There is always a lot of talk in the Pagan community about the topic of “The Broom Closet“. People are constantly debating between staying In the broom closet or coming Out of the broom closet. Well what exactly does it all mean, and how is it relevant to us? If someone is in the “Broom Closet” it simply means that they have not come out as a pagan in a public way. There are many Pagans of many different paths and religions that remain in the broom closet for various reasons. There are also many Pagans that live well outside the broom closet and are proud of that fact. One way is not better than the other, just as one Pagan religion is not better than the other. It is all about personal choice, which in my opinion is part of the beauty of Paganism. There are many different reasons why people choose to be in/out of the broom closet. Here are just a few:
Why People Stay In:
* Worry of persecution from society.
* Worry about the reaction of family and friends.
* Worry over losing their job.
* Considering religion to be a personal matter
* Peace of mind
While we do live in an enlightened society, religious prosecution is still alive and well. People in other countries are still stoned, hung, burned alive, etc for suspected witchcraft. Europe and North America have come leaps and bounds since the Persecution, however there is still a lot of negativity toward Paganism as a whole. Thanks to other religions, media, movies, and TV, Pagans have been demonized and thought to be evil or to worship satin. Sadly people that believe this are simply uneducated and either can’t or won’t educate themselves. There are Pagans in the US and Europe that have faced adversity as recently as this year due to their Pagan religion. People have been intimidated, forced to close their businesses, forced to move, fired, and harassed because of their Pagan beliefs. (See more here traditionalwitchcraftandoccultism & PaganDiscrimination)
Why People Come Out:
* Pride in their Belief
* Wanting to share with others
* Freeing themselves from hiding
* No fear of prosecution
Many say that coming out of the broom closet is an wonderful feeling! They no longer have to hide who they are and what they believe. They are free to walk the path they choose in the open with no fear or shame. Many of these free spirits become authors, teachers, and leaders in the community. They find joy in sharing their path and gifts with the world and we all benefit from their teachings. Many Pagans have been met with acceptance from their friends, family, and community after coming out as a Pagan. Many of these Pagans find themselves not worrying or caring what others think about their chosen path. Personally, I live mostly in the broom closet. I come from a very Catholic family and married into a devout Christian family with some extremely evangelical members. I am quite sure my announcement would not go over well and frankly I don’t have the energy or patience to deal with someone constantly trying to “Save me” or convince me that I am wrong. I love sharing my thoughts and philosophies with others and I am big on natural living, meditation, complete acceptance toward all religions, and loving the Earth. Most of my family jokes a lot about me being the ‘Hippie” of the family due to my lifestyle and way of dressing. I have learned that as long as I don’t put a label on things, people are generally open minded and accepting. For example: My personal view on religion is that that all religions are one religion and all the gods from different religions are one god. So no matter what name you put on your Deity, all prayers go to the same place in the Divine Universe. If I tell people this, in this context they are usually fairly open minded with some exceptions (I do live in the Bible Belt!) However if I add in words like Goddess, Pagan, Witchcraft/witch, spells, etc, I get an entirely different reaction that is almost never positive. I personally believe that the Pagan community will always have a mix of those living in and out of the broom closet. I guess that it just one more part of what makes us a unique, eclectic, and beautiful group of people.
)O( Blessed Be )O(