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: Nov. 17, 2002
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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.
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| Greetings, I Believe That The Only Way To Dis-spell Fear Is To... ||Nov 24th. at 10:53:32 am EST|
|Rebecca Luis (Dover, Delaware US) ||Age: 39 - Email |
I believe that the only way to dis-spell fear is to walk your path in the open. Goddess has lead me to people and places that have needed to see me as a witch.
At my last job I was not going to say anything about my beliefs, soon I began hearing stories about how the last person left the position and how she had "cast spells" on everyone before she left. Unfortunately, I knew the person and was aware that she had performed bainful magic regularly. I beleive in up holding the rede, "do as tho wilt, harm none". The Goddess lead me to open up to these people one day at a group lunch. I just could not bear hearing them talk so negatively about Wiccans. So I expressed to them that just as christians do not walk in "forgiveness and love" some pagans don't either. But that if I could be a positive example of the magickal community I would welcome their questions and give open answers where ever I could. They were all very curious and actually asked thoughtful, intellegent questions. I was treated with respect and that surprised me. I continued my working relationship with all of these people, and even though some showed fear, I think (and hope) that eventually they all saw me in a positive light.
Perfect love and perfect trust must apply to how we walk our paths, not to how others react. I urge all to use their intuition when opening the closet door, to be open as much as they feel that they can be. We must deal with our own fear in this, how will we be accepted or not accepted. Do not underestimate those walking on other paths, there will always be those who will not try to understand. But there will be those that will. I thank the Lady and the Lord every time I am able, by my own example, to show a positive side to our beliefs.
And I also am thankful whenever I see positive from the other paths.
| All Of My Life I Have Been Told That Being Who I... ||Sep 19th. at 10:32:16 pm EDT|
|Kate (Indianpolis, Indiana US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
All of my life I have been told that being who I am is wrong. I was always too smart, too ugly, too tall, too skinny, too pretty(how odd when that changed), too stubborn, too strong-willed, too expressive....
BLAH BLAH BLAH.
So, I don't care what anyone thinks about me, when it comes down to it. I speak honestly and directly-- which in many minds, makes me a bitch.
Fine. Think what you want to think-- I don't control that!
So, most people don't get to know me well enough to know that I am a witch. The ones that do know me, know me very well. Some have left when they found out what my spiritual belief system is. Their loss.
I only want people in my life who are about unconditional love.
I will speak my truth until my dying day.
I do not provoke or look for enemies. If someone looks at me with a closed heart and mind, they may choose to hate me. I do not control that, either.
I have survived much abuse and pain and I know what it is like to live in fear. I fought long and hard to live MY life.
| Right Now I Live In Seattle, Which Is A Very Tolerant And... ||Sep 3rd. at 2:45:51 pm EDT|
|Lynn (Seattle/ soon to be Huntsville , Alabama US) ||Age: 35 - Email |
Right now I live in Seattle, which is a very tolerant and diverse city. I don't often discuss my religious beliefs, but am not In the Closet here. However, I am getting ready to move to Alabama to be near my family. I was raised there, in the southern baptist church and understand fully what the reaction of my family would be if I were to come Out. While I will be able to discuss some of my views, and will hopefully help educate my family in the truth of the Pagan beliefs, I will not come Out to them. Not yet.
To come Out to the strict southern baptists in my family would cause Them extreme distress. They have been taught extreme beliefs based on fear and lies, and their beliefs cannot be changed overnight. As with all changes in a culture, it will take time to overcome the teachings of the extreme religious right. Look at the changes in ethnic tolerance that have happened in our lifetime. Much has changed, but much still needs to change, and it's been decades in the making.
