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A Quest for Unity

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Year: 1997 ...

Survey Results - AAA General Profile

Your comments on - Witchcraft in the Public Eye

Survey Results - Explaining your Religion/Personal Belief

Survey Results - Out of the Broom Closet

Survey Results - Witchcraft in the Public Eye

Survey Results - Teachers of the Craft

Your comments on - Working with Groups

Your comments on - Explaining your Religion/Personal Belief

Survey Results - Working with Groups

A Quest for Unity ( 1)

Your comments on - Teachers of the Craft

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Unity Essays from YOUR Community

Your comments on - Witchcraft in the Public Eye Pg2

A Quest for Unity ( 2)

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Your comments on - Witchcraft in the Public Eye Pg4

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Article Specs

Article ID: 2033

VoxAcct: 9

Section: unity

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 8,010

Times Read: 4,521

Your comments on - Out of the Broom Closet Page 2

Author: Pagan Communities
Posted: September 16th. 1997
Times Viewed: 4,521

Initial Thoughts from the Community (the first 24 hours)

YOUR comments on...

Coming out of the Broom Closet Page #2
(as of Tuesday 8/19/97 10:00 pm)

Survey Sez...

"My story is kind of weird... My boss the main person who could give me trouble over it is a very strong Christian though not the bad closed-minded kind. My magickal info is up for all to see on my website and I know he's been all over it. We have a lot of the same moral values just not the same religion so he's fine with it and respects me. My mother only living blood relative knows I'm into magick and is fine with it as long I'm not evil which she knows I'm not. All my friends know. Obviously my wife knows."

"I am out to my mother I read her parts of The Spiral Dance one long drive down to the south of the state and she thought that like so many others Starhawk was putting a name to what she's known for some time. After that she wanted to go to an open circle in town and to meet others of a like mind. Because she is a business woman and not prone to being unique for the sake of standing out the flaky pagan attitudes and dress at the circle put her off... just like they have put off several of my interested friends. These pagans are nice and some are very talented magicians but their public presentation scared her away from worshipping with others. I am also out to my grandparents they ignore it usually. My grandfather is dying a slow and painful death and he asked me what my beliefs were on dying and I told him no big deal. But my biggest concern is now that I have decided to become an elementary teacher what am I to do when the time comes to get a job I have never been really good at not being myself... and ... I am scared. I hope that by the time I graduate there will be some hope of having pagan centered and sponsored schools so that I might be able to teach at one of them. Who knows if there is not I may get on the bandwagon and start some. Hell a lot of Christian churches in my state have there own private schools mostly so that there children wont be subjugated to the predominate religions guerrilla conversion tactics... ... ... ... Unity is the answer. Pass it on... ..."

"I never have or never will believe in staying in the closet. Sure its easy to do now and it will save you a lot of name calling ect... but it will NEVER help in the long run. No matter how much you believe it will never help anyone understand. I don't go about yelling I'm a Witch but I do tell who ever asks. That's what I believe. I am only 16 years old and I want badly to have children when I am grown and settled. I want their lives to be easy. If I am one of those who hide I can never say I helped make it easier for them to practice their faith openly. I don't want my children to have to hide their belief in the God and Goddess. I don't want their children to have to hide this. I don't want anyone to have to hide their religion. I tell my self this and cross my fingers very time I am tempted to lie and say I have no religion or I am Christian. I also would hate to live in ignorance and I believe that many others feel the same. Whenever I can help stop ignorance I do."

"I have been out since I first started studying Witchcraft. The way I looked at it is that people have always thought I was different and I have never fit into mainstream society anyway so there was no point in hiding it. My family is unconditionally supportive and open minded so I never worried about what they thought. I have been lucky. I don't go around announcing what I do but if somebody asks I will tell them most of the time. Nobody has ever said anything negative to me about it. I've been accused of being a devil worshipper when I didn't even believe in Satan so being harassed for being a Witch isn't going to bother me much. It has been good for me to be open. I know people who simply cannot be out and I feel bad for them. People are almost always interested in what I have to say so I am in a position to educate others. I feel very free being able to be myself... ."

