The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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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.
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| I Like To Show People The Courtesy That I Expect From Them... ||Sep 1st. at 7:12:54 pm EDT|
|blackthorne (walnut creek, California US) ||Age: 35 - Email |
I like to show people the courtesy that I expect from them. I don't expect the question about religion to come up with people in the workplace because I consider it rude, and I also do not want to know what religion the other workers are..If they want to tell me fine..but I don't want religion to be a game of show and tell. Even people who are pagan-friendly can be obnoxious with thier questions. I have had occasion to tell people about it at times, and I have had
the most wonderfull responce...one of not caring. Total Apathy. I think that we can all revel in what a wonderfull think in these times.
| I Like To Think That I Have One Foot In And One... ||Sep 1st. at 8:08:17 pm EDT|
|Spicy (Victoria, British Columbia CA) ||Age: 26 - Email |
I like to think that I have one foot in and one foot out.I have been rudiculed so many times about my religion that it is hard for me to maintain the "out of the closet".I wear my pentacle with pride and I answer questions openly and honestly to those that really want to hear.Others just give the "look" and carry on.My closest friends and my family know my religion.However my mother being a baptist had a problem with it in the beginning untill she took the time to listen to me and to stop thinking of me as a "broom-riding satanist".I feel that society has driven people to think of evil when they hear the word witch or when they see a pentacle.I was told at work to not wear my pentacle and I took it off right then and there and asked them to take off their cross.Discrimination, hatered and ignorance has what kept me some-what in the closet for the saftey of my children and my home.
| I Am Not Wiccan Or Pagan, I Actually Do Not Know What... ||Sep 1st. at 9:40:49 pm EDT|
|Kimba (Las Vegas, Nevada US) ||Age: 33 - Email |
I am not wiccan or pagan, I actually do not know what "religion" I am since society has to label everything. I wanted to be Celtic Christian, because I do believe in a natural state of being, in energies that heal and guide, and in one God..But, was turned away for not being catholic. I am with alot of others that have posted about not wanting the bible thumpers in your face or religion shoved down your throat. People see what you are on the outside and make a judgement without even getting to know YOU the INSIDE. It is sad when you even get the weirdest looks when people find out you read tarot cards, much less hear about your religious practices. I do know the persecution that society can inflict on people first hand, and I just do not understand it. I really don't. Hopefully one day our children will be able to live in peace and harmony, no matter their religion, skin color, or backround, one can only hope.
| Unfortuneately, In Some Areas Of The Country, It Is Still Not Safe... ||Sep 1st. at 10:34:07 pm EDT|
|Gaoth (Small Town, Oklahoma US) ||Age: 38 |
Unfortuneately, in some areas of the country, it is still not safe to come out of the closet. Those, who like me live in the "bible belt" know what I mean. You can still have serious problems because of your beliefs. If you live in a small town, it is much worse. There is NO pagan community to support you, and an organized, powerful "christian" community to harass you. Why come out of the closet, when to do so would only cost you friends, business opportunities, and in some cases, even be dangerous.
Those of us who live in these areas know that the burning times are not as far removed as some might think. We still have to be extremely careful who we trust with our secret. Those of you who live in more "liberated" areas, should be thankful that you can be more open about who you are, but don't be too quick to judge those of us who must remain hidden for now.
That is my opinion, for now some of us must stay in the closet.
| I Am Both In And Out. "what?" You Ask. How Can You... ||Sep 1st. at 11:46:22 pm EDT|
|Emerald Wave (Dallas, Texas US) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I am both in and out. "What?" you ask. How can you be both? Well, my husband knows, of course. Then my friends here in Texas know. But my family and my husband's family, NO, and big N-O. I also want peace in my family. All of my family are strict Baptists and I already get the "why haven't you found a chruch home" every time I talk to them. My husband's family, well they are Christian as is he. They don't push it on me, but if his family did know they would definitely flip! So there I am in the "broom closet."
One the other hand I am out. I wear my pentagram necklace and my crystals. I don't shy away when religion comes up in conversation. I have a few Pagan friends and we don't run away to shadowy corners to discuss our religion. So there I am out.
Now for the benefits, well. Being IN the proverbial closet keeps family peace and avoids severe prayer and intervention by loved ones. Being OUT allows me to be comfortable with myself, and I definitely enjoy life more.
As for the pitfalls, IN makes me uncomfortable and not myself. OUT means everyone and their brother will at some point ask for a love spell! (I work at a resturant and I think that it is a prerequisite to have a messed love life to work there.LOL)OUT also proves to definitely be the uphill road. I have already had an intervention from the Jehovah's Witness cook that works with me.
