Monday, February 22, 2010

Finding My Way Out of the Broom Closet

  I come from a family that was never that religious.  My mom just always said that a person's beliefs were personal and not meant to be shoved in other people's faces and she was very distrustful of those that tried.

I agreed with this, but I also began to feel the "need" for something more in my life.  I was about 20 years old, I guess, married and pregnant with my first child when I decided to find some things out for myself.  I went to the small library in town and checked out the only two books they had on Paganism and witchcraft.  I took them home--not really knowing enough about close mindedness at the time to realize I probably should not just have left them laying around for prying eyes to see.

It just so happened that my monster mother-in-law was coming to visit during this time period and unbeknown to me, my then-husband told her about the books I had brought home.  Who knows, that may have been the whole reason for her visit.  I was folding some laundry in my room one day when she came flouncing in and proceeded to tell me that witchcraft was evil and of the devil and that I was putting my unborn child in danger!  She said that I needed to get those books out of the house right away.

I was young and dumb and I allowed this woman to intimidate and scare me.  I returned the books unread to the library the next day and I spent the next 13 years trying to be a good Christian wife and mother and ended up completely losing myself in the process.

I ended up divorcing my first husband after only a year because he was extremely psychologically abusive.  Thankfully, I  have my beautiful daughter to show for that hellish year, though.  Later I met a very nice man who I should have just stayed friends with, but married him anyway when my daughter was 3 years old.  That lasted about 3 years before we mutually called it quits and went out separate ways.  Then in '99 I married a Christian man I had worked with for 6 years.  We went through the whole pre-marriage Christian counseling and were faithful churchgoers.  Poor guy didn't have a clue what he was getting into.

I was 33 years old when I realized I was on the wrong path and I needed to make some changes.  I knew what path I wanted to be on but I have to admit, I was still a little scared.  Was I really opening myself and my family up to evil?  Was I going to go to hell?  Christian dogma is very difficult to get out from under.  I just couldn't get the ideas out of my head, though.  What had begun to call to me 13 years earlier was now demanding my attention.

I secretly ordered some books about witchcraft from I really knew nothing about it-- and when they arrived I hid them in the trunk of my car.  I would drive to a local park and read the books whenever I happened to have a few extra minutes.  I was so scared that I was going to be found out but I was loving everything I was reading.  Everything these books talked about was something that I believed down deep inside.  It was freeing...I don't know how else to say it.

Well, my husband did found the books in the trunk one day and truthfully, at first, he was a little bit freaked out.  But, he loved me and he trusted me and he knew that I was level headed enough to know what I was doing.  We talked about everything.  I shared what I was learning and what being a Pagan and a witch really meant.  He had a lot of questions and I answered as best I could.  When I didn't know the answer I would look it up and get back to him later.  He has now become completely open minded about it and really pretty much believes as I do--although I know he would never call himself a Pagan.

My children now know what I am and the path that I walk and I am here if they ever want to talk or have questions or if they ever want to explore it.  But, I still agree with my mom's idea that their faith is their own and I know that they will have to find their own way. As for the rest of my family, they know as well and are actually very open to it.  My mom has asked me for house cleansing spells (for negative energy) and I got her a deck of Tarot cards for Christmas.  She is quite intuitive.  My grandmother even got me some witchy books and a journal for Christmas.

However, no one else in the town where I live would have any idea that I call myself a witch.  They think of me as kind of a tree hugger kind of gal but that is as far as it goes.  I don't think, I know, that my family would receive flack and I just can't do that to them right now--not with my husband trying to start up his own business.   So I remain for the time being partially in and partially out of the Broom Closet.  For now, I am okay with that, but I don't think I will be forever.


Mother's Moon's Message said...

wonderfully told Dessa... I have always found it a bit funny how pagans are often thought of as tree huggers.... If some people only knew.... it just makes me giggle.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I am in the broom closet right now and I am struggling with it. So thank you again.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

You do what you have to do in this world. Just like being gay, if it is not relatively safe to come out, don't come out. Conditions have to be favourable. You'll know when they are. In the meantime, don't stress about it.

Sparrow said...

Thank you for sharing. It seems that we have more in common than I thought :)

JJ Beazley said...

I think your attitude is perfectly well balanced. It's your life, after all. Draw the lines wherever they suit you. And it's good that you've attracted to yourself an open-minded man.

I think there's an irony here, too. I've long suspected that the Christian Church completely misrepresents the teachings of Jesus. I can't know that, of course; nobody can, since the Church destroyed most of the Gospels in the third century. I think it very likely, however, that the real Jesus would have had no problem with paganism. What he seemed to have a big problem with was the Old Testament.

Catpriestess said...

Dearest Dessa, First let me congratulate you on leaving an abusive marriage esp. with child. That is a very difficult process to do. I counseled many domestic survivors and was one myself. Emotional abuse can sometimes me more insidious than physical, because it doesn't necessarily show on the outside. You've come a long way, sister and your path is not at all easy, but you've been through alchemical fires to shape you into the wonderful woman you are. Remember how you and I talked about labels? You know who you are, your loved one's cherish you and when you're ready and have the strength you'll choose who to share who you are in full beauty. Thank you for sharing your path and so glad you're in our circle.

Bridgett said...

Thank you for sharing this, Dessa. It was beautifully written and I feel as though I know you better now. :)

Naila Moon of the Grey Wolf said...

Thank you for sharing. I can certainly relate. *smiles*
Naila Moone


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