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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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. 

Another plant to bloom during this month is a rose.  The Europeans called June's moon the Rose moon.  Roses in different regions begin blooming at this time.  June is known as the month for lovers and marriage perhaps this is why roses are used during so many weddings because they were so readily available.  For ancient people June is a slight lull between planting and harvesting so they could take the time to court loved ones and appreciate the beauty of the rose.  This moon has also been called the Lover's moon.  

Other crop names for the moon include Mead, Honey and Green Corn.  Honey is used to make mead. By June, bees have had a chance to gather nectar from flowers bloomed in May and produce the sweet delightful honey.   This is also the time in some regions where the first corn tassels started to appear.  Since early farmers would want the tassels to appear to produce a bountiful corn crop for both animal and human consumption it would be natural to look at the moon and relate it to that natural event. 

As the wheel of the year turns into July, thunderstorms and lightening appear more frequently in the weather pattern.  This makes the moon names of lightning and thunder well related for the month.  During the turbulent storms of this month, lives were claimed so it would be normal for people to count their blessings in the abundance of food and survival of the weather, leading to names of claiming and blessing.

Other natural occurrences led to names for the hot July moon.  Bucks starting to show their horns prompted the Buck moon label.  While the Cherokee, coined the term Ripe Corn for the moon since sweet corn begins to be available for consumption.  In colonial times this moon was called the summer moon which is simplistic in its meaning. Another important crop harvested in July is hay.  Though it can start as early as June, haying is a major task for the month of July, so early farmers called the moon Full Hay.  Hay would keep the animals fed throughout the winter, keeping the family or community in milk and meat if needed. The month of July is busy with harvesting this vital crop.

Moving into August, harvest is stepped up, humidity rises and the workload increases.  All of which can lead to disagreements among community or family members.  Perhaps the Celtic communities found themselves settling many differences during this moon which may have led to them naming it Dispute.  It is also known as the red moon as the moon starts to rise with a red haze as harvest begins. 

 Harvest moon is what the Chinese called the moon.  Other names like Fruit, Grain, Barley, Corn and Wyrt (derived from wort, which means unfermented as all the grains would have been) all relate to crops, which were beginning to be harvested.  Fruits from trees and bushes and grains grown in the fields begin to be harvested.  Additionally a crop harvested in the Great Lakes area and from other major bodies of water was the Sturgeon.  August is a good month to fish for sturgeons so Native Americans named the August moon Sturgeon Moon.

Many historians believe women were the original farmers, so handling the harvest would have been their responsibility.  Perhaps this is why the Choctaw community called this month Women's Moon.  The women were focused on preserving and processing the food for the community so it could survive the winter, essentially they were focusing their energy of preserving the community. 

As you gaze at the full moon in June with your lover, give a thought to the early people who might have spent time under a similar moon.  When storm clouds cover the July full moon think of a blessing you have which your ancestors didn't enjoy.  When August rolls around and you are harvesting, whether from your garden or other areas of your life, give a thought to how humanity has harvested during this month throughout the millenniums.



Matthews, Caitlin; Celtic Spirit; Harper Collins Publishers; 1999.

Zimmerman, Denise & Katherine Gleason; Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft; Alpha Books; 2003.

Bowes, Susan; Life Magic; Simon & Schuster; 1999.

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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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