"I left the broom closet for the sole reason that I wanted to be able to let others know that I was there to help them if needed. A side benefit is that by being out I might have the chance to meet others but that hasn't panned out that well."

"My reason for being partially out of the closet is concern for my family and what others might think of them they aren't witches/pagans and what tactics might be used against them be it physical verbal or emotional. My immediate family has on the whole been very supportive and my oldest daughter has expressed an interest in my beliefs. I feel comfortable with family knowing but I have a concern that my ex might use the knowledge to try to take my daughter away. Basically I found that unless people ask about my faith/belief I don't mention it but if they ask I do tell them the truth and go from there. Moon Shadows"

"I tend to think religion is a private matter. I don't like it when people tell me their religion immediately upon meeting me. As a result I don't tell people my religion unless they ask straight out. Most people really are not interested in the religious practices of their neighbors or friends. At least that is what I have found. My father knows that I am interested in the occult and knows that I practice WitchCraft. My extended family has not been informed and my neighbors and landlord have no reason to be told. I think much of the trouble that comes with coming out of the closet as a Pagan or Wiccan or Ceremonial Magician comes when people feel that the entire world is interested in what they do in the privacy of their own home on full moons. I think that telling everyone your religious practices is as inappropriate and annoying for Pagans as it is for fundamentalist Christians. Religion is PRIVATE and does not have to be shared with everyone you know. Just my two cents worth."

"Don't really have one I just decided to come out and thankfully no one was too concerned"

"I always been open with my family. Its kinda tough to hide your religion when your alter is on your night stand."

"I came completely out of the closet to form a Solitaires group where I live. It did not have the dramatic effect on my public life i.e. job friends etc that I thought it would. However what I caught or got caught up in was Witch Wars instead. This totally caught me off guard. I have had people Wiccans and Pagans threaten to tell my ex-wife she knows my parents they know and my job no big deal. I was expecting this kind of reaction from the Right wing Christians that live in my Bible Belt city however I was not expecting it from my Fellow Pagans. My coming out has been a royal pain in the ass with that regards however it has also given me power over my own life publicly without the worry of someone finding out my secret. Now don't get me wrong not all pagans/wiccans are going to turn each other in. It is only a select few and those few are sick minded individuals who think that they can try to ruin other peoples lives just because they cant have a real life themselves. The Power trippers in the COmmunity need to be dealt with one way or another. We as Pagans and Wiccans for some reason tend to forgive each other our sins just because we are pagans and Wiccans. We need to learn how to deal with the abusers in out own communities so that they cannot abuse others the way they have in the past. Only by taking back from those people that would deny us out freedom that which is ours can we truly be free."

"I have found it hard sometimes being out of the Broomcloset. Some people can be so discriminatory thinking oh shell put a curse on us. I am a high school student and in my grade 9 art class I had other Pagan friends in it and we were talking about Wicca and stuff like that. Well the whole class heard us I guess we were talking kinda loud but from then on the grade 11 peer helper stayed away from us he was very afraid of me in peticular... He sat up at the front talking to one of my Jehovah Witness friend and would say I hope she wont curse me what if she does what can she do The teacher also was fearful but he was more easy going but he was always watching me... On the bright side I meet my boyfriend who is a Christian in that class and one of the first things he knew about me was my path... and he still wanted to get to know me... It just goes to show that some people can accept it are there are just others that cant handle it its too fairy tale like too overwhelming. I think as Pagans we all should come out of the broom closet so that we can educate everyone about what we are and maybe then we wont be so discriminated against... Bottom line is I've lost friends because of what I am but in the long run I've won. Bright Blessings Melentha"

"I have been studying and practicing for 7 years now. After joining the military 3 12 years ago i got a chance to move from home and meet others of similar interests. Discrimination wasn't much of a concern for me. I came out by my own declaration because I am proud of being pagan and proud to be called a naturalist. My advice to others is something my father always told me. Always stand up for what you believe in and be proud of who you are"

