Do you feel confined to the broom closet when it comes to your beliefs? As I began to write this article I started to wonder if this was actually such a bad thing. Yes, if we view the “broom closet” as a hiding place, it can make what we keep there feel wrong or bad, and this is NOT good. But if we think of it as a special place to store away the personal things that are sacred to us, it can be a beneficial thing. This is especially true when others do not understand the true meaning or value of what is kept there.
For those wanting to step out of the broom closet, we have the following suggestions:
Share with others what your beliefs are ABOUT, and not what they are labeled. For example, if you announce you are a Witch, this label may cause panic in those who were raised to believe this is an evil path. Instead, you may simply want to share your love of the outdoors and being connected with Mother Earth. Nature seems to be a wonderful bridge between the Old Ways and today’s religions. An interest in herbs or a love of animals might be common ground you can share with someone on another path, without creating conflict or stress. My Christian mother loves gardening and enjoys the Llewellyn Herbal Almanacs I send her, even though many of the articles are written by Witches and provide information on the magical uses of herbs and celebrating Pagan holidays. I’ve found that even the strictest Christians often appreciate all the wonderful gifts and magic found in Nature. And that brings me to the next suggestion.
When discussing my beliefs, I try to use terminology that those I am with can understand and be comfortable with. Most of my friends and family are firmly on the Christian path. Words like spells and witchcraft seem to strike fear into their loving hearts, so I try hard not to use those terms around them. When I send my thoughts out into the Universe I might think of what I do as spell work, but for the sake of better communication, it’s easier to describe my actions as prayer when I am talking to Christian friends or family members. If I call on the Goddess, I’ll simply refer to this as seeking Divine assistance for the same reason. DIVINE seems to be a neutral word that causes less confusion or worry. I don’t feel like I am betraying my beliefs when I speak to others using their own terminology. If I went to another country, it would be much easier if I learned and used whatever language the native people understood. I would not want to depend on their ability to learn and understand MY language during the short period of time I spent with them.
If others already know about my connection to Wicca or Witchcraft, and confrontation seems inevitable, I may encourage them to do some additional research. As a general rule, I only do this when I feel the information can ease fears and help the individual feel more comfortable with what I believe. I have several favorite bits of information I like to share and ask for feedback on.
Finally, let go of the idea that others need to understand your path. Sure, they would feel better about it if they did, but regardless of what you say to them, it’s not likely they are going to accept it, at least not right away. The harder you try to explain your beliefs, the more some will feel the need to convince you that their way is the only right way. In my humble opinion, it’s best if neither side feels any pressure to accept the others beliefs. The goal is simply to exchange views and allow each other to walk freely, and peacefully on their own chosen path. Strive to spend your time celebrating the relationships you have with others instead of worrying about the differences in your beliefs. When you allow the love and grace of your spirit to shine forth, the accusations of “evil” will begin to fade away, and the truth about these peaceful nature-based paths will eventually make itself known!