28 January 2010

To be, or not to be... in the closet!

This is a question that troubles many of our fellow Witches and Pagans. Should we keep our beliefs hidden, or shout it to the world what we know to be true... or something in between? I came to Paganism when I was thirteen(ish). At that time, I was actively, if not openly, searching for a religion or non-religion that could hold up to my world view in ways that Christianity, and my understanding of it, could not. I tried many: atheism, Satanism, Buddhism, and finally Wicca for many years before becoming a generally-whatever-goes Pagan.

I remember quite clearly one instant in my first days of Wicca. I was studying it, as one does, when my mom came home. Now, I wasn't trying to hide it, because I saw nothing wrong with it. So, it was very much a surprise when she FREAKED OUT about seeing a pentacle on the computer screen. I was so excited to have found a religion that worked for me, and I wanted to share it with her. And what did she do? She banned me from it. And as all teenagers do, I studiously followed her wishes completely ignored her! Even after that, it never occurred to me that I shouldn't tell a soul I was no longer Christian. I was quite open about it at school, though I knew better than to say anything at home. Eventually, my mom found out anyway, and she finally came to accept me. My brother and dad never said much about it, and after my then-god-fearing sister gave me the cold shoulder for several years, we are now very close and she very much accepts that my beliefs are right for me.

Since those first days I've never tried to hide the fact that I'm a Pagan. I never really advertised (aside from openly wearing my pentacle on a regular basis) but I didn't hide it, either. Yes, I experienced confrontations, from friends as well as complete strangers. (Yes, creepy guy eating Chinese food, I am reading a book called Celtic Myth and Magic. No I don't want to talk to you about your God who supposedly hates everything not directly under his power.) But I've never actually worried about what my being Pagan might mean. At the moment, it means the end of a relationship, because my boyfriend cannot/will not accept that part of me. However, I've also started worrying about my career. I want to be an elementary music teacher (or maybe middle school/beginning band teacher), and I have only two years until I start looking for a job in that field. What effect will my being Pagan have on my ability to find a job? I'm not going to put on my application/resume, "Hey, I'm an Earth-worshipping witchy Pagan," but at some point, it will surely come to be known. And, of course, this is on top of the fact that I'm a single mother.

I hope, though, that I will end up either in an area with a relatively high number of pagans (Southwestern MO seems to have quite a few, especially compared to the ~10 to be found in NEMO), or in a metro area where keeping my social life separate from my work life will be relatively easy. So, it seems I shall remain outside of the dusty broom closet (because who dusts the broom closet?!) And hopefully, I will pave the way for future Pagan teachers in this primarily Christian world.


  1. It's sad that in this day and time that people can still be so closed minded about beliefs. But they are. I understand your concern. In the type of job you will have they will scrutinize even more. I believe people in northern Missouri are more open minded than they are in southwest Missouri. I have lived there. It is the heart of the 'bible belt', home to many hard shell baptist. Some of which are as radical as the moslem extremist. Being discrete doesn't mean staying in the closet. Your beliefs are your private concern. You do have the right to guard them. X.

  2. May I ask, what sort of "afterlife" do you believe in? And what virtues do you embrace?
    I am not familiar with "pagan" beliefs. If you have a second. (btw, I am an atheist -- well, with Buddhist leanings)

  3. The broom closet is a home to many. I was thrust out of the broom closet at work by a fellow coworker who told everyone what I belived without any thought to consequence. I was lucky, they thought it was just one more quirky thing that I do. There are however, others within the company who would definitely not be okay with it and it is something we (Pagans) unfotunatley have to deal with. I look forward to the day when the term Pagan is no longer said with a negative conotation.
    Blessed Be )O(

  4. Bogaman--I agree about SWMO being the Bible Belt. I grew up there! But on WitchVox, there are many more Pagan groups in SWMO than in NEMO.

    Sabio Lantz-- I embrace the virtues of love, respect, and empathy. As for my views of the afterlife, I'm still trying to figure that out; please see my post "On death and dying and the afterlife" posted on 11/14/09.

    Kanani--Thank you for your story. It's very hard when someone else outs you. I didn't put in my original post, but how "my mom found out anyway" was a chain of events that went from a friend to my brother to my sister to my mom. I, too, look forward to the day when our religious views are accepted as equally as those of the monotheistic traditions.

  5. Sorry to hear about your relationship. If your partner can't accept you the way you are, it wasn't meant to be anyway. You'll find someone specail when the time is right. X.


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