Posts Tagged With: Solitary practitioner

Let’s Talk Witch -Working Magick as a Group


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Group Working

 

Rather than working as a Solitary practitioner, many people will seek a community of like-minded individuals on the basis that their own individual powers are thus enhanced. We give a method of group working, although it is very easy to adjust this for work on an individual basis. The rituals used for a group represent a cooperative act of worship which widens the scope of the ceremony to encompass larger objectives than just the personal; we can then consider our joint responsibility for the world in which we live and a more universal perspective. At the same time, through working in a group, a more focused atmosphere can be created – a raising of consciousness so that each participant receives wisdom and energy commensurate with their needs and understanding. True initiation into the mysteries of magic for instance, is a private silent process, but an initiation ceremony accompanied by ritual can be seen as a more formal process for marking unmistakable long-term changes in the consciousness of the practitioner.

The purpose of rituals used in this way is to create an inspiring and expressive atmosphere in which to give life and meaning to the connection between the ordinary and the sublime. Symbolism takes on a meaningful existence and through colour, sound, movement and imagination, becomes a vibrant language of the soul. Rituals help us to do several things:

1. To learn the proper application of a basic structure for personal use and to understand the relevance of ritual.
2. To increase an understanding of the flow of energy which we experience and to develop confidence in the use of symbols.
3. To contribute to the group awareness of members thus helping them make the best use of their individual and group powers.
4. To create spiritual and emotional conditions where initiation on an inner level is accepted and experienced and where we can accept heightened states of awareness as the norm.
5. To use knowledge of ritual and power as a way of achieving personal spiritual health, so that the rituals themselves eventually become unnecessary and are recognized simply as a way of gaining access to the ultimate. They may then be replaced by direct experience.

By using the same rituals for both individual and group work these are seen as complementary and members of the group are able to enhance their experience on both a personal and shared level. We can take the insights gained from group work into the personal sacred space and come into contact with an awareness of a new level of activity and vice versa. A magical ritual is far superior if it succeeds without side effects and therefore can be shocking if there are untoward results. Traditional forms of magical ritual – often first taught in a group situation – tap a basic and, if misunderstood, possibly dangerous force which has to be channeled and directed properly. Group work can form a training arena which is also protected to enable the fledgling magician to learn the craft.

Natural Magic: Spells, Enchantments & Self-Development
Pamela Ball
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Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Ritual Working, Spellcrafting | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Lets Talk Witch – Sabbats and Esbats for the Solitary Practitioner


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Sabbats and Esbats for the Solitary Practitioner

 

Esbats and sabbats form the basic natural cyclic structure upon which the Wiccan practice is founded. By performing rituals to commemorate various points in these cycles, you can communicate with the cycles as they progress, and with the associated energy as it shifts and transforms. To achieve this communication, there are different practices associated with each type of esbat and sabbat ritual.

One of the major differences between sabbats and esbats is that traditionally esbats are a time to worship and do magical work, and sabbats are a time to celebrate and honor the earth. Sometimes Wiccans choose to differentiate in another fashion, with esbats as rituals for the Goddess and sabbats as rituals for the God. This association can become clumsy and unnecessarily exclusionary because it emphasizes a division where none exists. God and Goddess are seen as two halves of a whole, and to solely celebrate one half of a glorious unit seems self-defeating. It is the interplay of masculine and feminine energy that propels each cycle forward; removing one of those energies cripples the cycle.

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

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, The Sabbats | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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.

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

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Wicca, Witchcraft | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

I Have A Question

I would like to know if we have any coven witches/leaders/high priest/high priestess on this site?

 

I have been aiming to ask this question for a few days. The reason I am asking is because you all know I am a Solitary Practitioner. Being such, I know nothing about the inner workings of covens. What I am getting ready to say, won’t make you mad because most of you know it is the truth. There are some covens that are run with individuals on a power trip, I have a friend that is coming from one such coven. I would like for someone who knows how a proper coven run to contact me. Then, if I have your permission, I would like to put you in contact with my friend. I know from what this person has told me, that covens don’t run the way he is telling me. So I desperately need a coven witch’s help. This person wants to try it as a Solitary but he keeps referring back to the coven from which he came. I don’t believe he wants to be a Solitary, I believe he longs for a life within a coven.

 

I can only imagine the beauty, the power and the bond coven witches must have. I want him to experience that. But I am very afraid if he stays with the coven he is now in, he never will. Please help me, you can email me at: thewotcstrustfund@yahoo.com

In the subject line please put, coven witch. Thank you so much you will have my eternal gratitude.

