Heathen's Lair

Make A real difference come out of the broom closet

Alter Setup
Past, Present, Future
Make A real difference come out of the broom closet
Bringing ritual into your every day life
America is under Attack!!
A Christian Speaks of Wicca and Witchcraft
The Goddess
The Old Ones Live in New Things Too
The Quest For Power
The Religious Experience: A Wiccan Viewpoint
The Rose
The Skeptical Witch
There Are More Religions in America Than Just Christianity
This Shall Not Be!
To Heal or Not to Heal?
Values in the Balance
Views of Deity
We Are the Other People
Weight of the World
What is drawing down the moon and how do you do it?
Where Did Magick Originate?
Wicca: It's Traditions and Concepts
Wicca and Body Image
Wiccan Basics - What is Magick?
The Celtic Vedic Connection
The Dichotomy Between Sex and Faith
The First Congregational Church of Wicca[credits]
The Fundamentalist's Problem[credits]
The God of the Witches
The 'W' Word (Witch), What Does it Mean?
The Delicate Balance of Pagan Ethics
Safety With Herbs in Healing and Magick
So What is a Blue Moon
Spiritual Conception
Synaesthesia: The Crossing of the Senses
Talking to Goddess
Saturday Morning Cartoons Aren't Pagan-Friendly
Polyamory: Loving Unlimited
Principles of Wiccan Belief
Responses to Nasty Fundies
Ritual - Expression of Will, Art and Creativity
Ritual and Ritual Preparation
Rituals, invocations and sacred space
Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Irish Witches
Jesus Christ! Youre acting like one of those Christians
Magick and Science
Modern Pagan Persecutions
Music and Magic
Namaste - Meaning and Usage
Nipping Trouble in the Bud: Community and Child Custody Issues Affecting Heathens
Obedience: On Being Sheep
On the heaviness of weight
Our Pagan Village: The Importance and Persuit of Honor
Pagan Fundamentalists
Pagan Musings
Pagan Mythology
Pagan Sexuality and Sexual Freedom
How to find a Coven or Group
Howling at the Moon!
I am Pagan
In Nomine Babalon: Sacred Whoredom in a Thelemic Context
Ethics In Magick
Experiences of a Pagan Practicing Pranic Healing
From Agape to Praxis: The Fourfold Nature of Love
From Self-Doubt to Self-Assurance: The Inner Journey of The Fool
Grounding and Shielding
Healing Routine: How to setup a Healing Ritual
Ethics Or Etiquette
Everyday is Sacred
Crossing Lines
Descent Into Confusion
Disease and The Creative Process in Magick
Can you be a Christian and a Witch???
Creative Visualization and Wicca
Can You Bhoga All Night Long?
Consciousness & Politics
Children of the Gods
Building Shadows
Blood Sacrifice
Chingle Hall
Chinese Dragons
Absent Healing
All One People
An Earth Religion
An Open Letter To The Pagan Community
An Opinion on Magick
An Overview of Clairvoyance
Are there such things as White Witches?
Christianity vs. Paganism: Why?
Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are!
Coming Out as a Witch at Work
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Asatru, an Ancient Religion Reborn
Aspects of Religion: A Wiccan Viewpoint
Comming Out
Bambi Pagans
A cup of Hemlock
Astronomy in Ancient Civilisations
Being Jewish And Wiccan { One Women's View }

Crimson's Favorites

Make a Real Difference Out of the Broom Closet

by Lyon
ŠJune 2003

So you’ve come out of the broom closet. You made your announcement to friend and family member alike. You even came out at the office and your boss and co-workers were accepting, even slightly curious. Now what?

There are many Pagan oriented activist groups who are begging for your help. These groups hope to strengthen the Pagan presence in the mundane world through education and charitable actions. They are in desperate need of committed individuals to help.

One such group is Pagan Pride. Here in St. Louis, one brave lady, Kathleen Hill has started a new chapter. She was kind enough to meet me for lunch one day so I could ask her some questions about her decision to be a Pagan activist and how you too can get involved.

