“You have the right to remain silent” is a phrase that we inevitably have come across during arrests in police movies and some of us might have even heard it from the horse’s mouth. I will not be writing here on the right to avoid self-incrimination but rather on Neo-Pagans or Wiccans who choose to remain confined in the closet… the broom closet.
This is a very personal choice, which takes a lot of thought and consideration. Coming out and declaring your faith comes with baggage, as everything else in life. Neo-Pagans and Wiccans are increasing in numbers but in many countries these religions are still not mainstream faiths. What will my family, friends and loved ones think of me? What repercussions will I have at my place of work? Will I still be accepted? What if in the future I had to change my mind? Why should I be repressive with myself and hide my true identity? These and similar questions pop up in our heads, some time or another, during different stages of the walk upon the path we have chosen.
Some are happy and comfortable to stay safe within the closet whilst others have no apparent choice. For them faith is a personal matter and it’s in nobody else’s interest to know what they believe. Others feel like they are living a lie. They feel confined within the closet and are anxious to share their belief or just free themselves from living a double life. Similar situations can be very frustrating because they confine the person to a very limited space in which he or she can practice his/her religion of choice. When I was a teenager and still living at the home of my parents, I had to find ways to disguise tools and other items that I had gathered. Books were even more difficult to hide especially when they come in large numbers and with flashing pentagrams on the cover. An easy remedy for hiding books was that of dressing them with jackets from other acceptable literature. Today the internet offers easy ways for one to discreetly carry out research and keep in touch.
Luckily enough my wife is on the same path so I left most of my problems behind when I left my paternal home. I would never think of coming out to my parents because they will never understand and the fact that their son, to whom they gave a sold Catholic upbringing, has ended meddling with witchcraft, would be a pain too hard to handle. I have a close circle of friends with whom I can talk and in whom I confide but it stops there. Coming out of the broom closet would mean the end to my career. In a society such as the one I live in, where for the majority of people pagan = atheist and witch = Satanist, it’s best to opt for the right to remain silent.
This fact does not make me less or more Neo-Pagan than those who have the opportunity to shout their faith at the world. I am who I am and there are circumstances that I cannot change. Trying to fight the establishment will take away precious time and energy which I can use in a better way to grow spiritually. I respect all other faiths and am not into proselytizing. I have no intention of going around knocking on doors and telling people that I have found the only true path because I believe that everybody has his or her own calling. This does not mean that I will not speak out if my rights are trampled upon. I just try to make the best to avoid such circumstances by staying out of harm’s way.
My advice to those who are pondering coming out of the broom closet is to think carefully and keep in mind that every action brings about a reaction. Would your situation improve? What is really driving you to tell the world? Dig deep and try to find out if it is a statement of faith or just rebellion. Take your time and do not rush into quick decisions. Study your situation from all angles and try to perceive how you would feel if you were on the other side. Meditate on the matter and ask the Gods for their counsel. Whatever you feel is best for you… an’ it harm none, do what thou wilt.