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts | Tags: | 2 Comments

Covens vs. Solitary Practice

Covens vs. Solitary Practice

By , About.com

 

It’s an argument that comes up frequently in the Wiccan and Pagan community. There’s one school of thought that says “only a witch can make a witch,” which means you must be initiated and part of a coven — typically a lineaged one — before you can claim to be Wiccan, Pagan, or any other variety thereof. There’s another camp that says anyone can be a witch or Pagan, and what matters more than initiation and coven connections is what’s in your heart and soul. Will people ever agree on these things?

It’s pretty unlikely.

However, as you begin your studies of Wicca and Paganism, you may at some point be offered the opportunity to join a group. You may also find that you really prefer working alone. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of covens vs. solitary practice, so that when the time comes for you to make a decision, you can do so with some knowledge under your belt.

Working as a Solitary

Many people begin their Pagan or Wiccan studies by working as a solitary. This happens for a number of reasons, but the most common one is that quite simply, most people develop an interest in Paganism long before they meet a coven they’re interested in joining. There are benefits to working alone, to be sure, but it also has its drawbacks.

Advantages

  • You can make your own rules, and follow your own set of ethics
  • You can worship at your convenience, rather than following a schedule involving several people
  • You’re free to work with anyone you like, even if they’re a member of another tradition
  • You’re not under any obligation to anyone but yourself and your deities

Disadvantages

  • You may find yourself eventually limited in the type and quantity of knowledge you obtain
  • It’s often hard for solitaries to network with other Pagans and Wiccans
  • Sometimes, it’s just nice to hang out with other people that believe as you do
  • If you’re looking to grow and learn spiritually, you may feel at some point you’d like a mentor or teacher, which you don’t have as a solitary

Working In a Group

Many Pagans and Wiccans find that they enjoy group practice. There is a certain energy that can be experienced in a group that you just don’t experience as a solitary practitioner, and there are plenty of benefits to being in a coven. On the other hand, when you work with a coven or group, there’s a whole new set of dynamics involved, which can create its own set of problems.

Advantages

  • Working in a group gives you the benefit of learning from people who may have more experience and knowledge than you
  • When you’re part of a group, you have more opportunities to network and meet others in the greater Pagan community
  • Coven work typically is more structured and formal, and rituals are usually more elaborate, which some people find beneficial to their studies
  • A coven usually has a pre-determined course of study, so rather than just randomly reading books, you’ll find yourself following specific lesson plans as you move towards various degrees of initiation

Disadvantages

  • Coven work typically has to be scheduled ahead of time, making sure everyone is available
  • If someone is on a power trip, a coven has the potential to be a miserable experience for everyone else involved
  • When you’re part of a coven, there are numerous relationships going on, so there can be issues if one person decides to cause problems
  • If you join an existing coven, chances are good that they’re already set in their ways, and may not be willing to make accommodations to meet your needs

Whether or not you decide to practice as a solitary or as part of a coven is a personal decision. Covens can be hard to find in some areas, but it is possible to do – just be aware that you may have to make some effort and put some work into the process. If you choose instead to be a solitary practitioner, there is nothing wrong with that either. Regardless, choose the path that is the right one for you.

Categories: Book of Spells | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The Solitary Road and Personal Power

The Solitary Road and Personal Power

Author:   Crystal Blanton  

When I came to this path I had been looking for my spiritual self for some time. A new friend introduced me to Wicca, sparking something in me. I read so much information in such a short period of time my brain was overloaded with various traditions, beliefs, gods, goddesses and a host of other things.

I had a fear of joining a coven yet wanted more. I thought that, without a coven, I would not be able to advance and learn. So many books made references to studying in a coven and listed solitary as if it was a last resort. After much internal debate, speaking with my friend and overcoming the fear, I set out to find a group. And I found one.

Recently, after more than a year of study in this group, I decided to leave for many different reasons.

In reflection of my experience in a coven I have realized that I have learned many things, but not specifically about the Craft. I have learned a lot about group dynamics, honesty, integrity and the ability to trust my own instincts.

My experience in a coven, however, isn’t all negative as it has brought me to my own understanding and feelings about being a solitary practitioner. To be solitary is to trust myself, my knowledge and my judgment. To be solitary means that I am responsible for myself and my own karmic return.

It is the realization that it’s not about how much you know or the right or wrong way to do something. It is about my individual connection to the earth, the universe and the Lord & Lady. It is about what feels right to me and not necessarily how others interpret my spiritual growth.

