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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Neopaganism Solitaire Path

Neopaganism Solitaire Path
By Jeanette K. Waldie

A solitaire is a pagan who practices their religion by themselves or with a partner. Traditions of the path of a solitaire is as varied as paganism is itself. And though they practice alone, the solitaire can be as competent and as well-trained as any coven-trained pagan.

There are many reasons one may be a solitaire. Some may have a living environment not conducive to practicing their faith openly. Others may live in conservative Christian communities. Others may be totally in the broom closet because of their profession. They may be in the military or move regularly. Or they may not have found others they are comfortable working with.

Many are solitaire by choice. Some are uncomfortable with the politics and what they perceive as the rigid structure of coven practice. Others have developed a
"patchwork" eclectic path which they feel would be difficult to adapt to a coven environment. Or others, like myself, are waiting to meet others for form a coven. Some are totally alone. Others are active in their community. Some are new to paganism. Others, like myself have been practicing for 10, 15, 20 years or more. All have a deep intense relationship with their chosen faith.

Most solitaires are not as formal in their approach as Covens and Groves.
Worshipping the Gods with everyday actions is common. Rituals are often simple.
One pagan I knew, who lived with his parents, would light a candle and say
"Goodnight Mom, Goodnight Dad. Thank you." Many will adapt published rituals to suit their needs. Solitary rituals are very easily held indoors as tools are easily dispensed with. Who need a wand when your finger will do?

One of the advantages of the solitaire path is that magical "short-hand" can be used since the ritual doesn't have to conform to a uniform symbol set. For example, I cast my circle by standing in the middle, pointing my staff outwards and twirling three times. I will call the Quarters in one call. When doing a &
quote, drawing down the moon, I focus on a spot in the circle and envision the Goddess standing there. In a solitary ritual, the energy level is not always as obvious or as strong as can be generated by a group. The focus can be much more exact, however, and thus, in the long run, be just as powerful (if not more).

Because most solitaries are self-taught, they are rabid readers. They also rely very heavily on intuition to know when magic has worked. They will also do extensive experimentation with herbs, plants and psychic talents. On the whole, a solitaire's training can be as intensive as that found in a group.

The main problems solitaries encounter is from the pagan community. Because solitaries are self-taught, many coven-trained pagans think that solitaries are
"flakes" or don't know anything about the religious aspects or magical aspects of the Craft. Citabria, a very intelligent solitaire I know, has sworn to create a bumper sticker saying "I'm Solitary, not brain-dead" because she has run into this attitude so often. Fortunately, this is starting to change.

For myself, I have found the solitaire path rewarding and as powerful as coven work. It has allowed me to deepen my personal connection with the Gods. It has taught me flexibility and has given me the freedom to develop new techniques. I have learned to do without tools. I have truly learned my own strength.

Note: This article was first published in the Oak Moon 1996 edition of "Pagan Personal Pages".