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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Question of the Week: 109 - 5/7/2003
The Broom Closet Revisited: What’s Your Current Occupancy Rate?
Are you living more or less in the broom closet since last year? Does the current political climate make you more or less open about your beliefs with strangers or casual acquaintances than you used to be?
Are you worried or have you ever seriously considered that a modern day ‘witch hunt’ might target Pagans in the next few months/years?
Have you taken extra precautions to protect your private information or Pagan identity on the internet? At work? In your neighborhood?
Are you more or less inclined to speak up and/or identify yourself as a Pagan when discussing or writing about political, religious or social issues these days?
| Reponses: There are 129 responses posted to this question.
|| Reverse Sort
| Kicking Down The Door ||May 9th. at 9:22:27 pm EDT|
|Cunneware (Ontario, Canada) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I've gone through a few stages in the past five years since I've discovered Wicca. First I was overjoyed to discover this fantastic new religion and couldn't see why anyone would object to it. What a nieve 12 year old I was! I was taunted at school for wearing my pentacle and quickly stopped wearing it. I was so upset I actually stopped researching for a year. But I was inevitably drawn back to it again. At first I was very much in the closet. Only my close family had any idea. But then I discovered the wonderful tool of the internet and have met with many people, attended a few local events and learned of stores in my area that I didn't even know existed. I begin to realize that I was not alone.
I began to wear my pentacle from time to time, but was extremely self concious about it. Then I noticed something. I had a few (and still have) some odd looks and Satanism-related comments, but mostly, ppl don't seem to care all that much! Trust me people, its not as scary as it first seems. I even have got some "Hey that's so cool" remarks.
I've learned to not be bothered when people look twice at my neckless and raise thier eyebrows. Its my faith and I shouldn't have to hide. I view it this way; If they don't know at least then I'm educating them. If more of us are "visible" than the symbol of our religion will become a non-issue, and a higher % the public will be educated that Wicca is not a bad thing.
We need to support one another better. As someone else else has pointed out. Wiccans can be hard to track down! You really have to work at it to make connections with other people. When I was first starting to reach out to the community, as a young Pagan searching for answers, I got VERY few responses. Those I did recieve were from other youth Pagans. I have found that us youngin's have to fend for ourselves. I'm not sure if it is because the older generation thinks that we are too young and inept. I'm sure some are, I have encountered a few! But what about the rest of us? Our community will crumble if we don't stick together and help each other out.
| It Depends ||May 9th. at 10:14:17 pm EDT|
|Steph (Midwest City OK) ||Age: 32 - Email |
I have a strange status: I work as an advocate for a Pagan organization, so I am very open online, but people in my local area aside from other Pagans generally don't know that I am a Witch. I don't feel the need to advertise, and I do not believe that it is wise to do as a mother of a small child in Oklahoma. Since I have had a child I am much more wary of exposing my beliefs to strangers, and truthfully, I am not the kind of person to pull a punch if someone were to verbally attack me in public, and I have the educational background that can make me quite formidable in both debate and personal insults. So instead of placing myself in a situation that will quite probably degenerate into name calling, I just keep my yap shut in most cases.
The current political climate, nationally now reflects where most Oklahoman Pagans have been for some time. So the national issue just drove the already existing point home.
Everytime John Ashcroft appears in the media with some new assault on civil liberties I worry about Witch Hunts, McCarthy-ism, National-Socialist issues, Jingoism, and redneck fatheads who don't know what those words mean.
I have taken extra percautions with my location and all but not because of the national issues, but because of the openly hostile nature of DHS and the court systems towards NeoPaganism. I have chosen to disassociate myself from my father's side of the family. When I was 7 months pregnant, an aunt I had not seen in many years walked up to me and informed me that she had heard from an uncle that I was a Devil-Worshipper. I have no desire to even deal with that, and these people are redneck fatheads, so I avoid them and I do not contact them or let them know where I live. After all it only takes one phone call to DHS to have a child removed, and these people are petty and mean enough to do it.
I readily identify myself at school, when discussing things in class. I even appear as a guest speaker in some humanities and sociology classes.
| Walking A Fine Line ||May 10th. at 12:39:05 am EDT|
|Willow (Houston TX) ||Age: 32 - Email |
I must admit that I am in and out. My family and friends know. I made the mistake at my last job to mention my religious persuasion to someone whom I counted as a friend. I was laid off from that job shortly afterwards. I don't feel the need anymore to justify my personal path to others, unless it has to do with losing our personal freedoms; then I will stand and be counted.
If I am asked about my religion, I will gladly discuss it with anyone as long as they are respectful and not just looking to taunt me. I have a two year old and want to shield her from any harm. I fear for her safety, not my own. I don't feel that there will be another witch-hunt per se; I see it more as a persecution of anything non-christian.
| Leaving My Broom Closet Inside ||May 10th. at 1:01:17 am EDT|
|Kira (Southern Cali) ||Age: 15 - Email |
I am a freshman in high school with a very odd situation. I am completely open about Wicca to everyone except for my immediate family. My mom is a Christian minister, my dad is a professor of religion, and my brother is entirely untrustworthy. They think the ankh I wear is because I like ancient Egyptian art and they don't even know I have a blog. As soon as I decided to follow this path (about a year ago, after two years of research) , I told all of my friends, posted it on my blog, etc. Online, I participate in Wiccan chatrooms and discussion boards and have a pentagram at the top of my blog. Whenever a religious topic comes up in a discussion with acquaintences, I mention that I am a Witch. They are mostly more curious than anything else ("You're a WHAT? Can you cast a spell for me? Do you really worship the devil?") and are quite happy to be educated-- or not, depending on my mood. Even my very Christian friends respect my beliefs absolutely. Anyone who doesn't accept your religion is simply not worth knowing or talking to. It is unfortunate that my parents fall into this category, but I will tell them as soon as I am financially independent of them. I would also like to join an out-of-the-broom-closet coven at that point, but until then, I am solitary and have wonderful non-Wiccan friends at school and Wiccan friends online.
