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: 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
| 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 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.
| 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.
| 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!
| 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.
| 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.
| 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....
| 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.
| 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?
| 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?
| 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!
| 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.
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