Hello, my name is Eddie and I recently posted a poll. I didn’t cross post it to other wiccan or pagan groups. The fact that this is a solitary Wiccan community adds uniqueness to the poll. A question I wanted to ask, but didn’t because the types of answers would all be different, is
Why do you practice as a solitary instead of in a group?
Okay, so I’ll go first.
I came to Wicca through a winding path, like many people. It seems to me that the way that Wicca used to be organized was conducive to group practice, whereas with the increase of printing and circulation of Wiccan material today is conducive to solitary practices. With books that teach “101 Wicca” and the Internet, I would hazzard a guess (without any survey to back it up) that by far the greatest majority of Wiccan practicioners in the U.S. today are 1, solitary, and 2, under the age of 25.
This is not a bad thing, I am making no claims of such a nature, I am merely trying to understand the dynamics of a population that I’ve subscribed to for twelve years.
To be sure, there are many, many people in the community who do not fit what I just described. They were exposed to Wicca by a friend, a family member, in a group, are 34 or 60 years old, and so on.
I am speaking of perceptions. Have you ever watched t.v. and seen one of those commercials (I think they were out in the mid 90s) that had teenagers doing volunteer work, and the message was that not all teenagers were slackers who rebelled against mom and pull pranks. The commercial asked adults to stop and look at what the teens really were about, and it also asked teens to stop and be what they say they are, and not just complain about the perceptions about them ‘and’ turn into the stereotype they argued against.
I know, I’m rambling. It comes together, promise.
I practiced solitary while in L.A. I was new and I found the religion through books. I felt uncomfortable in asking others to allow me to join. I felt like Charlie Sheen in Platoon… the New Guy. So I kept to my self in my room, burned my incense and listened to Scott Fitzgeralds music from “Thunderdrums” (WONDERFUL).
When I moved to Arkansas I felt that I had grown some in Wicca and I sought out others in the area. I put fliers up in towns and got lots of stares at my pentagram. I’d get letters sent anonymously from people saying that they wanted to meet with me and the fledgling group I was trying to start (for fellowship purposes, not to form a coven or anything) but that they couldn’t be found out. I had a preacher from a church want me to come and talk to him. He was nice and pleasant, but did tell me that I was going to hell.
When I moved to Texas I found several good groups. I read and even wrote a published letter for the Council of Magickal Arts, and I attended Pagan Night Outs in Houston. I was told more than once that I did not fit the stereotype for the Wiccan male. I didn’t know what it was at the time (still don’t). I was a firefighter, a bartender, and a college student. I did stand out in one way… and that was that I didn’t wear long boots up to my thighs, didn’t wear plaid or speak waxingly of my Irish/Scots heritage (I’ve traced it, but I’m American now for several generations… not Scottish), wasn’t in the SCA (though I’ve always wanted to be so I can fight), and don’t try to pretend that I’m William Wallace. This isn’t typical of most pagan groups… but it seemed that way with the Houston PNO and I got tired of it.
I moved to Oregon and looked for more pagans. You’d think that an earthy a place as Oregon would be teaming with pagans. I couldn’t find them. They are there, er, here… everywhere, but the only ones that I could find in Eugene were far into the New Age Aquarius types. I am not and so instead of spending two hours talking about crystals, again, I’d stay home and be a solitary.
Off to Iraq and combat and before patrol I’d give a prayer to the Morrigan. My machine gunner, very much a Christian (doesn’t swear, doesnt’ view pictures of naked girls, etc…) would hear my prayers. I didn’t hide my beliefs. And lets just say that the prayers of a combat infantryman going out on patrol to The Morrigan is a lot different than a prayer given by our chaplain (a great guy).
I came home to a new city in Oregon, (Portland) and I’ve been going to a couple of “meetups” and the people are wonderful. They are all mixed in their paths, traditions, and histories. They aren’t trying to be William Wallace and everyone is brings something different to the table. I am quite happy to have met them and hope to grow.
I still practice Solitary, but it is more for the fact that I’ve not met many people that are similar enough to me (or the other way around) that I feel comfortable with. Call me anti-social (grin).