All in all, I believe that it should be a personal choice. As far as how much is too much, well, we will just have to trust that our fellow Pagans will remember the burning times and know when enough is enough.
| I Come From An Area That Is Mixed And Diversed With Religion... ||Sep 1st. at 11:58:22 pm EDT|
|Quinn J Roundy (Brigham City, Utah US) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I come from an area that is mixed and diversed with religion. I go to work to find many of a like mind with me as well as those who opose my beliefs but not me. So in short I am out of the closet.
I am moving to a high christian area (Utah) and have not as yet considered the notion of whether or not I should reveal myself there or not.
I think that if you live in a community that persecute witches and pagans than you should remain in the closet just for your own protection. There are other ways to protest and defend your beliefs.
Even though I do live in a open community I am currently facing criminal charges which relate to the practice of witchcraft. I have not yet been tried and feel that I have a very good chance of "winning" my case. If this case was held in Utah (where I am moving in one week) then I would not attempt and simply plea guilty and pay penalty.
I am not an activist, I belief that there is a difference between believing and enforcing in a faith. When people ask me about my beliefs I openly explain what we are and are not. If people persecute me I have the option and means to ignore or walk away. I believe that trying to convince somebody of something that they are already against is futile. Pagans and Witches have seldom been "evangilists".
As far as reward for being an open person about my beliefs, I think that making friends and finding support is the greatest and most important thing you find.
As far as pitfalls, well, I am being sued because of the ignorance of the local police and do still hear harsh words from many (thou most people just give dirty looks)
These are just my thoughts and beliefs, do with them what you will and Blessed Be.
PS: the city shown below is where I am moving and not where I am at now.
| Well, I'm Essentially Out, But I Don't Broadcast It Nor, Which I... ||Sep 2nd. at 12:01:20 am EDT|
|Luis Felipe Morales (Santa Barbara, California US) ||Age: 23 - Email |
Well, I'm essentially out, but I don't broadcast it NOR, which I think is just as bad as broadcasting and which IMNSHO displays the same underlying insecurities, do I rabidly jump on every opportunity to tell people I'm a pagan. If they ask, or if it seems VERY appropriate to the conversation, I am as open about it as I can be, given my own underlying insecurities and slight apprehension as to most people's reactions.
The exception to this is that I have quite methodically outed myself, always in private and almost always in person, to my nuclear family, relatives I'm particularly close to, and all my close friends. Reactions have varied (my a-little-too-Christian sister avoids the issue, my mother smiled at me and said "I raised my kids to know what they were doing and I trust you to make the right decisions for your own life." (big ups to Mom!).
As a matter of fact my more liberal friends have rather blithely accepted it, while my devout Christian friends have actively engaged me in discussion! I much prefer the latter, to be sure, as long as it remains civil, which admittedly it hasn't always -- I have one friend, a pastor-in-training, who manages to bring out a lot of the anger I still feel at Christianity's habit of active dissemination of disinformation and we thus don't always stay too civil -- but there again, I have one friend who emailed me: "I know that if you've chosen to be a pagan, that means you've done a lot of thinking and reading and research -- I know you didn't choose blindly. But I don't understand your choice to be a pagan. Please tell me about it. I want to know more." (Big ups Margie!)
Now, I have the freedom to be out, as out as I care to be, because I live in Santa Barbara, California -- now while many of our liberals are just guilty rich liberals, we do have a sizable granola contingent and not too much in the way of hardline Christianity, except perhaps among our Latino population, which appears to basically choose between hardcore Catholicism and hardcore evangelist Protestantism (DISCLAIMER: Yes, I'm Latino. No, I'm not a 'member of the community.' This is a halfass opinion based on equally halfass observation.)
So not everyone has my freedom to be out. Not everyone lives in SB -- some of us still live in my native Santa Maria, Gods help 'em!
Of course there IS a 'too far out.' It's when I think I'd rather be dealing with an entire Foursquare youth ministry than with your obnoxious Pagan ass.
And of course I think everyone makes his/her own decision. There is no why; it's a basic human right called 'self-determination.' 'Those who remain hidden' have made a decision to be so and 'those who are openly fighting for pagan rights' have also decided: they are fighting (not solely, but obviously) in their OWN self-interest and have no need to be dog-in-the-manger about it when their good works trickle down to benefit cryptoPagans.
Me? I'm somewhere in the middle, fighting, if what I do is fighting, one person at a time.
| Well I Am Out. I Hav Always Been A Public Witch But... ||Sep 2nd. at 2:21:48 am EDT|
|Fey (Hubbard, Ohio US) ||Age: 38 - Email |
Well I am out. I hav always been a public witch but as I am sure you know it can be hazardous and always entertaining. ( car vandalized, threats, cat exterminated.) But I could not live in the closet. I have more than enough trouble being one person let alone two.
