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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Nov. 17, 2002   This Page Viewed: 12,925,562  

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Reponses: 129

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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 

If You Want To Know, Just Ask... May 12th. at 4:37:18 am EDT

Annwyn (Christchurch, New Zealand) Age: 32 - Email

In the last year, I've taken the repeated advice of a dear friend's Goddess Amulets (I am SO tired of seeing The Frog come out of that baggie!) and have sidled from the broomcloset to my Mum, my late brother, all my friends, and to at least 4 people at work who've asked. If people aren't going to like the answer, they shouldn't ask the question.

Luckily for we Kiwis, the current political climate here is tolerant of all religions, creeds and colours, so that makes this small nation Blessed in my opinion. But, saying that, I do worry for ANY person - Pagan, Moslem, Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist (to name a few) - that may be 'targeted' as a result of their religious belief. I do worry that a modern day 'witch-hunt' is occuring and will occur - there are so many wars being fought and so many nations in turmoil over beliefs, oil or dictatorships, that to deny that it's happening/will happen is to keep my head nicely in that patch of Kiwi Earth in my yard, and to paint a target on my butt-end. (for anyone looking, it's that BIG neon one on the left side of the South Island...)

Protecting myself in public arenas? Well, the internet allows a certain level of anonymity - I used my "still searching to see if it's my craft name" name to post this, and left my email address for those of you who might want to contact me, for fair or foul. I have a delete key and a block option on there, and I'm not afraid to use 'em! :) I talked about my process at work - if they ask, I say honestly. In my neighbourhood - I tend to the same as for work - they ask, I tell. It has gotten me and mine in trouble on at least one occasion, but a dinner invitation to prove that we didn't drink blood or sacrifice animals solved that.

As for speaking up in various social/political/religious situations - the key rule comes to mind - don't mix politics with religion in a social setting, and all will be well! I also write for a local Pagan/Wiccan/New Age newsletter/magazine that is put out by a friend and local shopowner, and in it try to I stay as inoffensive and neutral as possible, but I also know that it's only being targeted at and bought by a niche market, so that works out well. Again, I run with the concept of "If you ask, I'll tell you."

So, anyone out there, feel free to ask me!

May there always be stars in your skies, and sunshine in your lives


Get It Out There May 12th. at 2:34:29 am EDT

NH (The Netherlands) Age: 26 - Email

For me this is the time to get my message out there... by protesting against the war or writing atricles on the net. I never told about my pagan religion to my non believing parents because it's my personal choice..... when they are ready they will figure out what I do now, believe now. When they are interested they can ask me...

The complete disturbt way of thinking that is considerd normal now of "the one right way or beeing doomed" is scary, unhealthy and is a lack of reguard to someones individuality. There has been a whole political conflict here about the diffrence off beeing for the war or beeing for the americans. It's like when you don't like football you can't support your hometown team. A tendency that started with the words If you arn't with us you are against us.

It's time that the world learns that diffrent isn't better or worse..... It's just diffrent.

Out But Not Aggressive About It. May 12th. at 2:23:15 am EDT

John the Irish Journeyer (San Antonio, Texas) Age: 54 - Email

My spiritual path is my way of living - I neither conceal it nor promote it. While I am unafraid to share my 'take' on conventional morality and spirituality I have found that I am kindest when I am considerate of my audience. Folks who have rigid traditions, i.e., fundamentalists of any religious background, tend to be, as one friend described them, 'all rules and no mercy', so enlighted conversation or questioning of beliefs is uncomfortable for them. Another friend, who works at a corporation that is wantonly Christian, told me that, "Oh, no, they couldn't find out that she had a drinking problem, she would get fired, they were such a Christian group..." - so there are practical limits. To me being 'Out' means being honest, but also pragmatic. I really don't care what the religious background is of the clerk at the grocery store, nor should I. Equally, I don't feel a need to argue with anyone who simply reacts out of fear at any questioning of their belief system. My behavior speaks more eloquently about my ethical and spiritual beliefs anyway, so being Out to me means living consistently with my professed moral standards, not an easy task!

