Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Broom Closet

A question from a reader: "How can I out of the broom closet, specifically to my mother?"

There was another reader who talked about his struggles coming out.  "I came from a family that was and still is very much Southern Baptist and it has been a struggle for me to try to communicate to them my love for Wicca in general."

Another reader remarked about feeling lonely, unable to open to anyone.  And yet another reader shared her concerns about being kicked out of an apartment for using 'black magic'.


7527_1620958806_n.jpgThese questions and comments actually came a while back but recently my own mother has been asking about my Path?  I've talked with my mother before about religion but there is always room to clear things up.  I can trace one of my family tree branches back to the 1500s and they were land owners, miners, ship navigators, farmers, tanners, dress makers and Catholics.  My ancestry is Northern Europe, American and Slavic.  Many of my family tree branches are full of Christians and Catholics.  My parents are devout Roman Catholics.

But I'm actually lucky, my mother and I can talk about many things.  They never disowned or kicked me out for my faith.  Thank you mom!  Some of my e-mail replies to her questions were:

I am Pagan and Wiccan.  Not a witch, fortune teller or devil worshiper.  I am a part of the whole of nature.  The rocks, animals, plants, elements and stars are my relatives.  Other humans are my sisters and brothers, whatever their races, genders, ages, nationalities, religions or lifestyles.  Planet Earth is my home.  I am a part of this large family of nature, not the master of it.  I may be called up to defend my home Earth or my other relatives.  I have my own special part to play and I seek to discover and play that part to the best of my ability.  I seek to live in harmony with others in the family of nature, treating others with respect.

Norse Wicca is a small Pagan faith, often practiced by solitaries and small covens.  There is no set canon or creed.  We use Norse symbols and tales.  Nature is sacred.  The Eddas and Sagas are the texts they draw strength, wisdom and inspiration.  A high moral code of loyalty, honesty, truth, honor and defending yourself and your own, all while praising physical and mental strength.  War may be a common theme in the Eddas, but there are just as many Gods and Goddesses of a gentler nature.

There is not really a 'evil' Divine, just the dark to balance the light.  Stars cannot shine without darkness.  Satan is a Christian construct, not Pagan.  The Darkness is the aspect of the Spirit most often deemed mysterious, dangerous, violent or ill tempered.  And many Dark Spirits deal with the subject of destruction.  The popular Hindu Goddess Kali, Supreme Dark Mother Goddess, is known as the Mother of Dissolution and Destruction.  As the Goddess of destruction, without further study one might assume that she is ill tempered and violent, sadistic or insane in nature.  Keep reading.  According to Hindu mythology, she destroys ignorance, destroys that which opens chaos or disrupts harmony, destroys the ego which interferes with the workings of God, and blesses those who strive to know God.

Ancestor worship was an element in Pre-Christian (Pagan) Scandinavian culture.  The ancestors were of great importance for the self-image of the family and people believed that they were still able to influence the life of their descendants from the land of the dead.  Contact with them was seen as crucial to the well-being of the family.  If they were treated in the ritually correct way, they could give their blessings to the living and secure their happiness and prosperity.  Conversely, the dead could haunt the living and bring bad fortune if the rituals were not followed.

As a Pagan, Nature Spirituality is my religion and my life's foundation.  Everything from animals and plants to trees and rocks are elements of the sacred.  And under my care to protect and love.  Nature is my spiritual teacher and holy book.  I am part of nature and nature is part of me.  My understanding of nature's inner mysteries grows as I grow on this Spiritual Path. 

To Norse Wiccans all Gods and all Goddesses are in one.  We stand before the Gods and Goddesses as an extended family; we never kneel or prostrate themselves like slaves or servants but hold themselves up proud and strong before the Divine Friends.  As long as you are willing to accept the consequences, do as you will.  Everyone is responsible for their actions.  It’s not a religion of hearing and preaching - it's a lifestyle of doing; sing, feast, dance and love in a good life.


January 15 is Wiccan Coming Out of the Broom Closet Day.  You may have decided that you're comfortable enough in your Spiritual Path that you're ready to "come out of the broom closet."  This essentially means coming out as a Pagan or Wiccan - making it known to family, friends, neighbors, etc.  Chances are it's not a decision you've made lightly, because it's a pretty big step.  Don't be rude or force the issue.  Be open, let them join or watch a ritual or just give them time to think about it.  Be the best person you can be and perhaps you will be able to pave a path for the next Pagan in their life who is considering coming out of the broom closet.

74938_702958716.jpgThis is a very personal choice, and should come from a very personalized and sincere place.  You can make the choice to come out to everyone, no one or a select group of people or individuals.  Will the person handle it well?  Will it do more harm than good?  What is the worst thing that could happen?  Will coming out mean getting black listed by people in your town?  Will people show up and burn crosses or smash windows on your home?  Will they harass your children and family?  The list of concerns and worries can go on and on.

If you are ready to come out, have some answers ready for common questions.  Believe of God?  Evil?  Devil?  Hell?  Feel free to write them down or make a small letter to them explaining what your core beliefs are, and the holidays and how you celebrate your beliefs.  Be honest about the religion.

If you tell your parents and they flip out on you, do you have someone who can comfort you and be there for you through it?  When coming out of the broom closet having a support system is important.  Do you have loved ones that will support you no matter what you do?  Discuss your decision to come out with them prior, they may have excellent feedback from their own experiences.

Be prepared for backlash and anger.  Remember these are a normal reaction and built from a lack of knowledge about the Pagan Paths.  Some people may judge you, but if you expect it and try to come from a place of love and understanding the relationship you have with them will be better in the long run.  Who knows, all may go well in the end.


January 16 is Religious Freedom Day.  A day for worldwide meditation and prayer for the Earth's community.  National Religious Freedom Day commemorates the Virginia General Assembly's adoption of Thomas Jefferson's landmark Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on January 16, 1786.  This vital document became the basis for the establishment clause, and led to freedom of religion for all Americans as protected in the religion clause in the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.  Wicca is entitled to the same rights and protections as other groups under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.  Wicca is recognized in the United States as a legitimate religion.


If or when you do sit down to finally have The Talk, focus on remaining calm.  Stick to your studies, notes, videos or whatever was in your plan.  But also be ready to be flexible and go with what comes up. Blessed Be!


Every person is different. Their needs are unique.

Each spiritual pathway meets a need of a soul.

Each one travels alone to seek for their God.

Merging with One is the ultimate goal.

Send spiritual freedom for all.

Great Ones, answer my call.





Out of the Broom Closet: 50 True Stories of Witches  Edited by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Out of the Broom Closet?: A Guide to Revealing Your Practice  By Gary Cantrell

Rocking the Goddess: Campus Wicca  By Anthony Paige



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