Coming out of the broom closet

A real-life witch tells all

I’m a Pagan.

There, I said it. But that’s not the end of the story. I’m also a witch and I have been practicing witchcraft for over a decade. I don’t wear a pointy hat. I do have a broom, but its chief uses are sweeping the kitchen floor and sometimes the front porch–unfortunately, I cannot use it to fly.

For me, this is easy to say now because I’ve lived as a Pagan and a witch for a long time, and I’ve come to terms with the uneasiness it can sometimes cause people. I’m prepared to defend my beliefs and my faith with an open mind and the knowledge that whatever the reaction, I can still go home to a loving environment and spiritual community.

Paganism is a broad term for many polytheistic religions. Typically Hinduism and Buddhists are considered Pagan. Native Americans, Wiccans, Druids, Nords, Celts, and Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman pantheons are Pagan as well. Each of these pantheons is very different and very distinct in its own way, much like the many subdivisions of Christianity.

As for me, I’m just a Pagan who practices witchcraft; I don’t have a specific subdivision I associate with. I’m like one of those non-denominational Christians that doesn’t go to a specific church and just believes in the Bible—except that I don’t go to church or believe in the Bible because I’m a Pagan.

I remember the specific day when I left the Christian faith; it was a Sunday in the year 2000. I was 13 years old and was in Sunday school at a church I sometimes went to with my cousins. I had been to several services in the past, but in this instance for some reason they divided all the girls from the boys. This wasn’t kosher to me. I didn’t have girl cousins; I had five boy cousins and my little brother; I was going to be left all alone in a room of people I didn’t know.

The first thing I asked the Bible school teacher was why were we separated. She didn’t have a suitable answer. I did the best I could to tolerate the lesson about Adam and Eve, but toward the middle of it I kept getting turned around.

I asked of the teacher, “If God didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat from the tree, why did he put it there in the first place?”

“Because God was testing their obedience and their faith.”

“If I leave a bowl of milk on the counter my cat will jump up onto the counter to drink it. I’m not testing her obedience or faith by putting the bowl on the counter unattended, I’m showing my stupidity for leaving it on the counter in the first place.”

Needless to say, I was not asked back. Several other churches were the same way. Where I would seek some form of logical debate and discussion, I would get curt abrasive answers in reply. After inner reflection I decided to leave the faith all together. Jesus seemed like a cool dude, but he wasn’t The Dude.

The more I looked into Paganism the more I felt at home. You know that feeling you get when you leave church on Sunday completely full of love and light? I don’t because no matter what church I went to, I’ve never had that feeling. I get that feeling from practicing witchcraft, calling the elements and doing rituals.

So, this Halloween I write to you as a Pagan celebrating the change of the season and the temporary lifting of the veil. I light a fire and a candle to honor all of those who have predeceased me and to usher in the beginning of a new year. For many Pagans, Samhain is the beginning of a new year and for me as well I here make a resolution to educate those who still see us as demon-worshiping, baby-sacrificing, tree-hugging Satanists (as an addendum to that, Satanism is actually a sect of Christianity. You can’t have Satan unless you have the Christian God; one does not exist without the other).

If you’re thinking about coming out of the broom closet but don’t know how to do it, start small and keep this in mind: If it doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t.

Your faith is what you make of it, and I’ve never met two Pagans with the exact same beliefs. Having beliefs that are not the status quo can sometimes put you in awkward positions, but simply ignoring the awkwardness does not make it go away. Be prepared to answer questions, and if you don’t know something, say so. Don’t make it an argument; fighting solves nothing. Intelligent debate and conjecture when done properly ameliorate your mind; they do not stifle your reasoning.

There is a Pagan group that meets on campus if you feel interested in Paganism or simply want some questions answered. They’re great people and are always willing to listen with an open mind. The Ferris Pagan Alliance meets every Friday at 1 p.m. in FLITE 214. There is also a non-denominational spiritual center in Remus called Wolf Run Spiritual and Wildlife Sanctuary; their website is


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