How to Hide your Regalia

Many Wiccans find themselves in environments—schools, neighborhoods, homes—that are not friendly toward neo-Pagan faiths. Whether the influences are subtle or overbearing, trying to practice under hostile conditions is stressful. The fear of being caught mid-rite, of an item being found, or of uncomfortable conversation is a constant threat and that anxiety alone is enough to kill off any positive energy you might be able to gather for spell working. For young adults like myself who find themselves back at home, being called out can be uncomfortable and upsetting; for teenagers who still rely on their parents for everything, it can be a downright petrifying situation.

Let me say first that there’s a fine line between being who you need to be, and learning to respect the beliefs of those around you. That is something we’ll look at in more depth in one of the next articles, but it bears being said now. It’s taken me a long time to realize that even though I’ve chosen a different path than what I was taught, that choice does not give me the right to be disrespectful of others. Treat your situation with the careful respect it deserves—if a confrontation would be detrimental, then be responsible and hide your things well. If you are asked to go to church, think carefully about the implications before you say no.

That being said, let’s look at some practical tips for hiding your Wiccan belongings.

  • Hide them in plain sight, or with like items

Inconspicuous things like candles won’t draw much attention if placed carefully, and sometimes it’s comforting to have important items out where you can see them. My oil burner is sitting on the bathroom counter, a place all four of my siblings utilize. When I was asked about it, I said I was burning lavender oil in the mornings to give myself a good start to the day.

  • Consider storage at a friend’s house

Things like books and chalices and cauldrons can’t be passed off as something else, so store these in a safe place. If there is no secret nook that belongs to only you, or you fear snooping eyes, ask a friend if s/he would be willing to hide the items for you. This might make them a little harder to get to when you feel like doing a spell, but it will keep you safe.

  • Edge your way towards being eccentric

If your family doesn’t already think you’re weird, start trying to give them that impression now. You don’t have to go overboard or make them think you’ve gone mentally ill, but express interest in things that are a little outside their normal box. This takes time, but the longer you keep this up, the less notice they’ll pay to the items in your room or the books on your shelves.

  • Collect natural items

Go into the woods or walk along the beach and gather things that attract your attention. To you, these items might have magickal significance, but to others they look just like what they are—items straight from Mother Nature. You don’t need to explain beyond that.

  • Understand the risks involved

Most of my Wiccan things are stashed away in a basement far from home right now. But I refuse to let my tarot cards go. And if they’re found, I’m in deep trouble. This was a calculated risk, one I chose to take for the comfort of knowing that they’re close at hand. If you have an item that you draw strength from and want to keep close, think the situation through first. Decided what explanation you will give if it’s found, and under what circumstances you might be able to bring it out of hiding.

  • There’s a difference between your siblings finding your things and your parents finding them

When I first dedicated myself to Wicca, I kept really quiet about my opinions, not only to prevent upset to my parents but—I thought, in my young mind—to keep from poisoning my siblings. Even my lack of dedication to Christianity was viewed as a sickness, and to some extent, I believed it was true, and I didn’t want to risk infecting the younger ones. Now that my siblings are older, I believe they are more able to make their own decisions. My seventeen year old sister knows about my tarot cards, and my thirteen year old sister knows I write fantasy, which is edging toward the eccentric-side like mentioned above. Don’t use influencing your siblings as a way to dig at your parents.

  • Decided how you will respond to criticisms

When you find yourself in a hostile environment, it’s a good idea to prepare. We’re going to look at this in depth in the next article, but—will you be up front, and if so, do you have the resources to defend your position? Or will you have a story handy? You writers out there can always say it’s for a story, and while lying isn’t noble, it is a choice.

 

Finally, because I know each situation is different, I want to open the floor to you guys. If you are in a difficult situation or have questions not answered in the article, let me know and I will help as best I can.

