Articles/Essays From Pagans
February 1st. 2019 ...
Paganism and Witchcraft in the Media
September 25th. 2018 ...
Understanding the Unseen
August 25th. 2018 ...
A Little Magickal History
Men and the Goddess
Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces
Kitchen Magic and Memories
Why the Faeries?
Magic in Daily Life
An Open Fire: Healing from Within
Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light
Gudrun of the Victory Gods
Ares and Athena
La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength
The Lady on the Stairs
The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives
July 26th. 2018 ...
The Importance of Unification: Bringing Together Community Members to Invoke Cohesivity
May 29th. 2018 ...
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
April 20th. 2018 ...
Nazis Made Us Change Our Name
January 25th. 2018 ...
Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion
November 15th. 2017 ...
September 30th. 2017 ...
July 31st. 2017 ...
Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers
July 2nd. 2017 ...
On Cursing: Politics and Ethos
June 1st. 2017 ...
The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions
April 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles
March 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
September 11th. 2016 ...
The Shadow of Disgust
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
An Open Mind and Heart
June 13th. 2016 ...
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
The Fear of Witchcraft
Magic in Sentences
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
December 20th. 2015 ...
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
May 6th. 2015 ...
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
January 1st. 2015 ...
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
August 24th. 2014 ...
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Out of The Broom Closet
Article ID: 2689
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 6,972
Times Read: 8,357
Posted: February 19th. 2000
Times Viewed: 8,357
In 1997, I made two Samhain resolutionsone to quit smoking (which I've done), and the other to come out of the "broom closet." Since exiting the general clutter of my particular broom closet, I feel more comfortable in my own skin than ever. My faith is a large part of who I am, and keeping that from people was like living a half-truth. I don't feel that I could have continued to grow spiritually without acknowledging who I am, and without letting important people in my life know. I'm lucky in that my family is not religious, and I had no reason to fear telling them; I felt that after practicing for nearly 10 years, it was time!
My mom. This went better than I had even expected. I had been looking for an opening to introduce the topic of Paganism, and my mom couldn't have provided a better one if I had asked!
I flew to Nebraska from DC to visit my mom and stepfather for the holidays, arriving on Christmas Eve. My mom had originally wanted to go to Midnight Mass at a local Catholic church-she's not Catholic, but is thinking of becoming one. But my plane arrived late, and my luggage arrived even later; instead of Midnight Mass, we ended up sitting in the kitchen, talking, and she mentioned that she felt people should go to church on Christmas Eve because it's part of "getting back to the roots of the holiday." At this point I explained the true roots of the holiday-the Winter Solstice, Yule, the Pagan beliefs and customs, etc. She was surprised about the origins of many of the holiday's traditions. Then she looked at me and said, "So, are you Pagan?"
I said, "Um ... yes."
"You're not Christian?"
"Um ... nope."
I explained the basics of Wicca, and gave her a copy of Adler's Drawing Down the Moon.
We went out into the cold, snowy night for a walk, and to discuss it some more. She said she felt guilty that I had had no religious upbringing. I assured her that I did not regret it in the least, that I was happy with my choice, and that I knew it was right for me. I said that not raising me as a Christian did not result in a bad or less moral person. I said that I was raised in a loving, supportive family, which is more than many people can hope for, Christian or not. She felt that perhaps if I had had a background in Christianity, I would have made a different choice. I told her that I knew enough about Christianity to make this decision, and that this choice was not based on a reaction to or a dislike for Christianity; rather, it was a love of Wicca. I said that she shouldn't feel guilty for not teaching me about Christianity; if that were the case, she should also feel guilty about not teaching me about Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Scientology, you name it. She laughed and agreed with me.
I had been staying away from using the word "Witch" during this initial phase of explanation. But at what would have been the close of the initial conversation, she said, "At least you're not a Witch; I don't think I could trust a Witch." I stopped walking, and she turned around and looked at me and said, "Oh." So that opened up a whole new conversation as I explained the difference between a real Witch and the common media portrayals.
The bottom line is that she loves me and trusts my judgment; she accepted Wicca as a religion because this is me, her daughter, and she knows that I wouldn't get into anything "bad." But she told me, "Don't expect me to go around telling people 'My daughter is Pagan or Wiccan or a Witch, '" and I told her that was just fine. I said that I do wear a Pentacle and that her friends might notice it; she asked if I could wear it inside my shirt, and I said no.
I think she has a better understanding of who I am now; she also has a new understanding of Wicca and Witchcraft, and has shed the stereotypical beliefs that she held. And I really enjoyed it when she opened a gift from my stepfather the next morning-it was an outdoor wall plaque to hang near her garden, and it was the Green Man! She even knew what it was called-she had picked it out of a catalog herself. She said, "Look, it's called a Green Man! Isn't he great?" When I finally stopped laughing and could breathe again, I explained what it was, and we all had a good laugh.
My mother also attended the legal handfasting that my husband James and I had on Ostara of 1999; talk about being exposed to a large pack of Pagans! :) She did just fine, though. She even helped make a list of all the (very Pagan) gifts while James and I were opening them, and I must say there's just something funny about seeing words like "ritual dagger" or "love butter" written in your mother's handwriting!
