Your Magick Lies Within You- Walking the Solitary Path

“…Know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: For if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.”

 -Charge of the Goddess adapted by Starhawk.

I’ve always been a spiritual seeker. Always wanting to understand more about human nature, the universe, how we’re all linked and what makes it all work. I love that life is truly an eternal mystery that one can never fully figure out and yet it’s so fun to try.

I’ve explored the traditions of many cultures and sought the wisdom of many spiritual teachers. Yet, my path keeps leading me- painfully and patiently, towards myself. Through many difficult experiences, I am repeatedly guided to my own inner compass to lead me down a path that is authentically my own and doesn’t look like anyone else’s or fit neatly into any one tradition. It has only been through following my instincts and doing my inner work that I have found the peace and acceptance I once sought outside of me.

Perhaps you are also on a solitary journey, or maybe you dream of being in a coven or communal situation. Each of us has our unique path and I am not here to say one is better than the other, only to share a bit about my experience and journey, knowing that yours will be unique to you.  

Issues in Spiritual Communities

I used to love the feeling of ‘belonging’ that being part of a spiritual community brought. It felt like I was part of something meaningful, and it somehow validated my spiritual beliefs in a world without churches for my pagan beliefs. I often felt that I needed to belong to a spiritual community to validate myself as a spiritual person. I thought belonging was the necessary foundation for my growth. That magick had greater power in a group. I learned over time that this was an illusion. My participation in groups often came with a price. Over time, I was gradually less willing to pay this price.

Always seeking to belong to a spiritual community came to a point where I was sacrificing important parts of myself to belong to the group. In order to stay in it, I would have to give up my own values or authentic soul needs for growth. I would struggle to find a compromise, to preserve the illusion that the group was supporting me spiritually, even when in reality, it wasn’t. I just longed to belong.

Many of us drawn to living a spiritual path have a strong sense of devotion, combined with wounding and trauma that makes us long to belong and feel loved- making it easy for us to give our power away to others. We often need to work on cultivating better boundaries.

My fave astrologer, Jessica Lanyadoo recently said- ‘devotion without boundaries is martyrdom’. This rang true for me, as my shadow work has shown me this is something I’ve had to work on. Catholicism runs strong in my lineage, which formed a tendency to put my personal power in the hands of the Divine or the middle-person who represents them. To place servitude and faith above all, to the point of sacrificing one’s own independence can cause resentment deep inside. This also runs through the fabric of society itself in many ways since these values are embedded within dominant culture due to colonization, which forced not only Christianity, but patriarchal, capitalistic structures on Indigenous peoples.

In the past, I have given some of my spiritual power away to those I felt must know better than I, must be more spiritual somehow or hold some mystical powers that I don’t have. Because that’s what I was conditioned to do.

Sabrina’s ‘dark baptism’ where she attempts to join the Church of Night on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Over time, I felt my integrity being compromised more and more in spiritual groups because they weren’t in alignment with my personal ethics and boundaries. I tried to keep better boundaries within myself and still participate in the group, but in certain settings, this was either impossible or a deal-breaker in being part of the group, because of the lack of boundaries and respect for individuality within the group itself. 

It doesn’t help when spiritual teachers fall into the common ego traps that humans tend to do when in a position of power. Some lead with the belief that they are spiritually superior to others and some wish to be treated as though they are deity rather than human. Some lead with over-confident bravado, but in my experience, its more common to find teachers expressing false modesty, using deception and manipulation to keep up a humble facade.

Spiritual bypassing is another very common issue in spiritual communities. Our idealized version of what it means to be spiritual is often non-human and pain-avoidant. Social inequities and individual realities are easily glossed over with platitudes, performative gestures and glamour to distract from a lack of accountability and willingness to do the deeper work.

I like when teachers remember that they are simply human and don’t have to become some idealised image of what they think a spiritual leader needs to be. I like when a teacher owns their own shit and does their deep shadow work. This is something I keep reminding myself to avoid falling into the same trap.

My challenging experiences with spiritual groups and leadership clarified the essence of my own core values, ethics and showed me that I needed to forge my own path.

Individuation & the Solitary Path

In many ways, choosing the solitary path mimics the healthy individualization process one undergoes when growing up and becoming a separate person from their family of origin.