Stay in the Mother’s Light,

~*Ayslyn

 

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About Ayslyn'sCorner

I am an eclectic Pagan bordering on atheist who has made her way through a number of different spiritual spaces. You might wonder what a person self-identifying as an atheist has to discuss in a religion/spiritual context – and, well, so do I. That’s one of the things I aim to explore on Ayslyn's Corner. Check out Ayslyn's Corner at http://www.ayslynscorner.wordpress.com Check out Invisible Ink Blog at http://www.whitneycarter.wordpress.com Check out wombs in rebellion at http://wombsinrebellion.wordpress.com/
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22 Responses to How to Hide your Regalia

  1. Cassandra says:

    Thank you Ayslyn for this article. I live with my parents, who don’t know anything about my witchcraft, and that was very helpful.
    I also have a question: what about your book of shadows? I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving it with my friends, books of shadows are usually very personal, and I wouldn’t like it to be touched or read by someone else than me. A witch uses her BoS almost every day, and driving to her friend’s house wouldn’t be very economical, if you know what I mean. I have my BoS in my room, hidden in my clock (there’s a hidden drawer in it). What would you recommend to someone who doesn’t have that option?
    Have a blessed day, and I can’t wait for more interesting articles,
    Cassandra.

    • Cassandra, you bring up an excellent point. I can think of three ways to conceal your BoS so that it is close at hand. The first (and this is the method I currently use) is to use a journal (like one of the nicer ones from Barns and Noble) that isn’t marked with a Wiccan or Pagan symbol and hide it with any other books you might have, either in plain sight with novels or hidden away with other Wiccan books. Another alternative, though less glamorous, would be to use a notebook or keep loose leaf sheets of paper gathered in a small binder. If you’re a student, these can be particularly effective since you’re probably already carrying these around. The last is to keep your spells in Word documents if you have your own computer. I did this for a while and it really takes the magic away from keeping a book, but it can work as a temporary measure. If this is the only option available to you, but you have to share the computer, there’s always the option to password protect the document, and tell anyone who might ask it’s a personal journal—a friend found that keeping one was therapeutic and you thought you’d try it too.

  2. paganquest says:

    Ayslyn,
    Excellent post! Thanks for writing it. I’m in sort of an opposite situation than you, as I am one of the parents in the house. You know my history a bit from my blog, but if anyone else wants the back-story just check it out and you’ll see where I’m coming from, and why I need to hide my stuff.
    I’m using a couple of the suggestions already. I am making wands, and it would be really frowned upon if people knew the real reason why. But I’ve figured out a way to do it to everyone’s benefit, at least in the Pagan community. I have three that I’ve done, my first three. Those are mine, although i haven’t actually used them for anything just yet. I actually have then sitting on my desk, right out in the open. My cover is that i’m going to start making them to sell, for extra money, which I’m certainly in need of right now. I’ll make more, and list them on Etsy.com for Pagans who want wands, but can’t make them for themselves, and don’t want to buy a super-expensive one. As far as the family is concerned, I’m selling novelty wands of the Harry Potter variety.
    I’m also currently working on some boxes. Again, as far as the family and friends are concerned, they are just for jewelry, nick-knacks etc. But they will just happen to be the correct dimensions to hold any common-sized deck of Tarot cards. My prototype box will be used to hold my Dark Angels deck that I plan to buy this weekend.
    Books are tricky. I’m currently lugging a couple around in my backpack every day, but that can’t go on forever,especially as my collection grows. Fortunately I do have a bit of privacy as I’m the homeowner, but I still have to be careful because I’m really not ready for any confrontation about this just yet.
    Again, thanks for the post, it was very helpful!

