solitary

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

December, 2018

Yule Ritual

 

Merry meet.

Below is a Yule ritual written for a group, which can easily be modified to be done as a solitary. Read through, making note of what to gather and how to set it up.

The altar can be a candle on the floor, or raised up in the center on a small table.

Traditional colors for altar cloths are gold, silver, red, green and white.

SET UP:

Set up your altar with seasonal botanicals, directional candles.

Designate a place for guests to put coats and, if desired, shoes

Arrange so that before people enter the ritual space they can place their cares and woes in a burden basket or other receptacle (a lidded casserole dish or cookie jar, a purse that snaps shut, a box) and then step forward and be cleansed with smoke. (A cauldron can be placed where guests can waft the smoke themselves, or a person can be designated to smudge others after being smudged themselves)

Find a seat and listen to soft music

High Priestess:

We gather tonight in perfect love and perfect trust to celebrate the winter solstice. On this longest night of the year, let us accept Yule’s gifts of quiet and dark. For a long moment, everything pauses. There is a stillness that settles over the land. A stillness for which there are no words. Darkness rules. Tonight we will sit in this darkness that precedes the light’s rebirth.

Take a moment to get here, to feel the surroundings and the welcome with which this place greets you.

I’m going to ring chimes three times. As we all align ourselves with its vibrations, we will meld as a group.

Ring three times, letting each ring fade to silence before doing the next. High Priestess says:

Be here now.

As we cast our circle, see it as an equator, then see the ring flip up and over to become a sphere, pushing the energy to the exterior of this building.

With thumbs facing left, begin by using your left hand to take the right hand of the person to your left and say:

Hand to hand, I cast this circle

Each person does the same. When the circle is complete, the High Priestess says:

See our arms making a circle. With each breath, strengthen the circle. Now, imagine it to be like an equator, and spin the circle up, over and down so that it creates a sphere. Now push that sphere out to encompass this room. Keep breathing, and enlarge the sphere so that it fills this whole unit and extend outside the walls, and into the basement below. Now, see the outer skin of this sphere become soft and foggy, smoky, like a mist rising from a lake in the early morning. When we leave, we will walk though that foggy edge as we reenter the mundane world.

Take another three breaths … and know we are between the worlds. May all we do tonight be for the highest good and greatest joy of all.

Sing “There Is No Time” by Kellianna” three times.

There is no time but now, there is no place but here,
In the sacred we do stand, in a circle hand in hand.

High Priestess:

Let us summon the spirits of the four quarters. We’ll start facing north because winter begins with the quarter of the wheel associated with earth.

Person calling North:

Mother Earth, barren trees now decorate the land that has sustained us. In this restful moment, let us find safety and stability. Hail and welcome.

Place greens such as mistletoe, holly and pine boughs on the altar, on the north side of the candle.

Person calling East:

Brother Air, I listen for the cold winds from your winter wings, but tonight all is still. In this quiet darkness, help us find inspiration. Hail and welcome.

Light incense, or place a feather, bells or other representation of East on the altar.

Person calling South:

Father Sun, source of fire, here in the night, awaiting your
return, we ask that the memory of your warmth temper our spirit. Hail and welcome.

Place pieces of lava or other symbol of fire such as chili peppers or coffee beans on the south side of the altar.

Person calling West:

Sister Water, your snow and ice have covered our world.
Beneath this blanket, let our emotions find healing and renewal. Hail and welcome.

Place a container of water from melted snow, a Yule rain or other source, or a representation of water on the west side of the altar.

Person calling center:

We stand in the center, spirit in body and know we are divine. Spirit is a bridge between the physical and the metaphysical, between body and soul. Guide us as we walk in both worlds. Hail and welcome.

Place a symbol of spirit, perhaps a crystal or a butterfly in the center.

Person calling the crones:

Queen of Winter Cailleach Bheur (kall yeck burr), Dark Mother Demeter (da meet her), Keeper of the Cauldron Cerridwen, Kali, Mother Holle (hell her), Nicneven (nick na vin), The Morrigan (more’ a gain) – we welcome you crones and ask you to help us transition as you transform to the maiden giving birth to the sun. Hail and welcome.

