Solitary practitioner

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A solitary practitioner is an individual who chooses to practice their spiritual faith in the privacy of his or her home or other designated space, without the need to participate in a group such as that of a Wiccan coven; although it’s not uncommon for solitaries to participate in some communal activities[1] (e.g. Sabbats). Many solitary practitioners are Neo-pagans, who adhere to a diverse group of pagan religions that include various forms of Wicca, Traditional Reconstructionism and Traditional British Witchcraft, among others. About half of all pagans are self-ascribed solitary practitioners.[2]

While formal training is not a necessary component of solitary practice as it is in more organized groups, it is nevertheless a supported recommendation and practitioners can find myriad workshops, seminars and classes, in their local communities and online, that help to provide a more well-rounded approach to their spiritual practice. In most cases books are the primary means of education of the solitary practitioner, along with CDs and instructional videos. Furthermore, the internet has provided for innumerable avenues of personal education in several spiritual faiths, Neo-Pagan or otherwise, making it possible for an individual to learn all he or she can about a particular path. In addition, that individual may decide to merge the various beliefs, legends and rituals they’ve researched from differing paths into a diverse, yet coherent whole known as being “Eclectic.”[3]

Decisions for choosing solitary practice over community gatherings are as individual as the practitioners themselves, but a few common reasons are often cited. The reason most often given is that of fear, in that the practitioner is concerned he or she might be the subject of harassment or abuse, whether physically, emotionally and/or socially, should the individual publicly express his or her beliefs, especially when those beliefs are in direct contrast to those of their local community. This mentality is often referred to by those in the Neo-Pagan community by the slang phrase, “still in the broom closet.”

However, another reason is mere personal preference: the individual simply feels more comfortable practicing alone, rather than with others; entering into sacred communion with his or her deities on a one-to-one basis in private. There have been historically wise women, oracles, shamans and the like, who practised alone and offered essential services to their communities,[clarification needed][4] choosing a select few to inherit their knowledge (most often members of their family or people they were particularly close with). The claim could be made that such exclusivity contributed to the targeting of witches, genuine or not, whose secret arts caused fear and suspicion in the minds of the general public and jealousy[citation needed] in medieval doctors, whose practices were ineffective.[citation needed] (This last statement is inferred from historical premise and opinion and should not be treated as fact).[clarification needed]

Solitary practice has been the subject of scrutiny within the Neo-Pagan community by those who feel that the practice is uncommitted, or in some way insincere, especially within the Wiccan community who consider a witch’s power to be transferred or bestowed upon an individual by the leading authority of a group, for instance a High Priest or Priestess. Regardless of public opinion, several proponents of solitary practice, such as Doreen Valiente and Raymond Buckland, have advocated and promoted the act of “self-initiation”, a process by which an individual professes in private (usually through a ritual of some kind) their commitment to and worship of a particular deity or pantheon. In this way a practitioner may acquire in his or her own way a feeling of authenticity, with the added benefit of remaining exclusive, and an extensive amount of self-initiating rituals have been written and published for the general public by popular New Age authors like Silver RavenWolf and the late Scott Cunningham, both of whom having written educational guides for the solitary practitioner.

Some possible activities a Solitary Practitioner might perform at home are listed here:

DAILY ACTIVITIES/MORNING:

  • Stating a daily affirmation upon rising
  • Selecting a Tarot Card or Rune Stone each morning to help understand a daily perspective
  • Drinking a cup of tea with tea leaves and then reading the tea leaves to predict the day's events

DAILY ACTIVITIES/EVENING:

  • Casting a very simple candle spell each day for general peace, organization, harmony, or to deal with life's particular concerns
  • Lighting 2 white candles to connect with/honor the Lord & Lady
  • Daily prayer to the Highest Power for protection and guidance
  • Daily maintenance of one's personal spiritual altar to organize, clean, and use it

WEEKLY/WEEKEND ACTIVITIES:

  • volunteering time to help the earth, animals, or fellow man
  • getting out in nature to connect with the earth and the Highest Power
  • Performing more involved spell casting in regard to life's bigger concerns
  • Doing a major divination reading of Tarot, Runes, Pendulum, Horary Astrology, crystal gazing for self or others
  • Reading up on Wiccan information, from a popular author - study time
  • Preparing herbal remedies (could be as simple as cooking a normal meal and discovering what the herbs used in that recipe do magickally
  • Making natural jewelry as gifts or for sale using natural stones, seeds, shells, wood, or recycled goods, and giving the jewelry item a Wiccan symbol
  • Making wands from natural branches for gifts or for sale
  • Making your own set of Tarot or Oracle cards or stones to use for divination purposes
  • Drawing or painting pictures of spiritual things you find beautiful or interesting, which may also have a magickal purpose
  • Creating charm bags, mojo bags, spell bottles, herbal wreaths, and magickal items that double as home decore and radiate spell-magick into the home
  • Creating your own blessed/charged broomstick or collection of broomsticks to decorate your home as well as bring in magical energy
  • Making greeting cards for Sabbats and other spiritual events, or for rites of passage (birth days, anniversaries, graduations, moving away, retirements)
  • Banishing negative energy from your home or work area using a sage bundle (smudging)
  • Blessing people upon entry to your home with blessed/charged anointing oil or by smudging when they enter or leave your premesis
  • Placing crystals around your home to prevent negative energy; recharging the crystals for maximum strength
  • Studying more about various Sacred Ancestors/Deities to find inspiration for the week
  • Shopping for magickal supplies you may need, or making them
  • Practicing focused meditation, path-work, and concentration techniques for use in spell work
  • Studying the Elements and their many tokens so you know what to use in a spell you craft
  • Preparing spell crafting supplies for use in spells, such as collecting natural items like acorns, rosebuds, dried leaves, dried flowers
  • Crafting a spell, by planning, research, writing an incantation, gathering herbs, gems, candles, and other items to use in the spell
  • Using tarot cards to determine what spell to perform
  • Using an on-line astrology generator to determine horary astrology/issues for today's concerns
  • Using magickal methods to locate lost objects
  • Discovering more about one of your past lives, and journaling about it to help solve a current problem, or for self-discovery
  • Creating and adding to your Book-Of-Shadows
  • Preparing spell kits as gifts for others to use when they have needs
  • Charging charms (amulets and talismans) for particular use for self/others
  • Preparing particular herbal and tea blend mixtures for magickal brews that, when a spell is incanted over the beverage, it will have a magickal effect on the drinker
  • Creating floral head-wreaths for Sabbat Feast Day Celebrations
  • Creating Sabbat Feast Day decorations for use at the time of the Feast's Ritual Ceremony
  • Writing the Ritual for the Sabbat Feast Celebration
  • Practicing astral-travel, telepathy, and dream-contacting techniques
  • Planting special flowers, trees, and herbs for use in magick spells
  • Taking particular classes to improve your skills of interest in a particular area of magickal interest - astrology, herbalism, tarot, Reiki healing

MONTHLY/ESBAT ACTIVITIES:

  • Attending the Esbat Ritual on the 1st night of the Full Moon
  • Asking for magickal powers, knowledge, or wisdom, to be granted or strengthened
  • Connecting with the Spirit World
  • Reconnecting with friends and loved ones

ANNUAL ACTIVITIES: Honoring/Recognizing each Sabbat, studying what it means, and celebrating it by: -Nature walk -Camp out -Ritual or Spell you created to honor that day, season, and time -Contemplating that season and how its meaning describes human life -inviting in friends and loved ones to celebrate the Sabbat with you -Giving gifts to others in honor of that Feast -Giving to the poor in honor of the Feast -Giving extra volunteer time in honor of that feast -Cooking or baking special foods for that Feast -Decorating the home in honor of that feast -listening to Celtic themed music -Wearing Celtic style garb or robes

For a serious Solitary Practitioner, its very important to try to perform at least one daily activity, one weekly activity, and honor all Esbats and Sabbats by a minimum of verbal acknowledgement, to offer prayer to the Highest Power, and to connect often with the Lord & Lady, the 'first parents'.



References[edit]

  1. ^ Higginbotham, Joyce & River (2002). Paganism : An Introduction To Earth-Centered Religions (8th ed.). Woodbury, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications. pp. 11, 15. ISBN 978-0-7387-0222-3. 
  2. ^ Higginbotham, Joyce & River (2002). Paganism : An Introduction To Earth-Centered Religions (8th ed.). Woodbury, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-7387-0222-3. 
  3. ^ Higginbotham, Joyce & River (2002). Paganism : An Introduction To Earth-Centered Religions (8th ed.). Woodbury, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-7387-0222-3. 
  4. ^ Green, Marian (2009). A Witch Alone : The Essential Guide For The Solo Practitioner of the Magical Arts. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Pub. Co. Inc. pp. xii. ISBN 978-1-57174-618-4. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions by Joyce & River Higginbotham
  • The Wiccan Path: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Rae Beth
  • White Magic: A Book of Transformation, Spells and Mind Magic by Marian Green
  • Solitary Wicca for Life: Complete Guide to Mastering the Craft on Your Own by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
  • Self-Initiation for the Solitary Witch: Attaining Higher Spirituality Through a Five-Degree System by Shanddaramon
  • Earth Power: Techniques of Natural Magic by Scott Cunningham