Circle of One

Not only do Solitary Pagans have to deal with a different assortment of challenges than other Pagans, we also have to take different approaches to Community and Unity. Understanding who we are as Solitaries is critical if we are to be equal partners in the Greater Pagan Community.

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Carl Neal

Carl Neal

Carl Neal has walked a Pagan path for 30 years. He is a self-avowed incense fanatic and has published 2 books through Llewellyn Worldwide on the topic. For many years (and even occasionally these days) he was a vendor of altar tools and supplies which led him to write The Magick Toolbox for Red Wheel/Weiser. Carl has been a dedicated “Solitary By Choice” for more than 20 years but remains an advocate of Pagan Unity. He has been deeply involved in Pagan Community building for a considerable amount of his time on this path and remains dedicated to this ideal today. In addition to writing books, blogs, and articles, Carl teaches workshops on a variety of topics up and down the Pacific Coast and is the producer of the “Magick Moment” Public Access television series in Oregon (also available streaming on You Tube). He hopes to empower his fellow Solitary Pagans to live the fullest magickal lives they can. www.PaganTV.org www.youtube.com/user/PentOclockNews

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Love for Orlando

I am going to delay the next article in the series "Blurring the Lines of Community" for an obvious reason.

The LGBT community has been deeply wounded.  That community has been the inspiration of many of the things we have been trying to do over the years in the Pagan Community.  I have often held up the LGBT Community as an example of what can be accomplished by a repressed, suppressed, and marginalized community.  Same sex marriage is now the law of the land.  Battles over equal rights continue, but the LGBT Community has done an amazing job over the last few decades of moving the discussion from one of pure hate and complete lack of understanding to an emerging view in America that their members are simply other members of the larger community.  There is still far to go, but the LGBT inspiration has had a massive impact on the Pagan Community and how we are now attempting to become more accepted by the legal system and American society as a whole.  There would be no "Pagan Pride Day" if it weren't for the LGBT Community blazing a trail for us.  

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Blurring The Lines Of Community: Jury Duty

This is part of a continuing series exploring ways that Solitary Pagans can connect not only with the Greater Pagan Community, but how we can connect with our local communities and bring our unique perspectives and beliefs into the fabric of those communities.

Few words elicit dread the way that “jury duty” does for a lot of people.  Personally, I find this drive to “get out of” jury duty to be disturbing as I have always wanted to serve on a jury but have never had the chance.  I personally think this anti-jury duty perspective is based on the quite unrealistic way that juries are portrayed on television and in movies.  I think most of the rest of it is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the importance of jury duty and how it works.

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Blurring The Lines Of Community: Politics

So are you sick of politics?  Tired of the election coverage?  For a political junkie like me, this election cycle has been one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed and I just can’t wait to see what happens next!  I thank all of the deities that I am not only alive to witness this but that I’m old enough to truly appreciate it.  So what does this have to do with being a Solitary Pagan?  Actually, a fair amount.

This is part of my continuing series called “Blurring the Lines of Community”.  My point with these articles is that as Solitaries, we often find it difficult to worship with others or even to find others who worship in any way similar to ourselves.  So how can Solitaries be part of Community when we are often seen as “loners”, “anti-social”, or even “not real Pagans”?  Well, notwithstanding the ideas I’ve put forward in other articles for becoming part of the Greater Pagan Community, there is another aspect to “Community” that I think is at least as important, if not even more important.

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    Somewhere in my collection of Pogo books there is one in which one of the characters; either Pogo or Porkupine, says that voting i

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It’s no big revelation that the “Pagan Community” is a broad term that encompasses countless small groups that may (or may not) consider themselves “Pagan”.  We all know that the term “Pagan” comes with controversy and debate, but how often do we consider the other word in the phrase? 

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Like many of you, I celebrated the Supreme Court decision that has effectively legalized same-sex marriage throughout the USA.  While the Pagan Community is a wide-ranging and diverse group of people (and we have generally embraced members of the LGBT Community in contrast to many other groups who have stood in opposition), it is worth remembering that there are socially conservative Pagans who might not have celebrated quite as much.  However, the majority of our Community seems to be on the more liberal/progressive side of things.

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The power of words is indisputable, especially spoken words.  They have sparked war and paved the way for peace.  Words can cause great emotional pain as well as convey the deepest and richest love.  The idea that words have power is one key to understanding the power of magick.  From dirt-worshipping neo-Pagan to the greatest practitioner of High Magick, words hold power for all of us.  That is especially true of words spoken during spells and rituals. 

Knowing this, I am often surprised at the number of Solitaries who practice only silent rituals and spells.  While even silent rituals often use words, they are thoughts and not spoken aloud.  There was a time that I also performed rituals in virtual silence, perhaps only speaking to cast my circle.  Sometimes not even then.  One day while explaining the power of words to someone, it struck me how wasteful most of my silent rituals were.  Don’t get me wrong – there is a place for silence within rituals and also a place for completely silent rituals.  I was just surprised at all of the opportunities I had squandered with my silence. Since I was alone, as is the accepted norm in American culture, I tended not to speak aloud.  After all, nobody else was there to hear the words, right?

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It was one year ago today that my life changed forever.  It didn't change as much as it could have changed, and for that I'm grateful, but nothing has been the same since this day one year ago.  My own error resulted in my falling 10 feet onto the thin edge of the control panel of a spare washing machine.  I broke 6 ribs at both ends and broke my left shoulder blade in half.  I spent several days in the hospital, 2 months off work, and 6+ months in physical therapy.  I would never have made it through all of this without amazing support from my friends, family, and co-workers.  I am still paying off medical bills, but I am alive and healthy.  I am nearly back to the level I was before the accident (and in some ways I am actually healthier).  It still amazes me that less than 2 months after the accident I climbed on a plane and flew to San Jose to do my 3 workshop presentations at PantheaCon.  I owe thanks to many of the people at that event as well.  While lurching around with broken bones, trying to haul incense making supplies from one workshop to the next, a lot of people I'd never met helped me haul things around and set up or tear down.  THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS HELPED IN THE LAST YEAR.

But there was more help given to me than that and I want to try and thank as many people as I can from the Pagan Community.  In less than 1 day after my accident I was able to get online and, very slowly, type a message with one hand.  I sent out that email letting folks know what happened and asking for any spare energy to help me with the extraordinary pain as well as energy to heal.  The response was overwhelming and nearly immediate.  Within an hour of sending that message, I began to feel the energy pouring in.  I know that there were groups or covens who sent me energy and that was an immense kindness that truly made a difference.  Even more surprising was the energy that continued to come to me for weeks, much of it being sent by Solitary Pagans who had never met (or even heard of) me and who lived hundreds or even thousands of miles away.  That Community of Solitaries, without any coordination whatsoever, continued this outpouring of love and energy for months.

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