Perhaps the most critical decision a Pagan faces is whether to practice the given faith open, or secretly. To open up even to trusted loved ones can risk loss: loss of job, loss of family, even loss of trust. At the same time, speaking openly “this is my faith” can come with the rewards of relief and freedom. No more praying that no one notices “doctor’s appointments” coinciding with the full moon. No more negotiating ways to avoid church at Easter. No more lying to your grandmother. The day has come, if you’re ready, to speak your truth. That day is May 2nd.
Designated as International Pagan Coming Out Day (IPCOD), and sponsored by an organization of the same name, May 2nd is your day to share your spirituality with someone you love.
IPCOD’s aims to reduce the stigma attached to modern Paganism, to provide a voice for Pagans who remain in the closet, to provide resources for Pagans that do come out and to partner with non-Pagan allies. As the interview with Executive Committee Chair *Cara Schulz acknowledges, a person who comes out of the “broom closet” must deliberate carefully first.
Jason Pitzl-Waters, an executive committee member of IPCOD, and author of Pagan news blog the Wild Hunt, says “I think the key to modern Paganism’s survival and viability in our modern world is visibility. Only by showing that we exist to our family, friends, employers, and elected officials can we change the misconceptions and fear that our faiths sometimes instills. I have joined with Cara on this project because I think a unified effort towards ‘coming out’ is a needed one, a complimentary movement to our already vibrant Pagan Pride days. Cara is a dedicated activist within her community, and I have every faith in her leadership on this initiative. “
While no formula exists for coming out about your faith (or any other aspect of your being that perhaps makes you different from “the norm”) you can take steps to prepare yourself. In addition to any spiritual meditation or introspection, you may also want to read these texts and see what advice might fit your individual situation:
What Witches Do by Scott Cunningham
When Someone You Love Is Wiccan by Carl McColman
Out of the Broom Closet? A Guide to Revealing Your Witchcraft Practice to Others by Gary Cantrell
Author’s note: Diana Rajchel wrote an essay on efforts in Pagan-Christian dialogue circa 1999 that may still be applicable in some situations.
Full Disclosure: *Cara Schulz is also an editor for PNC-Minnesota.