The Narrow Path, the Crowded Path:
Some of us choose to work in solitude and that is perfectly reasonable: after-all, who better knows your practice but you? There is far less pressure and expectations, far less effort to retain friendships and most importantly, you have the absolute freedom to be fundamentally YOU. The benefits of working alone on your spiritual path are obvious and not least among the appeal is the sense of control one has over themselves and their opinions.
Sisterhood on the path of the witch, what ever path that may be can also have many benefits as well. First and foremost is the sharing of ideals and ideas. In a typical coven, you are brought into a system where there is a hierarchy and you are not entirely equal, nor are your opinions and ideas seen as important as those who lead and dictate to you. In other covens, you may have a leader or guide for structure's sake (not to mention seniority), but everyone is on equal footing and treated with the same amount of power and perspective. That's now Dilis Glas works... the tradition itself doesn't have a degree system or anything like that: there is a beginning stage, middle and end and no one is the "immaculate head honcho". Joining the tradition is quite a different thing from joining a Dilis Glas circle or group. But that's a topic for another day...
Another wonderful aspect to finding a group one can connect to is the passing along of knowledge. Every single person has their own interests and ideals and can lend to your own. One of my favorite experiences was experiencing new things with my old circle: meditation classes, my first psychic fair, spending hours at Borders books copying down interesting information. All of those "closening" experiences are a draw to witches who prefer to feel connected to another witch.
Some witches I've spoken to told me they felt drawn to working in a group because of their spiritual faith in the Divine Feminine. Specifically, I was told that Her ability to wear so many faces and be so many things in this universe drove them to forge a connection to other females who represent many aspects of the Divine Feminine. Joining a circle to feel more devoted to the divine feminine in us all or the divine masculine in us all is somewhat common I suppose. Whole covens form based on their mutual adoration for Hecate or Brighid or Cernnunos. Circles form to celebrate the divine genders and those in-between. This is one of my most personally appealing group types- ones that join to be devoted to the Great Feminine- the all nurturing force of fertility, mysteries and the opposing equal force of active, penetrating energy that is masculine.
Perhaps the great draw to the group setting is just plain comfort- a basic desire of most animals.
Loneliness on the Path:
|Lord Frederick Leighton|
Maybe for some, none of those things are true, but for me, I saw my desire for some sort of group as an opportunistic grab at security and stability- two things I had never been raised with. Now, in my mid twenties I've learned how to separate spiritual desires from personal needs.
I've found that setting my mind to finding others to connect to has often turned me away from introspection and working out some subjects of spirituality best left to your own mind. My sister used to say that "you should stop looking so hard and start letting things come to you".
I certainly hope that's true.