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The pros & perils of a solitary witchcraft practice

I took a Facebook quiz the other day and for once, one of those things nailed it. I’m a solitary witch. Always have been. Odds are high that I will continue in that vein for a number of reasons…. and I’ve outlined some of them here for those considering a solitary practice. You’ll also find some of the downsides of working on your own.  If you’re evaluating whether you’re better off practicing witchcraft on your own or as part of a group, here are a few things to consider.

Community: It’s great to have people to share ideas with. If you want to feel like part of a spiritual community, yet practice witchcraft on your own, you’ll have to find other ways to get this sense of connection. For frequent or consistent connections, you may want to consider a class or meditation group that meets regularly. Or join an online forum. Local pagan pride days, holistic expos, festivals, workshops, and other gatherings can also be a great (although more sporadic) way to connect with like-minded practitioners. Magic worked as part of a group can have a truly amazing energy, more intense than what you experience working on your own. I honestly believe everyone should experience that at least a few times a year.

Flexibility: Don’t have the exact herb an incense recipe calls for? Substitute something else you’ve got on hand. Not in love with the words to a particular spell? Change ’em so they sound right to you. Want to include both a rosary and mala beads on your altar? Go for it. Nobody is going to tell you you’re doing it wrong. If your magick works–you’re doing it right. When you’re a solitary practitioner, it’s basically that simple.

Learning New Things: If you love learning from books, YouTube videos, blogs, courses and workshops, you’re golden. If you learn by watching others or having someone verbally instruct you and provide feedback, you may have a tougher time.

Outside Perspective: Sometimes, you’re trying to figure out a way to work a particular spell with stuff you’ve got on hand and… you’re just not sold that what you’ve come up with will get it done. And you don’t want to get sucked into a black hole trawling the internet or poring through books for alternate spells. If you’ve got a decent community, you’ll know at least one witch you can reach out to who gets you and your particular craft. It doesn’t matter if she’s into Asatru and you’re eclectic–you can outline what you’re trying to accomplish and she’ll go, “Hmmm. What happens if you try X?” And then… everything comes together. Without that outside perspective, it may take you a lot longer to figure out what you missed.

Scheduling: Don’t want to wait until midnight to do your full moon ritual? Do it at 7:30 p.m. Nobody cares. You get to do your rites and rituals when they fit for you–you’re not worrying about your day job, your family, AND the 12 other people in your coven. “Starfire can only do after 6:30, but Raven has to leave by then on Tuesdays, and Wolfbearer is doing a drum circle at the park on the 20th of each month and…” Nope. None of that.

Supplies: If you need certain things for a ritual, you better have them on hand. When you’re a solitary practitioner, no one else is going to show up at your ritual–especially not with some obscure herb/oil/item you forgot to order online 6 months ago to ensure you had it in time for tonight’s celebration. Then again, see “Flexibility” above. Out of sage? Grab some thyme for your purification purposes and call it even.

While I enjoy working magic on my own, there are definitely times I wonder what it would be like to work with other witches on a regular basis. Maybe someday, I’ll decide that’s the path I want to take. But for now, solitary works for me.

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash.

Think of other pros and cons of solitary witchcraft? Add a comment below!

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