Place a symbol of crone – a bone, a cauldron, a crescent moon, owl, wolf, crow or raven. – in the center.

Person calling the sun:

Father Sun, Winter King, the Sage, Apollo, Ra, Horus, Ravi, Shamash – we welcome you to our circle. You are reborn tonight, bringing light, bringing life. You demonstrate the endless cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. Hail and welcome.

Place a symbol of the sun god – gold, a representation of the sun, a baby Oak King – in the center.

High Priestess, in her customary way, invites people to put their names in the circle. If desired, she allows people to put other names in the circle for blessings and energy.

There is a magic in all the seasons. Winter’s magic is the most concise, most dense. It is diamond magic, cold and brilliant, focused and precise.

Each season also has its own wisdom, but winter’s wisdom includes them all. Everything is clear. What is invisible in growing times becomes plain in the starkness of winter. From winter, you can remember spring, summer and fall by the patterns they’ve left behind.

There is not yet a call to begin again. Beginnings will come soon enough. This is the fallow time. This is the time of rest. The waiting brings both strength and vulnerability.

When winter comes, we withdraw into the deepest spaces of our inner selves. As the world sleeps, its energy, like yours, turns within. Your inner sight expands. There is much to see beyond appearances. It is bone time. Nothing is hidden. With your winter eyes, let yourself see everything.

This is a time of reflection, insight, visions and wisdom. In the velvet dark are the secrets we keep from ourselves … one of those secrets is who we really are. Find that you hidden in the darkness.

It may appear we are resting, but in winter we are creating a new universe within ourselves, examining and breaking old patterns, destroying what should not be revived, secretly feeding that which needs to thrive. With calm deliberateness, we know what to save and bring into the next season.

When we blow out these candles, feel yourself in this deep, dark space, the place from which all is born. Feel the warmth and safety of this womb on this cold night. This place of darkness is the source of life. Feel that energy waiting, still, quiet, for life to begin. That is the energy of the dark. This is the time of before.

That energy is within you. Sit with it. Be the dark from which all things will come. Be the dark that holds the coiled sleeping snake, the crocus bulb frozen in the ground. All life has moved to the center, hidden in the darkness. In this space, feel the energy of all that is yet to be.

Winter is not all about death, it’s also about reflection and insight, and reconnecting to the source deep within the dark. One day in the not too distant future, the dance will begin again. Let that knowledge be a comfort to you, but do not call for it. For now is not its time.

We need the dark to balance the light. Honor its presence.
Offer gratitude for the power it gives us to dream our deep sleep awake.

I will signal when there are 5 minutes left in the meditation

Extinguish candle

Start timer

Give 5-minute notice with rattle, bell or drum

High Priestess:

Welcome back. Take a moment to get here.

We’re going to pass the talking stick so that all who wish may share their thoughts or experiences in sacred space.

High Priestess:

Grounding eliminates the excess energy you may have accumulated during a ritual or other working. Take time now to breath three slow, deep breaths as you imagine the energy you do not need draining out of your body, out of your fingers and your feet. Offer it to the earth below.

Food also helps us ground.

Present cakes and ale, speaking only to say

May you never hunger / Nor you

May you never thirst / Nor you

 

High Priestess:

We are drawing to the end. As we prepare to release the elements, I will light this candle from the spirit candle. We will pass out candles and a drip guard. You’ll take them both home with you.

I thank each of you for bringing the gift of yourself to this circle, for adding your energy to the magic of tonight. Let us bring a piece of this quiet calm with us as we return to our mundane lives that we may walk in peace.

After we light the candles, we’ll sing “Silent Night, Solstice Night” twice. Then, I ask that you to gather your things, attend to your needs and leave … all in silence … as we return to the mundane world.

Releasing the Crones

Crones we thank you for showing us how to die and be reborn. Stay if you will, go if you must. Hail and farewell.

Releasing the Sun

Father Sun, on this deepest dark night, we welcome back your light. Blessed Be.

