Solitary: A Self-Directed Spiritual Life

Let's talk. Come sit with me under a tree or by a lake while we chat about being alone in our practice and our beliefs. Solitary practitioners choose this path for many reasons and have a unique perspective. As a solitary witch, I want to share how I keep true to my beliefs and practices whether I'm working on my own, in a small group or attending a large group gathering. Author of Moon Affirmations, meditations based on the phase of the moon.

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Eileen Troemel

Eileen Troemel

As a solitary, I consider myself a pagan witch who is seeking. Residing in rural Wisconsin, by day I work as a clerical worker and at night I spend my spare time writing. Writing is my way of expressing my feelings about my world and life. Raised on a farm, I have a love for nature and am inspired by the beauty and power I find there. I've been married for 33 years and have three adult daughters. Some of my other interests include cooking, genealogy, reading and crocheting.  

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Honoring the Dead

Silly costumes, trick or treating, horror stories have never been my thing.  Even as a kid, I never really liked Halloween the way it’s celebrated.  My father died in late October in 1984.  The grief from his loss lingers and always makes me a bit sad during this time of year.  Instead of celebrating with the silliness of trying to frighten yourselves, I find ways to honor the dead. 

The veil between worlds thins and allows a connection to bridge across the worlds.  For me this bridge is always there.  No I don’t see dead people.  I’m not claiming to be psychic.  I do attempt to honor those who have passed.

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Harvesting

Fall is my favorite season.  The cooler weather (not that we've had much of that yet) is a relief after the stifling heat of summer.  The colors, the sense of the season all appeal to me.  This fall I've been so busy writing and editing, I've not had any time for much else.  

My harvest is my writing.  I'm focusing on getting the stories in my head down on paper so I can share them.  It's not tomatoes or corn or pumpkins.  I stopped gardening years ago when my legs stopped working well.  But it's still a harvest for me.  

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Autumnal Moons

As early people developed their society and cultures, they named things in their surroundings including the full moon.  Each month the full moon shows prominently in the night sky and would have drawn the attention, as it still does, to the people in these ancient cultures.  As the year winds down from the growing season, the heat of summer starts to cool, the season turns to autumn with the autumnal equinox where day and night are equal - a time of balancing and completing tasks.  For the early peoples, every day would be busy with harvesting their crops in order to ensure survival through the cold winter months.  For the modern pagan, survival is less an issue but autumn can be a time to finish goals.

As the early people looked up, survival and harvest predominantly occupied their minds.  Naturally they named the full moon after things that were occurring in life like harvest, barley, corn, nut and mulberry.[i]  Depending on the latitude these products are all ripening for harvest during September.  The full moon represents bounty; therefore, naming the full moon after one of the bountiful crops symbolized good crops so the community could flourish.  The Chinese named the moon Chrysanthemum partly because the flower blooms during this month but also because this was one of the herbs they used. 

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Summer Moons

From ancient times, humanity has named its surroundings.  Was this to create a connection, feel more in control or just a way to identify what could be at times an unfriendly environment?  We probably will never know for certain but one of the things we do have are remnants of their naming like the full moon names.  These names give us a hint into how ancient peoples identified with their surroundings and tracked their seasons.

For early agricultural communities, June began a slow trickle of early crops like strawberries.  Imagine going all winter with little to no fresh fruits or vegetables.  Perhaps the community even ran low enough on food that hunger was a part of daily life.  Then to work all spring to get crops in the ground so next winter you hoped not to fall short.  Then June comes and the creamy flowers of strawberry plants indicates soon the first red berries will be there.  Imagine how much sweeter these taste after struggling for enough food.  Naturally as this important fresh food became available, the people would logically name the full moon strawberry. This name comes from both Celtic and Algonquin lineage so perhaps it was a staple and a pleasure for both groups.  Was it because it was one of the first crops or because the flowers of this plant are the same milky white color as the moon?  Probably we will never know. 

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Dark Side of the Year

We're past Midsummer and into the heat of summer.  A friend of mine mentioned we're on the dark side of the year now because each day we have a little less light.  The phrase stuck with me as I worked through my days.

Every day we shift to a minute or two less of light.  The clock is ticking, ticking, ticking to remind us to finish whatever our goals are for this year.  How many times have you heard someone say - where did the year go or where did the month go?  

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On Fast Forward

Life for me has been in a state of fast forward.  In January my husband and I both went through some health issues - nothing life threatening but still concerning.  We spent a lot of time in Urgent Care, doctor's offices, and my husband had a outpatient procedure.  

In March, my daughter announced she got a job close to home and was moving home.  We spent March and April packing, moving, and organizing.  We're still working on the organizing.  It seems like my weekends for the last few months have all been hurry up and get stuff done.  Of course not all of it gets done which then add to the stress.  

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Spring Cleaning

One of my daughters moved home.  She's got a new job and has moved home to save money.  However, we've had no children at home for about four years.  My husband and I settled into our house.  This is a nice way of saying we had accumulated a lot of stuff.

This means it's time for spring cleaning!  The year has turned towards spring.  The days are warmer.  The yard is green, the trees are starting to bud.  It's time to clear out our space in order to make room for our daughter and to clear out our clutter.

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