Good day my darlings! There is another storm brewing in my area and I am outside on my porch with a cup of tea, cigarettes, and my Maynard James Keenan playlist running, so what better time is there to discuss magick? I will go ahead and say that unlike my last few posts and the vast majority of the posts I intend to write in the future, this one is for my witches. Not to say that non-Wiccans can’t gain knowledge from it or that I don’t want you to read it if you’re non-religious or of another religious persuasion; just that this particular post is geared mainly toward my Wiccan readers. Like all of my posts it is from my heart of hearts (maybe even more so this go-round) and it has been on my mind for some time.
So without further adieu: if you haven’t started telling people you’re a witch (aka come out of the broom closet) you really need to. I say “need” instead of “should” because you should take out the trash early in the morning on trash day to avoid forgetting to do it at all. You should tip 18% when you go out. You need to come out of the broom closet.
To avoid sounding patronizing or hypocritical let me share my personal story concerning “coming out,” not to necessarily give you strength but to let you know that I definitely know where you’re coming from. Also, fair warning, this is about to get incredibly personal.
I mentioned in my first post, “Introduction to This Series”, that I was raised in a Christian church by a Christian mother. I will say here that while I was not technically raised by a single mom as she was married, my stepfather was and is an abusive drug addict that was physically absent for part of my life but mentally and emotionally absent for nearly all of it. Therefore, when I tell people that I was raised by a single mom I don’t really feel like I’m being dishonest. She was on her own in the marriage and in the act of raising four daughters (two of which were not biologically hers), so while not “single” she was unequivocally alone. God was/is my mother’s solace, sanity, coach, parent, heartbeat, and, understandably, she wished to raise my sisters and I to find her god to be the same to us. I was brought up in a pretty conservative Church of Christ setting, but we also dabbled in Full Gospel (*suppressed shudder*), general Non-denominational, and Church of God. I have been preached to, preached at, read the entire Bible, deeply studied the vast majority of the New Testament, been to church camps, and did everything any church kid could possibly do and still never felt this way about my mother’s god. Ever. I read and studied and tried to learn and absorb, but no matter what I did I still felt totally empty spiritually. I would watch my mother sing and move in church and was totally captivated not because I was watching someone stand at the foot of a throne praising their Lord, but because she was my mom. She was beautiful to me in those moments because she’s always beautiful to me. The only time in my memory that I ever really felt God move was when I climbed a mountain in Colorado, stood atop the summit 13,701ft in the air, and looked down on the world around me. I was surrounded as far as I could see by a vast expanse of loved creation and it was like something in my soul broke. I could hear God saying, “Here I am, kiddo. I’m in everything.” But that God I found in the Earth looked nothing like the god I had been taught to worship and love; the god who deemed things “worthy” and “unworthy”; the god who made rules for no reason other than to test our merit when he supposedly knew it before we were ever born; the god who supposedly wouldn’t let my mother leave her dreadful husband; the god who let me be born to a psychopathic father who abused me and then left me forever; the god who didn’t love me enough to speak to me even though I sought him with every fiber of my being; the god who listened to me cry, watched me cut and starve myself out of depression and was not moved; the god who let me live when I tried to die. No. I never wanted that god. Yet I stood in church and sang. I prayed and cried and searched, and I never found until I stood atop that mountain and looked at the world.
I didn’t know it then, but that was when I became Wiccan. That moment was when I met the Goddess, the Earth Mother, who loved and understood and breathed and moved within everything. She is in all life, all sound, every rock, every handful of dirt. She is the God I had always needed. I didn’t embrace her then, and wouldn’t until years later when I was able to come to terms with who I am. I continued to seek after my mother’s god and proceeded to find only a deep, sad pinning for the God I had found in Colorado. I lied to everyone I met when I told them I was Christian. Yahweh, Jehovah, Emmanuel, were just names to me that held no power, love, or beauty. My mother’s god was just an empty name and face that I couldn’t make myself love, and I suffered no end of guilt for this.
After I married in September of last year I immediately stopped attending church; I wasn’t required to lie to get through day-to-day life anymore. I embraced apathetic agnosticism (aka “don’t know, don’t care”) and let go of all hope of ever finding that God again.
