school is also a nationally-recognized arboretum; therefore, the campus is beautiful and covered in a dizzying array of trees native to the climate zone.

If that is still not enough, consider getting a plant for your dorm room, as space allows.