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Out of the broom closet

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out of the broom closet
The 'broom closet' is a term used to describe the habit of keeping one's pagan beliefs out of the public eye. That is, their beliefs are hidden 'in the closet'. The decision to come out of the broom closet as a public Witch requires careful consideration of many factors when you feel the time is appropriate for the reveal.

What does it mean to be 'in the broom closet'?

The 'broom closet' is a term used to describe the habit of keeping one's pagan beliefs out of the public eye. The decision to come out of the broom closet as a public Witch requires careful consideration of many factors:

Look within yourself for true answers to the questions. Does the recent popularity of Witches in movies and on television lately have any bearing on your decision? If you just want people to think you're 'cool' or 'trendy' for being a Witch, if you want to shock people by saying, "I'm one too!," you should probably think about your real motivation for joining this religion in the first place.

If you have recently joined this religion and want to share your joy with others, that is fine so long as you can accept that they may not be happy for you. Not everyone is accepting and tolerant of other religions, so choose wisely when deciding whom to tell. After all, it's very difficult to crawl back into the closet after you've been harassed for coming public. People have been picketed, had things thrown at them, lost their jobs, had children taken away, even been forced to move because others cannot accept their beliefs. Think hard before choosing this route.

Selectively public, entirely public, or not at all?

It is up to you how far you wish to step from the broom closet -- or not at all. Some are quite content to be public in all aspects of their lives. Others -- not so much.

One option to consider might be selectively stepping from the closet. You may choose to tell your immediate family and close friends, but decide that it is of no concern to others. If you are public at work, you may want to claim the same rights (such as religious holidays) that your co-workers have. However, you may also decide that it's none of their business (particularly for consultants and temp workers who will only be there a short time).

However, one drawback to remaining in the closet is that you are denying an essential part of your life. Suppose, for example, you should die tomorrow. If you choose not to tell your family, you will be buried by the rites of whatever religion they are -- not your religion. This is probably not something you would want. If you fear the reaction of your family, consider that they love you for who you are -- and this is part of you.

In addition, by not sharing this with others, you cannot act to dispel public stereotypes of this religion. You will be unable to show others how we really are. In doing so, you lose your right to complain about negative media portrayals since you do nothing to dispel them. You must decide for yourself whether you can deal with this; no one else can do it for you.

One caveat

Should you decide that this is something you want to do, some people will want to ask questions about it. You will become a spokesperson for the religion of Witchcraft. When this happens, speak calmly and assuredly. Explain clearly what you believe, and answer their questions as fully and completely as possible. If someone asks you a question that you cannot answer, offer to find out and get back to them with the information. If possible, have information or pamphlets available for them to read on their own time. Don't become angry or upset if someone comes up and starts accusing you of evil acts. Remember to treat them with respect -- and recognize that not everyone wishes to learn new things about a preconceived idea. Just smile, thank them for their concern, and move on.


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