Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

Monday, May 31, 2010

In or Out of the Broom Closet?

Pagan Magic said:
Whilst Paganism and Earth based religions are more socially accepted today, there are still many people who remain in the broom closet through fear of persecution, social stigma and bullying. Are you In or Out of the broomcloset? Was it easy for you to announce your path, do you object to people announcing their religion? Have you suffered at the hands of intolerant people. Looking to hear from all sides - your experiences both good and bad, what advice would you give - what support do you need?

I said:

I'm out, and I neither hide nor flaunt it. I don't usually raise the subject, but if people ask, I tell them.

I'm completely open about it online, and must say I have made some wonderful Christian friends who are broadminded and understanding, and can see me for who I am, not as a label — which is how I see them too.

In my offline life, for a few years I wore a very large pentacle. Eventually I gave it to someone, and replaced it with a much smaller one, but still clearly a pentacle. Then one of my customers for a psychic reading looked at it, and asked what it was. I told her, and she said, 'I don't think I'll have a reading after all,' and left. That was the only occasion in many years; still my husband was worried that wearing the pentacle might lose me customers, so for his peace of mind I now wear one which is a Celtic knot and looks like a heraldic rose as well as a star. Any Pagan recognises it at once for what it is, but others seldom do.

In fact I've always copped a lot more flak for being a professional psychic and healer. The narrow-minded consider those occupations, too, to be the work of their Devil. The repercussion, though, have been no more troublesome than being accosted verbally with arguments not of my seeking – which I bring to a halt as quickly as possible.

My close friends and family know I'm both witch and Wiccan. I don't think they are bothered by it; some may regard it as another of my eccentricities. You know – like being a performance poet, dying my hair purple, running meditation classes, and marrying three times. Many of my friends are of course witches and/or Pagans themselves. A number are healers, and quite a few are psychic.

In my mother's family there was a lot of telepathy and intuition among the women – my grandmother, mother, aunts and cousins. They used to say jokingly that they were all witches, but they really only meant they had ESP. They would have repudiated any suggestion that they were witches in our sense. And yet it makes me think there must have been a strong hereditary line there which at some stage became hidden and forgotten. I am the only one who took it seriously as such, and looking back, I think that must be because my gifts were more pronounced. The others tried to convince me and themselves it was "just imagination".

Although I am well and truly out now, there was a long period of my life when it all went underground and became suppressed. But it would not be denied and had to break through eventually, I'm glad to say. I managed to avoid the very real possibility that I might have been labelled mad by being fairly discreet about it at first, until I understood what was going on and who to trust, and became comfortable with it.

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