Recently on my Instagram @white_moon_witchcraft, I posted a question in my stories. I asked, “What are you most afraid of in your witchcraft practice?” The overwhelming theme of the answers was fear of isolation, with comments like “I’m completely alone on this path” and “I have no one to guide me”.
As an extremely solitary person, I sometimes forget that humans are social animals — even us introverts. The need to feel accepted or be part of a group is ingrained in our instincts the same way it is for many pack animals (think elephants, wolves, even ants). Not having a pack or herd can be utterly terrifying for many creatures, including people, because it’s how we’re designed for survival reasons. Deciding to branch out into witchcraft, however, is usually a decision to stray from the group. That’s just the way it is. Many of us have been outsiders our whole lives anyway so it didn’t seem that much of a stretch to go off alone, but for others the split can be surprisingly painful.
Many of the answers also expressed a wish for a teacher or mentor in witchcraft. I’ve been asked to fill that role a few times, but my answer is always the same. I’m not trying to be secretive or elitist when I say “no”, it’s just that there really is no way for me or anyone else to tell a new witch what to think or believe. I don’t see how I could compress my entire lifetime of learning into a few words of wisdom for them. I honestly feel like all I can do is suggest books. From there, a new witch needs to absorb as much information as possible, including that of opposing beliefs in order to realize what makes sense to them personally. I can’t tell someone what to think or believe, nor do I want to. There are many blustering grand “experts” out there who will jump at the opportunity to dump their doctrines into a curious brain and hold their ego over the heads of others, but it’s unhealthy to believe everything they say. Listen to them, sure. And then draw your own conclusions.
The Witch’s Pyramid is something I discovered early on in my practice. It’s also called the 4 Powers of the Magus, 4 Secrets of the Sphinx, and the Hermetic Quaternary. Its origins are rather blurry, and I’ve had difficulty figuring out exactly where it came from, but I do know Aleister Crowley (love him or hate him) mentioned it in his work as do many modern books on Wicca. The word “pyramid” references the four statements forming the bottom of a pyramid, coming to a point of power on the top. The statements are: To Know, To Dare, To Will and To Be Silent. I think the Witch’s Pyramid is a good way to center your thoughts when you’re feeling lonely in your path. You might even realize there’s a reason you’re meant to do it alone in the first place. This simple set of thoughts can be applied to almost anything in life, including dealing with being spiritually isolated. You can meditate on the 4 qualities of the Witch’s Pyramid to reframe your thinking and gain a fresh perspective.
There is strength in learning to walk a solitary path, to seek out information all on your own, whether through books or websites or experimenting. Your decision to take the witchcraft route was probably prompted by a deep sense of knowing. This knowing doesn’t come from other people telling you what to think. By not seeking outside opinions from a mentor, your mind is completely free and innocent. I think this really is the truest way to find your own path, and this could be why you have to go it alone. The best way to know yourself is to listen to your gut more and to the opinions of others less. Learn to trust your inner knowing and let your spirit guide you unhindered by the influence of others. You don’t need other people to tell you what to do when you are in touch with your own self. So when feeling isolated, meditating on To Know is a reminder that you don’t need anyone else to tell you what to believe. Trust yourself. Witchcraft is all about the balance of light and dark. Studying it requires facing ourselves and gives us a head start on shadow work as well.
Dare to strike out on your own. When I asked “What are you afraid of in your witchcraft practice?” some people worried they’d “do something wrong”, accidentally attract the wrong energy, or that something terrible would occur as a result of ritual. First of all, nothing terrible will occur, unless that is your intention. Dare to be brutally honest with yourself about your intentions, because intentions speak way louder than words when it comes to rituals and spells. You can say “for the good of all” with your mouth all you want but if underneath you’re thinking “die bitch”, it’s the true emotion that will come through in your working. Secondly, you have to dare to read the material, to try meditating, to try ritual. Alone. Third, you must dare to cast your first spell knowing that you may fail.
Achieve the will to persevere with or without support from family or friends. This can be hard, in varying degrees. It may be that your family or friends find your interest in witchcraft funny because they don’t believe in it or something much worse, like they genuinely fear for your soul (another common thread in my Instagram poll). To Will is to be able to shut all that noise out and persevere in your studies anyway. Plough forward through the judgement toward your goal of enlightenment. When you feel alone or isolated, will yourself to grab a book and keep on learning. When you don’t understand something, have the will to research harder to find out. When people tear you down, use your will to stand behind your own belief even if you have to do so silently. If you don’t want to tell anyone about your beliefs, use your will to continue on your chosen path even though you are alone.
To Be Silent
It’s easy to get bogged down by the opinions of others, especially online where people will ferociously cut each other to shreds. That’s why I think To Be Silent applies not only to your magickal work but also to hopping into discussions you don’t necessarily have to. Unless what you have to say is really helpful and meaningful, consider being silent, observing, and learning. Absorb the information. Let other people speak so you can hear all the different sides of the story. This can include listening to people talk about spiritualities other than your own, even if you disagree with their theories. You can learn a lot from them anyway. Being silent protects you from others when you start practicing magick but also in general. Watch, learn and listen. People are always talking/typing over each other without learning anything because they just want to make a point. Instead of jumping into the fray, try observing instead. You will come out wiser.
Learning that one of the most common fears in witchcraft was being alone surprised me. Learning witchcraft requires full immersion of the self. Being willing to go it alone is a testament to your belief and dedication.