Nemo Potest Nudo Vestimenta Detrahere

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , ,

Latin for "You cannot strip the clothes from a naked man." **

This is my approach to living in the style popularly called "out of the broom closet."  I live in a small rural village hedged in farmland and populated by upper-middle-class types with SUV's and tidy flower gardens.  My back yard meets that of the local church.  For months our house was a regular stop on Saturday mornings for Jehovah's Witnesses.

In contrast, this wild witch type has shameless outdoor rituals and spellwork, wears talismans as jewelry, and is generally found in swishy Bohemian clothes and long skirts in direct violation of the Abercrombie and Fitch dress code of the area.  An appalling gris-gris hangs above the door and an elaborate wooden sign advertises my magical wares for sale even before you knock.  My two herb garden beds spill out with both the planted and un-planted (i.e. wild things--weeds *with* a name) varieties.  My husband's vegetable garden is a raised bed of fecund nature so obscene, it should wear a bra.

In short, we do our own thing and it shows.  And you know what?  I've never been harassed.  Sure, people have asked questions, some silly, some insulting (if I felt like seeing it that way), most just curious.  I've had the odd encounter with angry people who don't agree with what we do or think we're making some grievous error by raising our children to follow in our footsteps.  But it's never been anything I can't handle, nothing that cannot be diffused with the simple truth that we each live our own lives according to our own beliefs.  I'm never the subject of hateful gossip (at least none that has reached me or affected my life negatively) and I've never had my life, work, or family threatened because we practice witchcraft.  I don't go out of my way to be "witchy", I just act like myself.  And no one talks behind my back because I tell them to their face.

How about some stories?

Once while working a day job as a cashier, a customer approached me and angrily glared at the pentacle around my neck.  "That's a sign of Satan!"  he spat, completely unprovoked.  I paused a moment and then replied cheerfully, "Not where I come from."  Having nothing to say, he paid for his things and left. 

Another incident happened when I worked an old revenge spell and had to allow its remains--whole onions carved with initials and stabbed with rusty nails--to wither in the sun.  Because my children were small then (and because a spell is best forgotten about after cast), I found a quiet unused place for it to sit: on the jutting air conditioner facing the back of our property.  This seemed perfect until the next time the local rev. mowed his lawn (and right about this point in the story is when both you and I recall that we share a property line with a church) and I noticed him wearing a funny expression as he passed close by.  After that--and indeed up until the time he moved away about a year later--he wouldn't look me in the eye. 

On a positive note, when meeting with a representative from a local newspaper about running an ad for my spellcasting classes, I started out discrete.  My main interest was in learning the process, costs, etc. and the exact details could be worked out afterward.  By the time the "afterward" part of the conversation came up, I began to wonder how this nice lady with whom I'd been enjoying a friendly yet professional chat would react to the news.  So I laid it out straight and simple:  "I'm a witch and I'm offering public classes to teach others."  She smiled without hesitation and told me how her daughter would be excited to hear about that.  We launched back into conversation and, in the end, she and the graphics design team made me a stellar ad!

If this is your thing, do it--do it nine times!
Being upfront about my beliefs has always been a good choice for me.  Only when there is secrecy will there be rumor. It's no fun to whisper about what that person next door might be doing if you can see him/her plainly standing in the backyard.  Even if that person is chanting from a big book and tossing things in a pot, the excitement of discovery is missing.  You can't use my "secret" against me if it's not a secret.  Better to move on to juicier gossip.

Diffusing arguments are just as simple.  When I'm confronted, I can honestly say that what I do is my business (both figuratively and literally) and if they wish to get involved with questions or comments, they may not like what they hear even though they'll understand it.  I'm not in the business of pleasing people or changing their minds and that's just another form of liberation from argument.  They are without meaning.  The only thing I care to do is express myself and be a willing ear for others expressing themselves.  Anything more is essentially unimportant since anger and argument never changes opinions.  If anything, it solidifies them. 

When magical folks live an open life it's the same as what everyone else is doing with their lives, whether those lives are filled with their love of horses or Hummel figurines.  It's okay that they're proud, okay that others know, and okay that they declare this devotion in decorative ways throughout their home, work, and play.  Take, for example, religion and spirituality in this country.  It's so diverse that it takes on the same nature as any other personal interest.

"Are you coming for the birthday party at Debbie's?" 

"I can't, I have mass...

"'s my son's bar mitzvah...

"...we don't celebrate birthdays...

"...I'm hosting the sabbat ritual...

"...I'll be volunteering at a soup kitchen that day...

"'s the full moon and I've got spells to cast...

"...I'll be out of town for a conference...

"...that's our family game night...

None of these responses is any different--they're the variations of human lives and nothing more.  The general reply after saying any of them would be "Bummer.  Sorry you can't make it."  And that's about it.  When people ask if I believe in magic, whether they ask with curiosity or incredulity, my answer is simply "yes."  I choose to respond to what is asked and not what is implied.  I've talked with ministers and laypersons of many faiths as openly as if we were discussing recipes.  In various conversations I've shown my reasoning for curses without apology, related stories of spells perfected and those gone awry, and talked taboo magic with fairness.  I listen, compare and contrast, but especially respond with the understanding that our differences are essentially meaningless.  I have never turned these incidents into a scene, nor has the other party.

Pictured: Sybil Leek not giving a damn
We can look to celebrity witches (authors, musicians, public speakers, shop owners, activists, etc.) to understand this a little better.  They are not open about their practice only because they are famous--they were open before you ever heard their name--instead they are behaving just as they would in their private lives, but now with a larger audience.  They're doing their own thing, secure in their skin and their minds.  You don't need to be famous to be bold.  In fact, displaying your witchiness is as easy as not pretending to "be normal."  Take a look at some of your favorite witches and learn to power of self-acceptance. You have nothing to prove and nothing to apologize for.

Witches have just as much right to be themselves in public and in private as do anyone else.  If we want to keep it as personal information closely guarded, that is the individual's choice.  But to allow projections of the reactions of the populous from expressing our happiness is to burn our blankets lest we fall asleep and have a nightmare. There simply isn't enough reason to make ourselves miserable.

Know your rights and how to express them.  Stand on your own feet in your own space.  Live with pride and honesty and you can suffer no offense.  

**For those who wish to share this wisdom, here's the pronunciation:
[NEM-oh POH-test NOO-doh WESS-tee-MEN-tah det-rah-HAIR-ay]

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About Me

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My name is Quill and I've been practicing witchcraft for the past 17 years. 10 of those years I've been reading tarot and teaching.  I own a shop on Etsy called Quill's Occult Supply (check it out at full of handmade ritual and decorative items, spell components, and wild picked herbs.

I love to work with my hands.  Magic is a tool to shape our lives, and I'm using magic to shape tools to shape magic.  Cosmic! 

I use a lot of my favorite things in my shop: herbs, candles, wood, fabric, paint, clay.  And I get to carve, burn, grind, mold, think, dream ... I'm in the perfect business!

I've written 3 manuscripts for publication (2 non-fiction and 1 fiction) and am an avid NaNo-er!  I and my husband run a local coven called Orbis Prosapia, and our children are growing up surrounded by magic, mythology, fairy tales, Earth worship, art, open discussion, music, and humor. 

In addition to working on Ex Penna about my experiences as a professional witch, I also write for Scenes from the Circle about being a coven leader. 

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