Coming Out of the Broom Closet
First of all, if you wish for your beliefs in Wicca (or any other faith, for that matter) to remain absolutely secret, don't tell a soul.
I'm sure your cat or dog won't tell, but a friend or relative might. Someone may overhear you, your friend may slip up, or they may say, "I have this friend," and the person they talk to guess it's you.
One way or an other, someone other than who you told will find out.
Also, you must be more cautious not to leave evidence of ritual, hide your books on Wicca, Witchcraft, or any other topic you wish to keep quiet if you have any, and watch what you say. You have no idea how easy it is to give yourself away, especially as time goes on.
For those wanting to tell, be careful who you tell. A very close friend or relative is probably the kind of person you want to tell.
Telling your landlord or employer may not be the smartest thing. (Even today, when prejudices are not as severe as they once were and laws and regulations are in place to protect everyone from discrimination, no one's safe from the strong opinions of others. For every law, there are several loopholes for the prejudiced to utilize.)
You don't need to shout that you're Wiccan out to the world (if you want to, that's great, but take one step at a time). Here's a few tips:
If you are still in the "beginning" stages and have just started on this path, don't say for a fact that you are indeed on the path for good. You can never know for sure if you will learn something that will change you mind shortly after, and if you think telling someone will cause some commotion, you want to be sure it is not for nothing.
Remember, not everyone cares. Don't bother telling someone all about your beliefs if they are not going to listen. (Keep in mind that even good friends will sometimes pretend to take an interest as a sign of support, not because of any real personal interest.)
Don't thrust your beliefs onto anyone. Tell them, but don't try to make them believe in it. Wicca may be awesome, but it's not for everyone. No one will be damned for not being Wiccan. We're not here to force people into things, including beliefs.
If you aren't planning on when to tell someone and want it to come up in a conversation, make sure it's relevant. You don't want to make it sound like an attack while throwing in a piece of information that is not necessary.
For example, in a discussion of what comes after death, you do not want to respond to a statement with, "Heaven and Hell? I'm Wiccan and we believe we're reincarnated, not sent forever to one place!"
Such a statement would only need something like, "I believe in reincarnation. I don't think we're going to end up in a single place for all eternity once this life is over."
Be polite in discussion when explaining your beliefs (see above example). Sometimes the way you word things can make all the difference as to how someone else will interpret it.
Remember, you may be the first or only Wiccan someone meets. You don't want to set a bad impression for the entire community.
Tact goes a long way when discussing alternative beliefs.
Don't lose your temper, no matter what is said or happens. You'll only look like a fool, and, for those who believe you are only going through a phase, you only strengthen that belief.
To top it off, some will take one "fool" Wiccan to consider all Wiccans as fools. When you announce yourself as a member of a faith, you are taking on the responsibility of being a representative of that faith.
Do not bring in (or let others bring in) unrelated issues. For example, forgetting a chore, receiving a bad grade on an exam, being late for work, etc. have absolutely nothing to do with religion or choice in spirituality.
Listen to the other person. Not only because it's respectful and fair to do so but also because you will be able to answer questions more accurately and tell them if the information they have is false.
Don't say, "You're Wrong!" Tell them what the truth is and explain why what they thought isn't true.
Just because someone was taught something entirely different about Wicca and Witchcraft than what you have learned doesn't mean that it's necessarily wrong. On that same note, if what they do know is wrong, that doesn't mean that they're not willing to learn the truth.
Do not make anything up. This is just as, if not more, important as using tact. If you do not know an answer to a question, just say so. It's better to be ignorant than to be a liar.
Remember, "A witch's word is law."
If they bring an outside source (ex: book, article, minister, etc.), ask to bring in a source as well. If they won't let you, I'd personally say to refuse seeing their sources until they agree to see yours.
After all, sources from either side will be biased, and if they think bringing in their biased sources necessary, then having biased sources from your side will only be fair.
The reverse of this is also true. If you insist on outside sources, be fair and allow them to bring in theirs as well.
Each case is different and sometimes the discussion will come even when we don't plan for it. This advice applies to any faith, not just Wicca.
No matter how, when, or why you come out of the broom closet, remember to breathe. Best of luck!
© 2002-2012 by Evylyn Rose