Being A Solo Pagan Doesn’t Mean That You Are Alone
As I sit here nursing a cold, and listening to a wild Texas Rangers-Detroit Tigers game – I am reminded that there is a rhythm to the year. And currently that is aiming us solidly along to Samhain and the Halloween season. Much like Beltane, this is not one of my favorite times of the year. But its a little different this time around….
I’m not a huge fan of the overly commercialized version of the Samhain-Halloween concept. I grow very tired of commercial displays of shoddy, plastic costumes and the tons of candy that is set out where kids can pester their parents constantly for these items to be purchased. Do not get me wrong — I see an endearing quality in kids trick-or-treating in their neighborhoods in costumes that they make themselves (or with help from parents). I see a very strong connection to community with kids trick-or-treating at your door. But in this environment, where kids are preyed upon as victims of sick manners of abuse and harmful intentions – I can also see why things such as this no longer seem “wholesome”. And coupled with the over commercialization of the “holiday” season…well…
That brings me back over to the “scary” movies within the horror genre — something I am not a fan of. At least not in today’s movie environment, where the emphasis is on blood, gore, and abusive acts – rather than plot lines. To be frankly honest, I thought the movie “The Blair Witch Project” was absolute genius, in comparison to many of the blood-dripping movies that precede and follow it within the genre. The individual viewer’s senses and anticipation of what might happen next were key to the movie’s emphasis…but I digress ever so slightly….
Samhain is about a lot more than scary stuff. Its the time when the veil is at its thinnest. A time when communication between here and the Otherworld is easiest. Contact with the Ancestors is far more common. So, with that in mind, my own emphasis for this time of the year is in honoring those who have come before in my family. And if anyone has paid attention, I am not close to my blood relatives whatsoever. However, I do honor those individuals that I am related to. And Samhain seems the most appropriate time for that.
With my mother and father passing away over the past year – my understanding of this time of year…my understanding of honoring my ancestors – is a little stronger than before. While I was never that close with my parents in my adult life, but I do acknowledge that many of the values I have today come directly from growing up with my parents shaping my life. We were a military family, so we moved a lot. Which means that my friend-base changed constantly. It also means that some families we were very close to. And we crossed paths with them many times over the years. The strength of those relationships are part of what fuels the way I see family today.
My family consists of a lot of people who are not related to me directly via blood-lines (or at least not as I may have thought). But there is a very easy, very quick connection that occurs with these people. And one of the things that I hold to with them — what is mine, is theirs. And there are not very many of these people. Generally, they know who they are fairly quickly…and eventually understand how deep the connection is. These people are important to me. A statement I make constantly is that I would walk barefoot over broken glass for them. And I seriously would. That’s what “family” means to me. And some of those people have passed beyond the veil as well. And every Samhain, I remember who they are, what they still mean to me….and how much my life has a very empty hole that is shaped like them.
Yes, there’s still a very lovable quality to Halloween. The tradition of trick-or-treating has a very strong community factor to it. Even with the danger of certain people doing dangerous things to children — there’s still a need to remember that part of being in a community is participating in little traditions like this. That’s what keeps things safe in a community. Knowing one another – and being committed to one another. Perhaps, its a trait we have gotten away from in our individualized society…and to be honest, I have to remember that even as a Solo Pagan, I am part of the wider Pagan community. Both those physically close to me – and the wider ranging Pagan community online. And keeping our community safe and strong means being a part of it…not standing outside of it. Being solo means practicing my Druidry alone — not being a Pagan alone. Quite interesting that this comes to me as we get closer to Samhain. But not so unusual when you consider the context that was in play at East Coast Gathering….