Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
Article ID: 15374
Age Group: Adult
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Author: The Redneck Pagan
Posted: April 7th. 2013
Times Viewed: 3,980
Coming out of the Broom Closet is a huge issue for many Pagans. For those of you new to the path or who have never heard the term, Coming out of the Broom Closet is basically telling family, friends or whomever else you choose to tell that you are a witch. Most people who follow earth-based and magical spiritual paths have used the term. Some pagans will come out of the Broom Closet right away; as soon as they decide on their new path the world will know. Some will only tell close family and friends and some will wait for a few months or even years before telling anybody. And some still will follow their path in secrecy for the rest of their lives, telling only others on the path.
All of the above are perfectly acceptable! There is no one right way when it comes to sharing your path with others. I know a few pagans that are so far in the Broom Closet they passed Narnia four years ago (bad pun, no cookie!) . They do not talk about anything unless you are a pagan yourself, and even then it might only be from the safety of an online chat group. On the other end of the scale, I recently attended a Reclaiming event and met a few very “loud and proud” pagans. They are very involved in political events and have no problem showing their paths.
I even know some people who will wear their “witch’s hat” everywhere (Well, maybe not the actual hat. Have you ever tried to drive a small car wearing one of those things?) . But they will tell everybody and their dog that they are pagan/witch/Wiccan/Whatever. They might be trying to form a coven and are fishing for members, or they feel that the world must hear the good word of the Goddess (pagan equivalent to the JW’s) , and even a few more just want the attention. They want to start a fight to prove how superior they are. Some still are just very excited and grateful for finding the path that they can’t hold it all in! Then there are those of us who have chosen a middle ground (of sorts) . We wear our pentacles or goddess symbols every day, but don’t go tromping about making a lot of noise to draw attention to ourselves.
Now I do not want to pass judgment here; everybody has to live their lives in a way that brings them the most peace and harmony. My thoughts and opinions on how to live as a Pagan are just as valid as the next person’s. So with that point cleared out, and the primer in my hands, I am going to share how I have sorta stepped out of that Broom Closet.
The first people I told were my immediate family. I was still living at home at the time and felt that before I began to do anything I really owed my family the explanation. I had spent a long time thinking, reading, and asking two of my pagan friends’ questions before I decided I wanted to try my hand at this path. I then sat down with my mother one Saturday over a cup of coffee and told her I was thinking about reading on other religions. At first I got a blank stare. Then she asked me why. I told her about feeling disconnected with Christianity, hated going to church (not that I was forced to go, I went willingly on my own, trying to connect to the divine) and wanted to study more Earth Based religions.
We talked for a few hours and my mother was very calm and compassionate about it. She told me to go ahead, learn and study, just keep her in the loop: “I know you are not a baby anymore sweetie, and that as a grown woman you can make your own choices. But as your mother I love you and worry and just need to know you are safe. So keep me in the loop so that I don’t freak out, ok?” After sharing a few books with her, some long talks about the path I had chosen and seeing that I was not going to join a cult, she was very comfortable with the idea and we would often banter and joke about me being a witch.
The next person was Dad. After my talk with mom, I went to where he was working as a bartender (Yes, my dad worked as a bartender for years on Saturdays. Cool dad!!!) I sat at the Bar at closing time while he was washing glasses and told him the same thing I told mom. He was much calmer than my mom; he said he figured I was searching and that he supported whatever choice I made. I occasionally told him what I was up to and explained tools if he asked what they were. My brother was next and that was the interesting one. On my first outdoor ritual, the kid popped himself a bag of popcorn, sat in the backyard and declared “I’m here to see me some good Voodoo”. He then offered a running commentary on everything I was doing and saying. To this day he asks me “Done any good Voodoo lately?” but that is my brother, he has let me do card readings on him and his girlfriend and will even buy me stones or pentacles he finds that he thinks I will like.
My pagan friends already knew what I was up to, but then I told my best friend. I was almost as afraid to tell her as I had been my mother. She had been a very active in her church youth group for years and we had never really discussed alternate spirituality before. I ended up blabbing it to her before work one day after chickening out several times when we went out for lunch. I really had nothing to fear. She was so kind, loving and receptive. She said I had always been a bit different so this came as no surprise to her. Since then she, her two roommates and myself have had a wonderful time, discussing spirituality, magic and exchanging card readings.
Other friends have found out gradually over time. Some find out based on a glance at the book I am reading at the time, or a post I make on my personal Facebook page. At work I don’t wear my spirituality on my sleeve, but I really don’t hide it either. I always wear a pair of Pentacle earrings and a few stone rings; I also have either a Pentacle necklace or Goddess symbol necklace on. However, as I have said, I dress in professional manner. My cubicle has some pagan oriented pictures and a few crystals in it. Again not really hiding it, but I don’t stop everybody at work to tell him or her the properties of the crystals or what spell I am using it in next week.
My involvement with the wider Pagan community is a mixed bag. On the local scene, I go by my legal name, I communicate with others and attend events. I will occasionally even help set up an event or help with the event (although recently I scaled back my involvement because of my last group experience) . Whenever I write anything however, I use the name “The Redneck Pagan”. It’s not that I am ashamed of who and what I am; it’s that I like my privacy. I have no desire to walk a red carpet under a magnifying glass anytime soon. I am very happy being an “average Jane” and while I love to write and share my journey, I like to walk it unhindered. I don’t want people who dislike what I have to say to be able to find me or my family.
This is what works for me. It has allowed me to express my faith in a manner that is comfortable to me. I know some people will be shocked at how open I am, while others will be appalled at how much I have hidden. And they are most welcome to their opinions, because you see, what they and others think of me is no concern of mine. My faith, the way I practice, what I choose to tell others, is my choice.
So if you want to come out of the broom closet in a loud exuberant way, do it (although don’t be surprised if you get fallout; not everybody is accepting of that which is different) . If you want to slowly build up to it, that’s great. And if you are happy practicing solitary and keeping your faith to yourself, that is awesome as well. All of these are equally valid choices, and are yours alone to make. Do not feel like you must go one way or another, and don’t feel like you have to make that decision today. Take your time to decide, and don’t let anybody else tell you which way is right!
The Redneck Pagan
The Redneck Pagan
Location: Alberta, Alberta
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