Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
Healing the Witch Within
Discovering Wicca as a Young Child
March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Group or Solitary: Which Is Best For You?
Article ID: 13502
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,606
Times Read: 3,914
RSS Views: 20,976
Author: Bronwen Forbes [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: October 18th. 2009
Times Viewed: 3,914
One of the biggest and most important decisions you will make as a newcomer to the Pagan path is whether to join an existing group of like-minded practitioners or go it on your own as a solitary. Of course, there will be other big decisions to make later but they are all dependent upon what you choose to do now.
In the interest of full disclosure, I will confess that I am a big advocate of finding others who a) are further along the path than you and learning all you can from them and b) are folks your gut seems to trust (more on this in a future article, I promise) . Why? Let me give you an example.
At one time my group’s holiday rituals were open to any Pagans in the area who chose to attend (if they told us they were coming in advance) . Since our group was the only one and the first one in the area for some time, we attracted a lot of people who hadn’t ever been in ritual with other Pagans, even though they’d been solitaries for years.
A solitary came to one of our rituals, speaking to anyone who would listen about her “astral fiancé.” Apparently she’d met a man on the astral plane – but never in real life – and they planned to marry just as soon as she moved to Ireland and figured out which one of several million Irishmen he was. To further hinder her search, she didn’t know what his name was. At some point in the ritual they apparently got “married” (it was Beltane, after all!) because by the end of the evening she was referring to her “astral husband.” As an occasional writer of fiction, I wish I could make up stuff this good!
Does the idea of an anonymous “astral fiancé” sound a little farfetched? It sure did to us – especially when she quit her job, moved to Ireland, and (no surprise) never found him. Last we heard she was back in the States, flat broke, and living out of her car. If this woman had had some basic non-book training and/or regular contact with a group at the beginning of her Pagan studies, she’d have known better than to delude herself to the point of homelessness.
I’m not saying that every solitary Pagan is going to end up doing something profoundly stupid, spiritually-speaking, and end up living in a car, but just as you turn to a more experienced roadster when you’re learning how to drive that car, it makes just as much sense to find someone – preferably several someones – when you’re learning the Pagan basics. The book you study in order to pass the written driver’s test is good for learning the rules of the road, but you’re not going to get your license without a lot of supervised, hands-on experience. So it is with Paganism.
On the other hand, there are times and places and personalities that are better suited for solitary work. Perhaps you live too far away from the nearest group to make regular travel for rituals and classes impossible. Or maybe the local coven or grove sets off your “icky alarm” and you’d prefer to never be in their presence again, thank you very much. Or maybe your work life is too hectic and home life is too full of the needs of small children to be able to make a commitment to a group’s calendar.
Or maybe, just maybe, you are more suited to a spiritual life of quiet, private observance and contemplation and will, in fact, go farther on your Pagan path if you travel alone. I’ve met some fine people in my life for whom this is the case; I admire their personal dedication even though I can’t emulate it.
If it’s just my husband, my child and I in the house on a holiday or full moon, we’re not likely to have a formal ritual – much like my widowed mother-in-law who will cook up a storm if a few of her children or grandchildren are expected for dinner but “just can’t be bothered” to cook if she’s just feeding herself.
So how do you know if you’re more suited for a group or a solitary practice? Ask yourself the following questions. Your answers should tell you what decision you need to make to better your chances of a satisfying spiritual future.
Is there a group nearby that I like and trust? If the answers are “yes” (Yes there is a group, yes it is nearby, yes I like them, and yes I trust them) , and they have space for you, by all means petition to join. However, if there is even one “no” (There’s a group nearby but I don’t like them and wouldn’t trust them to teach me how to walk my dog, much less take an active role in my spiritual development) , you’re much better off on your own.
Do I have the personal discipline to actively practice on my own? I freely admit that I do not. I need to commit to a group and the group calendar to actively, integrally observe even the basic holidays and moon phases. And that’s okay – I’m not the only one!
However, if you can – or would even prefer to – make a personal commitment to make small observances to the Gods at this time every day (or week, or holiday) and know you’ll keep that commitment, then I say good for you! You have at least some of what it takes to be a solitary.
Am I willing to ask for help or a reality check from time to time? I don’t think it ever occurred to our above-mentioned Beltane guest to ask anyone online or in person if she was deluding herself or if her astral experiences were real. When my husband was first starting to study Paganism, he made a point of seeking out community elders and experienced practitioners at local Pagan festivals and asking them questions. Even though these good folk weren’t his formal teachers, they were more than happy to answer him.
If you join a group, your High Priest or High Priestess will provide help and reality checks – that’s their job. If you choose to go solitary, you should consider attending a nearby gathering, Pagan Pride Day, or workshop at a Pagan store once in a while just to touch base with the rest of the community. I’d hate for you to drop everything and move to Ireland if it’s all in your head.
Ultimately, only you can choose whether to join a group or strike out on your own at the beginning of your Pagan life. Only you know your geographical, work, family, and personal circumstances that will all factor into the decision.
Whichever way you choose, I wish you all the best. In some ways, we are all alone – the Path is different for each person who walks it; in other ways we are all part of this wonderful, awe-inspiring, sprawling Pagan community.
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Author's Profile: To learn more about Bronwen Forbes - Click HERE
Other Articles: Bronwen Forbes has posted 36 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Bronwen Forbes... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).