Many pagans, witches, and practitioners of the Craft practice in secrecy.
We commonly believe that remaining behind closed doors spares us the difficult moments we expect to experience with people who attach stereotypes or stigmas to witchcraft.
Even hereditary witches sometimes feel pressure from family members to “keep it in the broom closet.”
But are we sometimes worried about nothing?
If you decide that all the silence simply doesn’t suit you, or you find yourself contemplating a public life as a witch, read the article below for some helpful things to think about.
1. This is your call.
You are under no obligation to tell/not tell anyone what you think about how the universe works.
Being public has its pro/cons.
Being private has its pros/cons.
Weigh what those are for you personally and make a decision that’s best for you.
2. You can do it gradually.
For people who want to tiptoe rather than bust through, the Mystica wrote a fantastic article called 10 Baby Steps Out of the Broom Closet. The author suggests simple measures, like not whispering when you ask the librarian for books on occult topics and answering census-type questions about your religious beliefs honestly.
3. You’re not obligated to wear it on your t-shirt.
At this point, I consider myself a pretty public witch.
After all, I write this publication. I know that at any point, anyone I know may become privy to my spiritual life, and I’m okay with that. But I generally don’t wear it on my sleeve.
If being public for you means getting a gianormous pentacle tattoo or leading an open ritual with an actual bullhorn, that’s all you, my friend.
But “being public” for me means answering honestly when people ask me what I’m doing the night of the full moon and not stressing if my boss happens to click on my facebook business page.
4. Use whatever language you feel most helpful to foster understanding.
If you plan an actual sit down conversation with someone, it helps know your audience.
Perhaps your Irish grandmother won’t understand the word “Wicca,” but she might appreciate that you honor your heritage by celebrating Celtic holidays that she remembers from girlhood.
Maybe you know the word “witchcraft” will make your monotheistic sister cringe, but “holistic medicine” or “natural home remedies” feels familiar to her.
Or maybe you just want to explain your tradition to your mother enough for her to feel comfortable at your first child’s baby blessing.
Whatever your approach, finding the words your loved one relates to most often goes a long way.
5. Expect to be shocked by just how much no one really cares.
No matter how conservative, rigid or deeply religious you think your friends and family are, don’t assume they will begrudge you.
I have Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim friends and family. None of them have ever cared where I pray, how or to whom.
Of course, exceptions to any rule exist, but most reasonable people recognize that your spiritual life as an adult is your business.
Let them surprise you.
6. Try not to get defensive when confronted with skepticism.
Remember that your goal isn’t to convince someone tarot cards can be useful spiritual tools or that recognizing a feminine aspect to divinity is healthy.
If your loved one responds with, “I don’t believe in that stuff,” you need not convince him.
Simply say, “It’s not important to me that you believe what I believe. It’s important to me that you respect my right to choose a faith.”
7. Watch for the curve ball . . . curiosity.
In my experience, curiosity is actually the most likely response. But it still surprises me every time.
Rather than reacting negatively to your disclosure, much of the time, people express genuine curiosity.
If they do, take the opportunity to dispel common myths about witchcraft and encourage a properly respectful, honest discussion.
8. Know your rights.
If you live in the US, the federal government affords you the right to religious freedom and protection from discrimination on that basis.
If you feel you’ve been discriminated against at work, during a housing or loan application process or in other protected scenarios, seek appropriate legal advice.
Also consider seeking support from your community. We want to help you.
If no one else will listen, I will. Contact me and tell me your story: