Maintaining Cohesion in a Solitary Practice

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Maintaining Cohesion in a Solitary Practice


It can be very lonely working as a solitary practitioner, no matter what your reasons for the solitary path may be. At times it can seem that there are more obstacles, more frustrations, more opportunities for self-doubt. It’s all too easy to let your practice become lax and unfocused, because there’s no one else to monitor your progress and encourage you when you need it.

Giving yourself smaller daily rituals to engage in—no matter how short and simple they are—keeps you in touch with the gods and your spirituality on a more regular basis. If you touch the Divine on a daily basis, it’s much easier to touch the Divine on the big occasions. The human mind can be remarkably apathetic when it comes to actually stirring ourselves to do something requiring energy and input. Doing a sabbat every six weeks can be a really huge undertaking if you haven’t trained yourself with baby steps in between.

Wicca should never be something you take time out of your regular life to practice. The point of a spiritual path such as Wicca is to incorporate your spiritual practice into your daily life without fuss and drama. Your spirituality should inform your thoughts, opinions, and action in daily life as well as in ritual. Practicing Wicca every moment of the day should make your life more harmonious, not more complicated.

So often a solitary practitioner becomes more of a philosopher than an active participant in the dance of life. It can be very easy to think about Wicca, and to slowly cease your actual ritual practice. While thinking and reflecting upon your spiritual evolution is essential to further development, maintaining your regular daily practice is paramount. Your ritual practice is your interface with the world beyond.

Solitary Wicca For Life: Complete Guide to Mastering the Craft on Your Own
Arin Murphy-Hiscock

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Let’s Talk Witch – Growing as a Solitary Practitioner

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Growing as a Solitary Practitioner


How do you relate to the larger picture when you work alone? Here are some methods by which you can structure and appreciate your own evolution and spiritual growth, and how this spiritual practice relates to the world at large.

To offer recognition of the divine feminine, to show one’s respect for nature, to have the opportunity for self-improvement and self-empowerment, and in appreciation of the decentralized aspects of the religion—these are all common reasons people choose to practice Wicca/Witchcraft.

How do we define the goal of Wicca/Witchcraft? A common answer is “to serve the gods.” We work with the gods, not for them. And while this is one of the goals of Wicca/Witchcraft, it is not the only purpose. You can serve God or gods in any other religion. What makes Wicca/Witchcraft, unique? Scott Cunningham titled one of his books Living Wicca, and this wonderful phrase encapsulates what Wicca truly is: Wicca is more than a practice—it’s a way of life. To live Wicca means living in awareness, in peace, in balance, and in harmony. It means living with the goal of every action contributing positively, and every situation teaching you something. It means being mindful, sincere, and true. Living Wicca means recognizing the Divine in everything that surrounds you, and always being able to feel your connection to the gods and the universe.

The true goal of a practitioner is to create a way of life that brings you to this state. That state isn’t an end; it is a means by which you can improve your life and maintain the harmony so essential to a better life and a better world.


Solitary Wicca For Life: Complete Guide to Mastering the Craft on Your Own
Arin Murphy-Hiscock

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Rites of Passage – Eldering

Rites of Passage – Eldering


Honoring our elders is unfortunately a concept that our society is allowing to slide out of common practice. The older members of our society are living longer and remaining in the work force longer. Some need to continue working for financial reasons, because of age restrictions on retirement, or because they find their careers pleasurable.

As a result, a new classification of elders has emerged, but has not yet been recognized by North American culture. The age of retirement may be approximately sixty, but our elders are active, healthy, and now have the opportunity—thanks to both technological and medical advancement—to have additional decades in which to travel, explore, and further develop their lives, and pass along their knowledge and wisdom to the younger generations.

Whereas some people classify the transition to menopause as the point of eldering for a woman (sometimes called “croning”) and default to the age of retirement to elder a man, the fact is that many men and women of this age are not yet prepared to recognize themselves as “elders,” despite their experience.

Recognizing yourself as an elder can be difficult, for we rarely value our own knowledge and contribution to society. Writing a ritual to celebrate your own rite of passage to elderhood can be a challenge, but also deeply meaningful. A central action such as wrapping yourself in a new shawl or cloak, or crowning yourself with vines or a circlet to denote your new position, can be very empowering.

