Broom Closet Solutions
Traditionally, those who practiced magick kept their craft a secret, and for good reason. Religious prosecution was common at the time and many feared being put to death for their practices. However, even now many modern witches still choose to keep their practices a secret to avoid religious discrimination. If you choose to remain in “the broom closet” then perhaps I can share with you some of the tricks I’ve picked up over the years. Although I’m out of “the broom closet” now, I’ve found these tricks are still helpful when you have guests over and don’t feel like going through the whole pagan conversation with them.
Your Altar & Supplies
The first, and most widely used technique is to use a temporary alter instead of having a permanent one set up 24/7. Although they are sometimes a pain to unpack and then re-pack every time you desire to have your alter or supplies for a ritual, it’s great if you have a limited amount of space in your home, have small children, or need the added privacy. Some places you could store a temporary alter or your supplies are:
- A trunk is a great place to store your alter, as it can give you that old or antique feel while still offering a large space to store your supplies. They are also a wonderful decoration to have around the house. I would suggest finding one with a lock if you can though, as some people might try to peek at what’s inside.
- On a shelf if you don’t have anything too attention seeking or pagan. Although it is very convenient, there is a high risk of your supplies being handled by other people.
- An ottoman is also another great piece that can serve as storage and as a decoration in your home. This idea in particular is also a more secretive place to store your alter and supplies since many people don’t expect item to be stored inside. If you are able to, I would recommend getting the larger ottomans, since they can also function as a place to set up your alter and will offer more storage capacity.
- The drawers in your bedroom are generally good places to store your alter or supplies as they are private and are original used for storage. You could also use drawers around your house, but they might be opened if someone is searching for an item.
- Assorted containers will also make good storage spaces for your supplies. For example, cleaned soup cans could be used to store runes, beads, ashes, candles, crystals, etc.
- In a closet if they are areas of low traffic. Just store your supplies in an opaque box and they should be reasonable safe from unwanted eyes. The exception to this might be small children, as they generally enjoy opening and looking through everything they can reach.
- Hollowed out books will allow you to hide small items quickly and indiscreetly. These books can be bought at most craft stores, online, or can be made from old books by cutting out the paper with a razor blade.
Your Book of Shadows
Since a Book of Shadows is one of the most prized possessions to some people, I felt it needed it’s own paragraph. As practitioners, we put a lot of effort, time, and love into our books, which makes them so special to each of us. Growing up in the “broom closet” I was always worried someone might read or destroy my Book of Shadows, so I developed a few techniques to protect it. However, after looking back on everything I had done, I realized that making an electronic BoS was the best decision. It offers the most flexibility of a BoS and can be heavily protected. All you need to have is access to a computer and a couple places you can back it up electronically, such as a flash drive. Here are the best programs I’ve come across:
- Microsoft Word can actually make a very good BoS if you know how to use some of the more complicated features, such as linking text to certain points in the document (useful for table of contents), adding backgrounds/photos, and using page breaks. This is also helpful if you plan to print your BoS someday, as this is a great program to print from. You can either put everything into 1 Word document or you could put each topic into separate documents and then organize them by using folders. The downside to using Microsoft Word is that the program will cost around $140 for Microsoft Office, however many computers come with it installed.
- Microsoft OneNote in my opinion is the ultimate program for a BoS. OneNote is structured to be exactly like a real notebook; complete with tabs, sub sections, the ability to cut and paste in pictures/clips/recordings, and a host of other features. I would defiantly recommend this to any Window’s users. The downside is that this program is not offered for Mac computers and is difficult to print.
- yWriter5 was my original E-BoS and it works very well. This program was created and developed by a writer, and the program was originally intended to write books with. It has the ability to split the book into sections and then subsections. It’s a relatively simple program, but it’s completely free which makes it a good alternative. The down side is that the program is not compatible on Mac computers, and doesn’t have such a wide range of features as the Microsoft programs.
- Evernote is a possible alternative for Mac users, however it would be the last program I would recommend. I found it not to be very functional, as it’s main purpose is to organize small note cards, rather than larger pieces of work.
- LiveBinders.com is a good choice if you desire to have your information not stored on a computer. This offers the most security and protection of your work, as everything is automatically backed up on the website’s servers. The downside to using this though is that you need to be connected to the Internet to use the program and they offer a limited amount of space. Otherwise, it’s pretty useful, especially if you want to share your BoS with others.
If you can’t seem to find the ability to practice as you please, then there are many other activities/practices you can do that people won’t directly link with witchcraft, and are thus safe to do in more public settings. Some ideas could be:
- Sigils & symbols can be written on sticky notes and taped to items or put directly on objects around the home. These symbols can be put under tables, in the mailbox, under entry mats, behind pictures, in closets, in drawers, in empty vases, under chairs, etc. You can choose really any symbols to use, and a good list can be by searching the internet.
- Kitchen Magick is also a very indiscrete way to practice, because everything can be done while you are cooking. If you say the spells softly then most people will just assume you are humming as you cook.
- Knot/Cord Magick is possibly one of the easiest and most inconspicuous practices that you can do, as you are simply tie or uniting knots on a string. I would defiantly recommend reading this post if you would like to know how to do this: http://www.spellsofmagic.com/coven_ritual.html?ritual=2468&coven=735
- Candle Magick could be a possibility, however I would not recommend it for those living in someone else’s home. Although people won’t know that it’s directly related to magick, people will question you if you’re constantly burning candles.
- Divination is another great practice, and a fantastic skill to have. There are many types of divination you could do, common ones being tarot, scrying, dowsing, tealeaf readings, & runes. The downside to divination is that some people do directly associate it with magick and do have negative opinions about it. I would advise you to gather you’re family’s views on it before getting into the practice.
- Researching is a very productive way to spend your time if you are unable to practice. Although its not as fun, it will be a great help later in your life, as the background knowledge will come in useful. Doing this will also prepare you further for when you do start practicing. If you are worried about people seeing your magick books, then just research on the internet instead. If you have Google as your browser you can open an “Incognito” window in the settings. This window will not record any of your browsing history or saved passwords.
- The Basics are always a good plan if you just can’t seem to do anything else. Most people will connect meditation with Buddhism or monks so it’s generally an acceptable practice to use in public. This will also give you the extra practice and focus you’ll need further down your path. Not to mention the natural health benefits that meditation provides.