As I am approaching this place in my journey, I feel empowered in knowing that I have the answers inside of me. It doesn’t matter which degree I have or any of the other aspects I consider to be religious politics. It only matters how I feel about my spiritual connections in my life.

So often we are conditioned to believe that everything in life is in black and white, right or wrong. And, with that ingrained in us, we seek outside people to “show” us for fear that we may do it wrong. What we sometimes fail to understand is that right and wrong is a concept. It is a box of morals and rules that are subject to everyone’s individual interpretations. So, in reality, nothing can be black and white because as humans we are all different shades of grey.

This is not to say that covens, groups or teachers are bad things. I think that everything has its place in my learning experience. But it is to say that, when we as pagans go into the world looking for spiritual leaders and/or covens, we should keep things in perspective.

Everyone holds the power inside themselves. Everyone’s journey is different. Everyone has knowledge inside.

A group should enhance and add to your experience, but it is still your experience. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting in circle alone or with the highest of High Priestesses, your connection with the Divine is a very personal one; a connection that no one else can replace or give you.

As a solitary I am relearning how to celebrate alone. When I began thinking about leaving the group I was in, I had the same fears of going solitary as the fears I had in the beginning of joining a group. It is truly amazing how things go full circle.

As a solitary I have really discovered that my attention needs be focused around my connections with the universe and the spirit and away from structure. The freedom in realizing that I can do whatever feels right to celebrate the Sabbats or Esbats is indescribable. Whether a ritual, feast, meditation, prayer, bike ride or walk outside in the elements, anything can be an act of honoring the Lord and Lady and the turn of the wheel.

Personal power is something that everyone has but is so easily given away. In making a decision to be solitary I have decided to keep mine.

When I first began this path I was afraid to do any magical work without guidance. I celebrated the Sabbats and began meditating but didn’t feel that was enough. I realize that I didn’t have the confidence in my spiritual self but that has changed some in the last 2 years and is continuing to grow more solid everyday.

Once I got that I held the power within myself; rituals, meditations and celebratory activities gained more power. I am finding that the key to feeling power and raising energy as a solitary is confidence. The difference in my personal power today versus a year ago has grown and shows itself in my work.

When exiting the coven I was in, I didn’t exactly understand that. It became apparent to me the minute I did some work as a solitary. “In perfect love and perfect trust” doesn’t just apply in a coven setting. It applies in our relationship with the Lord and Lady, the universe and most importantly within ourselves. I am learning to have perfect love and perfect trust with my spiritual self and my own personal power.

I have a nice group of solitary friends that I hang out with for friendship and spiritual connections. Today when I connect with friends for magical purposes, I come as myself, as my own high priestess. And my journey continues… .

There is this saying that says, “Wherever you go, there you are”. I say that to others in my job on a weekly basis but never applied it to myself.

Whether I am solitary or in a coven, it is my energy, power, knowledge, strength and hope that I take with me. What an empowering thought! I now understand that the power I experienced as a part of the coven was mine.

I am a woman, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a heart, a human. I am powerful, strong, knowledgeable, spiritual… … … I am a Pagan, I am a Witch, I am a Solitary.

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We Who Shall Inherit Ourselves

We Who Shall Inherit Ourselves

Author:  Brannawen Ravenhart

 

Over the course of the past decade or two, the giant surge of information on Paganism and Wicca, and Witchcraft in general has swelled to enormous proportions. Whereas I used to have to scratch pathetically through musty bookstores, or wait patiently for a dog-eared and battered single paperback copy of “Drawing Down the Moon” by Margot Adler at the library, or, if great luck would have it, borrow a book or two from some other fortunate soul who not only owned books, but might even know someone who knew someone who might have more; now I can walk into any mall, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Waldenbooks and find many different books in a wide range of topics, depths, and styles. I can surf the Internet and find information on anything I desire. Videos, DVD’s, television documentaries, are all available to me like chocolates in a candy store. What do I want to pick today? What do I wish to learn? What path do I want to know more about? What do I want to know of our own history? The plethora of books and authors allow luxuries today that were unheard of years ago. They also allow a freedom of choice that was never dreamed of. Before, we had to be happy with what we got, and if we did manage to get our hands on something, we often followed that specific information to the people and paths where we eventually ended up. The ways to wisdom had but few trails in the wilderness, and we ended up exactly where they took us.