PS Sorry this is so long, I got carried away! First post here!
| Hmm. ||May 10th. at 1:11:24 am EDT|
|Luna (Clearwater, Florida) ||Age: 18 - Email |
I am 100 percent out of the broom closet, but ... nowadays I am more hesitant to answer people who ask my religion. I honestly cannot say why. My parents know, but continue to pretend that it's an extremely long phase. :)
When acquaintances ask my religion, I sort of stare at them for a moment before answer. More often than not I do identify myself as a Pagan, but a couple times I've just stuck with the term "athiest". It's ...simpler, I guess, and I don't get weird looks!
I don't worry about another Witch hunt ... well, at least not yet. Around here, I don't think things are so bad. But if I lived in a really small town, ... I'd be worried, I think. And when talking about politcal issues, I do identify myself as Pagan. I feel like I have to speak up, ya know?
| I Laugh At The Broom Closet! ||May 10th. at 1:27:40 am EDT|
|Ashleigh (New Orleans, La) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I've never been afraid of letting everyone know who I am. I've been practicing since I was 13. I did my self-initiation when I was 17. (the day I graduated from high school) Now, I'm just looking for a teacher. I see no reason to hide my faith. It's okay to be a pagan. NO! It's better than okay. It's great. So, come out of your broom closet's ladies and gents. It's better to out yourself than to have someone else out you. Besides, should you let someone else tell you that it's okay or not to be proud of who you are?
| Still In ||May 10th. at 1:52:33 am EDT|
|dreamless (California) ||Age: 13 - Email |
I'm afraid I'm still in the broom closet. Or at least somewhat. My parents would kill me, they've already said I could not do it. I do not tell people I am Pagan, but Agnostic. In all discussions where God has come up, I've openly mentioned that I do not believe in him, and I'd debate with anybody that tells me otherwise, because I love to hear their opinions, and I like to see what points they bring out of me; I've corrected anybody who believes misconceptions, but I'm still in the closet.
| Proud To Be Pagan ||May 10th. at 2:06:15 am EDT|
|BA (Seattle Washington) ||Age: 30 - Email - Web|
I am a 30 yr old Ordained Pagan Priestess. I began my studies in 1985 at age 12. by 1988 at age 15 I was running my own teen group. (this being short lived due to moving) I was always open in my life until in 1990 I hid in a broom closet worried about what ppl would think of me as a teen parent parent...I lived as such til 2000 (3 more kids later) when I opened the doors and walked out to regain my life and happieness.... I became ordained almost 2 years ago, and now run a pagan organized site on neopets.com along with true-emotions.net a pagan orented site.I council many differant people and will continue to remain true to my faith.. for the younger crowd that may b reading My oldest daughter is totally open in her faith both at school and in society... she is proud to b pagan as well.she has found exceptance and admiration in her.. my other 4 kids are still making their choices but I can pretty much tell u where that path in leading... I say be true to your self or u will live to regret it....
| It's Kinda Drippy In This Broom Closet... ||May 10th. at 11:10:11 am EDT|
|Nimue (Viriginia) ||Age: 16 - Email |
I am very much in the broom closet right now, and the Internet is practically my only source of information. I have a feeling that if I opened this leaky, stuffy hole-in-the-wall (at least to my friends) I would get a lot of mixed responses and probably loose at least one friend. To give you all a hint of the religious tolerance around here (although we have great diversity within the school) , I can't walk a mile without encountering a church in any direction. Unfortunately, I'm staying in the broom closet until I'm in college, with more freedom from my parents. Hence, one of the reasons I'm very excited about leaving home. Being a teenage Pagan is much harder than my adults would believe. It's hard to find the type of information I would like to recieve because too often you must be over 18 to do any formal learning. Too much of the "free" information on the Internet is dubious, and it's impossible for me to get any books yet.
However, I have begun to drop some hints... I hope people are better educated than to begin a witch-hunt; for the most part, those that I know are. Nonetheless, people are unreliable too often.
| They Keep Brooms In Closets? ||May 10th. at 1:38:28 pm EDT|
|Timoto (PA) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I am the Antithesis of the Broom closet. I walk around outside of churches with my big bling blinging pentacle all out... Actually, I hate people who lie to themeselves, so I'm out and havin a party.
| Hay-ul Naw! ||May 10th. at 4:55:23 pm EDT|
|Morgan Anara (Benninton, vt) ||Age: 14 - Email |
(translation: 'hell no' in the bennington vernacular)
anyway... hell no. I'm totally upfront about it if anyone asks (and even if they don't) . the OMNI club at my school is painting a peace mural. I painted a picture of the Green Man with leaves coming out of his mouth that spell 'PEACE'. Even my teacher knew what it was, and he approved. to cap it all off, I drew a combined pentacle/horned moon on His forhead and drew the symbols for the seasons in the corners. It's cool. WOO!
| Occasional Broom Vacations... ||May 10th. at 6:10:08 pm EDT|
|Meredith (Hamilton, ON) ||Age: 18 - Email |
I don't hide the fact that I am Pagan- if someone asks, I tell them. I also wear a smallish (1" di) pentacle. Although my immediate family is OK with my faith, some people in my extended family are a little uncomfortable with the idea, (especially the older folks) , and so I switch to a triquestra necklace when I'm seeing them, or when I'm meeting people for the first time. It's still a Pagan symbol full of meaning for me, but I find it less confrontational. Although I don't mind explaining Pagan practices, I don't really want to talk about them all the time, or have my personal beliefs somehow taint someone's first impression.
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