Witches have existed in secret for centuries at this point. Back in the day, witch hunts were the most dangerous predator for an actual practicing witch and any black sheep within the communities. Nowadays, discrimination and confusion stand like a dark shadow over the shoulder of all practitioners. For many of us in religious households, being open about the craft is not an option. So, thus exists the Broom Closet.
What is The Broom Closet?
Similar to the closet many non-cis and nonheterosexual individuals use as a means to indicate that they are not yet “out”, the Broom Closet is a term to denote a witch or pagan who is not open about their practice. In many cases, being out, whether it be with your sexuality/gender or with your religious/practical practices is a privilege. Many people do not have this luxury. Remember to not compare your struggles to another without feeling solidarity between them, and remember to NOT out anyone without their permission.
The Broom Closet allows them to secretly practice their craft while keeping relations with individuals who may find the practice unsavory. For example, a young craft practitioner in a Catholic or Christian household may feel pressure from their parents to avoid certain symbols that contradict their own religion. Thus, the practitioner hides away in the metaphorical Broom Closet, doing their craft in secret so as not to rock the boat.
How to Utilize The Broom Closet
For my witches and pagans in hiding, this section is for you. I’ve been where you’ve been, and though I’m out now and my family lovingly refers to me as “la bruja” I understand the fear and want to be secretive in your craft. For those who want to utilize the Broom Closet, here are some tips!
Those who wish to have an altar dedicated to their craft or God may find it hard to create while in the broom closet. To create a mini altar, first find an inconspicuous space in your room you can “decorate”, be it your dresser, nightstand, even your bookshelf. Decorate the space with a pretty bowl, an incense burner, whatever you think would suit both an altar and room decor. Now, you’ve got a mini altar in plain sight! Be sure to maintain it, though– ash everywhere is never classy.
For an even smaller altar, take an old mint tin and place crystals, herb bottles, and other trinkets which grant your craft power within. This one is even more inconspicuous AND travel-friendly. I keep one of these in my car!
For books on witchcraft and pagan religion, turn to the other books on your shelf with removable covers. This way, when you put it on the cover, you can still read your texts around those unaware of your practice. You can also make your own book covers using construction paper, cardboard, and glue. Here is a handy tutorial for that!
How to Escape The Broom Closet
For some, remaining with their comfortable solitude is more than doable. For others, there is an urge to escape, to come out into the light and be openly practicing or openly in love or simply openly yourself. In this case, no matter if you are in the Broom Closet or any other kind, take this advice into account: be sure you have a safe plan B. Plan A may be to come out with full force, either at dinner or during the holidays or some other outing. But just in case the people you love take it in a way you aren’t expecting, have a plan B you can go to that is safe, secure, and accepting. This can be a friend or another relative who already accepts you for you.
The real key to escaping the Broom Closet is to be yourself. If others don’t understand or ridicule you, you must learn to ignore them. Cut off toxic individuals who only wish harm on you. It can be hard, but you of the future will be more appreciative than anyone you let stay by your side. The Broom Closet doesn’t have to be a permanent feature in your life. Be open with your craft and soon that karma will return, and a community may even grow around you.