This week I put in my days off for Litha (Summer Solstice). I was nervous my boss would ask me what I wanted the time for, or question the mid week date range . Then I just figured I’d tell them I was camping. For a split second I thought, I will just tell them it’s one of my religious holidays. Then it’s protected, right?
Not a chance, at least not in my company. I don’t think I am the only witch who can’t come all the way out of the broom closet. I work in a small tight knit office (15 people maybe), I also work under a deeply devote religious man. The rift this would create would after not too long cost me my job.
Not being able to be fully open and honest in who I am is a constantly struggle. Having to hide a part off myself I feel so strongly connected to is awful. Some days it feels like I’m pretending to be someone I’m not. All over the world, and through the vastness of the interwebs, I’ve read similar sentiment from other witches. Although Wiccan is a recognized religion it still is not a very commonplace or accepted religion. Some days I have a gentle yet tangible shame creep over me that I do not openly proclaim my religion and my higher power. I don’t openly praise the Goddess and aknowledge the gifts I was given. Other religions display and discuss their faith and savior openly, proudly, and without reservation. It makes me feel like a bad witch, like I don’t love my divine as much since I do not publicly and openly proclaim her. This reservation though stems from history. Centuries of oppression, murder, and torture of those who openly celebrated had taught us all to be secluded and covert in our practice.
As a teen I had three other friends interested in learning and practicing with me. I had my own little coven and safe place. People I could talk to about my journey and beliefs. Once that friend group dissolved I became a solitary witch. Prior to the Internet becoming an everyday constant, finding other witches was not near as easy. You had to be willing to tell people your beliefs and leave yourself open to find one. Risking scrutiny and hatred. People telling me I was going to hell, I was bad, I was evil, witches are evil..you name it. I lost friends and family in being open. That can leave you jaded.
Now through the safety and expanse of the internet, we can connect and talk to thousands of like minded beings in safe forums and groups. We can share and pull resources from one another, and share in private and personal pages freely. It blows me away just how many of us there are. It saddens me that we are so spread out and guarded that we cannot find each other and connect in local communities. That we are still a prosecuted group. We cannot feel safe enough in our jobs and lives to share our faith.
To those that do, thank you. You are paving the way for those of us still scared to be fully ourselves. To those of you seeking others. We are here, we are ready and we accept you.