In a way, this was a very good thing. The hardworking, dedicated individual could find their way only through the mysterious maze of the guidance of others. This led to strength and conviction and solidarity within the covens, groves, groups or even to the Solitary Practitioner, due to the inherent nature of the learning. There are pros and cons about the ‘opening of the Book of Shadows’ to the general public, and there are many valid points to each pro and each con. However, I know what I have felt transform in my own life. I have to base my experience and knowledge on what is real to me. No longer do I have to hide. I may still be cautious, but I know that I can stand in community now, shoulder to shoulder with other battle weary survivors of the shrouded times. I am not alone. I can now say ‘We.’ To that I add “We, who live in the Information Age.”

To me, it is the transformation of having to get up and manually changing one of the three grainy channels on a TV dial to holding the remote control for 400+ stations on digital cable. It is my great luck and fortune to be living in this time, the same way my grandmother and great-grandmother lived through horse and buggy days to rocket ships to the moon. I am a witness. I will never lose sight of that blessing.

This deluge of information, of availability, has propelled Paganism into the face of the forefront of our American culture. No longer complete outcasts, or hidden away, we now have been recognized, have constitutional protections, freedom of speech and religion that is allowed to any other person in this country, as it should be. And we are growing. The information feeding tube has given birth to fantastic amounts of interest, media coverage, watchdog organizations and it is a burgeoning vein that feeds back into itself. By this very exposure we have been given tools and opportunities to defend ourselves against ignorance and segregation, against defamation and harassment (and worse) from other faiths or beliefs who once shunned and persecuted us.

In the same breath, I will also say that I fully agree that now, our own worst enemy is ourselves. Over the years, I have run into many myths about Wicca and Witchcraft, from the days when I wrote my first little book on Witches at age seven (a horrible caricature which makes me squirm due to the naivetŽ it represents — I was equally fascinated and repelled by the wicked witch myth, ) up to today where I see infighting and slander from one group to another. Here is the irony: I conquered my own reservations and cultural enslavement to the myth of ‘evil and Witchcraft, ‘ and then found my way. I conquered my fear of the unknown and of unknown people when I reached out to find others who believed the way I do, and found my way again. I conquered my fear of speaking out and letting my family and friends know about my beliefs, and found acceptance. Now I find myself trying to conquer the anxiety and confusion caused by our own infighting.

I do realize that something this new, this tremendous, this explosive, this controversial will have, by it’s own combustive nature (the birth of a new wave of faith) these types of interwoven battles. Are they of supremacy? Possibly. Jealousy? Of what, I am not sure, but yes, of jealousy too. Does this make sense? No. But I think that at this time, we are not only here to find ourselves, but to find and define each other.

Every single one of us has at this time the potential to make a mark in this path. Relatively speaking, there are so few of us. Human nature makes us want to shine out, speak out, be noticed, be recognized. I have to admit to that. The key here is; what mark is it that we truly want to leave? This is why it is so important to be careful, think hard, and speak wisely. We all have the opportunity here to be heard, if we stop pushing a little. No biting, kicking, scratching or shoving, and as for our kids, well, they just better mind their manners also! We should take the opportunity now of our few numbers, and our own voices, to promote the greater good, rather than ourselves. We can all be heard. Perhaps in another millennium, surrounded by billions of Wiccans, Druids, Shamans and Neo Pagans of all paths, when we are culturally mainstream, we would not have this chance. But now? This is the time to work with each other. To be here and now in this time is such a gift. It is sobering to realize that not everyone can see this.

We are writing our own history. This has been said many ways, many times. This is so true. This is also what upsets me sometimes, when I see someone or hear someone who doesn’t seem to understand or recognize this, or who uses subversion or duplicity to undermine one faction just to promote his or her own. On the other hand, I also feel compassion. We do have to make mistakes to ‘get’ the lesson. That is why we are here, after all. The most we can do is hold onto that thought if and when we do make those mistakes ourselves. All we have to do is notice and thank the ones who do manage to speak out clearly, and fight not only the misconceptions about us, but also the misconceptions we have about each other. We hold in our hands the pen that will leave the mark on the wall of our history. Will it be graffiti? Or poetry? Caricatures? Or great art? We are at the beginning. Our forefathers are living here among us. They could even be ourselves. This is an endowment we should never lose sight of.

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Ten Factoids You Need to Know About Paganism and Wicca

Ten Factoids You Need to Know About Paganism and Wicca

By , About.com

There’s a lot of information out there on Wicca and Paganism, in books, on the Internet, and through local groups. But how much of it is accurate? How do you learn to separate the wheat from the chaff? The fact is, there are several basic things you should understand about Wicca and Paganism before you make the decision to join a new spiritual path. Let’s eliminate some of the misconceptions and talk about actual facts… it will make your spiritual journey all the more valuable if you understand these issues from the begining.

