Pagan Blog Project week 4: B is for The Broom Closet

(Broom closet starts with a B, so it still counts!)

Like many, many younger people just starting out on their path, I’m lodged firmly in the broom closet. This means that my family, at least, does not know about my religious affiliations. Actually, it goes further than that: I’m still masquerading as Christian for their sakes.  The last time I had someone find out about a major part of my identity, I was kicked out of my house and assaulted–so I don’t see a revelation about my spirituality as going any better.

This is why I’m choosing to stay in the broom closet until further notice–it’ll be easier on my parents and extended family that way. I’m not one for lying, but with college just around the corner and my family already stretched to the brink trying to deal with my grandparents, they really don’t need an added stress. Not to mention, if they were to learn about it, I would most likely be barred from practicing.

My mother is naturally a very controlling person; she likes to know what I’m up to at all times and to control all of my assets and what I do on a daily basis. I doubt she would continue to let me worship my gods or practice witchcraft on a daily basis like I do now in secret. And as I’m still budding in my spirituality, I want to try to learn as much as possible, both by respecting the gods and by forging my own way with magick, as well as seeking guidance from others more experienced than me.

I’d define myself as an eclectic pagan witch, and I highly doubt anyone in my family would have anything positive to say about witches. They weren’t even aware of their existence until I informed them of Wicca. It’s both for their peace of mind and mine.

I suppose it’s difficult to practice when those you may want to tell about spiritual experiences are out of the loop. Then there is the covering up–of my altar, of my candles, why I place fresh water on my shelf top each day, and the general lying. I hate lying, I really do. I’ve lied a lot since I was a child, as a mechanism to ensure my own safety. Living with an emotionally and physically abusive father made it necessary that I learn how to lie, and how to lie well, and keep track of those lies to keep up a strong illusion of what people want to see as opposed to the reality. And I’m still doing that; both with my spirituality, my gender identity, my sexuality, etc. I only do it for my family’s peace of mind. And it feels wrong to me, and I wish I could stop.

But the cold reality is that lying is my way out of a bad situation. If I continue to carry the favor of my mother, then I will have money to pay for some of college, which will eventually carry me out of state. In order to get out, I have to keep living a lie.

Although, perhaps I dug my own grave? If I had not grown so accustomed to lying, to people-pleasing, maybe I would be able to be more honest with my family about who I am and what I do? Although I doubt it, truly. My parents, no matter how much they might be different had I not pretended to be the perfect little girl they wanted me to be, would never have accepted the apparent fate of that little girl: according to their philosophy, I am going to Hell, and that is the worst fate one might imagine for their child. Of course I don’t really believe in the concept of Hell, but in the black-and-white world of fundamentalist Southern Baptist Christianity, they are right, and I am wrong. There is no negotiating.

Then, is the broom closet simply another method of deception in a long line of already existing lies? Yes, it is. But it is a necessary one, no doubt.

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One thought on “Pagan Blog Project week 4: B is for The Broom Closet

  1. Wow! Well we can see your reasons for that broom closet. You certainly don’t have it (and haven’t had) it easy do you? You’re clearly a person who does not like deceiving people in any way, especially those closest to you. However, let’s look at the facts. You are not lying to cheat someone out of their money or possessions. You are not lying to gain power or influence over people in order to abuse their trust for your own personal gain. You are not spreading untruths in order to cause suspicion or conflict between other people. By being economical with the truth in the way you are (and yes we appreciate you are not being open and honest in the way you’d like to be), you are only doing this to cope with adverse circumstances and to avoid making things worse. We know that it’s your own conscience that’s most important here, but please don’t beat yourself up too much over this. You sound a pretty nice, caring person and you don’t deserve what you’re going through (and have been through) without you yourself adding to it. We think you are entitled to be a little less honest than you’d like to be, seeing as how it’s really only a survival strategy and not a means by which to purposefully hurt or harm others.
    We never encountered any of the family/friends issues with magick/occultism in our youth, so we haven’t experienced what you have. Over here (we are British) there also isn’t really the fundamentalist, evangelical brand of Christianity that seems to be strong in some parts of the US. Saying that you’re a pagan or an occultist to one of our Church of England representatives, will probably result in you being invited to sit down for a chat with a cup of tea and a biscuit rather than being condemned to a fiery hell! We ourselves are not exclusively pagan and our tradition and teachings contain many elements of gnostic/esoteric Christianity.
    Sending you our blessings…stay strong!

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