Then my marriage began crumbling. I was lost and alone, had no clue who I was, and I had nothing to stand on or for. My whole identity had been in the eighteen year long lie I had woven over Christianity, so now that that was over who was I? My husband and I agreed to work intensely on our marriage for four months, and at the end of those four months if I still wanted to leave I could leave. During that time we focused on ourselves as a unit, but more than anything I worked on myself. I wasn’t a whole person; I was a shadow of a woman who wasn’t exactly healthy to begin with. I had no real personality, no real definable faith, and knew nothing about myself. I knew that my emotional suffering was directly linked to a spiritual suffering (no real introspection needed there considering that had been the trend my entire life), so after some time I made a list of all the things I believed to be true about god. Who was god? Where and when was god? What was god? After inspecting all of my set opinions and beliefs about god, I contacted an old friend of mine, C, nearly on a whim and asked, not for the first time, for her to talk to me about Wicca. C has been a witch for pretty much as long as I’ve known her but all of our previous discussions about Wicca had been purely academic and in relation to Christianity. In that phone call I asked for the first time for her to truly break Wicca down for me, and I immediately fell in love. The whole time all I could think was, “Yes! This is it!” I got books and found blogs and explored websites; I couldn’t get enough of it. It fit in every way. For the first time since standing on that mountain I heard that voice in my head and my soul. I started practicing magick late at night on my balcony once my husband was asleep, and I was able to pray for the first time in years. My marriage magically (pun very much intended) started improving and Wicca quickly became a part of me and my husband’s life together and our vocabulary once I shared with him what I had discovered. That was actually the easiest for me and I don’t really consider it part of my “coming out,” even though it technically is. My husband is my teammate; I’ve never struggled with being honest with him.
My mother, however, is a different story. The first time I told my mom I wasn’t a Christian we were sitting by my pool on the fourth of July while my younger sister swam. The discussion of church or my personal faith had come up and I didn’t want to, couldn’t, lie to her anymore. I looked at her and said, “Mom, I don’t believe in god. I’m fairly positive I never really did.” I watched her face move between emotions, varying from confusion to shock to sadness, but when it finally settled it was calm and solemn. She told me that she appreciated my honesty and that she knew God wasn’t done with me, that one way or another I would be found again. Clearly, she meant her god. When I began practicing Wicca I had none of the apprehension about telling my mother that I had initially when I thought about informing her that I wasn’t Christian. That was the worst part in my opinion! Everything else after that should have been an improvement. Honestly, I thought she’d be happy; sure it wasn’t her god but it was a faith, a belief, something other than clinical, cold science. But no, she reacted in what might have been the worst way possible. She told me that she felt like she couldn’t talk to me about her faith for fear of being mocked, essentially saying that I don’t feel like her daughter anymore. She continues to make no move toward understanding my faith, actively keeps me from even mentioning my faith in front of my sister (not discussing it at length but even telling her what I am, for lack of a better word), and judged my harshly with no qualms after I spent eighteen years learning about her god. I’m not saying that she’s not entitled to her feelings, only that the way she has expressed them has put a potentially irreversible road block in our relationship. For me, it doesn’t matter that we have different religions. She’s my mom, the woman who gave birth to me and raised me, and she’ll always understand pieces of me better than anyone else. But she has taken this choice I’ve made that has bettered my life, marriage, and soul as a personal slight, and that hurts my heart in ways I cannot express.
Regardless, I do not regret coming out to her for a minute. Sure it was painful, still is quite painful, but I’ve grown from it. Life needs light to blossom; nothing truly fruitful can grow hidden in the dark. My dears, you will find that while telling those closest to you is difficult, uncomfortable, and just plain scary that once it’s over, nevermind the outcome, you will emerge stronger, more at peace, and thus will work more powerful magick. The basis for all magick is personal power, infusing the God and Goddess energy you carry with you always, and this will grow immensely once your possession of it is no longer a secret. So, all that being said, here are a few things to meditate on when debating the how’s and what’s of coming out of the broom closet:
- Know your audience. If your family/friends are blunt people don’t waste time preparing a long speech detailing the ins and outs; likewise, if they are more sensitive discuss appeals you know to be true. Delivery can make or break any proposal and can paint even some of the worst ideas as totally legit (ever read The Manifesto of the Communist Party?).
- Remember that those who truly love you selflessly won’t care, and some of them probably already know. My husband is a great example of this. Not only was he not phased, he wasn’t shocked and I wasn’t even worried. Remember the end of that old Dr. Suess quote, “…those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
- Prepare for the worst. This sounds pessimistic but it’s straight realism. My mother’s reaction blind-sided me because I never would have expected it, and that increased the rejection tenfold. I’m not saying ready yourself to be burnt at the stake, but it would behoove you to envision arguments or debates to give yourself time to come up with strong rebuttals (especially if you are addressing people of another religion and/or family).
- Re-read number two over and over again. Seriously. We all come from the Deity’s energy and are full of God and Goddess energy just like every other piece of creation. Your personal magick is woven in the pattern of your soul. You have always been a witch; it’s who you were born to be, and the people who love you will recognize that.
I truly hope this was helpful and I do apologize to my non-Wiccan readers for the narrow scope of this post. As always if you have any questions, comments, or if you just want to talk hit me up via email or the comments. I’ll always respond and be more than happy to engage in discussion or debate. Have a good weekend and stay out of jail, you crazy kids.