Closed Community vs Closed Practice

As Thumper Marjorie Forge states "Closed communities can be ethnic, regional or religious in nature, but all of them limit their interactions with outsiders."

Members of closed communities are either born into them or initiated in some way.

An example of a closed community is the Romani people

Not to be confused with Romanians, the Romani people make up the second largest minority group in Romania.

Historically, they endured abhorrent injustices.

During Medieval period of present-day Romania, the Romani people suffered systemic slavery. Unfortunately, the stereotypes and prejudice born from this history continue to fuel racism.

Many Romani tribes live in chronic isolation from mainstream Romanian society. They often shut out outsiders to protect their culture.

In my opinion, it is necessary to differentiate between a closed community and a closed practice - the terminology is not interchangeable. If we only focus only on a closed practice of a closed community - then we perpetuate a culture of further marginalising a group of people.

For example, there has been much discussion around the use of Tarot Cards being of the Roma, and such, a closed practice - this is not accurate. In fact, this false information is based on racist slurs from 18th Century history books that proclaimed 'Godless Gypsies' bought Tarot with them from Egypt.

There are specific ways of reading Tarot that are unique to the Roma - these are not shown or taught to outsiders, however, Tarot itself isn't a closed practice.

When a specific practice is within the context of a closed community, the door is closed - not before. We can break community and practice down into simple examples:


Cartomancy - Open

Ritual Cartomancy - Open

Ritual Cartomancy in the Romani tradition - Closed


Burning Eucalyptus leaves - Open

Burning Eucalyptus leaves with the purpose of energy cleansing - Open

Burning Eucalyptus leaves in ritual and calling it a Smoking Ceremony - Closed

Did you know smudging is a closed practice, sacred to First Nations and Native tribes in areas like North America and Canada?

As part of your decision to practice a culture that isn’t your own, you should be asking the question - is this culture closed?

If the answer is yes in any way, don’t.
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