Do you practice as a solitary or with others?
I basically practice as a solitary. This is not necessarily by choice, but more because I don’t know if I will feel comfortable in a community. I’m an anxious person in general, so trying new things is hard for me, especially when other people are involved. I also worry about being accepted/feeling safe as a queer woman of color. I don’t mean physically safe, I mean more emotionally safe, like I feel safe enough to allow myself to be vulnerable as we do ritual together. I don’t want to feel like I’m out of place, like I don’t belong, and that’s what’s keeping me from reaching out to any groups in the area.
I am also basically the only pagan in my family, meaning that my rituals are outside of the norm and that my religious leanings are different than theirs. I would love for them to participate if they wanted to, but I understand that for some of my family, doing any ritual that is marked as “pagan” means it is in conflict with their own faith. I don’t know if I agree with that, but I respect their choice and I don’t want to rock the boat. I’m all for interfaith work, but I won’t force people to participate in something they don’t feel comfortable with, you know? So I end up doing a lot of ritual on my own, when no one is around. It can be really hard for me to do ritual or celebrate a Sabbat by myself because I really like doing ritual with other people. I especially love celebrating holidays with my family. I’m used to celebrating holidays with a huge meal with a lot of people in attendance, eating and drinking and laughing and maybe arguing. Maybe we go see a show, or we go watch a parade, or we have a holiday dinner at a restaurant. It doesn’t matter what exactly we do, as long as we do it together.
I can’t do that with paganism. It’s too “out there” for most of my family. I really struggle with ways to create an interfaith celebration with participation beyond just me and Kourtney, and I know an outright pagan affair is just not in the cards (and honestly, I don’t want it that way– I would much rather do an interfaith celebration). So then the issue becomes figuring out how to celebrate in an interfaith space, and also creating ritual that is meaningful for me as a solitary practitioner. No easy feat for me.