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Lady Autumn Speaks

Essays~ Broom Closet: Its a Tight Space

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Make a choice, be apart of the solution, not the problem!

There are tons of reasons to stay in the broom closet and there are just as many reasons to come out. Before I came out of the broom closet, I thought that if people knew my faith that it would hurt my career and most certainly my husband’s career. Especially since, I live deep in the Bible belt! I finally realized that my faith could not possibly hurt my career as much as I was already hurting myself for not standing up for my own convictions.

 

            Our faith defines who we are to an extent because it is our teachings that give us a solid basis for making decisions. Nevertheless, contrary to what we may believe, our faith does not label us into a category, our actions do! So why do we turn our backs when something contradicts our convictions? Why should we live in fear? I am not saying that every one of us is ready to become public speakers; but do your part to stand up for your own beliefs! Each one of us can make a difference no matter how small. You need not come out of the broom closet to make that difference. If you have children, raise them in an Earth conscious household. When you walk to school pick up the trash you see along the way. Even if you do not have children, you can pass on our beliefs discreetly by doing community service; live the life the God/dess would want you to live. There is no reason why you cannot become a part of the solution without wearing your pentagram outside of your shirt. If you wish to keep your faith private then do so, but do not become part of the problem.

 

            The problem pagans face today with living in the public eye is that other people have misconceptions of who we are. So be apart of the solution, live your life for the Lord and Lady, make a difference in your school, your neighborhood, your community…. Whatever you are comfortable with. And one day when you are ready to jump out of that dark broom closet, people will see you for who you are as a person and not your chosen faith. Albeit, they will probably be shocked that you do not fit their preconceived mold of a witch. That is good; you just made it easier for others like yourself to step into the light!

 

            The people that know me today know me as an avid volunteer, a fighter, someone who will bend over backwards for my fellow man and stand up for what I believe in. They know me as someone who is constantly learning and passing on my knowledge. They also know me as someone who is honest and will tell you like it is. Even though I do not hide that I am a witch (and I actually advertise it), it is not the first word people use to define me. In fact, if you ask anyone who knows me it probably is not even one of the first five words they use to define me. That is because they define me by my actions instead of my faith. Isn’t that how it is supposed to be for everyone? Christian, Muslim, Jew or Witch… we are defined by our actions. If we do not live the life of action then what is left to define us? That is when you find yourself being pigeon holed. If you choose to be a poor friend, parent, student or whatever… if you lay down and watch the world pass before your eyes, if you just let things happen and never make a difference then the only thing left to define you is the example that you set.

 

            I have been blessed with becoming a member of a whole group of pagans who are defined by their actions. Some live within the boundaries of the broom closet and some live outside of its confines. But no matter, they all have made a step to make a change within their community. They do park clean up projects, they raise money for the hungry, along side their Christian counterparts, they hold pray vigils for soldiers deployed overseas, and they do their best to make a difference in someone‘s life. At first, the public attention was focused on the fact that some of these people were witches. Nevertheless, after two years, the media does not even define them as that, now they are an “Earth Centered Group” making a difference. Articles of their good deeds appear in the community section of the newspaper right along side the articles of Church functions and community events. They are for all intensive purposes, defined by their actions as apposed to their faith. And isn’t that what we are all crying out for? Acceptance. Sure, we still get the stares when we march in parades or hold public rituals; but at least we are allowed to do those things! It took the work of public pagans before us to make that possible and without future people making the same step, our children will still live in fear of their of their own faith. And THAT is what is truly an injustice. 

 

            We cannot change the tenants of another faith. Some religions have tenants that say in order for them to get redemption or to gain access to their deity; they must try to convert people to their own faith. We will never change this. However, what we can do is change their minds on who is their target of opportunity. If they see that we live “holy lives,” we are less desirable for conversion. I mean think about it for a second. Would you want to try to convert someone who lives a more wholesome life than you do? Seriously, though, I have met many people who would have never guessed that I was a witch. My son’s own teacher assumed that it was a rumor or a joke when she found out. Because I live my life, just as she lives hers, so she naturally assumed that I was a Christian. Really, the only difference is that we just happen to pray to a different image of the higher power. Now she leaves it at that.

 

            I found the best way to come out of the broom closet is to have already established that you are a good and “normal” person through your own actions. Show them that you are a smart person. Do not try to change the minds of people through theological debate. Unless you are an expert on the religions of the world, you are probably not prepared to change the mind of a person who was raised to believe one thing with no exceptions. These people are probably not ready to listen to what you have to say, any more than they are prepared to change your mind about your religion. Just be who you are and be fair to others. If you wish to have one of your Sabbaths off, volunteer to work for someone else on their holiday. You cannot expect your employer to give you your holidays off and the days belonging to another faith, just because it is an accepted holiday. If you have children in school and you wish to have them home for Sabbaths then make arrangements at the beginning of the year with the administration. Let them know ahead of time when your holidays are and make arrangements to have your child make up their missed work ahead of time. While you are at it, volunteer to educate the staff or even the class on the historical basis of your holidays without bringing faith into the lesson. I go into my son’s classroom on or before our Sabbats and read a story and do an activity with them that is appropriate to our holiday that is not faith specific. For example, around the summer campfires, how many Christians have made “God’s Eyes” from two crossed sticks and colored yarn? They make it because it has historical significance with the summer solstice, they do not make it because it represents our deity… most of them never realize that it is Pagan in origin. See the way I look at it, by the time I have left my son’s classroom the students in his class have a new appreciation for the season. In addition, the staff sees that our holidays are not the morbid creations that some people spin; they see that out holidays are natural and normal!

 

            Anyways, I have rambled on enough so in closing I want you to remember that coming out of the broom closet does not have to be as scary as you think it is because action speaks louder than words. If you live your life as a normal earth centered person would instead of fulfilling stereotypes applied to our faith, people may be surprised to learn that you are a “witch” but they will most likely accept you for who you are instead of who you worship.

 

This essay was written in response to an author (from the vox) looking for people's reasons for remaining in the broom closet.

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