Lyon: How long have you been a Pagan activist?

KH: Actually, I guess about a year. I was talking to someone about this earlier; I started getting involved in groups last January (2002) at Mystic Valley where River and Joyce Higginbotham host a monthly discussion group. They recently published Paganism: An Introduction to Earth Centered Religions (Llewellyn). I went to a couple of Pagan events, but the people I met there I thought were just weird. Part of it was I just wasn’t ready and part of it was these people were weird. Then I went to River and Joyce’s group and we had a very nice intellectual conversation at the end of which I found myself on a mailing list for a group that wanted to raise money for a Pagan temple. I got invited to the Pagan Picnic meeting. They needed someone to do PR stuff and I knew how to do that so that was sort of the beginning. The idea was to form a Pagan book club and there was a loud silence while everyone else waited for someone to do something about it. So I started an e-list and announced the formation of the group. People joined the e-list. Now we have monthly meetings and we are in our second year. We have members all over the Americas.

Lyon: What made you decide to start a Pagan Pride chapter in St. Louis?

KH: I started going to some festivals in Missouri. There I heard about Pagan Pride. I was talking with some women from the Columbia Pagan Pride Chapter. One of them said St. Louis is so large; there should be a Pagan Pride chapter there, why don’t you have one? I wasn’t really sure what Pagan Pride was at that point, but I thought we needed one, too. So I volunteered. I put out some flyers and at our first meeting we had 14 people. Not bad at all. 

Lyon: How can others help Pagan Pride grow? What if there isn’t a chapter near them?

KH:  In Missouri, I realize Missouri is only one state; there are Pagan Pride groups in St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Springfield, Kansas City and Columbia. It’s likely there’s one reasonably close to you already. If there isn’t one near you, it’s pretty easy to start one. You go to the national web site and fill out the form and send it off. The membership chairman will call you and chat for a little bit. They want to make sure that local coordinators are reasonably well spoken, organized and not complete flakes. The only real requirements are that the festivals be held in a publicly accessible place (like a park); that you notify the media to raise public awareness about what Pagans really are; hold an Open Equinox ceremony that is friendly to all types of pagans (they have a sample ritual on their web site if you don’t want to create one) and that you have a charity drive of some sort. If for some reason you can’t start a chapter or join one already formed, you can purchase products on-line at the National site (part of the purchase fee goes to the Pagan Pride organization) or donate money to help out other groups. 

Lyon:   Part of Pagan Pride’s mission statement is charity, what charity work is the St. Louis chapter involved with?

KH:  We haven’t done much yet because we are fairly new. We are still working out logistics and financing for this year’s Pagan Pride Day. We just signed an agreement with a group that helped to provide seed money. With this group’s help we now know we have enough money to do this event. We will still continue to raise money because we want to raise all the money we might need. If there is a profit, probably not this year but in subsequent years, we will split it with them, half and half. So through this group we are contributing to a charity that will help other Pagan groups in the future. As far as Pagan Pride’s charity work we are looking at doing the food drive, which every group does. We are also planning on having an art fair to collect donations of art supplies. There is an arts organization in the Metro area that works with the inner city schools through their curriculum. We will work with the local Spiral Scouts organization, as well. 

Lyon:   What difficulties have you run into as you plan for the Pagan Pride Day this year?

KH:   The first difficulty was in the location. Our first choice was a nice little park in Maplewood with plenty of parking. The problem was we’d only be able to use a tiny little corner because it would be soccer season. We looked at other sites and finally settled on doing the event in Tower Grove Park. It costs more than we really wanted to spend, though.  

Lyon:   Why do all the chapters have their Pagan Pride Day events on the same weekend?