    • LC Aisling says:

      I would suggest developing interest in folklore – I collected most of the books and kept them on the open shelf by saying I’m interested in religious folklore. Though it wasn’t the fully truthful response, but nobody questioned it. Instead, they wanted to enhance my interest by giving me encyclopedias on mythology. If you face Christians, who have problem with it, who say these are not Christian books, then my response tends to be that it’s a hobby – just because I learn something new, doesn’t mean I need to follow it immediately. Very few can argue with that. Who say it is dangerous hobby, then I like to remind them that so is woodwork. It’s intellectual interest and one doesn’t have to have interest in something merely for school.
      After few years I bought books to recognize forest plants, then on home remedies. As I’m no good at gardening – otherwise I’d grow things in pots myself (gardening is always good hobby to hide your real interest) – I learn how to find things from the forest. If already those books are in the house, one can neatly add one extra book in folklore detailing the magical properties.

      • You’re very right–just because you’re is interested in learning about something doesn’t mean you’re is going to become fully vested in that thing. Another possible response for Christians who chose to be difficult could be that god isn’t threatened by your exploring other things, so why are they?

    • Utilizing society’s fascination with Harry Potter and the like is a good idea, and one I hadn’t thought of. It can be a valid way to “make some money on the side,” and no one would dispute that the HP books at least are really popular.

      I do know what it’s like to lug extra books around in a backpack, because I did that too while I was still in college. It killed my already damaged back. If you’re planning on expanding your collection, I urge you to look at an e-reader. Typically, I still want my spell books to be on paper, but how-to’s and information guides are the big thick ones, and on a Kindle, they’re much easier to pack around and to hide from others.

      • LC Aisling says:

        I like keeping mine on flash memory too. Mostly, because they are hard to come by around here.
        These things, e-readers, are password protected if one wants, aren’t they? Memory sticks are, that much I know.

        • I know my old Kindle had the option to password protect, yes, so I would assume my new Kindle Fire would have the option as well. I’m not sure about other e-readers though.

  3. Carlette says:

    Excellent post! I’m 40-something and my mother doesn’t know. But fortunately I don’t hide anything. She just doesn’t ask. lol

  4. paganquest says:

    I just posted about my Tarot box being finished this weekend, and posed a question I will also pose here. Once I get my new deck this weekend, and really start studying and learning Tarot again, what would be some suggestions for not getting discovered one day sitting there with a spread in front of me?

    • This is something I struggle with too, because my tarot cards are the things I’m most likely to be caught with. My answer to your question is to bring them out with care. If you can practice with them while home alone, or while little ones are sleeping, that’s your safest bet. Lock the front and back door, go into a secluded room where you can close that door too. I know my tendency is to space out while I’m reading the cards, but this is dangerous, so try to keep an eye and an ear to the real world. The best approach I’ve found is to tell myself each time I take them out that I WILL be caught, and that puts me in a frame of mind to explain myself no matter where I am in the spread or how much the intruder has seen. Of course, the flip side is it stresses you out too much and you can’t do a solid reading.

      As far as potential ideas for if all else fails and you are caught with the cards… If the spread you’re working with is small enough, you might try having a large book at the read to slide over top of them as you hear the doorknob turn. If you’re quick about gathering them up you could pass them off as animal totem cards (which should be less controversial than tarot).

      These are just things I’ve thought of off the top of my head. If these thoughts haven’t helped much though let me know, and I’ll probably look at doing a separate post for hiding tarot cards. I’m headed over to check out your post now. 🙂

  5. great article. I found in the early days when I was a teen the best thing to hide stuff was using a tote as my altar, and if you have one or two of them in the room in the first place no one asks questions. so anytime you need to do a ritual you take out want you need do the ritual and then put everything back. I suppose I was lucky because I was always really open about it with my folks, that after awhile they didn’t care that I left my tools out.

    • Another excellent suggestion. I think the theme for successfully hiding your Wiccan supplies is to blend them in with things you already own or are known to be interested in.