Anyone who’s been in a spiritual community may notice patterns of family dynamics that are transferred onto the group. In Christian faith it is tradition to call the priest ‘Father’ and the congregation ‘brothers and sisters’. A similar familial structure is reflected in pagan groups as well. One example of which is calling our pagan coven-mates ‘sister’ or ‘brother’ and giving a parental role and name to the teacher, such as ‘Mother’ or ‘High Priestess’ or similar. This replication of a family dynamic can bring a sense of camaraderie and spiritual family, but it can also bring up all kinds of challenges.

It can be interesting to get curious about correlations between our spiritual community and our family of origin. Are we hoping for a childhood wound to be healed through this new ‘family’? Are we experiencing the same toxic behaviour from our spiritual ‘sister’ that we experienced with a sibling? Or the same patterns from our teacher or high priest/ess as we have with our parents or other authorities? Can we learn and grow through these relationships, or are they stifling our growth?

Spiritual community can be fertile ground for patterns from our childhood to arise and the roles we fall into to be repeated. This can make it a great place to heal and transform these dynamics. However, it can be rare to find a community that is actually capable of holding space for this or modelling healthy behaviour. It is for this reason that I’ve worked with my own therapist over the last decade to sort these issues out within myself and am learning that a solitary path is more conducive to my growth.

My experiences haven’t all been negative, however. Though sometimes painful, I have grown through unhealthy group dynamics and have also experienced the joy of spiritually growing in safe space and humble teaching.

In my experience, some of the best support I received was from my teacher Daniel, who empowered me to find my own direct connection with Spirit and to trust my own intuition. He modeled ways of being in community and leadership with personal integrity. He helped me connect to my innate wisdom, held space for all of who I am and listened intently to my concerns or issues. He was willing to be human, lead from the heart and learn from his mistakes, which is something I respect and admire.

Taking our Power Back with Self-Trust

You see, I’m a bit of an eternal student. I love the learning process, meeting new people and feel empowered by knowledge and skills. I also feel learning from others and gaining knowledge is an important part of our spiritual path.

However, my habit of constant learning came to a point where I realized it’s been a way for me to escape living my own truth and avoid trusting my own intuition.

It’s taken me decades to fully trust my innate wisdom, passed down through my DNA, my spirit guides and dreams, which proves to be very accurate. I have strong gut instincts about people, places and things, but for the longest time I would override those instincts and question everything too much. It can be hard to distinguish between healthy discernment and self-doubt sometimes.

The divine flows through all of us, and we can all have a direct relationship with the divine, without an intermediary. Sure, a teacher or facilitator can help us access our inner wisdom, and it is often necessary to connect with a guide at some point on our path.

But we don’t necessarily need a teacher, group, a priest/ess, a temple or church, or a coven to grow spiritually or make powerful magick or validate who we are or what we believe.

All we need is the willingness to discover and live our spiritual values. To walk our own path as it authentically unfolds. To become receptive to the wisdom within us and discover the magick that flows within our veins. To take our dreams and intuitive hunches more seriously. Connect with nature and remember that we are nature too. Pray and serve from the heart, with feet on the ground. Remember that we are surrounded by helpful beings in the spirit world and natural world that are simply waiting for us to tune in.

If you are thinking about a solitary path, I’d say:

  • Remember that you are never truly alone. We are surrounded by the divine all around us and it flows within us as well. There are other solitaries out there who may wish to connect. (Me!)
  • You don’t need to follow an established path to validate your spirituality. You can trailblaze, and create a path that feels authentic to you.
  • You don’t need to be part of an established group or spiritual community for validation, either.
  • Learn what you’re drawn to. Educate yourself on the traditions and wisdom you’re interested in and follow your inner compass towards your ethics and integrity.
  • Knowledge doesn’t equal wisdom. A balance of knowledge, deep inner work and experience creates wisdom, and this takes time.
  • Not all that glitters is gold. Use discernment when navigating spiritual offerings and remember there’s a lot of gloss, glamour and deception out there! Especially on social media.
  • I highly recommend therapy of some kind to compliment the spiritual path. It is good to have an objective, outside party to help keep us grounded in our emotional work and able to discern what is ours and what is not, someone to hold us accountable. Spiritual bypassing is all too easy and common, which encourages our shadow or inner child to run the show, instead of our integrated, healthy adult self.
A collective of rocks, each one’s uniqueness makes the whole more beautiful

If you’re part of a spiritual community or group that you feel happy in and are growing through, then that’s great! If you’ve found a teacher who you resonate with and enjoy- amazing! If you prefer a traditional route over trailblazing- that’s awesome! Do what works for you. It’s not about one path being better than the other, but finding our own way towards growth, whether that is alone, in a group or a combination of both.

