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

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
When 2 are 1

The beauty of nature can be found in the most unusual places and teach us the most unexpected lessons.  A few days ago I was returning to work from a lunch (half) hour spent going through the neighborhood thrift store.  I pulled into traffic and then had to wait at a long light.  While sitting there, I looked up and saw an amazing and unexpected sight.

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  • Carl Neal
    Carl Neal says #
    I thought that might be the case but the dang light changed and I had to go back to work! It was, indeed, a case of 2 becoming 1.
  • Natalie Reed
    Natalie Reed says #
    What you describe sounds like part of the mating dance of eagles - eventually they would have clasped together and free fallen tow

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Pagan Tradition for Mother's Day

My significant other considers Mother’s Day (along with Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day) to be a holiday created purely for commercial reasons.  As a result, she will not celebrate any of those ‘holidays’.  I brought a different view of Mother’s Day when we got together.  She and I are both Pagans and when I explained this alternate approach to Mother’s Day she wholeheartedly embraced it.  I have to thank my friend Amy in Oklahoma for teaching me this Mother’s Day tradition that she and her son have followed for many years.  I think her clever reinterpretation of this holiday is perfect for most Pagans.

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** Update: After reading comments on FB I wanted to clarify this.  It may be is a case of the written word not always coming through as intended (in this case - sarcasim).  My purpose here is not to introduce a serious topic for consideration.  It is to show that we can sometimes get caught up in a "tempest in a teapot" and that it can be pretty funny if we step back and look at it.  I hope you get a chuckle during a stressful time. Namaste.

 

I admit that I’m a fairly thick-skinned Pagan and don’t take offense when someone uses the word “Witch” in place of a naughty word they can’t say on television.  I don’t get upset when someone wishes me “Merry Christmas” (and I almost always spare them my lecture about how saying that is actually casting a spell).  The other day I used the phrase “come to Jesus meeting” and later I was thinking about it.  Should I have been averse to using this phrase?  Am I an insensitive Pagan?

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  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    I've used it a lot. For me, it conveys the meaning well. When I tell someone we need to have a "come to Jesus" meeting, they under
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    I've never seen that term used by pagans, but I've seen several of that kind of meeting where some self righteous self appointed "

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Being Solitary Can Be Dangerous

Pagan activities with a group of people can draw strange looks and even the occasional nutter who wants to “save” everyone.  I have discovered that, sometimes, practicing your spirituality alone can lead others to think you are actually insane.  I suppose I should add this to the list of differences between Traditional Pagans and Solitaries.  It isn’t that we are crazier than Traditional Pagans (at least I don’t think so), it’s just that Solitaries seem to be more suspect than groups.

Perhaps when someone sees a group of people doing something out of the ordinary it is viewed as strange but nothing more than “a bunch of wackos”?  Perhaps when the same behavior is practiced by an individual it crosses the line into “crazy”?  Let me give an example.

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  • Witch Nikki Porras
    Witch Nikki Porras says #
    REALLY? I have been Solitary for too many years now, I do not feel safe in GROUPS....which might contain some negative people....(
  • aought
    aought says #
    Always the conundrum, I think that those of us on solitary paths realize that there is danger in being isolated. But, it's difficu
  • Neda Marin
    Neda Marin says #
    Haha I absolutely loved this post! I am still very new in terms of self acceptance and awareness in regards to my own path. While
  • Carl Neal
    Carl Neal says #
    Honestly, my biggest concern in this situation was that they would drop their child as they fled from me! I heard no screams of p

Seven or eight years ago, I shocked a large group of my Pagan friends.  I was at a small festival in Oklahoma that happened to take place during St. Patrick’s Day weekend.  I was vending and teaching at this festival (as well as performing my first song) and knew most of the attendees very well.  As we were cleaning the dining hall after dinner, I invited everyone down to my vendor table to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a drink of Irish whiskey.  The look of horror on some of their faces was priceless.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Wonderful. I'll remember it and use it perhaps next year.
  • James Taylor
    James Taylor says #
    I literally laughed out loud at this. Thanks Carl, great post.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Being Solitary is a defining part of who I am as a Pagan.  I meet so many other Solitaries in my journeys and often find them feeling disconnected from the greater Pagan Community.  That is why I write this blog and speak on this topic whenever I can.  The specific topic I write about today applies to every segment of the Community because, when it comes right down to it, each of us are Solitary within our own minds, and that’s important to remember.  Even Traditional Pagans often feel disenfranchised or isolated, (and most practice away from their Covens as well as with them) so this article is really for everyone in the Community.

A few of you might be aware that I was involved in a very serious (and very stupid) accident in mid-December.  I quickly sent out a call to my friends asking for healing energy directly from my hospital bed.  I was in extraordinary pain when I sent that request and was badly broken.  One aspect of my life as a Solitary has been to shield myself from the energy of others in most instances.  Bad experiences from my past have made me very cautious about the energies I take in and (generally speaking) I never open myself to energy from people I’ve never met.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Its good to hear that the magic worked for you. Your title, "like a drop of rain" always reminds me of doing accidental weather m
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    Glad to see that you're up and about again, Mr. Neal. I can be counted among the mostly solitary Pagans of the world, and I will

I had really planned to write this week about a completely different topic.  I have done my best to avoid the Teo Bishop rants on the web, and honestly I glaze over any time I try to read one.  Ultimately, I find that I can’t leave the situation without comment, despite my deepest desires to do so.

Like so many other American Pagans, I came to Paganism after being raised in the Christian church.  Like so many other American Pagans, after I found Paganism I went through a bout of Christian bashing.  It’s silly and immature, but seems to be a common response for those who convert.  Trust me, after 2 years in Baptist school, I had plenty of anger and resentment towards Christianity.  It took about a decade for that to really calm down in my soul.  When the “smoke cleared”, I discovered that I never had any problems with Jesus at all – it’s those who claim to be his followers that were at the heart of the issue for me.  I personally think that the Sermon on the Mount is a beautiful guide to life and wish that more people would follow it.  I also think it is critical to separate “Jesus” from “the church” – Christians are not Christ or I wouldn’t have written this.

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  • Christopher Blackwell
    Christopher Blackwell says #
    I wonder at all the personal feeling involved in Teo's decision. How much of it is jealously for his quick rise to popularity in o
  • Amarfa
    Amarfa says #
    Indeed. No offense intended or taken. I've only come to this point of view recently. I began to read this book called "Caesar's
  • Bruce Burrill
    Bruce Burrill says #
    In regard to Teo Bishop’s “Disruptive and Inconvenient Realization,” and Carl Neal’s “in defence of Teo Bishop” the issue here is
  • Carl Neal
    Carl Neal says #
    I absolutely agree that this is a topic open for discussion. In fact, that is likely going to be the benefit of this situation fo
  • Amarfa
    Amarfa says #
    I respectfully disagree. Jesus Christ was a figure who walked around telling others how to live their lives. No matter which way

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