My dad. My father lives in Oregon, and I'm in Virginia; needless to say, I don't see him as often as I'd like. I also grew up in Europe and didn't have much opportunity to visit him; I didn't even see him between 1982 and 1988 at all, and then not again until 1990. We had a short visit in 1994, another in 1996, and then he came to visit us in October of 1999. Although I hadn't spent a lot of time with him while growing up, I wasn't nervous about "coming out" to him, either.
Our house has a very "Pagan" feel (gee, the cauldron and the wonderful "Great Mother" statue in the foyer might have something to do with that, not to mention the ever-present scent of nag champa incense), and I knew he'd pick up on it quickly. That, and the bumper sticker on our car says, "Pagan and Proud." Kind of hard to miss! But he was fine with it; he recognized that Paganism is a religion, and that was very important to me. Nothing fazes my dad; he and I are so alike that I just knew he would understand. He said that there are all kinds of "New Age" shops in Portland, and that now he knows "what to get me for Christmas!" Heh. :) (I got a lovely pair of silver and onyx knotwork earrings. Yeah, Dad!)
The workplace. I'm the corporate publications manager/desktop publisher for a management consulting/information technology firm in Northern Virginia. It's a rather conservative company, where image and professionalism are the drumbeats to which we are supposed to march. Oops! ;) This was the scariest place for me to wear my Pentacle. The first day I wore my Pentacle to work, I really fought the urge to slip it inside my shirt; however, I persevered. And what do you suppose happened when I started wearing it openly? NOTHING. Big fat zero. No reactions. Nada. I have to admit I was disappointed, in a way!
However, I have had some very interesting conversations with one of our company's vice presidents; he is from an Italian-American Catholic family, but is very curious about Paganism, and this is probably the most fun interaction I've had as a result of being out of the broom closet. Frank was trying to figure out my religion for a while; he once asked if I was Catholic because I was wearing an Indian cotton skirt, the kind with the bells on the waist ties, and at first glance he though it was a rosary. He obviously had no clue what my Pentacle was; I said, "No, Frank, I'm not Catholic; I'm just a good heathen girl." I think this made him curious!
When the trouble occurred with the Druids at Stonehenge, he mentioned it to me and said, "I'm surprised you weren't there." I said, "I'm not a Druid, Frank." He should his head and had this funny look on his face like, "Drat, I know I'm closer to getting it!" I was enjoying this immensely. :) Then the night before the 1999 Samhain drum circle at the Jefferson Memorial, Frank came into our department and said to me, "So, I hear there's going to be a Pagan drum circle at the Jefferson." I said, "Yes, Frank. I'll be there. Will you?" He sputtered and said, "Um, no, I'm not going." But Monday morning he came into my office and asked how the drum circle went; I told him it was a lot of fun. He said, "So ... um ... do you consider yourself to be ... um ... well ... a Witch?" I said, "Yes, Frank." And he said, "Oh! Um ... wow, really? Oh!" There, he finally had it! Success! He was so pleased with himself! I just giggled. He has been very respectful of my beliefs, and in genuinely interested in my answers to his many questions, and such dialog is always welcome!
The neighbors. Our working group, Magick Belly #9, holds open Sabbat celebrations at our house. Our first open Sabbat was Midsummer's of 1999, and I was a little concerned about how the neighbors would react to a bunch of people chanting in a circle in the backyard. We live on a nice, quiet cul-de-sac in North Arlington, and the neighbors definitely noticed; but they just shook their heads and went back to whatever they were doing.
No problems, until three celebrations later; we did frighten away the trick-or-treaters on Samhain. How were we to know that a circle of people holding candles on the front lawn at night would be so scary to the neighbors' kids? Whoops! Now whenever the neighbors see people gathering at our house, they watch us with a kind of "what's going on this time?" air of expectation. The neighbors do still talk to us, however, and wave whenever they drive by, or smile and say hello when we pass them on the street. I think they've decided that we're harmless.
Overall ... I have to say my "coming out" experiences have been overwhelmingly positive, and for that I'm thankful. I realize that not everyone can afford to be out of the broom closet, whether it's because of where they live, where they work, or other similar concerns. To those of you in the broom closet, take heart; we all know it doesn't make you "less Pagan." I've been lucky, and I know it. Oh, it should have nothing to do with luck; we're guaranteed religious freedom, no matter what our religion, right? Right.
Location: Augusta, Georgia
Author's Profile: To learn more about Lunah - Click HERE
Bio: Lunah has been a practicing Wiccan for 12 years, the majority of those as a solitary. She is part of Magick Belly #9, an eclectic Pagan working group in Northern VA. She was legally handfasted last Ostara to a wonderful man, James, known 'round these parts as The Gnostic; they met online in 1997 at the WVOX "Magick Beans" message board. Lunah also is the current Interim Moderator/Coordinator of the Mystic District Planning Coalition, a Pagan community-building organization in the DC area. She enjoys live-action roleplaying with her local Amtgard group, and she's a member of "Team Dance" at www.thedance.com. Lunah will be starting EMT training in the Fall; after too many years in the corporate workplace, she's decided to change careers.
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Lunah... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)
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