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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 20,002,492  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 181

Lurker/Post Ratio: 181 to 1

Question of the Week: 4 - 8/27/2000

The Broomcloset-In or Out?... What's YOUR View?

Some Pagans feel that it might be better if everyone Pagan was just open about their beliefs. Some, on the other hand, are sick of 'in your face' Pagans or groups. Others feel that in some areas of the country being "in" is almost a necessity. But we've also heard some background grumbling that expresses rather resentfully that those who remain hidden are simply reaping the benefits earned-while experiencing none of the backlash-by those who are openly fighting for pagan rights.

The apprehension of what the impact of openly declaring a pagan belief might be on a family or work relationship is as much a concern in the decision-making process as what the reaction of a neighborhood or community might be in other cases. So, are YOU in or out? How far out is 'too far' out? What are the pitfalls or the rewards? Why should everyone be out, in, or just make his or her own decision about the broomcloset occupancy rate.

 Reponses:   There are 181 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

To Be In Or Out Of The Broom Closet Is The Individual's... Aug 31st. at 11:52:28 am EDT

Danielle Gminder (Key West, Florida US) Age: 25 - Email

To be in or out of the broom closet is the individual's need. Personally I'm out of the broom closet. I work for the county and the people in charge actually think it's cool. Plus they know the law pretty well because they are the law. In the case of your area being prejudice to something different may necessitate being in the broom closet. Such as the alabama pagans. They have the right to be in/out of the dusty old broom closet. Like I said. Opinions come in all different shapes/sizes. It's the individuals choice depending on the circumstances.


I Need To Say This, Here And Now! I Know You Are... Aug 31st. at 12:13:49 pm EDT

Little Wolfen (Springfield, Missouri US) Age: 12


I know you are not supposed to post on WitchVox unless you are over fourteen, I will be thirteen in three weeks. I got interested in witchcraft when I was ten and read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I wanted to know more and didn't have to go far, my neighbor runs a new age store and introduced me to witches that lived near me and a good coven. My mom and dad approved my jooining a local coven's classes, they had to sign a paper, and weren't supprised when I decided to become dedicated, which will be Sanhaim.

I wore my penticle on the first day of middle school last year and our school security officer was the only one that gave me any trouble, and when he took me to the principal it was him that got trouble from her. My teachers are not really interested in my religion at all as long as it doesn't affect my work, and I am on student council, in chess, computer, math and science clubs.

I feal very comfortable being a witch, and if other people dont like it. Tough.

I Am Open About My Beliefs But I Dont "trumpet" Them. I... Aug 31st. at 12:20:01 pm EDT

Li Ferelwing (Houston, Texas US) Age: 23 - Email

I am open about my beliefs but I dont "trumpet" them. I am of the opinion that my works and words will show what kind of a person that I am and that if asked yes I am pagan. I dont agree with the idea that I have to shout from all the corners that I am pagan. I am active on issues that mean something to me, and I speak when I need to. I admit on occasion to putting my pentacle in my shirt, especially when walking past proselyters. I just dont want to deal with the hassle that they will give me for my necklace and my beliefs. There are times to fight and times to just have a "tongue in cheek" action. I dont believe in being openly argumentative, I prefer to speak in a civil tone with people and if I know that the atmosphere is too charged I prefer not to get into the fray unless it is a legal issue. I do not like those who walk around with a chip on their shoulder expecting people to immediately respect and understand their religious beliefs regardless of what the other person believes. I have no problem handling tough situations but I dont like being told that I am taking the easy road when I do not choose to get into a battle with someone who I know will never see things my way. You cannot change people's minds but you can try and there are some people whose minds are so closed talking to them goes in one ear and out the other. So I would say I am out of the closet, I will tell someone what my religious belief is if they ask, but I will NOT force feed it to them. So I am out but not dogmatic about it.

As for those who are not out, I do not hold it against them. It took a long time for my family to accept me and still they dont completely understand and they are still always trying to get me to rejoin their church. Its a give and take. I have gotten used to it and since it is well meaning I do not let it bother me. As for my husbands family, they know but choose not to make it an issue which is fine with me

This Is Not An Easy Question, But One That Needs To Be... Aug 31st. at 2:12:38 pm EDT

Lee Ann (Miami, Florida US) Age: 34 - Email

This is not an easy question, but one that needs to be addressed. It would be wonderful if we lived in a country where we had no fear of religious persecution, or of expressing our religious beliefs and could be "out"! I can appreciate the feelings of pagan activists, that those who remain "in" are reaping the benefits achieved by those who fight for pagan rights. On the other hand it seems to be the "in thing" to do in some cities, which is unfortunate in that this leaves us open to misinterpretation and misrepresentation(a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing).