"I have a small quibble with question 33. Again it is the problem with radio buttons instead of check boxes. I live in a small city that is predominantly one faith and both of those factors affect when and with whom I choose to disclose my faith. As in survey number two the choice of radio buttons has restricted our responses in a way that may warp survey results. I have little broom-closet advice for other pagans except to say that it is rarely necessary to be fully and completely in the broom closet with the door shut and bolted. It is incredibly lonely being isolated like that and I would urge folk who are still in to find one or two good friends who could be trusted with the knowledge and fess up. It really does make things easier. I also have a bone to pick. Not with many pagans but with a few. Every so often I run into a Wiccan who is completely out of the closet who thinks that everyone should be. There are few things I resent more than someone else informing me that I am less than a true and devout Child of the Lady simply because I choose not to introduce myself with Hi my name is Jen and I am a Witch. Each of us lives in a unique set of circumstances and it is up to each of us to determine in her own good time when and to whom she will come out. So if you ain't me... back off. I am a big girl and I can make my own decisions. Thanx for the soapbox."

"I was out with many of my friends from the beginning. My friends were the people that introduced me to Witchcraft and Wicca. It took me quite a while to come fully out of the broom closet. I was afraid of what my family would think as well as people in general. I fought with this for a very long and painful time. Shortly after becoming a witch I had a major life crisis and went through hell as it were. Because of this I was very careful about how I came out. I took a chance one night when I was having a long talk with my step mother and decided it was the right time. I told her and she took it really well. The problems started later when my father confronted me about Wicca. He said that I was a Satan Worshiper. At that point I explained that I do not worship Satan and that is a Christian concept and that I don't follow Christian beliefs. That really made things tense for sometime. Over time things have smoothed out but mainly because that is a subject that is not discussed. My family understands that I have made my choice and even though they may not agree with it that is my choice. That is the only real confrontation that I have ever encountered so far. Most of the people I meet may misunderstand but they have been willing to let me explain what my beliefs initial and then they are more comfortable with my beliefs."

"I was never worried about it with my friends. They understand me and many of them are pagan. My parents however began to question my reading material. I was only 16 and my parents could not grasp the concept that I could make my own decisions. Eventually they began to ask questions and I decided not to lie to them. They have been a pain about it ever since."

"Actually... .I don't really have a story about coming out. I just kinda did. It just happened so fast that I don't remember what it was... .oh well... .hehe... .sorry"

"Having never really been in the closet I never had to come out. I was raised in a pagan household. While my parents didn't practice both Grandmothers were witches. My parents were young moderns and didn't really adhere to any religion. I came of age between the beat generation and the hip generation in the early 60s. Being a witch back then seemed relatively mild... .I mean I didn't have to shave my head or beg for coins at the airport or wear saffron yellow robes on the street. I work for a Large public corporation with an EEOP policy and a diversity plan so being a witch publicly here has also been little problem. In fact one of my friends here who is a manager is also an out witch. I had baked an Ostara cake for this friend to take home for his ritual and also one to put one out for general office consumption. Another manager saw them and said to my friend you're not gonna eat that are you my friend looked at him confused Yes I'm gonna eat it Why Manager 1 She's a witch you know my friend also a witch also a manger smiled and said I hardly think shed poison someone especially not one of her own the other manager turned bright red sputtered and exclaimed something about a warlock then walked quickly away leaving the cake for those who appreciated it well to my knowledge that's the closest I've come to being discriminated against. Of course there are those subtle things which you could never prove but I have been fortunate in my life."

"My parents had always wondered where I was going to go when it came to religion. After a while they started finding more and more reading material about Witchcraft. They slowly came to accept it I believe. My dad calls me His little Witch"

"I cant even truly remember when I first came out and to who. I was raised to be an atheists but found the world of witches to be very exciting and mysterious. I read about it in Time Life books but never really considered the fact that people practiced it. The Hollywood witch was what I always thought of. For a while when I was in early High school I pretended like I was a Christian because all my friends were and I felt like Id been robbed of some neat spiritual experience. Boy was I wrong. I turned back to the books and started to really learn. I now practice with a friend and am completely out of the broom closet."