Releasing Water

Sister Water, thank you for your presence, love and healing. Blessed Be.

Releasing Fire

Father Sun, source of fire, thank you for your warmth and passion. Blessed Be.

Releasing Air

Brother Air, thank you for your presence and your inspiration.
Blessed Be.

Releasing Earth

Mother Earth, thank you for your presence as we leave grounded and renewed. Blessed Be.

High Priestess: Begin by lighting the candle of the person to your left, saying:

May you embrace the return of the light.

Sing “Silent Night, Solstice Night”

And merry part. And merry meet again.

NOTE: This ritual draws heavily on the poem “The Winter Woman” from “Seasons of the Witch: poetry & Songs to the Goddess” by Patricia Monaghan and Arctic Siren Singers

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

MagickalArts

September, 2018

Choices on the Path

These next few months, I would like to share some articles I wrote several years ago about following the path of a Witch. These were part of an online course entitled: A Year and A Day on the Wiccan Path and covered all of the basics. I am diving in with a subject that was posted near the end of the course, but is often one of the first questions I am asked about community and where “I belong”…

Solitary vs. Coven Life

Choosing to remain a solitary practitioner or joining a coven is a very personal matter. Both offer benefits and detriments. Even if you consider yourself to be a solitary practitioner, there will be celebrations and stages in your development that will generate a desire to share, commune and connect. Those who choose to join a coven will also have specific points in their path and or rituals that they may wish to celebrate or practice in private.

Solitary

Many Witches choose to walk a Solitary path. In former years this could be a very lonely, albeit a fulfilling one. We are fortunate to be on the Path at this particular time as there are many festivals and open events that both solitary and coven members can attend.  Meet-up Groups that have a pagan flavor are in abundance throughout the United States. There are also many opportunities to take classes, workshops and attend conferences as many covens offer open rituals, workshop series and other events that allow solitary witches to interact and learn.

For some, group work and the structure needed to have things run smoothly is too restricting and limiting. For others, jobs, lifestyles or family obligations prevent the individual from attending coven functions (there is usually a minimum requirement of events throughout the year that a coven member should be expected to attend, unless there are emergencies), and this creates stress for both the coven and the member. If ritual at 2am is all you can easily fit into your schedule, most covens will not be accommodating to that. Solitary witches often have a very creative bend. Because everything they do ritually or spell wise is generally self-generated and created, they become quite adept at improvising.

Coven (Group Work)

Depending on the coven and Tradition you are interested in joining there will generally be a specific length of time and protocol specified to facilitate the dedication process. For instance, within our coven we require at minimum a six-month “getting to know you” period where the prospective dedicant (newly dedicated member) attends open events and interacts with the other members of the coven.

The coven you select to petition for membership should offer a stable and fair structure with resources to further and enhance your personal growth. Working within the coven should feel like a spiritual family and these should be people that you trust to see you at your best and your worst. The energetic connection that you weave with this group of people will strengthen and build as you continue to work together. It is a very intimate process that requires respect between all of membership. The High Priest and Priestess of the coven should be people who live by example those teachings that they have been entrusted to pass along. There should be a comfortable exchange between leadership (HP and HPs) and membership such that any discord, or misunderstandings can be discussed and resolved in an ethical, intelligent and mature manner.

There should be encouragement of all members within the group to excel and progress in their magickal studies. And, although healthy and constructive criticism are great motivators there should never be an ill-intended push or encouragement towards unhealthy competition for recognition, roles or initiations among members.

It has been my experience, that frequently the people who are meant to become members of our group, find their way to us, either through a synchronistic moment. They happen to be in the right place at the right time, find our website and decide to come to an open event or become interested through a friend who is already a member. Don’t be afraid to be selective. Take the time that you need to make an informed decision and never allow yourself to be pressured into joining a group. If a group is that desperate for new members, there are most likely other areas in which they will exert or force their will on the existing members- the number one “no-no” in wiccan philosophy.