KH:   That is a requirement from the National office. It doesn’t have to be the same weekend but there is a six-week period in which to schedule the local events. The Fall Sabbat is a harvest celebration. This way we are sharing with our local community both literally and figuratively from our own harvests. Pagan Pride based their idea on the Gay Pride movement. They wanted to do the same thing as Gay Pride where every group celebrated very close together. This way there would be more media attention across the country and the world, too. Something like “We’re Pagan, we’re here. Get used to it.” They wanted a large group effort so it would be harder to ignore. 

Lyon:   Does Pagan Pride have any other activities during the year?

KH:   We have set up our group as one that will have year round activities. Once again this is up to the individual groups. Other groups do potlucks or other social gatherings. In March we held a joint meeting with the Southern Illinois Pagan Alliance (SIPA http://sipa.timerift.net/home.htm ) group, when we held a Moon Lodge. It was a very spiritual experience for me and we also raised $100 for the chapter. We have other plans for the summer as well. We voted as a group to join the interfaith coalition that planted trees for Earth Day. That is a very ‘Pagany’ thing to do, anyway. We’ll be one of the first Pagan groups that have been approved to join the coalition.  

Lyon:  Was your emergence from the “broom closet” easy or hard? How so?

KH:   I think I’m still emerging. Technically, according to Pagan Pride I’m ‘out’. I don’t parade my Paganism but I won’t lie about it. I’m starting to be a little bolder about mentioning what I think. When I was working at a small paper in the early 90s, the editor there was outwardly Pagan. If someone asked about his religious practices or beliefs, he’d tell them. People would look at him like he had sprouted a third head, but he didn’t care. He was my coming out inspiration. My parents think I belong to this nice religious group that camps a lot. Although come to think of it I will have to sit them down before the Pagan Pride Day and tell them “Mom, Dad, I’m a Pagan, you’re Baptist, you’re just going to have learn to live with it.” Most of my friends now are Pagans. The reaction of the people I have ‘come out’ to has been positive. Maybe I’ve just been lucky. 

Lyon:   What words of wisdom do you have for the new Witch just beginning this path?

KH:   If you’re talking about coming out use your own best judgment. Make sure you are secure in what you believe and that you have your life together. You will be questioned and people will be curious. If you just want community, the Internet is the way to go. Many of my real life friendships started over the Internet. If nothing else come out on line. There is wealth of information on line. I guess my words of wisdom are research and network. 

Lyon:   How do you think Pagans should celebrate their Pagan pride everyday?

KH:   The best way to celebrate is something they used to tell me when I was a Christian. Just live in such a manner so that if someone finds out your religion you wouldn’t embarrass others of your religion. Live your faith, “As it harm none, do as you will”. Personal responsibility. Respect for others. Have tolerance for other paths. If you do all those things, in addition to having a successful life, you’re going to make other Pagans proud. Be a positive role model.  

Pagan Pride National is located on the web at http://www.paganpride.org

Ms. Hill can be reached at (314) 577-6217 or inanna710@yahoo.com

The St. Louis Metro Area Pagan Pride Day will be held September 27, 2003 in Tower Grove Park. To get involved go to http://www.stlpaganpride.org 

Lyon is an Eclectic Pagan living in Eastern Missouri. She has been following a Pagan lifestyle since the mid 1980s. She has written articles for diverse Pagan publications both on-line and in print. An accomplished watercolor artist, she is currently in the process of locating a publisher for her illustrated Pagan children’s book “An Ordinary Girl, A Magical Child” for young readers. The Handcrafted Pagan (http://www.handcraftedpagan.com), is geared toward unique handmade gifts and fine art for the Pagan home. She lives with her husband, her 9 year-old daughter and two old cats of undetermined ancestry.


An Aztec Prayer

Reportedly translated from an original dating from the 1500s

Lord most giving and resourceful, I implore you;
make it your will that this people enjoy the goods and riches you naturally give,
that naturally issue from you,
Ithat are pleasing and savory,
that delight and comfort,
though lasting but briefly, passing away as if in a dream.