The Broom Closet

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I’ve heard the experience of being in the closet when it comes to being a witch referred to as being in the “broom closet.” I spent the last week in there, and it was . . . odd.

It’s not as though I run around shouting, “I’m a witch!” for all and sundry when I’m at home, but I can be more relaxed about it. I can talk to Beowulf about what’s going on without needing to make sure no one’s listening, or read books on the topic openly. I can wear the lopsided pentacle pendant I made recently as an exercise in wire wrapping. It’s like I can breathe freely.

And then we spent a week with my family, whom I love dearly. I very carefully brought up some of the more on-the-fringe spiritual matters in Christianity and my mother’s instant response was that I had to be careful not to be deceived. I reassured her that I wasn’t exploring extreme charismatic Christianity and left the topic alone after that. It’s painful, sometimes, to realize that there are things I can’t share with my mom and dad, because I’ve always been able to share so much with them over the years. I know it’s normal, to not share everything with your parents, but the process of adjusting to that has, I think, been longer for me than it is for many people.

I stayed in the closet for the week, venturing out here and there carefully, when it felt safe. I found myself hiding magick books purchased at Powell’s in the wheel well in the trunk of our car just so no one would find them, and telling someone I was with that the book on faeries I’d just picked up was research for a writing project (it is, but it’s also for personal research). I brought my travel altar and murmured chants over it at night with the bedroom door shut, and kept it zipped into an inner purse pocket when it was not in use. I sang a couple songs about the Goddess in the bath while the water was still running so no one would overhear me. I bought smudge sticks in a slightly bolder move, with the explanation that I like incense but it gives me a headache, so I’m trying smudge sticks instead. My rather more conservative brother likes to burn incense when he doesn’t live in my parents’ house (it gives my dad headaches and allergic reactions), so this is pretty plausible and not too weird. Also true, just not the whole truth.

I wore my triquetra necklace instead of my pentacle. When I purchased stones in a small souvenir shop my mom asked if those were for my jewelry making. I said yes, as some were intended for jewelry making. Others are intended more for use in spells or on my altar, but I didn’t mention that. I made a charm bag for safe travel, and popped it into the glove compartment, to keep it out of the way. I carefully focused on the more Christian side of my spiritual practice and mostly, it wasn’t that hard.

Really, it wasn’t. And this is my private spiritual practice. I only need to share it with those I choose to. I don’t get to share the joy and comfort I find in this practice with some of the people who are most important to me, and that saddens me, but ultimately, this is my path, not theirs. They have their own journeys to pursue and sometimes my part of that is being silent and listening rather than sharing my own opinions and experience. It’s frustrating that I have to hide it, but I’m currently choosing to do that rather than spark a family blow-up (I did that last year when I came out to my parents and I don’t think I’m ready to do it again, especially since this revelation would garner a much more dramatic reaction). It’s just how it is for now.

So I hid my magick books in the wheel well, and my chants in the sound of running water, and when I came home, it was like I could breathe again.

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