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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I believe most people hide behind their own mask, often more than one.  I go to work and put on my work mask.  I get together with friends or family and put on the mask they expect.  I have another for strangers - my too polite mask.  

Masks are needed in our world.  If you wear your heart on your sleeve or go without a public mask, you're in for a rough ride in our harsh world.  Masks can offer protection and comfort.  I know when I'm with certain people we will banter and tease.  I know when I'm at work, I put on another mask of polite efficiency when sometimes I just want to stay home and write.  

The thing is masks can also be a hindrance.  If I'm not aware of a mask, or use one detrimentally, it isn't helping me be a better person or be protected.  

One of my sisters (I have four) and I have never gotten along.  She doesn't agree with my beliefs or the path I've taken in life.  In my family, we are full of strong women who often express their beliefs - whether you want them to or not.  I love her but often find her difficult to be around.  

With this sister, I put on a mask of indifference.  If I don't, she picks and badgers and bullies until she gets a reaction.  The mask I use is to protect me from unnecessary emotional turmoil.  The mask is there for me to put on when I need it in order to prevent the situation from escalating from uncomfortable to emotionally damaging.  

Just because I put this mask on, doesn't mean I don't feel.  It helps me cope with how she is.  I can't change how she is.  I only have control over my own reaction her.  

As many people have, when I'm dealing with annoying people in public I have a polite mask which says I'm smiling and being polite but really I want to tell you how completely frustrated I am with you.  My two year old is stamping and screaming because you are upsetting me.  Instead I put on my polite mask and remain as reasonable as possible.  Part of this mask is do to social expectations and part of it is out of politeness.  

Masks can have a positive effect in life.  They can also have a negative effect.  Many years ago when I started on the pagan path, I explored the masks I have and why I have them.  Like most things, I have to be aware of the masks I'm using and why.  If I'm unaware, it means I'm not conscious of my own actions.  I've I'm not conscious of my own actions, I'm not able to reach a place of balance and enlightenment.  

At some point all the masks have to come off and I have to be myself.  There are only a small number of people who are fortunate enough (or maybe not) to see behind my masks.  There is a trust required to shed all of my masks.  Generally, it is with people who won't judge or ridicule.  They are people I don't feel the need to be protective of myself.  

When I started recognizing my masks, I was able to adjust and adapt my behavior and habits to adapt the masks to be positive and not just a wall of protection.  By doing this, I felt stronger and better able to cope with life in general but specifically the more difficult aspects of life.  It opened my mind to how my masks interact with others and their masks.  It also helped me see how other people put on a mask to cope with different aspects of life.  

One of my coworkers has survived cancer, strokes, and other health issues.  She comes to my office to chat and we laugh together.  She recognizes my words I use to deflect people's concern about my pain level and I recognize hers.  In essence, we take off our masks when we are together as we recognize there is no need for it.  I understand her health issues and she understands mine.  

What masks are you wearing?  Are they working for you?  Who do you share the person behind the mask with?  Simple little questions but they don't have simple answers.  


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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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