Coming out of the Broom Closet
This week’s question for the Pagan Perspective is about how to come out of the “Broom Closet” as a Pagan.
I’m a little iffy about using the term “Broom Closet” for the Pagan experience of being silenced about a person’s spiritual/religious beliefs and practices. I understand there is a parallel to the isolation that some in the LGBTQA community feels. I just feel that the closet is a term for that community and expresses a level of fear and danger that is rarely found in the Pagan community. I’m on the fence about this, especially as I do not belong to the latter community. If you have any thoughts on the term, please share in the comments!
Ok, on to the question at hand. I do not think it is necessary to be identified as a Pagan of any stripe in order to be a valid practitioner. If you want to scream your beliefs from the rooftops, good for you. If you prefer no one knows a thing, than you are golden. There are plenty of ways to remain silent without betraying your beliefs. Sometimes your age and location means that it is safer to keep your practices to yourself. Giving yourself the space to learn and grow within your faith without having a million peering eyes or ears can be a blessing.
Let’s say that you do want to let your family and friends know that you are a Pagan. You might want to share your rituals or holidays with those you care about. I recommend just simply live your path and answer questions with brutal honesty. We do not have to explain the details; our only obligations are to live truthfully and in our most vibrant way. People will notice when you stop to say hello to the trees. They will stare when you dance with abandon in the forest. Friends will be inspired by your work for the environment. The government will hear you when you fight for Justice. Questions about your actions and beliefs will come at any point and in a multitude of ways. All you have to do is answer honestly.
Tell them you’ve made friends with the Trees. Encourage them to dance with you and feel the power and magic in the earth through the soles of their feet. Explain our connection to the world and each other. Speak with passion and fire when you speak out against the injustices. Don’t back down from creating the mundane and magical world you want to live in. You don’t have to force your spiritual life onto others. Your life will be the example.
Your practice is not about the things that must be hidden (tools, alters, books, ect), it’s about the way you live your truth. Don’t ever hide that for anyone.
If living boldly your path the way I write above seems like too much to do at once, then start small. Share one tiny practice or belief with someone you trust each month. Before you know it, everyone will know (especially if you live in a small town). Keep things simple and brief. There is a power to revealing yourself slow and steady. Don’t underestimate that power.
Whether we choose to keep our practices hidden or we loudly proclaim them, there is wisdom and power in both.