Even though I am a solitary witch, I also have community I share my witchy lifestyle with, in small doses. At every sabbat, I hold Hearthfire Circles, which are open to the public and encompassing of diverse beliefs. I’m not part of a coven and my circles are open to all genders, paths and levels of witchy experience. They are a great way to connect with other magickally-inclined folks without a major investment of time or energy. We strive to hold safe and inclusive space and enjoy ourselves very much! You can learn more about them here.

You may also be interested in my Reclaim Your Magick Sessions. These are 1 on 1 Earth-Based Healing sessions to help you cultivate your intuition and spiritually resource you by connecting you with  animal, plant, crystal and tree allies. Learn more here.

Xo

Serena

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices, addressing cultural appropriation in pagan communities and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Spring Equinox Spread + Reading!

‘Tis the season of growth.

Growth can be uncomfortable, exhilarating or downright painful. It can be all of these things. Spring urges us to be brave, bold and take action on our instincts to move forward. In order to live the life we wish for, to make those dreams we incubated and flirted with through the winter come true, we need to take action to help them take hold and grow.

Sometimes this process isn’t clear- we don’t always have a strong vision on what it is we are moving towards, but we may have a sense of what has lived its purpose and smell the scent of change in the air. We may already be walking towards that new place within ourselves but haven’t even realised it or seen evidence of forward movement yet.

Like a bear emerging from its cave, we can sometimes take a while to adjust to the light, realise where we are, and what we need to do. I’m not a morning person, so I often feel the sleepy bear vibe this time of year.

In this process of emergence, we may need to say a final goodbye to something, someone or some part of us that is holding us back. It might be time to clean out the closet- literally and metaphorically. It might be time to more actively seek out what our heart has been longing for silently, in the background, while we went about our daily business of simply surviving.

In the spirit of the season, I have created a Spring Equinox Spread to help you nourish your growth process. It can be used to help you grow a specific creative idea or venture, a relationship or a new way of being within yourself. This spread can be done with your own Tarot or oracle deck. I also have done a reading for you below!

As you shuffle your deck, focus on your ‘seed’- the new venture, vision, project or aspect of yourself you wish to manifest. Feel in your heart what you long to manifest. When you are ready, lay the cards in the order below. The spread will guide you in nourishing and growing your goal!

  1. Soil-This cards speaks to your foundations, the ‘soil’ your seed needs to be planted in. It shows you the nourishment requirements. It answers the question- What nourishes the roots of this goal? What foundations are required for this to work? What is needed to sustain this growth? This is the most important card in the reading, as you can’t get a healthy plant with unhappy soil or neglected roots!

2. Breaking Ground- This card shows you the approach to taking action, overcoming obstacles and moving forward. This card speaks to the process of breaking out from under the soil and reaching up. It answers the question- How can I meet the challenges to growth that I face? What action can I take now to encourage forward movement? When you face an obstacle to your goal, this card speaks to the recommended approach to dealing with it.

3. Stability- This card speaks to how to stay centered and focused on the goal. It helps you stay aligned with your purpose and inner strength. In our growth process, we might feel pulled in different directions or wonder if we are truly doing the right thing. It answers the question: How do I sometimes get off track and how can I stay on track?

4. Inner Growth- This card reflects the evolution and growth process that is happening within you. It may be what prompted this venture in the first place. It may or may not be something visible to others or even yourself. It answers the question- How am I changing? What is this venture teaching me?

5. Outer Growth- This card reflects how your inner growth is affecting your self-expression or your relationship with the outside world. How you connect with others, how you behave. It answers the question- How is my behaviour shifting from this process? How am I growing as I walk through life? How is this process affecting my relationships? This is what is visible to others.