As with all rituals, crafting your own rites of passage for the important periods of transition within your life is an enormously rewarding experience, and one that will further your understanding of Wiccan practices and life itself.



Solitary Wicca For Life: Complete Guide to Mastering the Craft on Your Own
Arin Murphy-Hiscock

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Rites of Passage – Adulthood

Rites of Passage – Adulthood


Although you are a solitary, you may wish to conduct an adulthood ritual for your own child or children, or your friends or relatives may ask you to perform one.

Like all rites of passage, an adulthood ritual marks a transition from one state to another; in this instance, it is the transition out of childhood and into adulthood. Modern society has designated the teenage years as the transitory period, as there is no one point where an individual may be forced to stop being a child and join adult society. While other cultures take the first menses of a girl or a specific age of a boy as the moment that marks the required shift between states, Western society accepts that adolescence is an ongoing evolution wherein the child learns skills and information required to function in the adult world.

An alternate suggestion to a single rite of passage performed at a single moment in adolescence is a pair of rituals bracketing the teenage years. The first is performed at the beginning of the teen years to symbolize the beginning of the transitory period, and the second at the end to confirm the child’s successful completion of that transition and welcoming to adulthood. In the middle, you may wish to write and perform a smaller ritual to mark the first menses of a girl, and the deepening of the voice for a boy.

Solitary Wicca For Life: Complete Guide to Mastering the Craft on Your Own
Arin Murphy-Hiscock


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Rites of Passage – Death

Rites of Passage – Death

Funerals and the many associated funeral customs allow us to mark the separation that occurs with death. More than a ritual for the deceased (who is not necessarily affected by what rites we perform once he or she has passed on), funerals help those left behind make the necessary changes to
adjust to being separated from loved ones.

In Wicca, a funeral is often referred to as a crossing. As Wiccans believe that existence is a never-ending cycle of lives, a funeral mourning an individual’s death doesn’t really suit the spiritual outlook. Instead, a crossing ritual celebrates an individual’s achievements in this life, and wishes the person well on his or her journey to whatever next life in which they choose to incarnate.

Death is not an end in the Wiccan view; it is a confirmation of the continuing life cycle, just as birth is. In a sense, it is another form of birth, as the deceased leaves one state and transits into another. A death ritual must address the same three phases that any rite of passage addresses. As we are unsure of what precisely happens to the soul of the deceased, most death rites serve the needs of the community, easing those left behind through the separation from the deceased, learning how to live again without the presence of the individual, and finally reintegration with the world after grieving and acceptance.

Although death is seen as a natural part of the cycle of life, Wiccans acknowledge that it can be very hard on those left behind after an individual has passed on. In this sense, a crossing is also a farewell to the individual, and an opportunity for those who remain to share memories and grieve for their loss. It is important to remember that Wiccans do not grieve for the individual who has died; they quite naturally grieve for themselves. A crossing offers the chance to grieve with others, and to ritually address the loss.

Some Wiccans believe that the spirit of a deceased Wiccan travels to another plane of existence where it prepares itself for the next life it chooses. This plane is sometimes referred to as the Summerland. The Summerland is also a place where a soul ultimately finishes its journey, after it has incarnated often enough to acquire as many life lessons and as much knowledge as it feels necessary. It is important to remember that the Summerland is not considered a reward, akin to the Christian concept of Heaven. Nor does Wicca have a concept of a plane of punishment comparable to Hell. The rewards for how you live your life come to you while you live it.

A crossing eases the transition of the deceased’s spirit from this world to the presence of the ancestors, who will care for the spirit until it is prepared to reincarnate. In a crossing, the spirit of the deceased is invited to attend, much the same way the deities and ancestors are invited. Crossings can also be performed to aid a spirit who has become lost or confused in its transition. If an individual has died in a traumatic fashion, a crossing will sometimes be performed to help it detach from this plane of existence and help it on its way.

