Broom Closet: a term used by the Pagan community for those who haven’t yet revealed their religion to others.
Fear Of The Unknown
Quite a few years ago, I got an Awen tattoo on my index finger. When I returned to work a week later, a fellow employee—who was a Christian and was kind to me (before this incident)—asked what it stood for.
When I told them it was a symbol for inspiration and divine illumination for poets, writers, artists, and creatives, they asked about God [Christian God] and what I believed. She interrogated me, and I felt I couldn’t be honest, so I said whatever she wanted me to say, and I’ve been trying to hide my tattoos ever since.
A Tattoo For Your Thoughts
That was the first of many experiences that made me realize why one stays in the broom closet. I got a tattoo that meant something to me, in a spiritual way. It was my way of saying, “look! I’m a proud pagan!” I’ve seen Christians and a few other people of the Big 3 proudly state what religion they are a part of, so I thought I could, too. But I was mistaken.
I’m the type of person who believes that religion is a personal thing, though I do think that it influences how one sees the world. You don’t have to constantly bring up your faith or anything like that, but I do believe that one shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it.
But that doesn’t take the fear away. I constantly have a moment of panic when people notice my tattoo or notice the pentacle on my charm necklace. My already anxious brain flies through all the possible scenarios that could happen—usually all negative.
The Devil Is In The Detail
Most of the time, people don’t care. They go “oh,” or “that’s cool” and move on. Sometimes, you get the people who think you’re weird or “crazy,” but those people are easy to ignore. But, and this is where the fear comes from, you’ll be presented with people who will try to “save your soul” or tell you you’re a “devil worshipper.”
You’ll get kids to spray painting your driveway with sayings like, “Witch B*tch,” or people breaking your windows. If you have children, they might get picked on or lose friends because the kids’ parents say that your family is evil. Which is not true. You are not evil if you are a pagan or a witch.
It sucks to be in the broom closet. I’m still partially in the broom closet, myself. I have to do mental gymnastics to keep certain people in the dark about my faith and practices. Family members and friends have no clue that I am pagan, and a few more I have stopped bringing it up to.
Choose Your Battles Wisely
I’ve gotten into arguments with a few of these people, and I realized that it is easier to just go back into the broom closet when I’m around them. And when my husband walks in on me performing a ritual at my altar, I still get a little uncomfortable. I’m out with him, but I still have anxiety over it.
It does suck being afraid to step out and say, “I’m a pagan, and I’m proud,” but if it’s not safe, then please stay in the closet until you can find a safe place. The Gods/Goddesses will not mind. Paganism will still be there for you. Your safety matters more than anything.
You’re still a witch, a pagan, a Wiccan, an Occultist, a mystic, or whatever you call yourself! Even if you’re still in the broom closet. The broom closet isn’t the ideal place, but at least you have company.
Stay safe, my pretties!
The Witch’s Corner Wants Some Questions From You!
I apologize for not having an article last Tuesday. I had some personal stuff come up, but never fear, more articles are coming to The Witch’s Corner!
I hope you all enjoy them. I would love to do a Q&A (anonymous, of course, for all the other people in the broom closet), so if you have any ideas on how I might receive them, please leave a comment below!
Until next Tuesday!
This is L.A. Maciel,
You resident witch, and death enthusiast, signing off.