The bottom line is that if the group is a viable and healthy one, they will want to take their time in getting to know more about the potential members who come knocking on their door, and if the fit is right there is no need to hurry matters, neither your nor their interest in having you join them will diminish or lessen. If it does, perhaps it was not the place for you after all. The commitment to a group should be entered with the thought that this will be a place of working and growing for several years. There is no short track to magickal mastery and those who frequently leave and join groups, as well as covens who have a fast moving revolving door usually do not stand the test of time and longevity.

It doesn’t really matter whether you choose to join a coven or remain a solitary practitioner. The important thing is that you continue your practice. That you seek out the resources you are guided to when and where you are led. And, when the time is right, you gather with like-minded individuals as one in celebration of the Wiccan Path.

Next Month:

Ethics of the Craft

For More Info:

A Year and A Day on the Wiccan Path

Image Credit:

The Sorceress by John Waterhouse

**

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2)

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1)

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

April, 2017

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times April 2017

Pentacle2

Bright Blessings!

I missed doing an article for last month. My computer crashed! I am thankful we have a new computer now, and I can write all I want!

This month falls in between Sabbats, March 20 being the official date of Ostara.

This is one Ostara that I have planned no gatherings, and will not attend any.

It’s not that I don’t have peeps, and it’s not that I lack invitations.

It’s that staying in has become routine for me.

Those who have been reading my articles know I’ve been struggling for a bit over 2.5 years now.

I am not having nearly as many bad days as I did before. Travel is still difficult for me sometimes, however, so I do not commit to anything I don’t absolutely have to.

Plenty of people interpret a thing like this as lack of interest, but a lot of other people in my Community know firsthand how it feels to be this way. They have been very supportive, and make me feel slightly normal. This means more to me than anything else.

I admit, a few years back, I struggling with Community, and was thinking of becoming a Solitary. I was embracing the counterproductive attitude that “Pagan Community” is somehow flawed, and I was too good to deal with “the drama”.

The fact was, I was actively engaging in the drama, and all I had to do was disengage.

When I got sick, I did not have the energy to engage in the online or in-person debates so many other opinionated “socially aware” people in our community, like myself, were taking pride in. I considered it educating people when I “called somebody out.” The result was World War Three, every single time. I unsubscribed from all chat groups, and stopped posting views and opinions online completely. I focused on things like spending time in person with people, and working on my art, which took up so much time, I did not always check my social media page every day.

More importantly, I admitted there were some individuals I had relationships with who were not healthy for me. It was just a few people, but once I decided I could not maintain these relationships anymore, I started spending time with other people who were uplifting and supportive.

Fast forward about two years, after countless doctor visits, endless tears, and worries I would NEVER recover. I started having more good days, and I got a job reading Tarot at a new local shop. I was offered hours also doing so at a different shop. A group of us gathered at the one shop to do an arts and craft group, and potluck once per month. I was asked to teach at both shops. I also shared my art at community shows, and even made a few sales! My things will never make it to a fine gallery or make me rich, but it fills my days and my heart, and I enjoy the people I am involved with.

My role in community changed from online discussion and free, open to the public things to being a part-time businessperson people treated with love, and respect. The crafts group gave me the opportunity to just show up and be a human being nobody expected anything from. There has not been one bit of tension, drama, or disagreement in that group, and we have been gathering for almost a whole year. We are all Pagan.

These things showed me how dramatic, and whiney I was being thinking “Pagan Community” is flawed. How could that be so? There are so very many different circles in our communities and so many different circles within circles. There is endless opportunity for all the diverse people we are, and there is always room for a new person. There is also room for change.

Back when I ran open to the public groups twice monthly, I saw myself as the one who made things happen for people. Now, I see that’s the wrong approach. People who manage, facilitate, or direct are not the doers, they are the delegators. I realize in our communities, typically they say clergy do the work, and other folks just show up…but I learned a very valuable lesson. That isn’t necessarily so. Pagans are like Xtians in the sense there are plenty who like to help. Maybe out of 40 participants, five to ten people help run the gathering. But that is ten to twenty percent of the attendees who are making it happen. That is pretty good. Even if all one person can do is show up and empty the trash or give one person a ride home one time, that is still helping, and almost nobody shows up for Community and has no desire to contribute. Maybe somebody can’t contribute except to just attend today, but in a couple of months, they can.

