Articles/Essays From Pagans
May 19th. 2013 ...
The Role of Identity in Magic
Talking Trash? It's a Dirty Subject but Waste Happens.
My Wiccan Journey
13 Keys: The Victory of Netzach
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
Nothing Special... Part Two
The Third Path
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
March 24th. 2013 ...
Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
January 27th. 2013 ...
Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
January 13th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
A Witch in the Closet
How Many People Can You Fit Under An Umbrella?
Gut Hunches, Mouse Dreams, and Pinkie Sense
December 30th. 2012 ...
Ritual "Cheat Sheet" Bracelet
Magick is All Around Us
Confessions of a Living Satyr
A Tiny Bit of Belly Dance History
December 23rd. 2012 ...
The Warrior Goddess and You.
World Change: A Message from Greece
What's the Meaning of Life, Anyway?
My Brother's Keeper
December 16th. 2012 ...
Keeping Christ in Xmas
Love is the Law
Listen to Your Heart's Wisdom
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Saying the "P" Word
Article ID: 13701
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,163
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Posted: March 14th. 2010
Times Viewed: 3,752
Not too long ago, in the context of a charitable association I have through the coven that I co-lead, I was invited to a “thank- you” cocktail party. The experience inspired some bizarre behavior on my part. Let me explain.
Many witches and polytheists these days have an uncomfortable relationship with what is commonly called amongst many of us “the broom closet”. We are sometimes uncomfortable discussing our membership in a non-mainstream faith, despite all this “fastest growing religion” stuff we all keep quoting amongst ourselves (I keep hearing that phrase, but no one seems able to prove it very well, because the US census, as I understand it, does not keep religion data, or does not publish it, and the other metrics seem contradictory as to exactly how many or even how best to calculate this data…)
At any rate, despite the fact that I long ago firmly extricated myself and closed the door on that dusty closet and am open to family, friends, and even work colleagues, I sometimes feel the need to shield myself.
Which brings me back to the cocktail party. I was invited because our group regularly makes in-kind donations to this charity, something started by my first HPS. I left our info last year, so they contacted me, and so I went.
It was swell. Open bar, delectable snacks, and folks from across the do-gooder spectrum-postal workers, members of a Shul, (delightful couple) and teachers. This was my first such thank you event.
In retrospect, I was an idiot.
Some of the conversations I had went more or less like this:
ME: Hi, Nice to meet you. What group are you from? How did you find (charity x) (I am working on my shyness. So proud of myself here!
THEM: I am from (insert perfectly mundane group here. Local “Association of Florists”. Teachers. Postal workers.) We do an in-kind drive every year- we collect toys, clothing.
ME: That’s great. So does my group, but ours is very modest. (Biting in to tiny sliver of pizza, taking swig of vodka.)
THEM: What kind of group is that?
ME: Well… we kind of do… like… meditation…. folklore… mythology
THEM: Really? Like what?
ME: Oh, it’s just a group that hugs trees, meditates, does stuff...and I try to remind them to give back and all…
THEM: Oh. That’s nice. What is it called? What do you mean- hug trees??
ME: Ummm… how about those Mets? (Grabbing waiter for another snack)
I don’t know why, suddenly confronted with this situation, I felt the need to hide it and mumble and otherwise bury the “P” word. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that non-profit work is within my future career spectrum, and I didn’t want any raised eyebrows to go up in any kind of circle or circumstance where people with even an indirect and remote chance of impacting my future earning capacity are present.
But then, in retrospect, it occurred to me that they had the name of my group already in their files–though only my personal name was on the name tag they gave me for the reception–they had invited me with an envelope that had our group’s name on it (although spelled incorrectly) and why should I be ashamed of what I believe?
After all- wasn’t it those very beliefs that motivated me to organize our modest little in-kind donation in the first place?
I think so.
And isn’t my name already all over the Internet next to words that scream PAGAN if you truly wanted to search for it?
And even if it did impact my future career, would I want to work for an organization that subtly, and against the law, I might add, refused to hire me or promote me or otherwise utilize my skills because of my religious beliefs- when they should focus on my suitability for the job, and be rejecting me or accepting me on that basis alone? Even if I was desperate for a job and truly needed one right this second?
I realize that with my mouth and gregarious personality and enthusiasm for spirituality -- not just my own but my curiosity about others as well -- I should probably be more judicious about bringing up faith in conversation. “Religion is nobody’s business!” a fellow seeker on my path told me recently. And I suppose they are right- for them. And I mean no disrespect and try to respect other people’s wishes, even if they are contrary to what I would wish for myself.
But I have to admit- I find it hard sometimes to know what to do. To me, it seems like the only way we can start living in peace and not drive ourselves crazily unhappy in the process is to begin to deconstruct and cease the behavior that communicates that there is something wrong about being who we are, and to shield myself from you, I not am going to say what I am. Aside from the fact that it may be insulting to the listener–why should I presume they would denounce me?
How could we have begun discussing the notion of same-sex marriage as a nation if no one had avowed their identity back when the modern gay rights movement began? Seems to me that movement would have gone nowhere- instead of into the national consciousness and our state and federal legislatures.
I am not saying that this is the right stance in all times and places- of course, it is not. I am lucky- I live and work in a liberal milieu, for the most part. But for me, this is what works.
So if who I am and what I do comes up in conversation, I won’t hide the P word again, but I won’t club you with it either.
With your Permission, that is.
Location: New York, New York
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Bio: Vhelen is a witch and priestess living in New York.
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