Tips for the Solitary Practitioner

Tips for Solitary Wiccan Practice
by James Garrison

There are many more self-initiated Wiccans and Witches out there than practically any other variety of Pagan. While a valid and legitimate spiritual path, self-initiation and working solitary pose a few unique challenges to those who would follow this particular path to the Old Gods. By its very nature, the solitary path doesn’t have a lot of guidance available–usually you strike out on your own to discover it all for yourself.

So why self-initiate? Why be a solitary practitioner? These are questions you have to answer for yourself. No one has a monopoly upon wisdom, nor on the Mysteries — these are not things that you can own, only experience on your own terms, and even then they keep moving, changing and growing. Anyone who approaches the Gods with sincerity,  respect, and integrity can and will discover their own way to commune  with these essential forces of Nature. It means hard work, requires creativity, persistence and determination–it is a challenging path to take.

If you decide to pursue self-initiation and build your own version of spiritual practice based upon the Wiccan model, here are some tips to help make the process go a bit more smoothly:

1) Clarify your intent. Ask yourself “Why am I doing this?” Examine your motivations–pursuing any particular spiritual path is a serious commitment. Setting out to explore things on your own as a solitary practitioner is not something to do on a whim, nor is it a “fun” hobby. It’s work, and plenty of it. It can also be worth it.

2) Gather your resources. You need to establish a set of ground rules for what you want to do. This will require reading everything you can get. Try to read a variety of authors, and don’t read just about Witchcraft. You’re not going to learn very much from restricting your reading to pop-Wicca books that gleefully extol the virtues of playing at mediocre, misinterpreted folk traditions of dubious vintage. You’re setting out to acquire some wisdom, not superstitious twaddle and bogus hokum. Take classes and get calluses–go out and learn something, then put it to use in your life and the community around you. If it dies on the vine unused, it’s a waste.

3) If you find something that you like, adapt it; don’t just lift it out of its context. Once you have a basic framework within/upon which to work, rewrite everything to fit your emerging vision, after you’ve tried it out, tested it, and given it a chance to teach you what it has to reveal on its own terms.

4) Draft a statement of your core beliefs. Sign it, date it, and place it in your journal or Book of Shadows. Forget about it for a while and just work on doing it. Choose a time each year to re-examine it and amend it if desired. Sometimes this is a good thing to do during the winter months, perhaps Candlemas/Imbolc? You decide.  When you do check it out, don’t beat yourself up if you’ve gone off in a completely other direction. Spend some time contemplating what you meant when you wrote that piece and look at what you’ve learned in the time since then. What would you change about it, or yourself, now that you know what you know now?

5) If you do happen to fall prey to the social disease of writing, please be sure to make every reasonable attempt to document your sources. Give credit where credit is due. You have nothing to gain by trying to pretend that you invented Gardner’s or Crowley’s books.  Keep yourself honest. Given time, and effort, you will develop your own rites. When you do, you don’t want to dilute the meaningfulness of the moment by that nagging little voice that reminds you that you didn’t really do it. Respect your creativity, maintain personal integrity, and let things develop naturally.

6) Remember that within most established traditions of the Craft, the term ‘degree’ generally refers to experience, not rank. As a solitary you don’t have any rank to worry about. If you do, well, then I hope you’re enjoying yourself. As a solitary you get the opportunity to focus upon the personal experience and to drop the distractions. It’s similar to the monastic approach to mysticism, only less ascetic and more fun.

If you do wind up creating or adapting some sort of degree system for your personal Work be sure to take your time working through those degrees. Learn all you can and work with the Gods and Mighty Ones–as you progress, the doors of perception will open, the way will be found. Besides, if you’re going to pursue an experiential approach to an already experiential path, why deny yourself the benefit of having those very experiences that are part and parcel of the whole darn thing in the first place? It’s absolutely about quality, not quantity.

7) Do it for the right reasons. Why are you doing whatever you’re doing, and why alone? If you’re solitary because of some sort of insecurity or negative reaction to past happenstance…be prepared for circumstances to change as you grow and mature. If you’ve  withdrawn to focus upon certain aspects of your personal spiritual development, don’t lose track of that, even if you do decide to take  a break and go hang out with a group for a while. Your solitary practice should serve as a firm foundation for your day-to-day life.  A viable, healthy spiritual practice will offer you a way to recharge your batteries, cope with stress, resolve crises and guide you as you grow. If your solitary path doesn’t offer you these things, what are you doing?

8) Solitary work can be ideal for self-transformation and personal healing. As you progress, as healing occurs, as changes take place, you will find your practice likewise changing. Consider this a form of sympathetic magick. As you become more fully integrated and whole, your rituals will become more balanced and holistic as well. The Craft is a healing path, so why not approach it as such?

9) Keep in mind that the only way to gauge progress is to challenge it in some manner. How you decide to challenge yourself is one thing.  How the universe around you, let alone the Gods & Ancestors, will test your progress is another matter. There will come a point where your focus upon the self-chosen, self-directed things will be intruded upon. You are a human being, not an oyster. If you’re going to heal, then heal and get on with life. If you’re going to deal with something, deal with it and move on. Life is in motion. Whatever tries to remain static will encounter friction and eventually will be torn loose by the tides of change or the teeth of the trickster.

10) We all learn at different rates and in different styles. Working alone makes it possible to modify everything to suit your needs.  Creativity and sincerity can guide you in making your Craft practice a viable and vital part of your life. Don’t waste time measuring your progress against other people. They do not approach things from your perspective or background, nor do they share your personal circumstances.

