As a solitary and/or closet witch, it's important to know how to stay safe in the broom closet. Here are some tips to help you grow your spiritual practice and feel safer at the same time!
And if you're out and proud, feel free to save this article to share with your fellow witches who might need these tips!
What does "in the broom closet" mean?
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Being "in the closet" is a term generally used for people who are hiding something about themselves from the world. In the "broom closet" means to keep your practice of witchcraft hidden from those who might not understand or accept it; it's our way of making light of our discomfort by coining this phrase. This can be for safety reasons, or simply because you're not ready to share your beliefs with others.
Why would people be in the closet about practicing witchcraft?
There are many reasons why people choose to keep their practice hidden. For some, it's because they live in a society or community that doesn't accept witchcraft. In these cases, it can be dangerous to be out of the broom closet; witches have been persecuted throughout history, and some areas of the world still see witchcraft as evil. Other parts of the world are more open, however due to political red tape, metaphysical businesses have to replace disclaimers about their businesses being "for entertainment purposes only". This doesn't seem fair, especially when there are businesses for other religions and practises (such as Christian book stores, Catholic gift stores and Crystal mineral wholesalers) do not have to explicitly declare the same.
Another reason why people do not feel open to sharing their personal practice is fear of ridicule; with the popularity of Sabrina from the Netflix series, or Harry Potter stories, people have experienced people demanding you cast spells on the spot, or to "prove" they have gifted abilities and beliefs. This is 100% not acceptable in my opinion - would you demand a midwife show you how to deliver a baby? Or demand a teacher prove they know their curriculum inside out on the spot too? Would you demand a chemist to share their knowledge without paying them or an astronomer to know the exact stars above you to the degree and timing in that moment? If you met an artist, would you demand they make you a piece of artwork there & then?
All these descriptions (and more) can make up witches, and it's ok for you to say "no" as a boundary to protect yourself from others with that. If this includes staying in the broom closet just to save on the drama, then go for it. It is ultimately your practice, and no-one has the right to belittle you for it.
How can I feel safer in the broom closet?
There are a couple of witchy (and non witchy) ways to help yourself here, but please research and share in the comments below any you feel more helpful:
- Use pseudonyms online and in print
When you're talking about your practice online or in print, use a pseudonym. This way, if anyone ever tries to track you down, they won't be able to find you easily. If you're worried about people finding out your real name, consider using a P.O. box for correspondence or deliveries.
- Be careful what you post online
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Don't post anything online that you wouldn't want your boss, your family, or the general public to see. This includes pictures, videos, and status updates.
- Don't talk about your practice with people you don't trust
This one is also pretty self-explanatory. If you're not comfortable talking about your practice with someone, don't do it. It's not worth the risk of having your information leaked or being ridiculed.
- Enchant your jewelry for safety and protection
We cover this a lot as we discuss glamour magick, but enchanting your pendant, rings and bracelets to protect you can add an extra layer to your safety in the broom closet.
- Use Hot Foot Powder, Warding and hidden sigils for safety in your practice
Each practice is personal and different, but there are options for safety and boundaries setting. Even if it's as simple as a Full moon in Scorpio tarot spread for when you're feeling uncertain about your privacy & safety, witchcraft has many options to support you.
- Hidden sigils everywhere, anyway
Sigils are a fantastic way to add an extra layer of protection to your practice. You can hide them in plain sight, or put them in places only you will see. On the inside of your phone case, at the bottom of a cup, written in steam in the bathroom. And if you're worried about someone finding your spell books or altars, consider hiding them in a false bottom drawer or behind a loose brick in the fireplace.
- Describing your practicing time as "for meditation"
I have a lot of friends who utilise this one. "I'm just taking some time out for my mental health and wellbeing, I may be gone a while but I'm meditating". I used to utilise a lot of my magick in the bathroom as it's the only room with a lockable door, and I'd tell folks I was going for a long bath. Other things you can do is nature walks on your own (but do tell people where you are going), use temporary tools like chalk or music to help with your magick.
How can I help others feel safer in the broom closet?
- Don't share things (from others) without their consent or permission
- Try not to name names when talking openly about your discussions online or in print (use pseudonyms or initials)
- Support others, send healing energy + love + protection their way
- Signpost to resources that might help them (such as this one!)
Reminder: A broom closet witch is a practitioner who keeps their practice hidden from family, friends, and/or society. There are many reasons why someone may choose to stay in the broom closet and until they ultimately out themselves, it's not your place to talk about it for them.
I'm thinking about sharing that I'm a witch. Have you got any tips?
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If you've been thinking about coming out of the closet, I would recommend starting with close friends or family members who you know will be supportive. Once you've come out to them and it's gone well, you can start thinking about coming out to other people in your life.
Remember that you don't have to come out to everyone at once - take your time and only do it when you feel ready. It could be as simple of segue as when someone compliments the beautiful symbol on your subtle witchy jewelry, you can share with them the correspondences and why you like it to wear it - this can lead into a longer conversation where you ultimately could feel safe to share your beliefs.
I hope this short piece can share some tips you may not have been aware of, and help you to feel a little bit safer in the broom closet. Remember, you're not alone - there are many of us out there! If you ever need to talk, or want to share your story, please reach out. We're here for you. Until next time xox
Written by Lizzie Burgess from Backyardbanshee.com where you can find many free tarot spreads and spells to enjoy.