We have several things on our side though, the internet has been a wonderful tool for education and for support. As our numbers grow, and as those who do speak out are heard, we will make headway. Some of us will be able to fight the public fight, but the private fight, the fight in our homes will be just as important. The publicity will help those of us who are In the Broomcloset educate others and will also help fight the fears. We all have to follow our own hearts, isn't that one of the best things about being Pagan?
| Hello, My Name Is Amanda. I Am A Twenty Year Old Witch... ||Sep 3rd. at 2:44:45 pm EDT|
|Amanda Mellon (Baylis, Illinois US) ||Age: 20 - Email |
Hello, My name is Amanda. I am a twenty year old witch in Central Illinois. I have been studying the craft for about five years, practicing for one year, and have been out the entire time. When I was sixteen, my biggest fear was telling my mother because she is Mormon. So when I told my mother what I was doing, she got very angry and began telling me that I wasn't welcome in her home. After that fight, we didn't speak about it for almost three years. By then, I was ninteen and a little wiser and my mother and I were able to talk to each other about it rationally. She and I have had the most intelligent conversations and my religion.
Now that I am a little older, I have some concerns about being "out of the broom closet", both personally and professionally. Professionally, being out in the open, you can lose your job, insurance, and other things needed to survive. Personally, you can lose your home, car, and even your children. For me, I am finding it very hard to date people because I am afraid of how they will act when they find out about my religion. People are afraid of what they don't understand. However, despite my fears, I will continue to be "out of the closet" because my religion is a part of how I am and I will not hide it. For others, I feel that they can chosse whether to be "in or out of the closet" because we all have the right to choose how we live our lives.
| I Believe That As A Person You Have Your Own Descisions To... ||Sep 3rd. at 1:27:46 pm EDT|
|Kryzde (South Euclid, Ohio US) ||Age: 14 - Email |
I believe that as a person you have your own descisions to make and noone should try to change the way you feel or tell you that you are wrong or right. There is no correct way to do things. you do what you feel you must do. Others can coment on your approaches to certain things but they should notjudge you and tell you what to do with your life. We should all respect and help each other out. If we think someone is putting themselves in danger or that someone should express themselves more freely we can kindly give them our suggestions but please do not tell someone that they are going about their lives the wrong way. Noone knows another persons reasons for being the way they are. And we dont know each others lives like we know our own. Some people may have more trouble being "out" than others because of their situation , and we all should respect each others wishes. Life is not easy so why should we make it harder for ourselves and others with disrespect and fights. We should all stand together to protect ourselves as a whole.
this is only my opinion. I am not saying that you are right or wrong in your ways. If you disagree I do not mind just please dont judge me.
"together we stand , divided we fall"
| While I Respect And Admire The People And Groups Who Fight For... ||Sep 3rd. at 12:21:56 pm EDT|
|Rhiannon Daughtermoon (Seattle, Washington US) ||Age: 33 - Email |
While I respect and admire the people and groups who fight for paganism to be more understood and accepted, I feel ultimately it is a personal choice how "out" one decides to be. I myself am out with some people I meet, and do my best to help them understand what I'm about. But in other areas of my life, it it best for me to keep it to myself. I don't feel anyone else can decide this for me. Just as there is free choice of religion, so is there free choice of whom one decides to talk to about one's way of life. This was one of the many things which attracted me to the craft, freedom to be myself, and make my choices, with no harm to others. I am solitary, so perhaps if I were in a group, I would help the group in their efforts for acceptance, but as I am not, I prefer to keep to myself in some ways. However, I DO defend it when the situation presents itself.
| I Belive That Being In The Broom Closet Is A Necessity For... ||Sep 3rd. at 11:21:41 am EDT|
|Stephanie (Midwest City, Oklahoma US) ||Age: 29 |
I belive that being in the broom closet is a necessity for some people who are isolated in small conservative communities, who fear for the custody of their children, or who might work for a less than understanding employer.
Some people might repsond to this as, "Well the law is on your side, be loud and proud, don't hide, etc., " But it is not that easy. Those of you who have had to deal with legal issues, and retain the expensive talents of a lawyer know what's up. I have been workin with Religous Rights Advocacy and Activism for several years. Even if the law is technically on your side, there is no garantee that the outcome will be what you need or desire in such situations. The ACLU does not take every discrimination case that comes up and most people make too much to get legal aid.