11) No matter what disabilities, hindrances, or restrictions you may have in your life, you can practice Wicca–if you honestly desire to do so. Indeed, the only thing holding anyone back from the Craft of the wise is their own sense of self. Sure, you may not be able to jump around a circle waving a letter-opener or perhaps you can’t mumble out a mournful dirge of dubious ecstasy like some of the other folks on the path. So what? As you will and you harm none. Get it?

12) Even solitaries aren’t alone anymore. With all of the resources available on the Internet–go check out www.witchvox.com or www.circle.org or www.avatarsearch.com or www.twpt.com or just do a search on Wiccan, Pagan or whatever your heart desires.

There’s an incredible amount of information and opportunities to connect with a vast array of fellow seekers out there.

13) Consider sharing the fruits of your labors, but don’t be in a hurry to share the secrets of your success. Solitary work is very personal and what worked for you may not work for another. Respect the freedom of others to pursue their own path into the Silence as you yourself did. If you find that others come to you, or that you are asked to share more details, then you are being confronted by the task of becoming a teacher or guide or mentor.

Congratulations. Hopefully your time spent in solitary practice has garnered you some measure of wisdom that can help you to meet this new challenge with grace and dignity. Or at least with a good head start as you run away.

Sav’vannis’ 2019 BuJo Setup, part 3

After many changes and revisions and re-arrangements, here’s what I ended up with on New Year’s Morning:

Welcome 2019! The year of Possibilities!  The lettering turned out pretty okay for my first time ever! Oh! And I started using tabs! Ignore the red flag one, though, that just tells me where my next blank page is.

The first pages of my index Only into January and Already so much used! I might have to thread some extra Index pages! LOL! I’ve already had to thread the Movies! Check out The Fledgling’s Hacks and Hints page for more on Threading.

    I don’t have anything in my Year-at-a-Glance yet, other than get the stickers stuck on the pages, but will shortly!

The one on the left is from Amy Cesari’s Coloring Book of Shadows: Book of Spells. The one on the right is from her Coloring Book of Shadows. They are from copyrighted sources, so I can only share the link to the books with you.

The Dates to Remember I still need to put in all the birthdays, and will probably use the outer edge of the Holidays page for further notes, dates I forgot, what have you.

The Zodiac is from Amy Cesari’s Coloring Book of Shadows: Book of Spells. The Astrology is from her Coloring Book of Shadows. Again, they are from copyrighted sources, so I can only share the link to the books with you.

I went hunting online for a place to get my Birth Star Chart done, and of a dozen places, I have found this to be the most accurate. The right hand is an “astrology for beginners” thing I found that helps explains the signs and their positions in your star chart. There’s still a lot to this that I’m learning, and I’m really looking forward to the journey!

A small reminder of some of the changes I still need to make within myself. Can you tell that I really like my colors?!

My first weight goal is going to be to get back to 200lbs where I was a little over a year ago when I quit smoking. After that, my goal is to get to 170lbs, where I was when I found out I was pregnant with my youngest son. I’ll make the one for getting from 170 to 150 (my end goal and maintenance weight) later! I’m hoping this will help me keep track and keep inspired better.

I really need to get back to walking every day. I have 2 different steps trackers, one from Styr Labs, and the one that came on my new iPhone (after 15 years, I finally got one!). Honestly, I’m liking the iPhone better. I don’t know how many petals there are, I just filled the page with flowers!!

Like most women, I really hate that time of the month. And as I start to hit menopause, I need to start being more mindful of the patterns. I figured a couple reminders for keeping positive would be a good pair for the waterfall.

Yeah… I haven’t decided on New Year’s Resolutions, we’ll see how that page goes…

With all the shows having started back in September, I figured when I transfered to the new year, I didn’t need to have all the extras, we’ll just go from the current episode. It’s a little easier to set up with everything in winter break.

A few reminders and helps to keep me going this year… Lots of changes planned, lots of growing to do still.

Movies I Want. Look down in the bottom right corner. See the 2nd number there? That’s called “threading”. That means that the list continues on page 57.

I haven’t added my books yet, I have so many that I want to read that I’m thinking of making this a list of what I have read throughout the year.

StackSkills is a wonderful place to find some good online courses. Looking through there, it looks expensive. However, a lot of the times you can catch bundles of courses for as low as $10, like I did. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t me going to school!!

Again, motivation. I’m always trying to find reasons to keep motivated and not be so damned lazy!

LOL!! I guess one of my “bad Habits to Break” should be to “FINISH WHAT I START!“! Good pairing next to things I need to stop doing so I will hopefully be more successful in life. Never too late to grow!

Hello January! I thought the door to Moria would be a good Hello for my January, with my goal of opening new door for myself this coming year. The pic on the right is just because I do have a macabre side to me and this spoke to that side.

I know, even at this size it’s difficult to read… that was done on purpose, really. My daily routine tracking and my daily email checks tracking. Speaking of… I probably should check my email when I’m done here! LOL!

I’m still trying to figure out what my goal for the month should be…. and there’s my running list of things to do this month!

How to Sleep Faster… Funny thing is, I already do all of that and still takes me 2 hours some nights to fall asleep! So, we’re going to try to see about other things that are effecting my sleep… Thus the quality and the how many times I got up to pee tracking. LOL

I still haven’t come up with any interesting ideas for here for y’all! As for my moods, this one is an experiment for me this time, as I don’t usually check my mood more than twice a day, if that often!

I decided that, since my mother and I are always seeing new recipes we want to try then losing the recipe, I’d try to keep track of some of them.

To finish out January, at least for now, I have an attempt to see how some things regarding my mental health are going. Stressors and triggers will be logged in another journal. And, as you can see, there’s the continuation of the movies that are coming out in 2019 that I want! Threading! It’s a wonderful thing! And not difficult at all!!

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