There are many reasons for performing witchcraft alone: your personal circumstances or the location of your home may mean that you cannot travel to a group, or you may live in an area where there are few others who share your interests. Many witches like myself choose to practise alone, drawing in my family and close friends to celebrate with me on the festival days. Most solitary witches initiate themselves, though some traditions, such as the Saxon Seat Wicca founded by Raymond Buckland in
the USA, do admit solitary witches.
Indeed, solitary practitioners are said by some to have been witches in seven previous lifetimes and to possess within them all they need to know about the Craft. Truth or myth, no one should underestimate the number of private practitioners who do work alone, some coming together occasionally in small, informal groups.
Solitary witches can use ceremonial magick very successfully, but many do follow the less formal folk magick, linked to the land and the seasons, that was practised by our ancestors in their homes.For this reason, some call themselves hedge-witches, from the times when a hedge, often of hawthorn, bounded the witch’s home, and it is sometimes said that they are walking on the hedge between two worlds. Such a witch may be in the tradition of the village wise women who knew about herbs and about the cycles of nature and used the implements of their kitchens rather than ceremonial tools.
She may also be gifted in divination, in spell-casting and in astral projection. Usually a woman, but occasionally a man, the solitary witch practises eclectic magick drawn from a variety of traditions. Those expert in brews and potions are also called kitchen witches.
Indeed, many of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers who possessed a remarkable intuition, read the tea leaves and made herbal concoctions, were jokingly called witches by their own families – and were just that!
You have your choice of groves, stone circles, the ocean shore, your garden or balcony, where you can connect with the powers of nature and
work unobtrusively. Whether you are working alone, or in a group, or coven, you will share the same aims and will need much the same equipment.
Tools And Treasures
You will need to collect some basic tools for your spells and rituals. If you are working in a group,these can be kept either by different members or in a safe place and brought out at meetings. They need not be at all expensive. Magick was traditionally carried out with the equipment of the home: the broom for sweeping the magical circle was the besom used for sweeping dirt (and negativity) out of the door and was stored with its bristles upwards to protect the home.
The cauldron was the iron cooking pot on the black kitchen range that served to heat the home as well as for cooking. Items often can be gathered from around your home: for example, a silver bell, a crystal bowl or a large wine glass. Attractive scarves or throws make ideal altar cloths. Car boot sales are an excellent source of magical equipment. Keep your magical tools separate from your everyday household equipment in a large box or chest, so that you can keep them charged with positive energies for magical and healing work.
Some items, such as the pentacle, you can make from clay, and herbs can be grown inpots or in gardens and chopped in a mortar and pestle. Fresh herbs have more immediate energies than dried, though the latter are better in sachets and poppets.
Always bear in mind that the magick is in you, not in your tools, and a wand cut from a fallen hazel or willow branch in the right hands can be more magical that the most elaborate crystal-tipped one purchased from a New Age store.
Practical Guide to Witchcraft and Magic Spells