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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A Non-Yule Time of Year

The insanity of the holidays can drive anyone crazy.  Getting gifts, arranging to visit with family, work parties, and more.  It is a time of the year when you can lose track of the importance of the phase of the year we are in. 

You can find any posting on what to do on Yule, how to decorate your house with all the associations, what food to cook and so on.  I don’t do any of it.  I find the holidays stressful and unbearable in most years. 

Instead of focusing on all the insanity from Black Friday on, I try to remember that it is winter.  I try to think about how the ancient people would have lived.  Now I’m not an anthropologist or anything like that so these are all my suppositions based on life experiences. 

Winter is a time when things slow down for earth based people.  The harvest is done and stored for the long cold winter.  The days are shorter and even if you have animals to tend to like cows, pigs, chickens or sheep, you aren’t spending that much time outside because (in the northern part of the northern hemisphere) it is cold and the weather unfriendly.

The light is only around for a small period of time, less and less each day until the winter solstice.  Between the weather and lack of light, time is spent indoors.  The parallel is that our spiritual time should be spent within ourselves.  It’s a time to look at the past year and say – what did I accomplish?  What have I failed at?  What do I need to change? 

I’m a list maker.  To do lists abound in my house, on my computer, and in my head.  I make lists.  I look at what I wanted to do at the end of last year (calendar) and how much of that I accomplished.

I swore when I finished my degree last December I would make sure I did a certain number of submissions to publications all year.  I was going to get three books published and finish writing a manuscript.  On a personal level I was going to work on my relationship with my husband and my daughters – not because they were in trouble but because I’d been so wrapped up in me while I’d been going to school. 

This was my list of sorts.  For my review this year, I can honestly say, I’ve met few of the writing goals.  I’ve done a variety of other writing goals but none that were what I thought I needed to do.  As for the relationship, they ebb and flow.  Sometimes I am really good about connecting and others I’m wrapped up in writing and my own things.  I think this is normal. 

Winter in Wisconsin can last from October to May though not always.  This year has been mild so far.  This is a long time to spend looking within but I feel the looking within should occur until the solstice.  On the solstice the direction of the light changes.  It starts to increase.  At that time, the focus starts to change. 

In the olden days, I imagine this is when tools would be repaired, preparations for spring planting would begin, planning for what would happen on the land and with the animals would begin.  During the solstice people would celebrate that they had survived the darks days of winter.  Great – let’s party for one day. 

After the solstice is when the work begins.  The new list of goals you have is really useless unless you put into play some sort of action plan.  How are you going to lose weight, quit smoking, get a new job, find a mate, have a baby or whatever the goal is you most want to focus on. 

Practical steps have to come into play with the day after solstice.  Light is getting longer and illuminating more of the day.  You need to shine a light on your goal. 

For me in the last year, I had to figure out whether I was going to self-publish my books or continue to try with traditional publishers.  With some encouragements from family and friends, I opted to self-publish.  This meant I had to educate myself on the companies I would work with, their formats, and what I would need to do over and above putting my work out there and hoping people would read it. 

Even though the weather is still difficult for outside activities – mostly – it is a time when you can research and shed light on how you will accomplish whatever your goals are.  It is the time to enlighten (pun intended) your mind and your goals.  You may decide you don’t like what you have to do in order to accomplish whatever goal you’ve set, thus letting the goal fall away from you.  You may find that there are additional goals to go along with your one goal that you want to do. 

While the weather traps you inside, the focus should be in figuring out how to accomplish what you want to accomplish.  In January of this year, I started reading everything I could for the three companies I work with for self-publishing.  I read their guidelines, reread them, hesitated until my daughter gave me a kick in the bum (not literally) with one of her “suck it up buttercup” conversations.  Nerves had me hesitating and I needed the kick in the bum. 

This winter I’m looking at what I wanted to accomplish and laughing because nearly none of the writing goals happened.  Instead I published a bunch of books rather than submitting articles and essays.  As I look back at my year, I already know my list will include financial goals, writing goals, and somehow figuring out how to balance all the aspects of my life.  This last one will probably never be complete because life is to variable to maintain balance but I keep trying.

Until the solstice, my focus will be on what my goals for next year, celebrating what I’ve accomplished, and letting go of the things I need to let go of.  With the decreasing light comes decreasing energy and an opportunity to look within and figure out where I’m at during the dark of the year.

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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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