A crossing may be performed with the body or ashes of the individual present, but it is commonly performed without. Crossings are often performed as memorial services, which provide a sense of comfort and a sense of closure for those left behind. If the crossing is for a Wiccan who is a member of an established Wiccan community, the tools and religious possessions are often disposed of or distributed to those who have been chosen by the individual to next hold and use them.

Solitary Wicca For Life: Complete Guide to Mastering the Craft on Your Own
Arin Murphy-Hiscock


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Parenting Rite of Passage

Parenting Rite of Passage


When a child is born, society tends to focus on the new life who has joined the community. We often forget that the parents, too, experience a separation from their previous state, and are transitioning into a new role. They may have had nine months to prepare themselves, but no amount of reading and prenatal classes can truly prepare anyone for the reality of physically birthing a child and then bringing it home. The parents have left the state of being a couple, and now must train themselves to recognize and grow accustomed to being a family.

To that end, a rite of passage celebrating this shift can be a wonderful thing, for it provides a clear recognition of the new roles in which the parents find themselves. A ritual of this kind can be particularly meaningful for adoptive parents to perform as a formal welcoming of the child into their hearts and their home.

Solitary Wicca For Life: Complete Guide to Mastering the Craft on Your Own
Arin Murphy-Hiscock

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Steps Within a Ritual of Wiccaning

Steps Within a Ritual of Wiccaning

Depending on how formal you want the Wiccaning to be, you may or may not wish to include the following steps:

• Creation of sacred space or casting a circle

• Invocation of elements

• Invocation of deities

• Invocation of ancestors

• Blessing and/or naming of the child

• Presentation of the child to the Divine and/or the elements

• Presentation of the child to the ancestors

• Cakes and wine shared among the gods and the participants

• Thanks and farewell to deities, ancestors, and elements

• Dissolution of circle (if used)

• Feast

Unless you are performing the Wiccaning in an area that you consider threatening, creating sacred space will suffice. If your Wiccaning is a formal event with others present, you may prefer to cast a circle to match the formality of your ritual.



Solitary Wicca For Life: Complete Guide to Mastering the Craft on Your Own
Arin Murphy-Hiscock

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Birth Rites

Birth Rites


Wiccaning is a common term used in connection with birth. It signifies the blessing of a Wiccan child, and the incorporation of the child into the Wiccan community or practice. In other neo-Pagan circles this rite is also referred to as a birth blessing or a naming ceremony. As a solitary Wiccan, you most likely do not have a Wiccan community such as a coven to whom you will introduce a child, but if you are fortunate enough to bear a child then you will have the opportunity to bless your own son or daughter in the name of what you hold sacred. You may also be asked by a close friend or family member to perform a ritual such as this, if they are of the increasing number of people who no longer participate in an established religion. If you are a solitary Wiccan who practices secretly and you have a new baby, your Wiccaning ritual does not have to be public or shared with anyone else; it can be a beautiful ritual involving just you, the infant, and nature. The gods are always present.

A Wiccaning welcomes the child to the world, and also ritually introduces that world to the infant. A Wiccaning is not a purification of any sort; Wiccans do not believe that a baby is born with any sin or negativity attached to him. Apart from the energy of the Divine, a child is quite possibly the most pure energy in existence.

A Wiccaning is also a blessing of sorts. A blessing is a simple ritual by which you extend a wish to someone or something in the name of the Divine. In this instance, the child is presented officially to the gods, an act of respect before you ask for their blessing to be bestowed upon the child.
Finally, a Wiccaning can also serve as an official naming ceremony. Such a ceremony is an opportunity to confirm the child’s full name in a ritual environment, or to add a magical or special God- or Goddess-name to honor both a deity and the child.

In Wicca, a child represents many things such as hope, joy light, purity, and new beginnings. As Wiccans believe that souls reincarnate, a new baby signifies a joyful occasion when a soul has chosen to return to life upon the earth, to interact with other souls and spirits, and to learn new lessons.

A Wiccaning ritual does not have to be restricted to an infant; many parents choose to wait until their child is a toddler before they perform a ritual such as this. However, a Wiccaning is very definitely a child-based ceremony.


Solitary Wicca For Life: Complete Guide to Mastering the Craft on Your Own
Arin Murphy-Hiscock

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