To be a solitary practitioner or to join a coven? That is the question every person new to Wicca should answer. When you start out in your solitary journey, you will have to be more of a reader than a doer. Which means, there won’t be much magick or spell casting, but more of schooling yourself in everything Wiccan.
Yes, you will be reading a lot of books like Gardner, Cunningham, etc. In fact, it was Cunningham who made witches feel that it’s ok to not be part of a tradition.
Here are the common struggles of being a solitary practitioner:
- Trial, error and confusion- There is a chance that you will get overwhelmed by all the information you come across. Especially since the first stage is soaking it all in and learning about everything before you can carve out your own path.
- Limit in your learning– There will be some days when you feel that you are boxed-in and can learn so much more from other more experienced Wiccans through sharing. It is true that self-learning can have its weaknesses where social learning can come out stronger. And that leads to…
- A desire for a mentor– Having a mentor can facilitate your growth and learning. But they are usually part of covens and are bound by a code of secrecy. Sometimes you will be plagued by self-doubt, and it is important to just keep going on. Keep reading, keep learning and absorbing. You will eventually reach a point where the thoughts and teachings of the authors will synergize and you will be able to form your own personal tradition.
- Desire for social interaction- Sharing learning experiences and interacting with people who know more than you do is a chance to expand your horizons and broaden your understanding of anything Wiccan. This was a very serious concern maybe before the 90s but in this time and age, online communities abound. It is quite easy to find an online community of wonderful Wiccans where each solitary practitioner can interact with the next. Right now, you need not miss out on the opportunity to hang with like-minded Wiccans as yourself.
- Difficulty working with other Wiccans- Again, in this time and age, you do not have to physically deal with other Wiccans. As peace-loving as you are, whenever two people work together or spend time together, issues will eventually arise; and what more for someone who is a solitary practitioner. There will also be other Wiccans who won’t respect your solitary journey. Ignore them! Other than being with them on Sabbat celebrations, the advantage of being a solitary practitioner is you can retire after and not be pressured to attend to other ceremonies.
The modern solitary witch has nothing to be afraid of. He or she has a multitude of resources to draw from. Plus, there are many ways to connect with other Wiccans without being bound by rules and vows. The advantages of being a solitary practitioner are many, and should be weighed carefully with the disadvantages. If you ask me, going the solitary way is a courageous and more intimate path to take.
Are you a solitary practitioner or do you belong to a coven?