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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Inner Strength

Being overweight in a society which reveres skeletons as fashionable, I’ve learned to turn a blind eye and deaf ear; assess the strength of furniture; determine the width and depth of space and deflect looks of disgust all because I dare to be outside the norm. Contrary to what many people believe, I used to be slim, athletic and well within societal norms.  As a freshman in high school, I was on the gymnastics team and at my lowest weight of about 115 pounds.  I was also miserable.  I hurt all the time and felt conspicuous with my bones jutting out.  Even at that low of a weight I was never a size zero like one of my sisters but size twelve is certainly respectable.

Life happens and weight seemed to find me.  Low income, poor nutrition and many mistakes along the way piled on weight to my 5’4” frame.  I make no excuses as I am responsible for my situation and myself.  I’m overweight not stupid.  Life happens and this is how I am right now in this moment.  I can’t wave my magic wand and become 120 pounds again.  Honestly I don’t know that I ever want to be that thin again.  I don’t believe it was healthy for me.  However, I would like to be thinner than I am now.

I look at some actresses, models and even some of my daughter’s friends and think – here eat something.  Take an apple, or anything so you look less like a walking skeleton.  Now I am very aware that everyone has their own comfortable weight level and particularly younger girls will be slimmer.  Everyone has a different physical make up and so each individual has to find their own point of equilibrium.

A co-worker confided in me she is obsessively walking on her treadmill because she is ten pounds over weight.  All I see is a beautiful woman who has nice curves but she believes herself to be overweight.  She allows society to dictate her self-image and self-esteem. 

I try not to shake my head in dismay because I know everyone has their own self-image and comfort levels.  I’ve made it a rule to only weigh myself when I go to the doctor’s office.  I don’t want to get hung up on the number as a goal.  I want to live a healthy life regardless of what number that means I’m at.  This means, for me, cutting out soda and other sweets although chocolate is my intimate friend and constant enemy.   

I also want to make sure I adjust my weight in a healthy manner.  Surgery is not an option for me.  I look at people who have had their stomachs stapled and I don’t see them eating healthy.  I see them consuming junk food and fast food.  Yes, they look thinner but most don’t look healthy.  Why do we feel compelled to suck away the fat with liposuction or make breasts bigger with implants?  What happened to loving who we are and what we look like right now?  I don’t understand society’s obsession with physical perfection.  What is perfection anyways? 

Judging a person based solely on their looks is a good way to overlook the quality people in life.  I don’t love my husband because he looks like Adonis but because of his tender soul and considerate nature.  His weight and looks isn’t what turns me on (okay he has a cute butt and I love his big brown eyes but overall that isn’t what drew me to him).  His reliability, unwavering loyalty and his ability to make me laugh when I’ve got steam rolling out of my ears are the characteristics which I hold in my heart.

Outward looks is what people judge me on.  This is very hurtful.  One look at me cannot tell you I’m a great mother, good scholar, avid reader or crochet beautiful items.  It can only show you I’m of medium height with red hair and green eyes and I’m overweight.  You will notice my brace on my ankle so you might be able to conclude I have some handicap but you wouldn’t know what unless you speak to me.  Sadly many people assume it is because of my weight rather than an old injury. 

One of my sisters (yes the size zero) considers me unworthy in part because of my size.  She often treats me to barbs and put downs at family gatherings.  For years, I would leave these family gatherings angry and hurt because she once again managed to get under my skin and I lost my temper or left early rather than cause a scene.  She likes to spout off how unhealthy it is to be overweight and throw out certain facts about exercise that would be of benefit.  While she doesn’t badger me directly, the barb and not very subtle hint is there.  It had reached a point where I wouldn’t want to eat at a gathering because she would watch me eat.  It almost seemed like she would count the calories I was taking in.

Don’t skinny people realize the more you harp on a heavy person about their weight the more that person’s self-esteem plummets and the heavier they get?  Rather than allowing my sister to continue getting under my skin I decided to protect myself.  As I had newly discovered witchcraft as my spiritual choice I decided to do a protection spell to fix it.  I chose all the right candles, stones and scents.  I carefully prepared by doing a cleansing before and putting more detail into this ritual than most I’ve done.  I sat on the floor, not an easy fete for a large woman, had my little altar filled with my symbols, called my corners, and lit candles as I went. 

