I am (somewhat) out of the broom closet at work! Yay!
I had forgotten what it was like to come out of the broom closet. I’ve never really been in it – being Pagan is not something I’ve ever really tried to hide. Alas, starting a new job with new people (and a few from the previous project) makes it interesting.
I’m blessed in that I live in a very VERY multicultural city. Nearly 40% of Sydneysiders speak a non-English language at home, and more than 250 languages are spoken in Sydney. In the next council over from me, they boast having over 100 cultures within their council community. And I LOVE IT! Having grown up in a town that is very white and Catholic, Sydney was not only an eye-opener (when I first moved here) but it also makes me thankful that given the cultural diversity here, it makes being an out-of-the-broom-closet Pagan just that little bit easier.
I understand that not everyone’s experience is like this, and I know it can be hard. The worse trouble I had was admitting myself to a hospital in Werribee having an asthma attack on the way home from Melbourne. I didn’t realise it was a Christian hospital – it was just the nearest one the passenger in the car could direct me to (before phones were colour and had GPS). When I was asked my religion, I said “Pagan”. The woman clenched, entered “no religion” on my admittance band. Naturally, I was annoyed and told my father when he came to collect me. He said, “you should’ve just told them you were Catholic, because that’s what you were baptised.” Yeah…no. I haven’t agreed with Catholicism since I was 13! And there was that instance at Samhain when I met with my paternal grandmothers parents (both died before I was born) who are uncomfortable with it…that’s about as awful as it gets for me.
At my last project I “came out” when I made a sign for my computer, “Gone to Hogwarts, be back Tuesday” when I took time off to go to the Australian Wiccan Conference. And then did Baby Readings for the girls as they fell pregnant. And drawings that turned out to be loved ones of those I worked with (my work load got low)… The best thing about it all – no one gave a shit!
I guess that’s when, as a Pagan, you know you’re in a good workplace – when it can come up in conversation, or someone can suggest something, and people don’t immediately think, “Ohhhh Devil worshipper!” They’re curious for a moment, register that they’re working with a Witch, ask a few questions, then we all get on with our lives.
To my surprise last week, a colleague came and asked if I knew a spell to assist her with a family issue. The feeling from her was, “Oh my gods, I can’t believe I’m asking this, what if [Name] was wrong about her?!” A tad not knowing if [Name] was telling the truth or just being a joker. But I was happy to help, made a few suggestions, then wrote something “muggle friendly” for her to do. I had to know – who told her about me?! “Oh [Name] said you might know some spells, because he worked with you on the last project.” Yep. Cool. No worries! Happy to be of assistance!
I am thankful for the positive experience each time I’ve faced “coming out.” It is annoying to have the awful stigma attached to the term/name/label “Witch” but that’s life, I guess. It’s just another stereotype that all religions and spiritual practices have that we find our way around, and hopefully can open the eyes and change the negative opinions one person at a time.
I’m also thankful for Harry Potter who I believe assisted in dispelling the awful Witch stereotype. A few questions I’ve had have had a Potter element to it, but once I explain that my wand and broom are out of action and in the shop for repairs, they laugh and we move on.
Yay for work mates not giving a shit!!