I misunderstood Community and it took me being too sick to put up with things I made the mistake of allowing, and then just being too sick to leave the house to learn to value just how good of a Community I do have.

Community has been a very big part of my healing. Two of the very first places I was comfortable being was at the Pagan shops where I read, even on days when I am not feeling my best. On days when I was not up to leaving the house, friends from the Community came and kept me company many times. On the days I had no company and was home alone, I could reach out to loved ones online. On the days they were having bad days, they reached out to me. Being able to share my talent for divination, and the information from my years of study makes me feel appreciated, but most of all, it makes me feel useful.

I honestly did not think, sometimes, that I would survive this illness, but my Community kept me going on days I would have not have otherwise bothered. It literally, helped save me. I am so thankful for all the wonderful gifts being part of the Pagan Community provide.

May you all be blessed with a great Community as well.

Blessed Be.

MagickalArts

December, 2015

To Join (or Not to Join) A Magickal Group

This is an article I wrote many years ago and I’ve decided to share it in this month’s column. As the community and spiritual paths of pagan practice become increasingly more available, so too are the opportunities to become intimately a part of that expanding community. What that participation looks like and how in depth are multi-faceted. It is particularly timely for me since I have been in process of Hiving and forming a new coven within our Tradition, The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel. And, so in this spirit I pose the question that should be explored before committing to any one path of spiritual community.

The choice to remain a solitary practitioner or join a magickal group, coven or lodge is a very personal matter. Both offer benefits and detriments. Even if you consider yourself to be a solitary practitioner, there will be celebrations and stages in your development that will generate a desire to share, commune and connect. Similarly, those who choose to join a group will have specific times in their path of journey where they may wish to celebrate and/or practice in private; leaving group work behind.
Solitary Practice

Many pagans choose to walk a Solitary path. In former years this could be a very lonely, albeit a fulfilling one. We are fortunate to be on the Path at this particular time as there are many festivals and open events that both solitary and group affiliated members can attend. Meet-up Groups that have a pagan flavor are in abundance throughout the United States and the opportunity to interact without the deeper commitment of joining any organization has never been more accessible.
For some, group work and the structure needed to have things run smoothly is too restricting and limiting. For others, jobs, lifestyles or family obligations prevent the individual from attending group functions (there is usually a minimum requirement of events throughout the year that a group member would be expected to attend, unless there are emergencies), and this creates stress for both the group and the member. If a ritual at 2:00am is all you can easily fit into your schedule, most groups will not be accommodating to that and the pressures of having to fulfill attendance obligations can often sour the group experience.
Those who work as solitary practitioners often develop a very creative outlook that is largely self-directed. This is primarily because everything they do ritually or devotionally is generally self-generated and created and therefore they become quite adept at improvising. Working alone also guarantees that everything will be done at your own pace, in your own way and ultimately makes you solely responsible for your own experience, success and failures. Many prefer this freedom to connect to their spirituality by creating their own traditions and ways of offering up devotion to those deity and spiritual beings they commune with.
Group Work

