We all have our own little internet "covens"; Witches we associate with through social networking sites, blogs, and internet stores. We join the giveaways, participate in group discussions, comment on blogs. We wish each other blessings on holidays. We do swaps together and send gifts to brothers and sisters across our Earth. I'll trade you 3 Mockingbird feathers and her foot for a fox skull. Wait for the package. Most of us are the "solitary" witch with nothing but virtual friends. I've begun to think that lately this is not enough.
Solitary can mean that we don't follow a specific tradition or if we do we practice alone. I would say that I locally know only 3 or 4 witches I'd call my friends and I practice with none of them. Most of them are Wiccans so I'm the oddball out. They bring an athame and a bowl, I bring bones and cornmeal. We are just too different but our overlapping Animist beliefs bring us together.
Some of the Witches I know both virtually and locally have spouses or partners that practice similar beliefs. I do not but have an amazingly supportive man who helps me dig up previously buried animals for their bones and who calls from the bathroom when he's finished clipping toenails or shaving his head (silly punk men) so I can collect the personal effects. He is willing to halt a bike ride or a walk while I climb into brush to pick Yarrow I've found by a roadside and points out roadkill in case it's salvageable. I'm damn lucky for that.
A few months ago I began a search for festivals or groups I could join to support my local Pagan community and ideally do some vending for. I belong to plenty of online groups and I wanted something tangible whose minds I could pick in person. I love talking to other witches. My search came up fruitless. I found plenty of Wiccan covens and even just Pagan groups or some Pagan Pride get-togethers but they were either inactive or intolerant of those who don't follow the "harm none" rule. There was even one that refused admittance into any of their festivals or events for not being Wiccan.
At this point I took a step back. I have no issue with Wiccans, why do they have issues with me? I thought about other alternatives and found that I'd be able to vend at the local Renaissance Fairs which is fine but I was looking for something different; something more witchy. Despite living 30 minutes from Washington DC I found few things in the way of events or accepting groups and maybe that's part of it. I worship in the wrong part of the country. I'd hate to go to an event or become a vendor and bring out my bones and cornmeal and have everyone go "Huuuuh??". What steps do I take? Is is even plausible to start my own event? Where did this intolerance spawn from? Is it a backlash? Am I destined to forever be a solitary plus 1?
What do you think, witches?