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NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Solitary Practice

Posted: September 24th. 2004
Times Viewed: 3,546

It took me 55 years to find the exit from the black hole I felt I was in. The exit was the entrance to my spirituality. All the signs now made sense and I started to put everything together. Still I dithered, rationalizing delay and ignorance. I didn't know where to start, so I looked for a teacher. Witchvox popped up and I found a link to a coven in my region. Sadly, it wasn't the right group for me and I continued my search. Nothing suitable: disharmony or wrong path. Mostly, of course, established covens are impenetrable and you can't blame them. So, I read and made the odd foray onto the Internet. Self-teaching by these methods is what, I suspect, most Solitaries do.

Luckily, my first choice of books was Lid Off the Cauldron, by Patricia Crowther. I say, luckily, because since then I have realized the quality of occult literature and websites is variable to say the least. I had already been inspired by the fiction writing of one Stuart Farrar, and saw immediately the link between Wicca and other ancient religions in which I always had an interest. Further reading has given me insights into other paths, for which I am grateful, but I feel strongly drawn to the Traditional way.

I dedicated myself to the Goddess and God in October 2001, nearly contracting pneumonia in the process. You notice I don't say initiated. Semantics, maybe, but to me there has to be an initiator to become initiated. However, dedication is just as powerful an event, including as it did, cleansing, anointing and taking an oath. This was the first time that I experienced the heat generated in a circle. Unfortunately, this did not extend to my feet.

At my first Sabbat, which was Sahmain, I came to terms with the grief that I experienced on losing both my parents earlier in the year. I felt they were disturbed and I wanted to find a method to ease their path to Summerlands. I devised an incantation that I chanted while performing the Mill and, although I was not aware of any magickal event, I felt a great weight had been lifted and the negative energy dispersed.

I use Traditional ritual as my framework and include a few elements from ancestral links. I don't consider myself "eclectic," which I have only recently discovered means something quite different. For example, I invoke the God and Goddess with Celtic names, in common with many other British practitioners. Other than that, I let the Spirits guide me. Those around my garden made Themselves known to me in a very striking way. In order to aid my appalling memory, I used quite a few simplifications in my liturgy but I felt slightly stung by the idea that "proper Witches" would say I wasn't doing things correctly and this worried me. So I added in some more words. A mistake. I started my Circle and got to the point of dancing when, horror of horrors, I realized that concentrating on my new words, I had forgotten to call the quarters. Aghast, I froze. Then I gave an uncontrollable giggle. My embarrassment was soon overcome, because I suddenly felt that the laughter was bouncing around the trees - not spitefully, but with gentle mockery. My witnesses were all there in the soft darkness, awakened and eager to participate. They seemed very happy to be acknowledged and honored, even though They remain nameless to me. The beautiful liturgy devised by Gardner and Valiente has to be adapted for the Solitary, or it doesn't make sense. I can at least recite The Charge of the Goddess and Draw Down the Moon - an event very special to me. However, the Traditional liturgy is just that - devised. Although based on literary and oral research, it is a construct. Nowadays, I don't feel so guilty if I fluff a line or three. I would be saddened to think that some Gardnerians or Alexandrians regard me as a non-Witch. I know that I am one of a long, long line of solitary Witches, stretching back time out of mind.

The first time I worked a spell was pretty scary. I didn't think I was ready, but an acquaintance had cried for help and I knew that it was essential to try. He wanted to alter the outcome of a serious forthcoming event, but I knew that I couldn't manage that. What I did was to give him the strength to withstand whatever the outcome was fated to be, his health being suspect. I decided to do a candle spell and assembled all my tools and read up on the procedure. I spent some time praying before I cast the Circle but I still shook like a leaf calling the Old Ones in to help. As I carved and spoke the words, I felt completely enclosed by a warm pressure. Well, my friend didn't get the outcome he would have liked, but he bounced back and withstood this and later calamities. It could have turned out the same anyway, spell notwithstanding, but my newly honed intuition told me different.

Worship is important to me and to begin with, I spoke almost exclusively with the Goddess. I spoke to the God too, but it seemed a hollow act and I found it upsetting. I then went on a short, walking holiday in an area famed for its forest. Since early childhood, the forest has been both a play and pleasure ground to me and I was looking forward to the break. I am not very fit I'm afraid and I found the going quite tough. Most walking routes went uphill a lot and I struggled. On one excursion, I halted to listen to the wild world a bit and to draw breath. In my head, I asked Cernunnos for strength and then I carried on. Suddenly, a great shower of butter-colored leaves came down across the path and at the same time I heard a loud rustling and cracking above and to my right. I stopped still, thinking that someone was creeping around up to no good. Then, through the undergrowth below the ridgeline, a face with two big soft ears, a glistening heart-shaped nose and liquid eyes peered out. I was transfixed until some unheard signal sent the deer crashing off through the bushes. Later, I was gratefully walking downhill on the last part of the journey when a big dog fox sauntered across the track. He looked straight at me without a care in the world. When I next came to worship, I realized that the God had been there all along, throughout my life. He just had to remind me and the final connection was made.

This anecdote is given simply to illustrate why I no longer doubt my choice of path. Why am I still solitary? I try and put out astral feelers, but no luck yet. In any event, I may be too old to blend with a working group. I attended a moot in my town a couple of times, but always felt on the outside looking in. It had been established a long time and it's unpleasant to feel isolated in a room full of people. So I'll carry on alone and see what turns up.



Location: , England

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Bio: Mooncrone lives and practices in Southampton, England. She followed her parents and later her partner around England and Northern Ireland, never really settling for very long in one place until reaching Hampshire, which has been her domicile for 40 years. She feels her latest incarnation is probably linked with the ancient past, because that is where she always longs to be - somewhere amongst the trees, bow and arrow at the ready with an eye on lunch and the latest henge design.

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