Half In Half Out May 11th. at 11:33:16 pm EDT

Gabriel (Memphis, TN) Age: 21 - Email

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?
When it comes to whether or not I'm more in or more out of the broom closet since last year, I'm pretty much exactly where I was. I am 21 and living at home, my older brother (who also lives here) had told dad that he would be going to Mass, well, he didn't go. Dad was having a fit and I asked him, what would you do if he came down here and said he wasn't ever going to church again because he's an athiest. Dad's replay: then he's not living here anymore. (I was raised Catholic, my father converted when I was 8 and apparently he believes that I (and my siblings) should be a stronger Catholic than him, since I was raised to believe this, apparently he doesn't remember that at my baptisim I cried so hard I kicked my booties off.) I have nowhere to go, so basically, only my friends know. I'm very open and honest about what I think and believe w/ everyone except my family.

Are you worried or have you ever seriously considered that a modern day ‘witch hunt’ might target Pagans in the next few months/years?
I am not all that concerned about a modern day witch hunt in the next year. Maybe in a couple but I like to believe that the citizens of this wonderful country would stop any legislature that would make any religion illegal, as in the First Amedment. People may have protested what the Dixie Chicks after what she said, but the government didn't haul them in for questioning. And hopefully they never will.

Have you taken extra precautions to protect your private information or Pagan identity on the internet? At work? In your neighborhood?
The only extra precautions I have is an extra email address, one I really use regualarly and one that I give to my family and those friends that I know whould not approve of my beliefs.

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?
Generally, I don't bring my own religion into the discussion. If someone actually asks, yes, I will tell them that I am a pagan, but I find it interesting when someone assumes that I believe one thing simply because I play "devil's advocate" regularly.

Out Of The Broomcloset!!! May 11th. at 10:10:38 pm EDT

jeannette (San Diego, CA) Age: 25 - Email

I have been out of the broom-closet for the last 10 years. I have always been open with my friends and family. This is the first time that I have worked for a big corperation though and that has changed things a bit. At work it really depends who I am speaking with. The gentelman that I share my cubical with is a devout Catholic and all that I tell people such as him that I am "not Christian, yet very spiritual" as I prefer to be judged on the performance of my work and not my religius beliefs. All in all though I am really open and out of the closet.

Grudging Acceptance May 11th. at 10:03:07 pm EDT

Wind Chapman (West Virginia) Age: 36 - Email - Web

I have experienced an atmosphere here towards pagans that I have not yet heard voiced by other pagans. When people find out that I am a pagan/druid type they begin to bombard me with questions. These inquiries have not been acusational in tone, rather "openly curious."

To a person, they are amazed that I know the Christian religion very well, and the Christian bible, I can often quote and discuss the metaphores of the text with almost anyone.
Soon after, I am asked for a "cure" for belly, head, heart, ect... aches. I am often amused by the simple childlike requests and acceptance most people show me, and I am always flattered.

Wind Runner (Yes, it is my real name)

Very Out May 11th. at 5:52:32 pm EDT

willow (Ottawa) Age: 41 - Email

It took me a while to decide whether or not to tell my family about my destined path. So i started with close friends... wanted to see what the level of acceptance would be... they asked intelligent well-thought-out questions and i provided answers in the same light. I decided then not to hide what i was, altho did not broadcast it... then i chose to wear my pentacle.. it was not until someone saw a book i was reading at work that i had to deal with harrassement... it was one person.. he was dealt with accordingly by management... this gave me a great deal of confidence and have since come out to my parents... they understand, and in fact.. if they were not elderly and having lived 70-80 years in fear of the wrath of God and eternal damnation, they have said they would likely choose to follow with me... (those old fears have been FIRMLY engraved in their hearts)

My license plate on my car, is BRUMSTIK.. LOL.. now if that's not out of the closet.. i dunno what is... (altho the guy at the motorvehicle office asked if it had religious connotations.. and i had to stretch it a bit and say i liked broomball..hehehehehe... which is true!!)

I am who i am.. if that's a problem for someone..that would be THEIR problem, not mine... :o)


Flying High On My Broom May 11th. at 5:22:31 pm EDT

Bluemoon (NY) Age: 43 - Email

Although I always been a very private person, most people know I am pagan. My family thinks in just means 'not christian' but my in-laws are very aware of my feelings on religion. The main reason I came out with them (maybe not the best of reasons) is so hopefully I would be ostisized from the family, it worked. Also, I am extremely tired of the constant preaching. If you are polite with them and say you don't believe the same, please stop, they are more determined. It got ugly, but I feel I have the right in my own house to be treated with respect.

