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Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are!

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Crimson's Favorite Articles

Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are!

Should you or shouldn't you come out of the broom closet?

Copyright Dawn Thebarge March 20001

This is a question that is asked by a lot of folks. I get it asked of me in my Wicca classes on many occasions. Many times people want to be able to be who they are in front of everyone and not have to feel like they are hiding. This is especially true when they here stray comments that may be made. How many of us have not heard, "Well that so-and-so person always was weird! I think she's a witch!" and not wanted to reply, "Really!?! Wow! So am I!" just to prove that not all witches are weird. (Yes, I think some witches are weird but there are a lot of folks from other faiths that I think are weird too!)

 

I think it would help if we could all be more open about who we are. However, I am a realist, and I don't think that time has come yet for everyone. I think certain parts of the country are better than others and even from town to town in the same state you may find differences. I think that your situation has to be judged by you alone. You might be able to be "out" to family or friends and not to the boss. It might even be that you can be out to the boss and not your family! There are even instances when certain members of your family may know and not others. I think it is important that you do what you feel in your heart is right and not what anyone else tells you to do. They do not have to live your life and their opinion is only that-an opinion. Do what you can and don't worry about changing the world. Change your space. Do what you can to create small ripples in your area of the pond. The ripples on the pond will touch one another and soon become "pond wide."

 

This brings up one problem that you many encounter by coming out of the closet or even staying with one foot in the door. This problem will actually come from other pagans who do not understand what you are hedging about anyhow.  They have jumped right our in the open and think you should too. Remember that there will always be those pagans who are louder about their life style choice than you care to be. They will tell you how they have suffered and how they survived to tell about it. It has made them a better person they will tell you, as they imply they are better than YOU who have chosen to be discreet. In my opinion they do not even deserve a reply. Nod your head and let them think you agree with them if you prefer not to get into a heated debate with them. These folks may think they are helping. I hope that is what they are doing but all too often I see them trying to make a statement with their choice and not trying to be tolerant of others.

 

Yes, I think there are pagans in the community who are as bad as those who bash them. They talk the talk but I really don't see them walking the walk. Unfortunately they are a problem. Because you know that when others are looking for an example they always seem to gravitate to these people.  The one who yells through every pour that they are a black wearing, 5 inch pentagram bearing, "I will not be pushed around!" variety Witch. Now they have every right to throw who they are out there for one and all to see. What they do not have the right to do is judge me or try to get me to be what they are.

 

I am as out in the community as I can be. I run a Pagan Homeschooling group, teach free Introduction to Wicca, plus other classes, and also am in charge of running a Pagan Family Campout. I sell a variety of pagan items from herbs to toiletries and jewelry to the pagan community via e-Bay and at festivals that I attend several times a year. I am not "in your face" by any means. Most folks would not know I was pagan unless I told them. In all honesty it is not the grocery clerk's business, or my bankers or my doctor's either. My friends and family know and that is fine with me. I am sure there are others who know because of the associations I have. Members of the homeschooling community, for instance, know because I am listed as the list owner of CT Pagan Homeschoolers. This has led to enough discrimination from people that I really do not need any more than that. It is also unfair to my son and husband to subject them to prejudices that come from choices I have made. My husband is pagan but that does not necessarily mean my son will be. I hope he follows the path I teach him but I realize there are no guarantees.

 

As I said before, my family is aware that I am a witch. My sister actually has started practicing after I came out of the closet and she asked me about it. I gave her books, answered questions and let her take it from there. I have one brother who tells people I am nuts and will burn in hell. That is his choice and I don't care whether he thinks that or not. I am really not interested in changing anyone's opinion. The rest of my family seems ok with the fact and I am grateful for that. There were lots of questions of course and even a bit of 'spying."  My mom did the "spying" when she went to a couple pagan festivals with us. She said afterward, with surprise, I might add, "The people are sooo nice!"

 

My husband's family does not "know" per se. We have not discussed it in all honesty with them. I am sure they suspect with the business that I run and other things that have happened. Our wedding was a renaissance themed one, my husband does wear a pentagram and there are bumper stickers on the. His grandmother is very Catholic-she watches the Catholic Channel about 12 hours a day and does her rosary the whole time. His parents and grandmother are in church on every holy day. Grandma is also an 86 yr. old woman who is legally blind and lives across the hall from us. I am not about to upset her needlessly. She does not ask and I do not tell so she does not "know" we are pagan. Her daughter once told her we were devil worshippers after attending our Renaissance themed wedding. The poor woman was distraught for 2 days thinking she participated in a Satanic Wedding ritual! And why? Because we had a poem that said something about the moon and stars in it read at the beginning of the wedding. Guess who wrote that poem? St. Francis of Assisi. So I have my reasons to "suspect" she might be more than a little upset if we were to come out of the broom closet to her. Why would I needlessly upset her? It makes no sense.

 

I do not wear a pentagram but do have a pretty goddess pendant that I wear all the time. Some pagans have told me that this is a cop-out and I should have a pentagram. Whatever they choose to think is their own opinion. In all honesty, I have not come across a pentagram that I really feel drawn to in the way that I am drawn to this piece. Until I do I see no reason that I should wear a pentagram entirely for its own sake! Seems ridiculous to me to even consider it.

 

Should you come out of the broom closet? What you decide should not be done in haste nor should it be done to please or displease anyone else. Think about it; discuss it with your significant other if you have one. This will not affect just you but them, as well, and should not be done lightly. Do not let any one sway you one way or another and you will know that whatever you decide it is what is right for your situation.

 

Cherokee Traveler's Greeting

I will draw thorns from your feet.
We will walk the White Path of Life together.
Like a brother of my own blood,
I will love you.
I will wipe tears from your eyes.
When you are sad,
I will put your aching heart to rest.