When a person blows the whistle on discrimination and harassment, it is the right thing to do. But Whistle blowers are rarely rewarded with anything more substantial than words in such situations. You may be able to look at yourself in the mirror, but will you be able to pay the rent or put food in your children's mouths?
Doing what's right is always a good thing, but that does not mean that you will come out of such situations unscathed. Does that mean that we as individuals should do nothing? I believe that every tiny, incremental step away from hatered and discrimination and ignorance is a step in the right direction. I admire people who are willing to call attention to a problem inspite of the status quo, inspite of the possible outcomes. I have done it myself. It is a hard job, it can be scary, and unpleasant.
I will not pass judgement on a person who does not desire to be "out, " about their religion, Pagan or otherwise. Such actions are an act of self preservation. The right to privacy, the pursuit of happiness all fall into this category. If you choose to be out, if you choose to work in the public eye about religious issues, then that is your choice. Either way, in or out is a personal choice that rests on a multitude of considerations. Environment, job security, child rearing, neighbors, family, landlords, school officials and the big question, Is the individual Pagan in question comfortable with their faith and educated enough to deal with the complex barrage of questions that will ensue after they come out?
Anyone who has walked a mile in the Whistle Blower shoes can sympathize with what is really at stake.
Besides, some of the best representatives of this community are the good neighbors. When we as individuals are part of the mainstream community as volunteers, as good neighbors, as helpful and friendly people, the religious issue is more likely to be point of curiousity rather than hostility. What do you want your boss, your neighbors, or co-workers to think of first? Your personality or the word that you use to describe your religion that they may or may not (want to) understand?
| To Me It's Sad That This Is Even An Issue. No One... ||Sep 3rd. at 11:18:59 am EDT|
|TRINITY WOLF STAR (LAKEWOOD, Washington US) ||Age: 44 - Email |
TO ME IT'S SAD THAT THIS IS EVEN AN ISSUE. NO ONE SHOULD BE IN YOUR FACE ABOUT ANYTHING. IF WE ALL" LIVED OUR SPIRITUALLITY" THERE WOULDN'T BE ANY ISSUE. WE WOULD ALL BE ENDORSING LOVE, PEACE, HAPPINESS NO MATTER WHAT OUR BELIEF SYSTEM IS. I WAS A JEHOVAHS WITNESS FOR 38 YEARS. MOST OF THE TIME I WAS VERY UNHAPPY WITH IT. BUT IT WAS ALL I KNEW AND ALL MY FAMILY WERE ALSO J.W. MY DAUGHTERS "SHARED" A BOOK WITH ME. IT WAS ONE BY SILVER RAVEN WOLF. NEEDLESS TO SAY I STARTED ON A NEW JOURNEY AND HAVEN'T LOOKED BACK. THE DOWN SIDE IS I'VE BEEN SHUNNED BY MY J.W. FAMILY SINCE THEN. WHAT'S FUNNY IS I'M SUCH A BETTER PERSON NOW. WHY DON'T WE ENCOURAGE INDIVIDUAL BELIEF SYSTEMS IF THEY TRUELY MAKE US BETTER PEOPLE. NOE MY BROTHER IN LAW HAS BECOME A CHISTIAN AND YOU KNOW WHO HIS TARGET IS? MY NIECES ARE NO LONGER ALLOWED OVER TO VISIT ME, HE DOWNGRADES ME TO THEM. IS MAKING THEM FEARFUL OF ME. THIS IS LOVE? THERE TRUELY ARE MANY PATHS TO THE TOP. CAN'T WE ALL JUST ENJOY THE HIKE AND LOVE THE SCENERY AS WE GO? WE LIVE IN A COUNTRY WHERE NO ONE SHOULD BE AFRAID TO COME OUT OF THE CLOSET, BROOM OR OTHER WISE. LET'S HELP MAKE THE WHOLE WORLD THAT WAY.