As far as a witch hunt is concerned, I really don't think so. Although I am wondering why they are refurbishing the concentration camps in the midwest where the Japaness Americans were held during WWII. They must be getting ready for something. Also, Bush is not quite the Christian he would like the country to believe he is. Actually he is a Free Mason and a member of the illuminati. I think maybe the christians have more to worry about than we do, and they won't even be looking for it. I do feel, though, that something will blow soon.

One person wrote that Bush couldn't take away our constitutional right to bare arms (I hope not) but if his new bill passes he will take way our freedom of speach. All the media in a given market being owned by one company is unconstitutional, much like the patriot act. We will be told only what they want us to hear. It looks like he will get away with it. What will be next? Research on the Patriot Act is very frightening. (

Bright Blessings

Peeking Out The Door, But Turning Towards Narnia May 11th. at 5:16:26 pm EDT

Faye Dragonsbaine (MA, USA) Age: 19 - Email

Oh how things can change with the turning of the wheel...

This year I've changed so drastically, but I suppose that comes when one begins living outside the house for the first time, with college. With it, comes a certain freedomI have exercised in stepping out... joining up with the local community, and enjoying being a member among them and making new friends and bonds of friendship... its so nice not to be lying about my beliefs anymore. However, soon I head back to my families home, and.. once again, I'll be so deep in the closet, I'll let you know if I find Narnia .

The current political climate makes me slightly wary, and i think any intelligent individual would be. Pres. George W. Bush's logically often falling towards a fundamentalist Christian view, him pitting the war with Iraq as almost religious due to his way of speaking about it, the laws he's trying to pass (Patriot Act) ... I do fear if this continues for long, what we will see. My heart's with ACLU.

As far as protecting myself online.. I like the anomyity factor. I do use a pen name as is quite obvious as well as one particular email address which recieves all my email that deal with religion.

I want the prospect of of freedom, to spread my wings and be myself.. yet, I know the atmosphere won't allow such yet. To wait.. as long as necessary, I have the patience.

Yes I Am Afraid May 11th. at 5:04:39 pm EDT

SilverFalcon (Camp HIll Pa) Age: 20 - Email

Yes in some ways I am afraid of a witch hunt. When I first started practicing. My parents called the police and had them try to arrest me for studying it. They said I was worshiping the devil and I was going to sacrfice my brother. I tried to explain to them but they didn't understand. So I had to practice very privitely. I would go over to my friends house . My mom knows I do something now. But they are people in my area that would do anything to get rid of the pagan groups in the area.

My.. It Sure Is Dark In This Closet.. May 11th. at 4:29:14 pm EDT

Aethereal Star (South Carolina) Age: 16 - Email

well.. honestly, i have been in the broom closet since i was 11 but current event's don't make me not want to tell my parents. In fact it makes me want to tell them more. I might even tell them today or tommorrow.

I don't fear witch hunts and i don't conceal my pagan identity on the net. I love the internet because it is a place where i can truly be free. I am less inclined however, to tell the general public that i am a wiccan. it might not turn out very well in a town that has 12 christian churches within a 12 mile radius. :)

Aethereal Star

Sort Of Both... May 11th. at 12:13:41 pm EDT

Nokomis (OK) Age: 25 - Email

The friends I have online that I know wont freak out and tell me I am going to hell know. The ones that will don't.

I don't wear a pent, don't even own one. I do sometimes wear a tree charm necklace, but no one ever asks about it.

Offline, my sisters, one aunt, mother, husband and son know. No one else in my family or my husbands family knows. I don't have to go out of my way to hide it, when the topic of religion comes up, almost never, I just nod and smile most of the time. When prayers are said, I lower my head out of respect for their beliefs, but do not recite them. In my case there is no real benefit to my "coming out", I practice alone except for the infrequent times I include my son, and my being open about my beliefs would cause a large strain on my collective family, especially with my inlaws.

I'm not Wiccan so I don't even celebrate all of the holidays, mainly having very small observances of the season changes only. With the exception of Halloween which I've loved since I was very young, but again I don't make a huge deal of it. That too I celebrate on my own in quiet darkness, last year I chatted with my great grandmother who departed when I was very young.

Since I am a solitary, and I follow no "official" path I feel no compulsion to attract attention to myself. I've been magickally inclined for most of my life, but I have no degree's and do not follow a "Religion" of any sort so I don't even make a strong example of the majority of the Pagan population. Thus I have no reason to be out to more people than I already am.

Similarly I am out to even fewer people about being Bi-sexual, because while I've found women attractive since I was about six and even been in love with a couple, I've never acted on it. Thus there isn't much to talk about in that direction either...

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