But all joking aside I really respect the members of our group for their choice to stay in the closet. I know this choice is a hard one because so much comes into play. You have the right to be an open witch....but can youu live with what may occur afterwards. So sadly enough that is what it comes down to...what is right and what you can live with.
But I also feel that to stay underground merely helps encourage the air of doubt and lack of knowledge that got us a little hot in past generations. Fear=Doubt=Suspicion=Hate. How can we blast away at the clouds surrounding us if everyone is not able to stand and be counted. So you see I am at a cross purpose. It is a rough call to make but in the end it is your call.
| Well. I Used To Be Very Open And Didnt Care Who Knew... ||Sep 2nd. at 3:07:28 am EDT|
|Aspen (Gulf Shores, Alabama US) ||Age: 17 - Email |
Well. I used to be very open and didnt care who knew that i was Wiccan.But i ran into a large problem.The majority of the people in my city and especially my school are, by their heritage, very descriminitory. That group of peple got the information of the members of my coven and started harassing us.Now this was not a just a group of kids harassing us with the usual "FREAK", this was a very large group of the more known people making threats on our lives.
Well we took the matter to the faculty and made complaints, and were ignored the first time. So the parents again scheduled a confrence, and were againg ignored, because the faculty knew we were not chirstian, and held that to mean that we were lowest priority. We took the matter to our local law enforcement and got some of the kids making death treats put in jail(due to their privious police records) and took the matter with the administration to the board of education, and had my principal "fired".
Im still open about my beliefs, but im more selective on who knows now. But I do belive that all pegans should be open to some extent, we dont need to be yelling out to everyone we pass, but we also dont need to keep it a secret.
| This Is A Very Good Question For All Wiccans And Pagans To... ||Sep 2nd. at 3:47:17 am EDT|
|Dragonis Firemist (Harwinton, Connecticut US) ||Age: 41 |
This is a very good question for all Wiccans and Pagans to seriously give thought to. Some of the things to factor in are, your social position in the comunity in which you live, the type of job you have and the position you hold in the company. For example with myself I let the people in my comunity know my religious beliefs if they ask, followed by an explanation of what it is. Yet at my job there are people who know what my religous beliefs are and I am constantly being reminded to not let the clients I work with know. I am a counselor for troubled boys in a reform school and I have been warned that my religous beliefs are not open for discussion with any of them. I have also had to be very careful in some public settings as to whom I mention what my religion is, the other day I was in a shop which sold curio items, that so many of us Wiccans like to explore, when the clerk mentioned to me about a youth craft day sponsored by a local Christian church. The clerk new my position as a counselor, but did not know my religious beliefs, when asked I explained in detail and was told by another customer in the vicinity that my beliefs where sacriligous at the least and that society should still burn people like us. One must be careful what one says in public, there are still fundies who do not like us.
| Personal Safety And Safety Of Family And Friends Should Be Taken Into... ||Sep 2nd. at 8:41:24 am EDT|
|Cellina Rhiannon (Madison, Virginia US) ||Age: 28 - Email |
Personal safety and safety of family and friends should be taken into consideration while timidly stepping out of the closet. Everyone has a right to privacy especially in a world where that is slipping away from us. I feel that if one is comfortable with the pace of exposure, then one has a right to either linger in the doorway or come out with drums and horns blazing. It is up to the individual and should at no time feel threatened or harrassed. We are each unique and sensitive persons here to bring in the light of enlightenment to all. It is up to each how this done. The decision isn't just black and white, many parts of life are realy quite gray.
| I've Always Believed That It's A Totally Personal Decision. I Must Say... ||Sep 2nd. at 9:42:59 am EDT|
|Hera (Boston, Massachusetts US) ||Age: 30 |
I've always believed that it's a totally personal decision.
I must say that I am selective about whom I reveal my beliefs to. What I definitely know is that in today's world, people are more aware of Pagans and Wiccans than ever before. I am surprised at people's reactions sometimes.
I have nothing to hide and I am proud of my beliefs and the path that I have chosen. I don't feel like I need to advertise to the world that I am a Witch, but I do believe that I have the right to speak of my beliefs just as freely as someone who is Catholic, etc, etc.
We've come a long way in dispelling the myths about Witchcraft, but I think we still have a way to go. As long as we continue to stand together, in time we will receive the same respect and be taken just as seriously as any other religion. Whether you choose to stay in the Broomcloset or not is a personal decision. Whatever your decision... You are Witch, and you should be proud!
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