"I am out to most people except my work. I work at a telemarketing agency that raises funds for the Christian Coalition and other conservative non-profit organizations. I had to take this job because I had just signed a lease to move out when my other job laid me off. I have feeling that it was because they found out that I was Pagan. I cant prove it but that's what I feel. I am currently looking for another job but I haven't had much luck yet. I had to move out because I was living with my parents who didn't know that I was no longer Catholic even though my mother suspected. I have since told her that I am no longer Christian. She didn't take it well and I know that she does not understand but I realize that she still loves me. My sisters both know and my littlest sister is showing signs of Buddhist calling. I have fallen in love with another Pagan and we do fine together. Only my immediate family knows and I don't know if I will tell the other family members or not."

"I'm in with my family and most friends actually only two friends know about my religion. One of them is the son of a Presbyterian minister. I'm in the closet to preserve standing relationships. I live in the Bible Belt and if I were to tell everyone about my Pagan beliefs I would certainly lose many friends who are immersed in fundamentalist Christianity. I wish it were not so but there seems to be little I can do about it. Maintaining anonymity while engaging in public activism doesn't seem likely to work."

"Some sensitive issues here... .I will see the second anniversary of my self dedication on Samhain. My husband was raised Pagan in a small and very open community in Montana. We now live in Nashville Tennessee. We would both like very much to be completely open about our religion but that just is not a possibility at this time with the family and community situation. With luck and a lot of work this will eventually change. It is changing but very gradually. My dream is to eventually own and operate a magick store in the country between Nashville and nearby Clarksville. Nashville has two shops and Clarksville has no resources at all. My husband is very enthusiastic about this dream as well... but the implementation is the tough question. Increasingly we are finding that the half in half out situation is just not feasible. Recently we ran into my husbands cousin in the restaurant where we were eating out with our high priestess and her husband. His relatives occasionally drop in to talk to him at his office where his religion is an open issue. And thus it gets ever more complex... .My older child will be starting school just about a year from now. And this is the biggest issue facing our departure from the broom closet. My son is just now getting interested in what we do at full moons and at Sabbats and why. He is wide open and eager to learn about the God and Goddess and about the unique and beautiful approach that Pagan religion takes to nature and to life in general. I am struggling with my fears and my conscience... trying not to deny him the knowledge that is his right while trying to protect him by refraining from teaching him some things until he can learn the judgment and control to keep his peace when necessary. I am thankful that I am part of a coven with quite a few other small children and there will be the resulting support and pool of advice to draw on. I am still terrified but not like I was when I was solitary. This is why I support organizations like you guys and WLPA when I can and why I grab every opportunity to teach a little bit. If I can correct one persons misunderstanding about who and what we are that person may in turn be in a position to make life a little easier for some other witch somewhere down the road. And hopefully if others do the same Ill find open minds when I most need them. This is why I think the Unity project is so important... because we will NEVER be completely free as long as we are small scattered pockets of cloistered individuals hesitating to reach out to help or be helped in times of need. The walls of the broom closet protect us from the outside world but they also cut us off from that outreaching. And they are fragile and illusory... they can come crashing down at any time. The best protection is not to hide in the closet but to get out on ones own terms. Opps... this turned from comments to rant. But it was something I needed to get out of my system. Thank you for the opportunity to voice this."