Depending on the Tradition you are interested in joining there will generally be a specific length of time and protocol specified to facilitate the orientation process. Within our coven and Tradition we require at minimum a six-month “getting to know you” period where the prospective dedicant (newly dedicated member) attends open events and interacts with the other members of the coven and Tradition. Other groups accept members immediately and are less structured in their process of fully integrating you into the group and/or specific Tradition and still others have a lengthy process of education and training and when and if you are felt to be an acceptable candidate you are then invited to join as a member of the group.
Working within a group provides opportunity for direct sharing, access to those who are more experienced than you and the feeling of an energetic community and bonds to those who are your spiritual family. You will also have greater opportunity to network and meet others if the group you select holds open or sister events in collaboration with others in the Tradition, Coven or Lodge. Ritual work becomes a group effort in which you are able to be simply the participant and are able to open yourself in a deeper way since you are not the sole person responsible for the workings at hand. It provides the ability to see how others structure their practice and exchange ideas and suggestions about different approaches and subtleties. Now, of course, these are all things a solitary practitioner can experience in an open ritual; but the depth and openness that is shared between those within a group often occurs at those times when you are setting up or preparing for ritual before guests arrive or sitting in a group- only social event.
Some considerations you should have as you decide on what group is the best fit:
The group you select to petition for membership should offer a stable and fair structure of spiritual progress with resources to further and enhance your personal growth. Working within the group should feel like a spiritual family and these should be people that you trust to see you at your best and your worst. The energetic connection that you weave with this group of people will strengthen and build as you continue to work together and it is a very intimate relationship that requires respect between all of membership.
You should never feel pressured to do anything that you do not consider to be safe or is coercive in nature. Unfortunately, not all groups are ethical in their actions and offer up empty promises of the gifting of great powers and knowledge of the mysteries in exchange for sexual, monetary or other favors. Some traditions do work skyclad (naked) and perform sex magick as part of their magickal rites, but do so with the consent of all concerned and are up front from the very beginning, ensuring that everyone is on board. Bottom line is- if it doesn’t feel right to you and is not in accord with your beliefs you will probably not make much spiritual headway.
The leadership of the group should be people who live by example those teachings that they have been entrusted to pass along. There should be a comfortable exchange between leadership and membership such that any discord, or misunderstandings can be discussed and resolved in an ethical, intelligent and mature manner. Respect is key here, on both sides.  Respect that leadership has the best interest of the group, Tradition and its members always in sight. And, respect that membership will be supportive and helpful in maintaining a positive working environment and good intent for those they work with.
There should be encouragement of all members within the group to excel and progress in their magickal studies at a pace that will provide challenge but also allow for life events to take priority as needed. And, although healthy and constructive criticism is a great motivator there should never be an ill-intended push or encouragement towards unhealthy competition for recognition, roles or initiations among members. There will be many times when you will feel challenged unjustly and perhaps even feel as though you are not progressing in the way or at the speed at which you feel you should. A good barometer is to step back from the situation for a moment and ask yourself if you are just annoyed at the inconvenience or is there something truly and viably wrong.
It has been my experience that frequently the people who are meant to become members of our group, find their way to us through a synchronistic moment. They happen to be in the right place at the right time, find our website and decide to come to an open event or become interested through a friend who is already a member. Don’t be afraid to be selective. Take the time that you need to make an informed decision and never allow yourself to be pressured into joining a group. If a group is that desperate for new members, there are most likely other areas in which they will exert or force their will on the existing members- the number one “no-no” in pagan philosophy and ethics.

The bottom line is that if the group is a viable and healthy one, they will want to take their time in getting to know more about the potential members who come knocking on their door, and if the fit is right there is no need to hurry matters.  Neither your nor their interest in having you join them will diminish or lessen. If it does, perhaps it was not the place for you after all. The commitment to a group should be entered with the thought that this will be a place of working and growing for several years. There is no short track to magickal mastery and those who frequently leave and join groups, as well as groups who have a fast moving revolving door usually do not stand the test of time and longevity.

A Timely Choice

Just as all of life’s experiences change and flow as you change and grow in years and time, the decision to remain solitary or join a group will follow its own meandering course as well. Many start as Solitary workers; come to a crossroads where the progress they require includes working with others in a committed way, and when the lessons are integrated go back to Solitary practice. This is the nature of all spiritual growth regardless of tradition.
The start of your journey is begun of your own accord and decisions about how and in which direction it moves are formulated by you and you alone. As you move along the path of your making there will come a point in the road where the need to offer the mysteries learned in a broader and more communal sense rises to the surface. The yearning to share and exchange this wisdom with like-minded people and the security of feeling that you are part of something larger than yourself is the gentle rise of the hill ahead that offers no glimpse of what lay on the other side. You reach the summit of this path and begin the process of gathering to yourself all of the outer influences, interactions, joys and sorrows you have experienced. You take in new sights from this higher vantage point. These spread out before you in panoramic view. And, as the choices blur and thin in detail in the vastness of what can be, you look around and see that you have returned to the space of standing alone and quiet in your inner sanctum; new choices ahead and new paths to walk. And, so the cycle begins anew.
It doesn’t really matter whether you choose to join a group or remain a solitary practitioner. The important thing is that you continue your practice. That you seek out the resources you are guided to when and where you are led. And, when the time is right, you gather with like- minded individuals as one in celebration of the Pagan Path.
Blessings on your journey!