  6. Really great post. I’ve not had much of a problem with having to hide luckily, but I really appraciate the value of it. I especially liked your suggestion of being eccentric. This tealeaf reading, randomly dancing, health conscious, politically active, crazy hat wearing (including flowery headdresses 😉 ) hippy has often avoided awkward questions such as “why?” when people know that the answer is probably going to be “why not?”
    As a piece of advice for some, not everyone can do this in their particular situations, is always express yourself. I don’t mean express your religious views but if you remember to express, for instance, your love of nature people will understand you. You don’t have to lock every little bit of personality away, because it will stunt your life! If people are given the chance to understand you just that little bit, when you finally come out of the broom closet (at a good time) they can think “well I should really have expected, since you do all that yoga and spend all your time in the forest planting trees” or “I can come to terms with this because I can see how it makes you happier”. Be you! (without having to give anyone a heart attack XD )
    Oh and lots of regalia can just look like decorations. Flowers, candles, statues, pictures, feathers, seashells and even the challice! … unfortunately the athame and the pantacle don’t come under this catagory. XD
    Rowan
    x~x

    • I very much like that answer. “Why not?” Who can argue with such open curiosity? 😀

      Also very valid–and brave–suggestions. I’m gonna have to add a note to the blog post to read all of the suggestions in the comments box!

  7. This is a good post but I don’t like it at the same time. I grew up in a Catholic household and hid my religious beliefs from my family. My father passed away before I ever got the courage to tell my parents the truth. I didn’t tell my mother until my son was born because I had a Wiccaning ceremony for him and that’s not really something you can explain away. My mother was much more supportive than I thought she would be and we have a wonderful relationship in spite of our different beliefs. Things might have been different with my father because he has a very different personality than my mother but despite that I still kind of wish I had been honest with him. It seems a shame to hide a huge part of yourself from the ones who should love you the most. I’m not judging anyone who’s hiding because I’ve done it but I have also “come out” to my family and as terrifying as it was it was worth it. The people you love may surprise you. If you are truly in a position where it is detrimental to your well-being to be honest then by all means don’t but I would advise to carefully scrutinize the situation to make sure it is really as bad as you fear and try to remove yourself from that situation if at all possible. Lying to the people you love is not good for your spiritual well-being and should only be done if absolutely 100% necessary, IMO. Blessings to all of you and I hope you find a place where you can truly be yourself.
    Blessed Be )O(

    • Thank you for sharing your experience, and sharing a view that wasn’t already in the post and comments. I changed the next article that follows these same lines after reading your comments. Mother’s Light and Blessed Be )o(

  8. Vaettr says:

    I find posts and situations like these so fascinating. Since I live in Sweden, one of the world’s most secular countries, I don’t really see this problem around. If people know about your faith or sexuality, they either accept it, say nothing or turn a blind eye. People can be very close-minded, racist or homophobic behind closed doors, but not often openly, since it’s socially not accepted and wrong to be any of these. So even if someone says it’s wrong to not like black people, they can be the same person choosing the white cashier in the food store instead of the colored one.

    • Vaettr, thank you for your comments and cultural observations. I’ve never been outside of the US, but I know that our culture here is one of a kind when it comes to how ethnocentric we are. I cannot imagine a culture that is as tolerant as what you are describing, but it sounds awesome. I would imagine coming out to family and friends would still be difficult, but if the cultural mindset is generally open minded… That would likely make a huge difference.

  9. Stephany says:

    Hello, I am new to all of this. I have convinced my mom to start an herb garden but i don’t know how i will be able to get the supplies I need. Me and my friend talk to each other and she wants to start a coven. I am not really comfortable enough around others, even my friend, about all of this. I don’t know what to tell her because i know it will break her heart. Your advice would help me tons. (:

    • Stephany,

      Many of us begin our practice as solitary Wiccans and witches, primarily because we are comfortable with our own thoughts and processes, or we are uncomfortable sharing our rituals with others. It is good to have a close friend that you can talk to about practicing and bounce ideas off of, but perhaps jumping straight into a coven (especially if you are both novices) is something you should wait on. Maybe talk to your friend about both of you focusing on yourselves for the first year and a day, and then re-visit the idea later. That way you can become more comfortable with yourself and your practice and also still be able to work with your friend.

      Blessings,
      ~*Ayslyn

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