Human beings require contact with other human beings. Even the most private and introverted human being, and I fit that description as well as most, needs contact with others to be healthy. My younger brother, who is the only person I know more “anti-social” than I, needs his wife and his daughters to be happy. In some of the worst prisons on the planet, solitary confinement is one of the most severe punishments possible. Next to physical torture and perhaps worse than execution; solitary confinement is considered by many to be a form of psychological, emotional and mental torture. Infants who are deprived of human contact will fail to thrive and eventually die.
As I have said, I am a very private and introverted person. You might doubt the truth of that statement considering the nature of this experiment and the things I have shared here but, I began this exercise as a way of reaching out and connecting with my Community, as a way of contributing to the Great Work. It is actually more comfortable to write about anything from the solitude of my home, from the peace and quiet and tranquility of my room with only my Pwca to engage with physically and energetically, than to attend a social gathering regardless of how fond I may be of the others in attendance.
Solitude is a beautiful thing and necessary for my well being, but isolation is not healthy for me. I need to engage, to connect with my family, my friends, my beloveds, just as I need to connect with my Gods, my Ancestors and my Allies. I was a solitary practitioner for many years and while I was very happy with my life and my path, I had reached a crossroads on my journey, a turning point that resulted in my seeking out community.
I had to be pushed and prodded (by my Patrons) to overcome my discomfort with strangers enough to attend a ritual with a group of people. I made a couple of false starts, I attended two very different rituals with two very different groups but neither one was the right place for me. I joined a small group of witches and met my soul sister, my Anam Cara, but the group was short lived and inappropriate to my nature. I considered myself fortunate and blessed to find a soul-friend and retreated to my previous solitary practice.
But the Lady and Lord were not content with this. They knew, if I did not, that I needed community to continue to grow. They knew that without community I would stagnate. Without the catalyst of others, without the drive to serve, without purpose and intent, I would not evolve as they intended me to. They are wise.
Eventually, I walked into the house of my High Priestess, whom I had never met, and participated in a Mabon Ritual with about a dozen other people whom I had never met. That was the moment that I found the Weavers of the Moonfire and eventually the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel. Less than a year later I was dedicated. I am now a Bonded member and Second Degree Initiate of my Coven and Tradition.
Solitary practice is both beautiful and rewarding and most of my practice remains solitary simply because I live alone (except for my Pwca). My personal work is done alone most of the time but, I am never really alone and that is one of the wonders of community. My work affects my entire Coven, and to some extent my entire Tradition. The work my coven-mates do for their own growth affects me. I would not be challenged, as I often am, if it were not for my commitment to serve my Community.
Without the challenge of nurturing others, I would not understand my own needs. Without the challenge of interacting with others and their energy, I would not have learned to know my own energy and my own magick beyond the level that I had achieved until then. Without my High Priestess to push my boundaries, and her completely other nature to my own, I would not have the wisdom of a point of view so different to mine.
The thing I remember most was the amazing surprise I felt at the feeling of having come home among those strangers. My life is about relationships and I give thanks for the relationships I have with my Beloved Moonfire and Assembly. Community is an amazing gift. It gives me a place to grow and to learn and to become so much more than the person I am without them.
If you are walking this path, if you are walking alone, even occassional contact with communiy can support you in your work and on your journey. Do not be afraid to seek it. It can take many forms and it can be what you need it to be. It can help bring light to the shadows.
“One Spirit in the dark, like a candle wavers, many Spirits joined as One, burn with the power of the blazing Sun. There is strength in Community, a Circle empowering you and me. The Circle binds, yet sets us free. In the Goddess’ name, so mote it be.” (Pagan chant-Author unknown)
“It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up to its glowing, that’s how it is with God’s love, once you’ve experienced it, to share His love with everyone, you want to pass it on.” (Christian song-Author unknown. Remembered, from summer camp as a child, this past Sunday around the fire ring with my Coven celebrating the Full Moon and the Summer Solstice.)
Goddess or God, Pagan or Christian, we are Human and Devine, and Love is the Highest Law.