Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In, or out?

Of the “broom closet,” that is. This is a question hotly debated on Youtube and Pagan forums everywhere, and what Wiccan blog would be complete without the author’s own take on it? So, I give you my two cents.

Honestly, I don’t care if a person decides to be open or discreet about their religious and beliefs, and I feel that there are often times and places when religious topics should be absent. Like at work. I know a lot of people feel that since their Christian counterparts can are usually are so open about their beliefs that they too should be open about theirs, and honestly, if that’s what you want to do, that’s fine, but I also think it’s asking for it in a way. I myself work with several people at work who are openly Catholic (and some of them actually know my Catholic relatives quite well), and it doesn’t bother me at all, since I don’t feel that work is the most appropriate place to have discussions about the following subjects: religion, politics, sex, money, or child rearing techniques. I have found that any and all of those topics can lead to uncomfortable silences, hurt feelings, and even outright anger.

In my particular profession though, there is one topic that often cannot be avoided, and that’s religion, at least when it comes to religions that do or do not believe in the use of birth control or products like Plan B (aka the morning after pill). Because my pharmacy manager and 2 of the other assistants are Catholic, I am one of the few people at my work who feels comfortable enough to sell Plan B, as long as it’s not a guy picking it up (you never know if they’re going to slip it into the girl’s food or drinks or something). So naturally, there are times when knowing a person’s religious beliefs is necessary, but the rest of the time, I think it’s a topic that’s better left for non-office situations.

Some of my family knows about my religion, my partner, my mother, possibly my father, and my brothers know, and I think a cousin and an aunt. But I don’t feel the need to tell people what I believe. When it comes to religion I am not a flag waver. Sure, if you walked into my room you’d be able to figure it out pretty quickly between the cauldron, stack of incense and the books lying around all over the place, but I don’t believe in wearing a large pentacle, or dressing in hippy clothes (unless you like that sort of thing) because I feel that perhaps part of the bad rap that Wiccans get is for being “freaky” and “obnoxious.” I can’t tell you how many time I’ve been ticked off at my own “kind” for being in-your-face about the Path to people who were not followers, and really, if you’re walking around in a cloak on Main Street, can you really blame people for being a tad concerned?

When it comes to adults I think it’s great to be open about your religions – when it’s welcome. If people want to ask you questions, or if the topic comes up in a social setting and you want to share your beliefs, that’s great, but do it responsibly, and if it looks like it’s going to start a large argument, stay calm and state what you believe, but also know when to back off. There are always going to be people who believe we worship the Devil, and you are not going to change their mind, so don’t even try.

As for teenagers I think it’s very important to be open and honest with your parents, but to also respect their wishes. If you have been raised in a very Christian home and they are not comfortable with you practicing, then wait. Honestly, you’ll be in their house for a short time compared to the amount of time you’ll be on your own, so I feel it’s best to just wait it out. And they can’t change what you believe, only whether your shelves are filled with Wiccan books, or if you burn candles or incense, or if you practice ritual, etc. When you live under your parent’s roof, it really is under their rules too. You don’t need to be outside burning candles at every quarter and consecrating your stones with smoke from your incense and water from the sea, the God and Goddess will see what you feel in your heart, will feel your devotion to them regardless of whether or not you do ritual. There is plenty of time for all that once you have a place of your own, and it’s NOT worth it to start an argument about religion when you have to live in close quarters with someone else like that (just ask me how I know).

So, to me, in or out of the “broom closet” it’s really a personal choice, and it changes with every person and place. One day I’m sure our religion will be as accepted as others, but until then, let’s try to not piss off as many people as we can at a time, okay? We can only gain respect by being respectful of others and their beliefs, but we stand to lose everything if we put up a fight and get in people’s faces about it. Educate when it’s welcome, and tip your hat and wish them a blessed be when it’s not. Just saying.

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