| I Have Always Been Quite Open About The Fact That I'm A... ||Sep 3rd. at 8:28:15 am EDT|
|Jeanette Woodward-Partridge (Oceanside, California US) ||Age: 45 - Email |
I have always been quite open about the fact that I'm a witch. I wear my pentacle around my my neck in plain sight at all times. My husband, who is in the Navy, does the same thing. Why should we not? We are very proud and very contented with our Wiccian beliefs and are not shy about the fact that people know it. It is not a crime to be a pagan and we have the same rights to religious freedom that everyone else in this country has. This I might add is a choice that should not be made lightly as both me and my husband have had a few run ins with bible-thumping fundies.One of the incidents I encountered was at work. I was cornered by someone who had been eavesdropping on a conversation I had with a friend of mine about my beliefs, he was VERY aggressive, and started out by asking me why I wasn't afraid I was going to hell for my beliefs. At first I was willing to try to educate this person but it became apparent very quickly that he wasn't interested in a two way dialouge, so I just said no I wasn't afraid of going to a place I don't believe exists.He promptly went absolutlely berserk!In order to defuse the situation, and quite this lunatic down, I had to threaten him with HR if he didn't walk away and let the subject drop. Now this is the most extreme incident I've encountered, and I understand there are people who've had a lot worse things happen.
So, I repeat, make this decision only if you are serious as we are about your beliefs.
| Merry Meet Everyone. My Views On This Are That I Think That... ||Sep 3rd. at 2:33:09 am EDT|
|Ashling (Moontownship, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
Merry Meet everyone. My views on this are that I think that minors should be "in". I myself am a minor. I'm only 16. I told a few people at my school and someone told almost everyone. And as a result people were talking behind my back and making fun of me. People that I trusted. Well people that I thought I could trust. If you're over 18 then more power to you because then you're free to worship anything you please and can't get into troble or kicked out of your school. I mean at college you can't really get into trouble that I know of. You're an adult. When you're a minor you're parents can send you to a bible school, or something else. I think that it also depends on the person. If their very comfortable with themselves and who they are then more power to them. If you're not sure though then I'd advise not telling. You never know which one of your friends could be the backstabbing kind. Well I have to go. Blessed Be
| The Decision Is Really Your Own, But If Other Religions Can Be... ||Sep 3rd. at 12:20:29 am EDT|
|Emanya (Bedford, New Hampshire US) ||Age: 15 |
The decision is really your own, but if other religions can be open, why not us? Why should we keep secrets and not be ourselves?
| I Am Out Of The Broomcloset With Everyone Except My Parents And... ||Sep 3rd. at 12:01:25 am EDT|
|Holly Ross (a.k.a., Morgana) (Wichita, Kansas US) ||Age: 20 - Email |
I am out of the broomcloset with everyone except my parents and sister. The reason that I am still (at the age of 20) hiding it from them is that they are strong Christians. Telling them the truth would do nothing positive except hurt them and cause them worry. I see no reason why they should have to worry about my soul, so they do not know. I understand that some are not fortunate enough to be able to be out of the broomcloset as I am. I'm in the Air Force, which has a very strict policy about discrimination and harrassment, and I have numerous avenues to pursue if I am ever victimized for my religious beliefs. However, most people in America are not so lucky, and some people still lose their jobs for religion. All in all, it's a decision that needs to be made on a case-by-case basis. What do you believe is right for you? That said, if you are going to be "out of the broomcloset", please, please, PLEASE try your hardest to be "normal"--at least with your non-pagan acquaintances. Although I personally see nothing wrong with dressing in all black and wearing pentacles out in the open, many people equate that type of behavior with Satanism and "evil". If you're going to claim Witchcraft openly, please be very cautious as to how you present yourself.
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