Personally, I live in Miami, FL, where there is a relatively large pagan community. Also, this region is so diverse, I think it is easier to be "out".
However, I am not (at least not yet), though I would like to be. For me the fear of negative reactions comes not from my family (my mother, though not practicing has many of the same beliefs), but from friends and co-workers. My best friend (28yrs) is a devout Baptist and would never understand. Religion is a topic I won't touch with her, although we both went to the same Christian school all our lives - my parents sent me for the education, not religious reasons. My boyfriend, while aware of my interest in paganism, has no idea to what extent. I don't know if he could ever accept it. Though not religious, I see him becoming more so as he gets older (he's Greek Orthodox).

My hope is that someday pagan religions will be considered more mainstream, or "acceptable"(and I hate to use these terms), even if still minority. There are so many false ideas about pagan beliefs that have to be overcome, there is centuries of damage to be undone (and it's sad to say, but damage by the church). If I'm fortunate enough to have children, I hope to raise them in a pagan household. Maybe by the time they are adults, being pagan won't be considered "evil" or "wrong".

I feel that to be "in" or "out" of the broomcloset should be considered a part of a persons personal religious freedom - their choice.

In An Ideal World, The Answer Would Be Easy, Everyone Would Be... Aug 31st. at 2:57:11 pm EDT

Willowwynde (Cincinnati, Ohio US) Age: 26 - Email

In an ideal world, the answer would be easy, everyone would be out of the broom closet. It isn't though. With more and more groups forming that attempt to crush our religious freedoms, it seems like it is becoming not a matter of preference to be out of the broom closet, but a matter of safety. These groups professing their right to pray do not consider for a moment our right to be a witch, pagan, or what have you. From listening to the news and reading news updates on the Witch's Voice, I have to say, I can not believe this country has gone so far backward.
Just a few years ago, I was quite open about my beliefs, but not now. What is more disturbing is the tone and attitude that protestors take. The coven that was driven out of town is incrediable.
Aside from problems in society, there is always the family to contend with. My family would never accept it. I also have two little girls to think about. As I tell my oldest about her parent's beliefs, I have to make it clear to her that her grandparents do not accept these beliefs.
On occassion, when the opportunity to help change someone's attitude about Pagans and Witches presents itself, I step out of the closet. It is important to be tactful. As for my family, I wear a lot of symbols that they should ease them into it, but I wouldn't stick a sign on my front door proclaiming Pagan or Witch to the world. I rebel against the Bible Belt that I live in, I just do it tactfully. It is like everything else, there has to be balance in coming out of the broom closet.

Being "in" Or "out" Of The Broomcloset Is, I Believe, A Matter... Aug 31st. at 4:09:30 pm EDT

savakala (Lincoln, Nebraska US) Age: 22

Being "in" or "out" of the broomcloset is, I believe, a matter of personal choice. There may be several factors influencing a person's decision. I, for one, neither hide nor announce my religious beliefs, for several reasons. I am in no way ashamed of being pagan, however I dislike being harrassed by strangers who think that I am bound for an unpleasant afterlife. Also, there can be a strong sentiment against non-judeo/christian religions in certain workplaces. This is particularly true when the pagan involved is young. Older coworkers may think that the pagan is following a religious path because they want to fit in, or to fulfil a need to identify with a group. Whether or not this is true is irrelevant. The end result is that the pagan feels belittled, or not taken seriously. In my experience, being an outspoken pagan and and peacefully and happily coexisting with others is not easy, even when the "others" are also pagan! I have had other pagans accuse me of not being "devoted" because I practice a certain way, because I am low-key about my religion, or because I declared my religious preference while, conveniently, involved with a fellow pagan. Perhaps what I am trying to say is that some pagans are niether "in" nor "out" because they are tired of being ridiculed, not taken seriously, harrassed and/or second guessed by everyone they encounter, be those people christians, atheists, friends, family or other pagans. This is similar to other minority groups--not every member of these groups is outspoken. There are those that are, and those that aren't. It is not the decibel of the voice that is noticed, in the long run. It is what is said.

