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Tenth Anniversary Issue (and final issue)
A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine
November's Theme: "Secluded"
Volume 11 Issue 1 ISSN# 1708-3265

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Wiccan Voices
~ Crafted Spiritual Seclusion in Pagan Practice ~

with Crystal Blanton

The Pagan path can be a lonely and secluded path. There is a community of people who are loosely connected in beliefs under the big tent of the Pagan umbrella, but enough differences in practice and belief exist to create divides.

As we come to events, groups, festivals and public circles, there is still a large part of our spiritual practice that is done in seclusion; it exists between each individual and with his or her God(s). Even when a person works within a consistent group, grove, or coven, there is a solitary practice which exists for each practitioner and is just as important as anything that can be done with others.

Part of the problem with the idea of seclusion is the dark place it can often hold in our psyche, yet it can also be a source of spiritual solace where we connect with divinity. Seclusion from the outside world can give a straight ahead road of practice towards spiritual growth. To pretend that all connection with The God or Goddess happen without the practice of crafted spiritual seclusion is inaccurate and misleading.

Sitting within a place of isolation from the turmoil of the outside world can be a chance to explore the need for internal and personal connections, it starts with digging deep into the self, and with relationship building. It can be a chance to identify who one is, and the potential of whom one can be. Isolation or seclusion is not just a place of depression or pain, it can create a deep sense of personal identification that is essential in the imbalance of our growing cultural pain, and the need to connect with our spirituality.

There can be so much fear around the idea of deep, internal self-reflection because it has an association with the unknown, but what if there was an understanding that the unknown is actually known to the spiritual soul? If we were able to reframe the conscious understanding of how reflection connects to the soul and thereby to the Gods, then ideas of seclusion would not hold as much fear to the average person.

The process of going inward is tied to many things, the idea of being secluded from others can be frightening. The concept of sitting with the self is intimidating and loneliness can be a scary idea to someone who is struggling with how to connect to the shadow side of the self.

Full connection can lead to self actualization, it is the process of coming fully into the self and reaching full potential. So how do we embrace the idea of seclusion without fear?

I believe we have to first acknowledge that it already is a part of our path. Paganism, as a larger umbrella term, encompasses a lot of pieces which are done to embrace the spiritual isolation that brings answers. Meditation, mindfulness, personal practice, and a solid connection with The God and Goddess can only be created or practiced individually. Group practice does not exclude the need for personal connectivity and reflection.

Moving forward to a place of full integration of spiritual purpose comes with routine, defined values, goals, and a plan. How do you worship? When does your needs require individual time with divinity, and when does practice with others support your purpose? How can you find a balance between outward focus and seclusionary spiritual practice?

Do not be afraid of the alone time that you can spend developing a relationship with yourself, and with your God(s); it is a commitment that leads to personally satisfying rewards and spiritual abundance.

Crystal Blanton is a Wiccan High Priestess, member of the Northern California Local Council of Covenant of the Goddess and a published author living in the Bay Area.

She has worked in Social Services for 15 years, specializing in addiction and counseling. Her books Bridging the Gap; Working Within the Dynamics of Pagan Groups and Society and the Shades of Faith; Minority Voices in Paganism anthology are currently available through Immanion Press.

You can contact Crystal Blanton via her website at www.crystalblanton.com.

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