The Broom Closet is a place in which many pagans and witches reside. Not physically, for those who might be a bit confused, the Broom Closet is a figurative term. I can’t imagine broom closets are particularly practical places to stay in, for many a reason. The broom closet to pagans is as the closet is to the LGBT community. The notion that someone has stepped out of it is usually quite a big deal. Either it means that they feel their family and friends are accepting of their beliefs and path, or they have accepted that their friends and family will condemn them to a life of misery for their “satanic” ways. It can be quite a difficult thing to approach in one’s life, particularly the growing teen pagan community.
When I first picked up Paganism I was about 13 or 14, probably after watching something on TV like Charmed thinking “I could do that”. Alas, I still haven’t found the method of setting blue sparks out from my fingers or even how to freeze time, but I’m working on it. As young as I was there wasn’t anything out there for me to read, so I went to the internet, as many young pagans do. I don’t recall what the website was but some of the contents was not particularly friendly. After reading this website for a few weeks my brother made comment that he’d seen that I’d been on it, and he was going to “tell on me” and I was going to be in trouble. Swiftly, I stopped visiting the website and all went quiet.
A little while later I went back to the internet, and joined some communities and engaged in conversation and learned. I had at this point “come out” to friends, some accepting, some just thought I was downright weird. Oddly, the ones who thought I was downright weird were the ones messing about with tarot cards. Pot, kettle. There was one girl in my English class though who was Wiccan, and she loaned to be the Idiots Guide to Witchcraft & Wicca. I never did finish the book before she wanted back, but it was brilliant. I loved it so that when I had money of my own, I bought my own copy.
I didn’t properly come out to my parents. I think my dad has his suspicions due to me desperately wanting his Doreen Valiente book, he nearly gave it to me but due to a section on “sex magick” he decided I should wait until I was older. I got the book about an hour after this exchange as he didn’t exactly hide it very well.
I probably owe a lot to my dad about my belief. He introduced me to start-gazing, told me stories of myths and legends. My father loves the Green Man and moon gazing hares. I suppose he probably got me onto magick in some way or another too, wishing on stars etc, deep down that is a kind of magick. So I have a lot to owe him. However, he also showed me scary programs like “Strange but True” when I was little and I’ve never quite got over some of the things I was shown. I shall never walk through wheat fields on my own now or run downstairs with the lights off. You never know what might be awaiting you.
I moved to England from Scotland when I was 18, although it wasn’t official for a while beyond that. Having the freedom from my family allowed me to explore further, buying books on different aspects of the craft, writing notes. My boyfriend, now husband, was aware I was into it, though didn’t and doesn’t believe. He left me to it. Happy enough for me to do what I was doing. It’s remained that way, which makes me happy.
My husband and I married in August last year, a few days after Lammas. We had a pagan ceremony, which, when discussing the wedding with both sides, I mentioned with caution. Both sets of parents, fortunately, were really interested. So it was settled, handfasting it was. I don’t really know what I was expecting when I came out, my parents aren’t particularly Christian, my husband’s parents are Catholic though no longer practicing. They all loved the ceremony (including my somewhat Christian Aunt), and I had the wedding I’d always wanted.
Fear is what probably stopped me coming out properly, and from coming out for a long time. From the moment I knew I was pagan I felt persecuted. From friends at school turning from me to a lady at work actively trying to convert me to Christianity after I had come out at work. Although I am proud of being a pagan, I am still very careful who I mention it to. If no one asks, I don’t tell. Simple as that. It’s a difficult thing to gauge, you don’t know how someone is going to react. Someone could go way over the top and want nothing to do with you, others will just going “Well, that explains everything.” Trust me, it’s happened.
If anyone is reading this who hasn’t “come out”, I wouldn’t say hide it. Unless you are really scared that something is going to happen to you, don’t hide it. Paganism is becoming such a huge force out there at the moment, and although there are still persecutions, no one is going to tie you to a stake. Let coming out be your choice, not that of someone else, you will know in your heart that it’s something you can do. You might be surprised with how accepting people are, I know I was. Also, if you’re a teenager you might find that everyone will accept it as a phase, as “one of those things”. The only thing I will say is do not lie. If you don’t want to put it in words, then put it in writing. I’m rubbish at speaking but I find a good letter gets your views and opinions across, and you don’t even have to be in the same room!
If anyone has any questions for me, on anything throughout my blog, drop me a question via comment and I’ll be more than happy to respond to you as I can :)