Saturday, June 05, 2010


Some honeysuckle for the spirits

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?


Danni said...

I often wonder that myself. I'd like to be able to practice with someone other than myself on occasion and the only witchy friend I've ever had offline has been a wiccan.

I use some of the same tools on my altar for various things, but not usually in rituals. I usually bring some plants, feathers, stones, or nuts and twigs and maybe my wand. Oh. And candles. I very rarely even cast a circle, which I'm finding a lot of people find to be really odd or unbecoming.

If you weren't so far away, I'd hang out with you. I tend not to follow the harm none coda either, which has gotten me more than a few dirty looks. There's a time and a place for everything. *shrug*

As for festivals, I'm having the same issues here. :( *hug*

P.S. Send me your address! I'm done with your pages and want to mail them on my day off. ;)

Amber Pixie Shehan said...

I'm originally from VA, but from the corner near Norfolk/VA Beach. They had no idea what to do with me, the friendly, perky swamp witch who loves to play with bones and pick up stuff off of the street to do work with. *shrug*

The area you are in is one of my least favorite places. The land is gorgeous, but energetically scarred, in my experience. S'why I came down the mountain range into NC, where the rural folks very often just nod and smile when they recognize a granny trick or healing method.

The Norfolk pagan community is kind of centered around a shop called Mystic Moon. They are active and enthusiastic, as well as diverse. It has it's ups and downs, but so do all groups I know!

be well!

A.R.Spencer said...

Danni: Ritual formats are so personal that I wonder if I did have the chance to practice with another would it mesh well? Would it be awkward like a first kiss or first dance? Sending address!

Amber: Sometimes I wish I lived in a more secluded area and not a suburb full of strange looks. I looked into the Mystic Moon happenings and might do some things with them. It is 3 hours away but I'm willing and eager, thanks for the nudge in this direction!

Fiver said...

Hey there! I don't practice witchcraft, but visited your blog when I saw you are a new follower of mine. I guess I'm a bit clueless when it comes to the different kinds of "witches" out there. Wiccan I understand, but what is the difference between you and them?

A.R.Spencer said...

Kristy: Hi there! Wiccans typically have laws to follow, they have a structured ritual format and don't believe in any cursing or harmful magic. Wiccan practice has a format that includes worship of a matron and patron god/goddess. I am a folk magic practitioner which allows me to follow freely the paths and rules I choose and which deities I work with. I work with a balance of light and dark. We both practice magic but Wiccans are more ritualized; mine is more natural, more everyday. I incorporate a lot of folklore into my beliefs. I work with elements of nature and communicate with their spirits. While most of us follow animist beliefs (everything has a soul; plants, animals, thunder, etc) we worship differently. :)

I think your miniature animals are stunning! Inspired me to start working on my dollhouse again :)

Fiver said...

Thanks for enlightening me A. I'll have to contact you if I'm ever really pissed off at somebody, LOL.
And thanks so much for your kind words about my little animals.

Anonymous said...

I'm nodding my head enthusiastically as I read this post...I don't want to say I've given up on finding others like me, just that I get weary of the disappointment. I live in northern VA so you'd think I'd be able to find some group of like-minded people, but alas, I'll have to stick with wandering about alone in the woods looking for feathers and bones. Everyone I've met so far is either wiccan, or part of a tightknit group. Sometimes I feel like my practice is too internal to share with anyone, anyway, if that makes any sense, ha ha.

I am absolutely drooling over your artwork, btw.


A.R.Spencer said...

Jen- There are meet ups in Northern Virginia associated with The Open Hearth Foundation. I've never been but it seems okay. While I know I'm secure in my practices I have a feeling I do many things "my way" and I'd have trouble assimilating into a group ritual and would end up not participating in as much of it as I'd like. My worship is really home brewed and sometimes the best communication between us and the spirits is in solitude. Blessings!

Desirée said...

I've considered myself a witch for over a decade and during my earlier years I described myself as a solitary (Neo)Wiccan. However a lot of my beliefs have changed, evolved, matured and I no longer describe myself in that way. With the transition, it's been more difficult to find any local people who are sympathetic to my path. There are a few semi-local shops but they tend towards the New Agey end of the spectrum.

I wished I lived closer to your area as I believe I could learn much from you. It would be nice to actually meet and discuss things with others of a similar mind.