"I'm seventeen years old and I have relatively little to lose by being open about my religion and beliefs with most people. However I live in the Bible Belt- in a city but a conservative one and many people I know are conservative when it comes to religious matters. The first people I told were my parents. My house has always been fairly open about religion. My parents allowed me to quit going to church when I decided that the United Methodist faith wasn't for me in the seventh grade. Although they had made me get confirmed the year before. I was sitting up late with my mom one night drinking chamomile tea and talking in the kitchen close to midnight one night. Neither of us had been able to sleep and our conversation took the turn to my interest in mythology. Have you ever- I asked my mom quite innocently. Thought that myths are something more than just fantastic stories that people told each other long ago What do you mean she asked puzzled at the turn this was taking. Zeus and Athena Hera Apollo Artemis- People believed in them. People prayed to them like you pray every morning and every night to Our Father who art in Heaven and in the Name of Jesus Christ His Only Son. People -believed- that if they were good the gods would smile on them or if they were bad the gods would punish them. It was a religion not just stories. Mm. my mother said noncommittally. She paused for a moment and took a sip of her tea. What do you believe How is your relationship with God I was quiet for a few minutes. Earlier in the month Id made the decision that the pagan path was what I was going to follow. I am a generally honest person and I really don't like to lie to my parents for any reason. Still I had no idea how shed react. Finally I decided to tell the truth. Well... I don't know. Mom have you ever heard of a religion called Wicca That was how it started. We talked for another hour even though I had school the next day- about religion about the philosophy behind Wicca about my beliefs my truths and my views of life. I think we both learned a lot. One of the deepest conversations I've ever had with either of my parents took place that night. I didn't really tell my friends for a while. I was on IRC one day and one of my friends- actually the first person I had ever met who wasn't Christian Jewish Moslem or some other really traditional religion. We got into a discussion of philosophy and eventually he asked me what I believed. I told him I was pagan and that I believed in the Rede and the Rule of Three. That was when I started to tell my friends. Some of my friends are seekers as much as I am although we've all found our own answers to the spiritual questions that puzzle us and they were the first to be told. All of my close friends know now. The last ones I told were S. and E. both of whom are Southern Baptists. E. in particular worried me because shed actually called me a Satanist once albeit in seventh grade because I was carrying around a DD book.- and because she had a history of being somewhat closed-minded about religion. However I gathered up my courage and told her a few days before Easter/Eostre this year- and to my delight and surprise- she had already known having figured it out after seeing _The Sprial Dance_ in my book bag one day. The majority of people at my school don't know. I don't ever bring up my religion first in a conversation nor do I say ought other then the usually holiday greetings- Usually Happy Solstice is acceptable at my school which is extremely diverse because so many major religions were influenced by the earlier pagan holidays. I'm quiet about it but I do not and will not lie. I think- hope- that my near silence on the fact will keep me shielded from most of the prejudice and prosetlyzing that pagans can encounter. I have a philosophical character which loves to ponder the mysteries of life from all religious viewpoints. I hope that by example I can spread a little bit of tolerance. Its hard sometimes but there are qualities in every human being to love and no matter our religion we are all family on this earth. -Aoife Moon Mundanely Cait Macanliss"

"For those facing the challenge of coming out of the broom closet and worrying about landing in the cauldron I say remember the butterfly. That which does not kill you makes you stronger. And also remember They came first for the Communists and I did not speak up because I was not a Communist Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak up because I was not a Jew Then they came for the Trade Unionists and I did not speak up because I was not a Trade Unionist Then they came for the Catholics and I did not speak up because I was not a Catholic Then they came for Me and by that time no one was left to speak up Martin Niemoeller Lutheran Pastor At some point in history every group or religion or what have you has been either the they or the me. Perfect Love and Perfect Trust can stop us from becoming the they. Only by speaking up can we not become the me. Tressa"

"I was out to everyone but my relatives pretty much from the beginning. I came out to my mother about a month before I married. I had to because it was to be a Pagan ceremony. She accepted this better than I ever imagined she would. Since I am aware that I live in possibly the most open eclectic and diverse community in the United States I cannot feel qualified to advise anyone on what to do about the closet. Except for just one thing. Have faith. And that sounds so Christian its scary. But it worked for me."

"I came out because I was sick of hiding an important part of myself from my loved ones. I was afraid at first of losing the respect of my family especially my parents but I still felt better with them knowing the real me not the mask I was wearing to hide my religion. I've been luck in that the majority of my family have accepted this. I know there are some who are very unhappy that I am a Wiccan but they respect my right to believe what I will and don't try to convert me or make a big deal out of things. I wear my pentacle all the time and I have Wicca/Witch theme'd bumper stickers on my car so I think It would be hard for people to not know what I am. I am still a bit afraid of people outside my circle of family and friends even though I haven't really had any harassment. The only case I can think of is the time someone stuck gum on my car but I'm not sure if this was because of my beliefs or if it was just some kids who would have done it to anyone's car."

"I am very out most of the time. The only people I am not out with are my Grandparents. They do know that I have friends that are pagan and they probably suspect that I am. I don't try to hide but I haven't brought it up. With the rest of my family I am very open. I come from a liberal Protestant family with a long history of occult interest. Although my mother briefly said I would go to hell my parents are cool about it."


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