Yes, I am being a typical witch here, showing off one of my pretties. I made this particular mini altar back during our “shop owning” days as a witch family. We often built custom full sized altars upon request and mini “pretties” as I referred to the small altars for close friends, as well as having several pre-made altars of all sizes on display around the shop at all times.
This particular tiny altar was a favorite used for targeted healing spells. I used to keep specific stones, charged items, oils, and other items on him when I had long term spell work going which needed a permanent home. He helped with a lot of healing over the years and still has a healing feel about him, which is why he looks so happy here. He was so strong and always so pleased to be able to help in the healing. I used him often at my previous employment, as someone there was always in need. He was small enough to travel and he enjoyed sitting within easy reach on my desk.
I feel that if we are ever to make a difference in the way witches are treated we have to learn to carry the correct balance between openness and respect for others beliefs. Nothing frustrates me as much as those arrogant witches who immediately upon meeting someone get in their face and baldly state, “I am a witch” as if daring them to have an objection. Gentle witches, be gentle, more flies with honey than vinegar is an age-old saying for a reason, after all.
Amusingly enough, on my first day of training for that large international company, I was “out-ed” from the broom closet by the trainer. He trained my late husband a few years earlier. Azrael kept a full size altar on his desk for years to practice his devotions and spells as needed in his free time. When the trainer asked us to “introduce ourselves” to the class, I admitted that I had joined the company to feel closer to my late husband and to meet the people he always talked about when he had worked there until his passing. The trainer asked his name. As soon as I gave it, he squealed very loudly, clapped his hands, jumping up and down and said, “Oh my God! I know all about you and the boys! I loved your hubby! He was the sweetest witch I ever knew! Are you going to keep an altar on your desk, too? You might not want to cast spells there, though, because some of the management freaked out when he did!”
Well, so much for going my normal route and letting people get to know me a me first before bringing witchcraft into the discussion. For a several years, I kept this altar, and a few others, at that job/ They were often disguised as a display shelves by keeping unique items out on each. I learned to keep the more obvious practices hidden at work, because even though everyone knew what I was, I did not want to make anyone feel uncomfortable or nervous around my desk. Since I was in a middle management position, there was ALWAYS someone at my desk. I believe, as “out” witches, we are advocates for all the hidden witches among us. Many witches are still afraid to come out for fear of the reactions of loved ones, co-workers, and employers. Other witches are just very private. Some witches are “re-closeted” after having bad experiences. In some places witchcraft is illegal or punished harshly.
I was in a resource management position for years, which meant that I was the one people had to come to when they were ill and needed to leave, in order to ask for a day off, to schedule their vacation, change schedules, and such. Spending years as an openly practicing witch, I did not want them to be hesitant or afraid to approach me. For the employees who were ill and needed to come to me in order to ask to go home, I would often say that I hoped they felt better and asked if they wanted me to “pray” for them. Sometimes I would get looks askance, from the new employees, as they tried to determine what exactly I meant by that, but after they got to know me, most everyone answered, “Yes, please” eventually. Sometimes, it meant exactly what I said. If I took it further into a spell or ritual on their behalf, I was careful to explain in detail what I would do and what effect they might note or feel.
I kept many boxes with herbs, crystals, stones, and special spell oils I had created, as well as several the altars on my desks. People became accustomed to seeing me move things around on the altars, many of them never knew if I was “making them pretty” at my desk or casting spells. I preferred it that way.
Over the years, several witches on the call center floor knew when a spell was in progress. Others, not witches, who learned to know me well over the years, knew, or sometimes merely suspected what was happening and would give me a grin and maybe ask a few questions. I always tailored the answers to retain the privacy of the ones for whom I cast the spells. Even in a call center of only a couple of hundred people, some people were nosy and wanting to know all. More’s the pity for them, it was none of their business as far as I was concerned. However, I would answer all but the private questions honestly and explain in as much detail as they wanted to know. Usually, the people would nod in understanding and walking away with a greater knowledge of what it meant to be a witch.
I will always feel that witches who are “out” can and should be ambassadors to lead the non-magickal folks to a better understanding and greater acceptance of those who practice magick. I think it is a good thing to share the knowledge and information we can with people who are not accustomed to magick. The ignorance of the practices causes the most distrust and harm to witches around the world.