I did all the centering, calming techniques I read about, calmed my mind and set about my spell and visualization.  I clearly saw myself standing in a dark space and repeatedly chanted.

            “I am surrounded by a brilliant white light.”

            “I am guarded by a brilliant white light.”

 

            “I am protected by a brilliant white light.’

Sure enough as I stood there in the dark of my mind’s eye I saw my spirit self (who by the way is not as heavy as I am, yet she isn’t a paper thin person either) enclosed in a globe of bright white light.  Repeating the chant until I felt my bubble of protection was impenetrable. I let the light fade and brought myself out of my meditation and completed my ritual, letting my candles burn out as all the books claimed was best (remember I was new). 

I don’t know that I changed much after performing this spell.  Certainly after the ritual, I felt more energized but I believe that was due to the energy raised more than the spell.  Often when I feel stressed, I silently repeat my spell and reinforce my defenses.  Even with all this protection and power within me at the next family gathering it made little difference; my sister still hurt me with her disdainful attitude and comments.

The ritual and spell taught me I had great visualization abilities and could raise energy really well.  The experience though taught me I needed to find out why I let her get to me and penetrate my bubble of protection.  It began a journey for me.  I began to question (even more than I had in the past) why I gave her such power over me.  Why did I allow her and others like her to sap me of my personal power and call into question my own abilities? 

Stumbling along this inner journey, I discovered many things about myself.  I found things I looked back on with shame were foundational building blocks for many of my moral beliefs.  One meditation took me through many of those moments, showing me times in my life I couldn’t face or acknowledge.  One such occasion was when I fled in the face of violence acted upon someone I loved.  I was only a young teen but felt I had failed both her and myself by not defending her.  I remember being shocked that someone would hit in anger and for what appeared to be no reason.  At 12 or 13 I was so stunned by the violent act, I fled leaving behind the other person.  In my own eyes, I considered myself a coward for not defending her.  However, I was young and it was really the first violent act I had ever witnessed.  I realized that my failure in that moment is what gave me a strong drive to help abused women.  It was the foundational building block for the moral belief that no one should raise a hand in anger to another.  That moment became a corner stone in some of my strongest moral beliefs.  Through this meditation, I experienced many other moments like that in my life.  It was one of the most powerful meditations I’ve ever experienced.

I realized through that meditation and subsequent journaling that by being ashamed of how those beliefs came to be I was creating an inner conflict.  By embracing those moments, I acknowledged what has gone into making me – well me.  It helped me find my own power and face my fears.  Each time I go to my inner place I find things out about myself, which have always been there but in my shame at a particular behavior or event I had buried.

Like buried treasure, I discovered power of self, power of my own truths, and power no one could take from me unless I willingly gave it to them.  I learned putting myself first on occasion was not wrong.  I learned to say no without feeling guilty.  I discovered, in a dusty corner of my inner self, dreams I thought were long dead but they were merely lurking till I uncovered them again.  Strength of self filled me again, like it did when I was a teen.  I found the power within myself to just be myself and damn anyone who doesn’t like it.

This is the best gift I’ve given myself.  I feel whole again, at least most of the time.  This inner power affords me the strength to ignore the comments and looks of disgust from strangers when I walk in public.  They don't know me and are being shallow by judging me based on my looks.  It helps me make healthy choices when it comes to losing weight rather than looking for a quick fix.  My inner strength gives me the courage to face the societal judgments and commentary from people who really haven’t a clue.

As for my sister, well she still irritates me and probably always will.  She could talk a fence post into sawdust so I’ve learned not to enter a battle of words, which is her way of stealing away power.  If she can out talk you then she is obviously better than you – at least in her eyes.  Instead, when she begins to annoy me I leave the room. 

I was amused at a family gathering because as I shifted rooms, I noticed others were following me.  Were they drawn to me or just annoyed with her behavior?  I don’t really know but I left that family gathering realizing this sister sadly has no idea how to embrace her own power.  I think she was disappointed she could no longer siphon off my power.  I’ve come to realize this sister doesn’t really know herself.  She hasn’t tapped into her own inner strength and power.  She tries to sap it out of others by belittling them to make herself seem more assured and correct in the way she lives.    

 

Starting with my first spell, I began embracing my own power by going within myself for a journey of discovery.  Would I like to be thinner, smarter, richer, healthier and so on?  Yes, but not at the cost of giving away my own power or being untrue to my inner self.

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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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