Rayne’s Ritual Way

November, 2011

Ritual:  Solitary vs. Group

It is important to find balance in our lives, and in our practice. It doesn’t really matter what sect or tradition you come from there will be times when you will have to do a working alone, and times when you can work within a group. Both experiences are very different experiences that advise everyone to partake in. Coming from a small (VERY) small eastern Texas town I found it very difficult to find like-minded individuals that were actually serious about Witchcraft. Wicca and Witchcraft, both, have been very integral parts of my life, and I always found it extremely disheartening to meet a new Witch and listen to the complete asinine misconceptions I have fought for years to break free of projected into the universe.

So for a very large part of my life I worked as solitary Witch holding private workings, rituals, spells, Sabbat and Esbat rituals alone. Though lonely at times it offers a sense of freedom, you’re the only person there; I’ve learned that you truly get a larger understanding and reverence for your practice if you discover it alone. Unlike some of the Abrahamic religions as a Witch most of us don’t have a dogma telling us how to behave. Thusly, the beauty and sometimes agony of being a Witch presents itself. I suppose one of the biggest pros to me about working solitary is you are utterly free. It is only you, your spirit, and the Goddess and God.

Interestingly enough I prayed that the Goddess would send someone to me that would be serious about their faith, and their practice. That’s when I met my best friend Aaron. Now we were only two people mind you, but the determination and energy that two connected people set on a common goal can create is phenomenal! And that’s really when I first started experiencing work within a group. Though working within a group can present a lot of very interesting complications. For instance Aaron, and I were doing a Beltane a year ago, we had really just started the circle was cast, and we were in the middle of invoking the quarters. Being that I am more of a fire and air person I always invoke the East, and The south, Aaron takes the West and North. So there I was at the Southern point of the circle eyes closed, hands embracing the sky, and patiently waiting for Aaron to start his part of the invocation. And I wait… Finally after a minute or two of silence I turn around to find Aaron doing some other miscellaneous thing around the altar. Now I don’t know if anyone else has had this problem before, but I was a little perplexed. I asked him why he didn’t invoke the elements after I did, and he responded “I’m not really in a vocal mood today. So I invoked them in my mind.” This presented a type of problem for me. Because I am a very vocal person even when my rituals are solitary do I rarely not speak. And I didn’t want to disrespect my best friend by telling him to do it again out loud, and so I closed my eyes and said a few words, to remedy the emptiness I felt from the other two elements. So it comes to the invocation of Deity. Aaron usually does the Goddess, and I invoke the God, and we both invoke Spirit to watch over our circle. Again eyes closed, hands in the air, waiting for him to start, and he never does. I didn’t really know what to do. It was the first time in our Magical relationship together that I had a problem with something he did in our circle. So I close my eyes again do a small invocation to the Goddess and carry on to invoke the God. Moral of the story: I would say very consistently Pagans can be VERY different people, we all have our preferences on how we like things done, and most of us are open to change and exploration. And later after the ritual we talked and I explained why I had a problem with it, and from that moment on everything has been fine. I’m not at a University here in Texas, and an active member of the Pagan Student Fellowship. We have group meetings every Tuesday, host Sabbat, and Esbat rituals, and help each other out with different workings. It is absolutely AMAZING. The beautiful thing about groups are that everyone there sees Divinity in a different way, and from that difference comes changes to our own perception of Magic. I’ve learned things from my Pagan friends that I’ve never thought of, ways to do ritual that I had never pondered.

So I implore you if you ever get the chance attend a group ritual test it out see if you like it. But you don’t really know what you’re missing until you try it.