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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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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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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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • 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

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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 "

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