As a working Pagan I spend at least 40 hours a week at my job. Which means a large chunk of my time isn’t spent in my garden or in a sacred space I can create at home but at a large, modern office. Being Pagan, I enjoy having sacred space and sacred items around me, but being Pagan in the workplace can often stir up controversy.
First you’ll want to decide just how much of your personal life you want to reveal at work. If you live in the United States you are guaranteed freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination in the workplace. But the reality is that taking legal action against an employer is a long and arduous process. Even then the law can’t protect you against every action from every employee. If you are passed up for promotion because you are Pagan, that can be a legal case. However, if a co-worker refuses to sit near you at lunch or eat your contribution to the potluck because she’s afraid of being cursed, it isn’t a legal issue.
You are probably the best judge of those around you and how accepting they’ll be if they find out that you are Pagan. Don’t be afraid to rely on subtlety rather than overt declarations of your religion. I’ve found that people often feel that everyone should speak out and forge the way for various causes. But sometimes it just isn’t the right time or place. In my last workplace almost everyone knew I was Pagan except one very conservative director. He believed I was Catholic, which to him was as foreign as Paganism. He seemed to just interpret anything I brought in that was Pagan as a Catholic thing. So the very obvious Goddess necklaces I wore had to be the Virgin Mary. My current workplace is far more open and creative and so I am enjoying the freedom to be my Pagan self at work.
Creating a Pagan Workspace
How much space you’re able to devote to creating a Pagan space at work will depend on your work environment. In my last job I had an office. Currently I have a small desk, but I’m free to decorate it as I want. But I do have to keep in mind that although my desk is considered my personal space, it is not truly private. This means things will be seen, touch, picked up and even played with. Even if I ask people not to touch, the cleaning crew comes in when we’re not there. So, I don’t bring anything in that I feel needs to be a protected or private space. But here are some things to consider for a desk.
A Pagan Calendar is a good way to keep in touch with the days. Actually, you can get one from the Pagan and the Pen to set as the calendar on your computer monitor. I have a planner from Seasons of the Witch that I also use.
Pens, letter openers, bookmarks, mouse pads, and coffee cups can often be purchased with a Pagan theme be it fairies, dragons or wizards. Often these may simply be seen as interesting toys.
Crystals, shells, feathers and other natural items are often simply viewed as decorative. Although I’ve found that the crystals do tend to attract interest. People often want to pick them up and hold them. My large rose quartz crystal ball is often borrowed when someone is stressed out.
Statues, symbols and signs can range from simple and symbolic to overt declarations of one’s faith. Work with items that you feel comfortable bringing into your environment whether that’s keeping things subtle to making a bold statement.
Smudges, candles, incense and oils can be tricky because of safety or health concerns. Burning candles, incense or smudging may be prohibited in most workplaces for fire safety concerns and because people don’t want to breath the smoke. Oils are more accepted but remember, dousing yourself with sacred oil will be viewed the same way as the person who overdoes the aftershave or perfume. Just a touch is enough. Or keep a vial or sachet of a favorite scent handy for when you want a little boost to your day.
If you don’t have a personal space at work, there are still ways to affirm your beliefs at work. You may be able to wear a necklace or jewelry that is sacred or special to you. Keep in mind; this doesn’t have to be a large pentacle. Many gemstones have Pagan associations that are only recognized by other Pagans. Or you can wear a small carving of a totem animal. If jewelry isn’t permitted or must be left off for safety reasons, you can work out a ritual for yourself that’s as simple as wearing a bit of essential oil to work or keeping an amulet in your pocket or purse.
But remember one lesson a wise older Witch passed on to me. You don’t need to declare your beliefs if you feel they will put you in danger. If you feel uncertain about how you’ll be received, then go slowly. Many witches remain in the workplace broom closet and only come out at safe, Pagan-oriented events. You must make the choice that works for you.