Happy Monday, Magick Makers!
Today we will get right into our topic, solitary witchery. It’s both a blessing and a curse, as they say. On the one hand, it’s awesome to not have to worry about what other people want to do, when they can do it, and having to take into consideration the personal beliefs and ethics of someone else when you’re working magick. But, on the other hand, it’s easy to get lazy. When you have no one else motivating you when you need a boost, one missed ritual becomes a year of missed rituals in a blink of an eye.
I’ve been on both sides of this. I’ve been part of groups of all sizes. I’ve been a member or student and I’ve been the high priestess running the show. More often than not I’ve been a solo witch just doing my thing and, admittedly, struggling to stay on track. I believe firmly that everything we do and every experience leads us through a lesson, I know that riding the struggle broom with your magick is something that is simply part of the witch’s journey.
An important thing to keep in mind is that even when you are a member of a group, circle or coven, you are still solo when you’re not with your group. Unless, of course, you’re in a group that has committed to never working magick without the group, you will do magick alone from time to time (which, honestly, I’d reconsider that group if I were you…that’s a little culty, don’t you think?).
These tips, all which I’ve come to through my experiences as a solitary, can help you feel confident about walking this path, whether you do it for a few years or a full lifetime.
Why are you doing this alone?
I think it’s important to know the real reason you will venture off into magick alone. If it’s because you enjoy being your own guide, great! If it’s because you don’t play nice with others, that’s cool! And if it’s because you don’t have the time for all that goes into being part of a coven, that’s legitimate. But you need to know your “why” so you know how to approach your magick and relationships with other witches who you will inevitably meet along the way. It also helps you to be clear on what you may need to work through, heal, and learn as you start with your practice.
Are you clear on your beliefs?
This is one reason some people go right for a coven when they’re getting started. If you don’t know what you really believe yet about magick and magickal spirituality being around others who are experienced and in a setting where this stuff is being handed to you (to some extent) it makes finding your beliefs easy. When you’re going solo you aren’t restricted to what you believe in any regard, be it the Gods or ethics. Sit down with a journal and start free writing your thoughts on magick, the Divine, the Universe, what it means to be spiritual, and so on. No prompts, no questions, no going through a book and asking yourself “Do I agree with this, why or why not?” Just open your heart, listen to your spirit, and write.
Do you need a system?
One thing that many people in groups like is the structure it provides. They might have a set ritual structure, like always getting together on the full moons but not the new moons so you don’t have to wonder “Do we have a ritual tonight?” If there is a course of study for you to go through, you will be guided through it by someone else and likely be told what to read, study, and practice. Nobody knows you better than you when it comes to structure. Do you work well with one or does it make you feel boxed in? If you don’t have a structure does the free wheeling, go with the flow style cause you to stagnate? You are free to create your own system! What rituals do you want to make part of your routine? What practices need to create the foundation of what you do?
Get a calendar and plan it out!
If it’s planned, it’s done…usually. I have a tendency to plan like a crazy lady and then just disregard it, but if you are a planner who follows your plan, get yourself a big old wall calendar, or just make one for yourself, and stick it on the wall in your magickal space. Put on it whatever stuff is important for you to make sure you are on track with. Moon cycles, ritual dates, seasonal dates, astrological timing, noting down days you are planning in advance for doing rituals or spells, and so on. Nobody will call or email you to remind you that there’s a ritual to get to! You have to keep yourself on track and accountable, and this could be the tool that does the trick.
Do a self-dedication if you haven’t (or re-dedicate yourself if it’s been a long time).
First, self-initiation is not a thing. By the definition of the word “imitation” you can’t initiate yourself and you can’t initiate into something where you’re the only person involved. However, self-dedication is a thing that you can do, and it hits all the main points that initiation serves. A self-dedication is a ritual that marks the beginning of your commitment to your journey as a witch. Re-dedication is like a vow renewal; you’re restating your commitment and reviving your dedication to the path. Some solitary witches feel like they aren’t “full witches” because they never had a “proper” initiation or never received a “degree” in a coven. Neither of those things make a witch and they don’t legitimize someone as a witch. Degrees don’t matter outside of that specific coven; they are a marker of advancement in that coven, not a measure of one’s actual skill, length of practice or “witchyness” as a whole. And guess what; you can make a ranking system of your own for yourself if it will help you progress on your journey!
You will become a total nerd, so embrace it.
You will read, study, and research a lot. Like all the time. But it needs to go beyond the 101 books on the metaphysical self. History, psychology, mythology, healing, medical history, culture traditions, and other spiritual and religious traditions and histories; these things will be important for you to learn about along the way. You won’t just read one book on a subject, you’ll read three or five. You can’t believe what one person tells you or what one author says about something. You need to go deeper, cross reference things, confirm what you’re told is fact, and know things inside and out. Often going deeper means exploring older material and materials that will be out of your comfort zone. You might not have an interest in following Aleister Crowley’s type of magick but you definitely should read his work because it has a direct influence on modern magick and spiritual traditions like Wicca. Embrace your inner witch nerd and find topics that really interest you and dive deep into them.
Find what you’re best at.
While there are many practices in witchcraft you can try out you may not be good at all of them. In fact, I know you won’t be. There will be stuff you flat out suck at. That’s why it’s so important that you try different things in the beginning and then hone in on what you’re great at. For me that’s fire magick. Anything that involves candles, burning petitions, burning herbs, and divining flames is something I’m great at and that feels right for me. But I am not your girl for herbal remedies! I’ve become far more interested in herbal work in recent years and have become more comfortable with it, but it’s still not my thing. You’ll know when you find your thing; you’ll get great results from the magick itself and it will feel natural to you. When you’re practicing and studying it you may even feel you know how to do things before learning the details and specifics. It may take you a little time to find your thing, but look for it.
This might seem like it should be a no brainier, but you have to actually DO the work. It’s important that when you read a book on magick you don’t just read it but you actually try out the stuff you’re reading about. A great example of this can be found in Christopher Penczak’s Temple of Witchcraft books. The chapters are set up as lessons and each one has a series of exercises and tasks to complete over the course of a month. Reading the chapter is fine but if you don’t do the work, you’re not doing the work of the witch. Witchcraft is active and experiential, it’s not something you can just know intellectually and gain benefits from. So practice. And fail. And practice again. You will knock over your chalice full of wine. You will forget the incense after you’ve already cast your circle. You’ll forget to label your herbs and then mistake mint for catnip…but because you did your studying and practiced your magick, you won’t feel too bad because you’ll know catnip is in the mint family so it isn’t the worst thing you could have picked up.
Following the witch’s path on your own is not something that should stop you from doing magick and learning the Craft. I know people feel they can’t do it alone, but I’m telling you, you can. I started out as a solitary, many witches you know and love either started as one or walked as one at some point. All you need to get started and find success is commitment. If you’re committed to doing the work, from reading to casting, then you’ve got this!
And don’t forget, you’re never truly alone. With social media and this connected world we live in you can always find witches somewhere to hook up with. You can join covens that literally exist online and still do rituals together and learn together. The only thing that will hold you back is your self-imposed limitations on what is or isn’t legit magick and witchcraft. So stay open, stay wild, and be witchy!