Below is the reading I have done for you using the Goddess Power Oracle by Collette Baron-Reid, with my own interpretation:

  • Roots- Hestia- Goddess of the hearth and home Hestia is here to remind you that your seed’s roots are nourished with a strong home base. Where do you call home? Do you feel at home within yourself? Do you feel comfortable in your skin or try to run away? Do you feel nourished by your environment? It may be time to clean and beautify your space so you can function better within it. Maybe a new coat of paint, or a new colour scheme that reflects your authentic self. Or perhaps it’s time to move to a new dwelling that better reflects who you are and where you want to be. Nourish your roots and foundations by making a space that is yours. Create a physical space or an altar dedicated to to the new you or the venture you’re embarking on. Reflect the beauty of who you are and what you want in your environment. You will better manifest your goals if you have a strong home base- within yourself and around you to nourish them from.
  • Breaking Ground- Elen of the Ways- Deer goddess Elen makes us aware of patterns and shows us new pathways forward. It is easy for us to get stuck in unhealthy habits that hold back our growth. Elen is here to remind you that in order to overcome any obstacles you are facing, you need to notice your patterns and habits. If you don’t like what is in front of you, change how you’re going about things. Notice the patterns and habits you’ve created in your daily life. Are they serving your goal? Are you using your energy efficiently? Are there patterns of self-talk or self-sabotaging thoughts that prevent your forward movement? It’s time to take action by creating new pathways that serve what you are trying to manifest. Is there a path you haven’t tried yet? It may not be the well-trodden path you’re used to. Look around you and see what paths lead toward your goal. If there isn’t one, create a new one!
  • Stability- Maya- Goddess of Illusion reminds us that we need to see things as they really are instead of how we want them to be. We may go off track when we fall into wishful thinking, or see things through an outworn lens or story. This story could be of the essence of ‘poor me’ or ‘I never…’ or ‘I always…’. Or, when we invest in an illusion. Clarity is what keeps us stable, growing and on track. Get realistic and clear about your goal, your intention, what it is you are aiming towards, or your ‘plant’ will not be able to sustain itself. What illusions do you entertain around your situation? Do they serve your growth or inhibit it? What changes within you when you choose to see the situation as it is? Stay on track by looking beyond the veil of gossamer and staying present with what is.
  • Inner Growth- Freya- Goddess Freya brings the message of Radical Acceptance. Much inner growth is possible through this, when you accept yourself and your situation fully. Maybe you’ve had some disppointments, conflicts and battles and feel you’ve come out the loser. Maybe the setbacks have eroded your faith in yourself or dampened your warrior spirit. We can’t win every battle. Life inevitably leaves us scarred from our experiences. Our scars become part of what makes us who we are. We don’t need to accept cruel behaviour in our lives, but we need to accept that it happened to us and here we are now. It takes bravery and courage to accept what is. This inner shift may or may not be visible to others around you, but you will feel much lighter and at peace when you make it. This venture may spring from a newfound sense of wholeness and acceptance within yourself. It will teach you to appreciate all aspects of you.
  • Outer Growth-Shakti- Transformation- You are changing, and it this is reflected in your relationships and how you relate to others. The life force generated from this growth process will radiate through you in new ways, drawing new connections to you. You may surprise people around you with your energy. It is shifting every day, and you may feel a bit awkward sometimes. Just keep trusting that this change is needed and part of your growth process. You are reaching out to the world and changing everything you touch with a bit of magick. You are a divine being full of creative power to change the world. This this is beginning to radiate outward and will transform your life in many ways. Your growth serves as a way to transform the lives of others. You are transforming the world around you simply by being yourself.

Your growth and renewal is imminent, but like anything in nature- it is a process. Be patient with it, and trust that while sometimes we can grow in leaps and bounds, it most often happens one step at a time.

This Spring Equinox/Alban Eiler/Ostara, may you see with clarity, as the dark and light are in balance. May you thrive and grow in beauty and strength.

Blessed Be,

Serena

Receive first dibs on events, new products & my FREE ebook- The Witches’ Wheelby signing up for my newsletter below!

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices, addressing cultural appropriation in pagan communities and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.