My Thoughts On In Or Out Of The Broomcloset Really Depends On... Aug 31st. at 4:19:34 pm EDT

Shadowdancer (not saying., Texas US) Age: 26

My thoughts on in or out of the Broomcloset really depends on the Person.
In my situation, I have to say in.

I live in the heart of the bible belt, and work in a very chritsian oriented environment. It is much better for me to not say anything about religious beliefs, mine or otherwise. It keeps my co-workers off my back and I don't have to worry about them trying to "save" me.

When I Finally Found A Term That Suited My Beliefs ``witch`` I... Aug 31st. at 5:23:14 pm EDT

Hunter (Peterborough, Ontario CA) Age: 23

when I finally found a term that suited my beliefs ``witch`` I was so happy that I told everyone just out of my own excitement, but even if I had of though about it I believe that the broom closet would never have known me! Being a person who is always up front about who I am I felt that it was better for me to be open about my beliefs rather then to hide them, to me this would just imply that there was something wrong with them. I felt that letting people have opportunity to ask me questions and or challenge my system with the age old tales of evil witches and such would allow me to aid others in educationg them on what being a Pagan is really about. To those who are unable to speek out due to hostility I feel for you and because this is so I think that those of us that can follow the Lord and Lady with little interfearence should be out spoken in our families, and our communities, People only fear what is unknown to them, and so I see knowledge as the likeness of water as it is to the seed in the ground, add a little and who knows to what heights it will grow.

I'm A Wiccan At College, And I'm Also An Ra. For Four... Aug 31st. at 6:01:54 pm EDT

Tigerfox (Providence, Rhode Island US) Age: 20 - Email

I'm a Wiccan at college, and i'm also an RA. For four years i've worn my pentacle openly and never had a problem. for three years, i've been an RA at the largest hall on campus (500 people, 90% freshman) and have never had a problem. Every year, i help out with move in and out, encountering parents from all over the country. not once has my religous beliefs come into conversation. maybe they all think i'm jewish? Either way, i've gotten permission to do a rotating bullitan board during october called "Real Witches" which will be strictly educational. I don't think this is being pushy, because i get plenty of questions that month as it is, and there's a lot of misinformation out there. I don't think i get pushy about my being a witch at all, but i answer all questions truthfully. The only people i'm not out to are my parents. i don't lie to them, but they've never asked. they have made it clear that anyone who believes in that "stuff" is living in a fantasy land. i'll tell them one day, maybe when i'm older and more an adult in thier eyes. My sisters know, and they're both ok with it, all my friends know, and they see it hasn't changed me in a bad way. some are even wiccan themselves. wow, i've rambled... Anyway, this is all the experience of a young, semi-out witch in Rhode Island.

Merry Meet All, I Am Have Been Out Since I Began Practicing... Aug 31st. at 7:17:22 pm EDT

Jeffrey R "Jake" Robinson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa US) Age: 36 - Email

Merry Meet all,

I am have been out since I began practicing rituals, last June. But weather one comes out of the broom closet or stays in depends quite a bit on the following;

1) Age
2) Family situation
3) The local feel

I am 36 so all of those are moot because I survived this far "being differant"
there is my 65 cents...:)

Blessings and Moonlight
Jake the Wildwolf

I Would Love To Come Out Of The Broom Closet, And In... Aug 31st. at 9:32:22 pm EDT

Autunm Shadow (Webb City, Missouri US) Age: 38 - Email

I would love to come out of the broom closet, and in fact I have lately been more open about my beliefs. But I also have a boss that is very Baptist and I have already had some backlash in my job because he has heard rumors about me. Although when asked I do tell people that I am Wiccan. This does make me fell good about myself. I wish the world would be more excepting and I try any time I can to talk to people about Wicca. I hope things get better in the future.

My Thought Is That Faith Is A Personal Thing. I Am A... Aug 31st. at 11:58:40 pm EDT

Trisha Dionisi (Detroit, Michigan US) Age: 34 - Email

My thought is that faith is a personal thing. I am a Witch and have been "out " for just about two years. I have practiced for 10. I am open about it when asked , but I will not "wave banners" or try to make converts.

I have heard and seen an ugly trend of Pagans who are more into trying to disprove other's faiths than trying to find the truth in their own. Faith should be found by the individual through their own spiritual journey , not given or forced upon them.

Overzealous behavior usually shows a weak belief .

Peace and Love be with you,

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