I am a Pagan woman, Solitary Eclectic Pagan Witch to be more specific... But what exactly is a Solitary Eclectic Pagan Witch, what do they believe and what do they do? There are so many misconceptions about Pagans and Witches in today's society that I feel it's of great importance for those of us who belong to these communities to do our part to make others aware that we are here and what that means. If you read my "One Witch's Wonderland" blog you'll discover that there are endless beliefs, traditions and lifestyles which reside under the umbrella of Pagan. On this one section, I can not possibly explain them all, but I can give you an overview of my beliefs and try to dis-spell some of the most popular misconceptions.
**I do ask that you understand that any of the beliefs discussed here are MINE and mine alone, these are not generalizations (for the most part) about the Pagan community as a whole.**
So what is a Solitary Eclectic Pagan Witch, and why would someone take that title?
Well, lets break it down, as each word in this title has a meaning all it's own.
Most easily, what does it mean to be Solitary? Well, as the word says, it means I'm alone in my practice. While many belong to covens, groves, groups or whatever else, I am on my own. For me, it's not so much of a want to be without others as much as it is, I have yet to meet many others in my area that would constitute creating a group. So at least for this point in my life, I am a lone practitioner.
Okay, so solitary is a pretty easy term to grasp, but Eclectic is one people tend to get hung up on! It's one of those SAT vocabulary words most people skipped over. But for a growing number of people today, it's a word which describes their lives and their faith both easily and efficiently. You'll find Eclectics in nearly every style of faith. I have met Christian Eclectics, Buddhist Eclectics, Jewish Eclectics and of course - Pagan Eclectics. So what does it mean to be Eclectic? Well the dictionary defines the term as "(1) selecting or choosing from various sources, (2) made up of what is selected from different sources or (3) not following any one system, as of philosophy, medicine, etc., but selecting and using what are considered the best elements of all systems." And I couldn't say it better. Eclectics tend to believe that there is truth on many paths, and pull from each path they explore. It's similar to how early explorers worked. They left home with one understanding of the world, only to discover a completely new and exciting things as they traveled the oceans. Their core beliefs about what they knew didn't change, they simply added new understandings and beliefs. In the same way my beliefs are constantly maturing through my exploration of different faiths, belief systems, traditions and histories. Exploration and education are a major trend in my life as I simply can't get enough knowledge! My biggest issue is there simply aren't enough hours in a day for me to learn everything I want to learn!
Now, I know the terms Pagan and Witch tend to send people screaming for the hills, and that's part of why I do so much advocacy. I honestly believe in these terms were better understood, they wouldn't hold the negative connotations that they do. So, lets explore them for a moment as well...
To be Pagan can mean many different things to different people. The saying is if you ask 12 different Pagans what a Pagan is, you'll get 13 different answers. But there are some generalizations which can be made. First, Pagan is an umbrella term which can cover any number of different belief systems and lifestyles. The ultra generic definition of pagan is anyone who does not follow an "Abrahamic" path, meaning anyone who is not a Christian, Jew or Muslim. But you'll find that a great many of the faiths which fall under that general meaning, do not classify Pagan as their religion. So what is the more specific meaning? Well, again, there are quite a few - Paths which are Nature based, based on Ancient or Ancestral belief systems or which are directly linked to Ancient religions classify as Pagan in today's religious language. My beliefs fall in to all of these categories...
Okay, so Pagan as a title has a bad enough rap, but
why would anyone use the term Witch to describe themselves? Aren't
witches fictional? Well, here's the thing, witches are far from
fictional and the more we use the word, the more comfortable people in
general will become with it. So I proudly claim the title! Please don't
confuse real life witches with what you see on TV! While SOME portrayals
of witches in the media have been close to accurate, the majority have
us flying on brooms with lightning shooting from our fingers... Umm...
We're witches, not X-Men... Keep that in mind! What witches are, are
simply people who use energy to create change, many are also adept in
subjects such as natural medicine, herbology, cryptozoology,
metaphysics, gems & stones, and so on... Witches come in all shapes
and sizes and walk all religious paths. I have yet to find a religion
which does not have at least some witches following it - and yes, I'm
including Abrahamic paths in that...
So lets sum it all up - What does it mean to be a Solitary Eclectic Pagan Witch? I do not practice/worship/study with a group. I pull from many belief systems and histories for my beliefs. I hold main beliefs which are nature based and tied to Ancient Religions. And I practice Witchcraft - of the use of energy to create change...
If you live within the MonValley (PA) area, make a point to check out the SW-PA Broom & Brew Group.