By Kelly-Ann Maddox
It’s the witching season and what better time to build a practice that looks, sounds and feels like your very own psyche?
Whether you’re an experienced witch or on the cusp of crafting your own spiritual practice, it can be a difficult descision to share your spiritual path publicly. In this extract from Rebel Witch, Kelly-Ann Maddox talks about ‘coming out of the broom closet’ and shares some questions to ask yourself before you do so.
How important is it to be “out and proud” about your witchy practice? There’s no right answer!
Every witch must explore this question for themselves, and for some it’s an essential part of the journey. Keeping such a significant spiritual path a secret feels weird and wonky for many witches. It can feel better to be transparent about spiritual beliefs. The whole process of publicly owning your witchy identity can be electrifying! Whether you’re just telling a handful of key loved ones or starting social media platforms to invite the world into your practice, revealing that you’re into the craft is a way of affirming your commitment to it. It often takes courage and confidence to step out of the broom closet, making it a meaningful rite of passage that demonstrates your sincerity. If you want to come out as a witch, you could start by speaking to one key person in your life about the ideas and practices you’re exploring. See how that conversation goes and lean into what you think should happen next.
Then, you might feel like doing any of the following:
• Tell more people.
• Start expressing your witchy identity through your clothing and accessories.
• Have an altar space and/or some witchy imagery on display in your home.
• Leave witchy resources on your bookshelves.
• Post something about the craft on social media.
• Join a witchy discussion group on social media and/or follow witchy hashtags.
• Attend a relevant local event, such as a mind-body-spirit festival or a witchy gathering.
• Bring your spiritual beliefs/practices up in a conversation.
For others, stepping out of the broom closet could be highly disruptive and even unsafe. The stakes may be too high for witches from deeply religious households or conservative communities, so in order to protect themselves, they may have to keep their practice clandestine. They might emerge from the closet to only a handful of people, asking them to keep the information private so that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Let’s face it, being able to open up to everyone in your life without any fear of reprisal is a massive stroke of good luck and not every witch finds themselves blessed in that way.
Having to keep a lid on your practice doesn’t make you a less efficient or legitimate witch. In fact, incubating your practice and its processes in secrecy can be beneficial. Sometimes, telling too many people what you’re doing risks encouraging their interference, or you might end up thinking overtime about how others perceive your path rather than focusing on what you need from it. Don’t convince yourself that you should be out and proud about your witchiness. If you’re the only one who knows about your path, then it’s often easier to experiment and explore, knowing that you don’t need to explain or justify anything. For some witches, stepping out of the broom closet would certainly incur a gigantic amount of judgement or a shit-ton of questions. So take all this into account before you decide how open you want to be.
You might want to ask yourself the following questions:
• Who do I want to tell and why?
• How do I imagine/hope that leaving the broom closet will turn out?
• What would the worst outcome be and how would I react?
• What are the potential positive long-term effects of coming out as a witch?
• What are the potential negative long-term effects of coming out as a witch?
• Why is it important to recognize that I’m not obliged to leave the broom closet?
• How can I ensure that I still value my practice even if I don’t leave the broom closet?
Don’t pressure yourself to leave the safe confines of the broom closet too soon. If you’re a brand-new witch, you’re about to learn what it’s like to be giddy about all the discoveries and experiences you’re enjoying, and you might want to bubble over like a cauldron full of fizz! It’s natural to want to share the stuff that’s putting a spring in your step, but all that enthusiasm can also make for poor judgement. You don’t want to end up wishing you’d kept quiet. If you fall in love with the witchy life, you’ll likely live it for many moons to come, so there’s no hurry to let people know straight away. Take your time and let yourself figure out the parameters of openness at a sensible pace.
Of course, we don’t just leave the broom closet once – we leave it many times throughout our lives. You might be a seasoned practitioner, well known among family and friends for your magickal antics, and yet you’ll still experience interactions that cause you to weigh up the pros and cons of openness. Maybe your instinct will tell you that you’re not in witch-friendly territory and you’ll refrain from mentioning it in the context of a conversation about spiritual beliefs. Perhaps you’ll want to wait a while before telling a new friend or colleague. Maybe you’ll keep a separate social media account for the more in-depth spiritual stuff so you feel you can really let loose without certain sets of prying eyes to worry about. Whatever you decide, it’s all about honouring your individual needs so that your practice can flourish without finding yourself in a pickle. No one is owed access to your spiritual journey. It certainly doesn’t have to be a matter of public record and you’re within your rights to calculate risk before letting the black cat out of the bag!
A truly contemporary take on how to be a witch, Rebel Witch is an antidote to the cookie-cutter witchcraft agenda that gives a new perspective on the craft, asking each reader to create a powerful, personalized practice that taps into the current mood of female empowerment and spiritual rebellion.