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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
| 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.
| Quietly Watching From The Doorway ||May 10th. at 6:13:19 pm EDT|
|Storm's Feather (Russellville, Arkansas) ||Age: 16 - Email |
I normally stand in the door way about being open with my religion. Reconstructionalism isn't well know, and it's hard to explain, besides the constant threat with living in the Bible Belt of the U.S.. I've been called "Witch" in a classroom with 9 hard-core Christians and 3 (including myself) 'others': a Goth of religion i'm not certain but she's open minded, and a Wiccan. I was insulted, but i swallowed any retorts i had and stood my ground. I didn't agree or disagree, since they didn't ask me what my religion is.
Normally, if someone asks me what religion i am, i say Reconstructionalist. This is normally followed by "A what?"
"I research past religions and study their gods to see how they worshiped. Did you know that..." followed by a long discussion on how holidays became known as they are, how the 'Devil' got his name, how other religions have been around so much longer than Christianity, blah blah blah. This bores them to the point where they leave. Works for me.
I'm very worried that a 'Heathen' Witch-hunt will start sometime soon. President Bush isn't an average citizen, he has no clue what it's like to be 'one of the People'. Remember, his daddy was Pres, so he's lived in the White House and under supervision, protection, and benifits. He rallies the majority in this country by waving around what they believe in most: God.
I actually have part of my pagan identity on my backpack, but few people ask me about it.
| OUT...but... ||May 10th. at 8:23:10 pm EDT|
|Caer (FL) ||Age: 36 - Email |
I am most definitely out of the broom closet...but...I am careful when I talk to people. I tend not to volunteer information unless I'm "comfortable" with the people around me. "Comfortable" not in the sense that I am sure they will agree with my beliefs - "Comfortable" with the feeling in the room. If I don't feel that I at least have an idea about how people will probably react, I will not volunteer anything. If I am asked I answer honestly that I am Wiccan. It really is a shame! My family is Christian and most of them are very open minded, ask questions and are very supportive and interested...my husband is very fundamental so we rarely discuss it at all. It always leads to a huge fight with him getting downright nasty...comments such as "you are going to burn in hell" and the likes. I cannot be bothered fighting with him because I don't feel the need to defend the fact that I am Wiccan. "This is who I am...take it or leave it" kind of attitude. I don't expect him to agree and that's fine...he just needs to learn how to respect my beliefs and "agree to disagree".
My 13 year old daughter, on the other hand, loves to shove the fact that she's Pagan down his throat. It is good to see her stand up for her beliefs! She is pretty careful when she is out with others who she volunteers information to. She says "Mom, it sucks that people don't respect our beliefs and they get to shove how they feel down our throat!" So, I ask her..."Do you feel it necessary to defend yourself by arguing and forcing YOUR beliefs down others' throats?" She says "No, because I feel SECURE in what I believe; it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks or says!" Then she is quiet for a moment, looks at me, smiles and says "OK, I get it now!" :)
| Quietly Into That Good Night ||May 10th. at 10:09:43 pm EDT|
|Traci (Knoxville, Tennessee) ||Age: 20 - Email |
I've been out of the broom closet since the beginning. I have never had any beef with my Christian upbringing and still use a lot of things I was taught. One of those things was that you must stand up for what you believe in no matter what and all I can say to anyone that would try to take my freedom of religion away from me is "bring it on." If it comes down to it even Bush would be hard put to take away our right to bare arms. Growing up in the mountains of East Tennesse I know how to use a gun if needed to protect myself and my property, and yeah if it came down to that they'd prob get me... but not without a fight. However, first and foremost we must have faith in our political system... the men that fought so that this country could have her birth and wrote our Constitution knew what they were doing. The system works if we take back control of it from the idiots that think only the large groups of ppl with the most money deserve to have a voice. We must vote, we must convince our friends to vote. I'm writing a second coming of age ritual for my children based on my families custom of taking an 18 year old to register to vote on their birthday... the day they recive their "voice". We have to get involved or yeah, it's going to get bad, it's going to get ugly, and it's not going to get any better.
| Open Up! ||May 10th. at 11:40:26 pm EDT|
|Ru (Clemson, South Carolina) ||Age: 22 - Email |
I have never really been in the broom closet. I started on my current path at the age of fourteen. Not feeling that I should have to hide my beliefs, I proudly professed my Paganism. In retrospect that might not have been the best idea here on the buckle of the Bible Belt. I am in some ways more in the closet, because I am more cautious with whom I discuss my beliefs. I don't feel that I can turn around completely and go back in, for several reasons. One, I still believe that an individual should have the freedom to express themselves, that they have the right. I also feel that someone has to be willing to speak up with a difference of opinion to help those that are less sure and more timid. Two, too many people already know! Three, it just feels wrong. However, I have to say that their is a time and place for every discussion. That is something I wish teen pagans would realize more. Sometimes it doesn't get you anywhere to stand up and shout your opinion. It's important to skillfully pick your battles. I admit, this is a recent realization for me.
I am worried only slightly about the prospect of a modern day "witch hunt". I guess I don't want to admit it could happen. I DO think that are civil liberties in general are always at risk, though not as much as some would have us believe. The way to avoid withc hunts, though, is to be a conscious citizen. Vote. Go to town meetings. Work in the community. Be invovled and be informed. Apathy and ignorance are the greatest danger to our liberties, because the people that would take them away are well organized and THEY participate in government.
Online I am more cautious about my identity, but only because I don't trust people online as far as I can throw them. Obviously, as far as networking is concerned you have to make concessions, but I feel the biggest danger is not due to any religious issues, but to the fact that there are some real creeps out there. Some of them are even Pagan.
In the wider world, I am cautious as well. It is not necessary information for people to know. I never lie if asked, but it rarely comes up. There is no real reason to discuss it, especially at work. Why do they need to know why you're out of work on February 2nd? I think there is a real tendency to feel confrontational because as Pagans we expect conflict. I think that attitude only promotes conflict. Basic fact, not everyone you encounter needs to know.
Basically, I think my outlook comes down to considering your audience. Who are you speaking to? I only identify myself as Pagan when it serves a greater purpose, when it advances positive public perception, or when aske d directly. I don't feel the need to broadcast my beliefs, though to broad range of bozos out there.
| I Was Never In The Broom Closet ||May 11th. at 3:10:37 am EDT|
|Fred Geisler (Ann Arbor, Michigan) ||Age: 40 - Email - Web|
In a very real sense, I never was in the broom closet. My realization that I am a Witch played out in full view of the participants in an online forum.
Perhaps six months after my realization, my neighbor and his dog-walker probably found out, as I forgot to dismantle my household altar before leaving on a trip, and they took care of my dog for me.
I've been more hesitant about letting others physically close to me know. Still, at this point, I think everyone that works in my department knows.
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