1. Yes, Even Wicca Has Rules

Sure, a lot of people think that just because there’s no Grand High Wiccan and Pagan Council that there must be all kinds of magical carnage going on. Truth is, there are some fairly standard guidelines followed by a number of different Pagan traditions. While they vary from one group to the next, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the concepts. Learn more about the rules of magic before you continue your studies.

2. Not All Witches are Pagans are Wiccans

There are dozens of Pagan traditions, and as many different versions of Wicca. Not all are the same, and just because someone is a witch or Pagan doesn’t necessarily mean they practice Wicca. Learn about the differences in paths found among the umbrella term “Paganism.”

3. Wicca is a Religion, Not a Fashion Statement

Contrary to what many popular movies might have you believe, you don’t have to be a teenage goth princess to be Wiccan. In fact, you don’t “have to be” anything at all. Wiccans come from all walks of life — they are parents and teens, lawyers, nurses, firefighters, waitresses, teachers and writers. Pagans come from all different walks of life, all socio-economic groups, and all sorts of racial backgrounds. There’s no Pagan Dress Code that says you have to toss away your polo shirt or khakis in favor of capes and an all-black wardrobe. On the other hand, if you prefer the goth look, go for it… just remember that goth and Wiccan are not synonymous.

4. Religious Freedom Applies to Wiccans and Pagans Too

Believe it or not, as a Wiccan or Pagan you have the same rights as people of any other religion. Despite the fact that some members of other faiths might disapprove of the existence of Wicca and Paganism, the fact is that if you live in the United States, you’re entitled to protection just like anyone else. It’s against the law for anyone to discriminate against you because you practice an earth-based faith. Learn about your rights as a Pagan or Wiccan parent, as an employee, and even as a member of the United States military.

5. It’s Okay to Be Out of the Broom Closet… or Not

Countless numbers of Pagans and Wiccans have made the choice to “come out of the broom closet”… in other words, they’ve stopped hiding their spiritual path from others. For many people, this is a huge decision. You may feel that it’s not in your best interest to make your religious beliefs known, and that’s okay too. If you feel you could be in danger if you reveal that you are Wiccan, or that it might put a strain on family relations, going public might be something you should postpone. Get all the pros and cons on coming out of the broom closet.

6. Wiccans and Pagans Are Not Satanists

Ask any Pagan or Wiccan about the cornerstone of their faith, and they’ll probably tell you it’s a reverence for their ancestors, a belief in the sacredness of nature, a willingness to embrace the Divine within ourselves, or an acceptance of polarity between the male and female. It may be a combination of those principles. It will not have anything to do with the Satan, Old Scratch, Beelzebub, or any of the other names attributed to the Christian devil. Pagans and Wiccans aren’t devil worshippers, Satanists, or Diabolists. Learn more about how Pagans and Wiccans feel about such an entity.

7. Join a Coven, or Practice Solitary?

Many Wiccans and Pagans choose to join a coven or study group because it allows them the chance to learn from like-minded people. It’s an opportunity to share ideas and get new perspectives on any number of things. However, for some folks it’s just more practical or desirable to remain as a solitary practitioner.

8. Parents and Teens

Nothing will set a teenager at odds with a parent quite like coming into the house wearing a giant pentacle, toting a candle, and yelling, “I’m a witch now, leave me alone!” Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Parents, you may have some concerns about Wicca and Paganism… and teens, you probably aren’t sure how to talk to mom and dad about your newfound interest. Rest easy, though. With a little bit of good communication, both parents and teenagers should be able to find a happy medium.

9. You Don’t Need a Lot of Fancy Tools

Many people think they need to stock up on hundreds of dollars worth of incense, herbs, wands and candles before they can even begin to practice Wicca or Paganism. That’s simply not the case. While a few basic magical tools3 are nice to have, the key element of most traditions are the beliefs, not the tangible, physical items. If you’d like to gather a very basic “starter kit” of tools, there are several which are common to nearly every tradition.

10. You Can Write Your Own Spells and Rituals

Despite a commonly held (and generally Internet-based) belief, anyone can write a spell. The trick is to recognize what the key elements are to successful spellcrafting — intent or goal, components, and putting it into practice are all key. Don’t let anyone tell you that beginners can’t write a spell. Just like any other skill set, it will take some practice, but with a little work you can become a perfectly effective spellworker.

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