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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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. 


As September turns to October, some early people used similar names like harvest.  They also called the full moon hunter or blood moon because the harvest was winding down and attention turned to finding meat for the winter.  Hunting was another crop to gather for the meat needed to see them through the harsh winter.  Additionally, the full moon provided light for hunters to track their prey. 

As fall waned, November’s full moon was given names like snow, white, frosty and dark – particularly in the northern regions.  Depending on the weather, the days may still be warm but the nights brought frost and cold.  Activity changes from harvesting and hunting to trapping and trading.  Beaver and trading are two more names for the November full moon, which fits the activities, as this is when traps were set for beavers and other animals.  Also early people were done harvesting, they may have gathered with their neighbors to trade excess for items they didn’t have.  Sassafras and tree are other names for the November full moon. 

The autumnal full moon names focus on the activities the early societies performed during this time.  Autumn is the season for completion and harvesting with the focus being on gathering enough food to make it through the often deadly winter months until the first harvests in the spring.  As days shorten, the moon had a vital role during this season – lighting the fields, crops, and during the hunts.  The season is busy with the final tasks before the winter season.  The moon illuminates so you may take a look around to see what else needs to be gathered up before the winter’s cold weather isolates you.    




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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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