Thursday, December 9, 2010
On Secret Identities
Funny enough, while most Pagans want to get people more and more out of the closet, I actually recommend that Sorcerers stay in the closet! This position has surprised a couple people. There are three main reasons for staying in the closet about your magical practice, and I am not sure that people think very much about all three.
1. OUTSIDERS: This is the obvious one and it doesn't need much explaining. If your concerns are mostly about Wicca or Paganism as a religious movement than it totally makes sense to make a stand and come out of the closet despite whatever resistance you receive. I respect this highly and do not want the rest of my post to seem like I do not. A lot of people today have an understanding about these kinds of things anyway.
If however you are mostly about magic rather than religion, than you might be concerned more with how being "out" will effect your success and acceptance. This too is valid. Some institutions are better than others. When I hear someone that works for the state, tell someone who works for a Catholic Charity that they don't understand why they wont come out of the closet at work, I just shake my head because they are very different environments.
2. INSIDERS: This is actually my primary reason for being in the closet at work and in certain social circles. Despite the reasons above the worst scenario is not that someone I work with discovers my books or blog. The nightmare scenario is when someone that likes my work or who I do work for decides to come to my job or call up or leave a message about demons or exorcism or some shit like that. The nightmare for many of us that have professional careers is not them, its us.
Think it doesn't happen? It has happened. I was outed at AIG in the 90's by someone having an "emergency" and needing me to cast a spell for them immediately. I had a friend who lost his job at Motorola based on a similar situation.
Unfortunately if you are involved socially in any kind of Pagan or Occult community you have to deal with a higher than normal ratio of people that range from having little to no discretion to being nearly insane. If you see me out on the street and want to say hi, please do. But if you don't know who I am with, please do not share the story about how my book on protection magic helped you fend off a cult that was cursing you. Do not tell the group of my friends what a great lecture on Necromancy I gave. Do not ask the people I am with what "tradition" they practice in. The rule should be to assume discretion unless given the all-clear by whoever you are talking to to speak openly.
3. MAGIC: Being out about religion is not the same as being out about magic. You may be a Wiccan and have your co-workers fully accept and get behind your talk of the God and Goddess, Sabbats, Circles, etc. Do not expect those same people to be quite as accepting if you start talking about the spells you do with business cards to influence the minds of your boss, or rituals to insure promotion, or even your incantation to get laid. Witchcraft the religion and witchcraft the craft can be two different things when dealing with outsiders.
Besides that, as a Sorcerer you may be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or even Athiest. The religion is not what you are keeping in the closet, so what gets served by letting everyone know that you are a magician?
Anyway, lesson that I want you to take away from this post is not whether you should come out. It's simply that you should respect whatever decision that other people make based on their circumstances.