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Solitary Practitioners in the Protest Movement?

A "solitary practitioner" in the pagan world, is someone who works alone, not with a coven. They are embraced as part of the overall pagan community, but they work alone. I wonder if there is a place for the "solitary practitioner" in the protest/anarchist community as well.
Solitary Practitioners in the Protest Movement?
By Kirsten Anderberg (www.kirstenanderberg.com)

A "solitary, solo, or sole practitioner" in the pagan world, is someone who works, spiritually, alone, and not with a group or coven. The solo practitioners are embraced as part of the overall pagan community, but they work alone, for a variety of reasons. I understand the necessity for coalition building and alliances, but I wonder if there is not room for something like the "solitary practitioner" in the protest community as well.

People have different reasons for being a solitary pagan, and working alone. Some live in remote locations and cannot affiliate with a local practicing coven. Some need to keep their affiliations secret or private for one reason or another, to avoid persecution. Some are solo witches because it allows them complete, or at least more, free will than some covens would allow. Some people do not want to go through the dogma involved in some covens, and some cannot find a coven with views that completely match their own. Some solos feel they simply are meant to follow their own path, to follow their own drummer, and attempts at following other drummers have failed them. Some solos are just staunch anti-authoritarians, and do not like the idea of having to go through anyone to worship. Though the reasons for being a solo are varied, the village witch, lone and respected, is still an integral part of the community at large, in many places.

I have gone through different periods of socialness in my life. I have been hyper-social, at all the right places, with all the right people. And then I have not cared about socializing at all, in other phases of my life, when I was completely absorbed in something like being a single mom or a law student. Sometimes I have felt the need to withdraw from groups, being somewhat anti-social, for many of the reasons listed above that solo practitioners cite as their reasons for solo work. I do live out of town, so getting to meetings is physically difficult, especially without a car. I do not like fashion, or any type of cultural dogma to fit into groups, and I have had as much trouble finding a perfect fit with my spiritual beliefs, as I have with my political beliefs. I do best just following my own path, I seem to make the authority figures mad in groups, and I just do not think I am meant, right now, to work with interpersonal group dynamics. It drains too much of my energy for too little product, even if the product itself was to be part of a community.

So, I wonder, do I have any place in the overall protest and activist community, if I am in an anti-social part of my life? If I do not want to coalition build, or work with an alliance, or even an affinity group? Many religions say that going into solitude will bring you peace and calm. Sometimes the psychodramas of the group mentality, and the tyranny of leaderlessness, as well as hidden authority, drives me nuts. Sometimes I need a respite from the group interaction cycles. Sometimes it is the groups themselves, that make me want to stop interacting with groups altogether. So focusing my energies on my solo work, basically allows me to work at my own pace, without pissing people off, and without them disrupting me emotionally also. I prefer just researching and writing articles to bickering with group consensus on the editorial board of some IMC. Right now, I prefer my contribution to the community be something I can do alone. If I can research an article on surviving heat at political demonstrations, for example, I will spend alone time to research that group topic. It is not that I am anti-social in that I do not care about people, it is that it is too draining to interact with people in groups, at certain times in my life.

I find I get 100% more work done if I do it alone, than with groups mired in all kinds of personalities, oft times riddled with inherited or past organizational troubles. Sometimes I do not want to spend energy on all the social niceties, and just want to put my nose to the grindstone and get working, without all the belaborment of group decisions, authority, etc. Even in high school, I preferred and excelled at "independent study." Although there is a safety in numbers, and many learn well in groups, some of us do not. I skipped two grades in school because they allowed me to just work myself, oft times creating my own curriculum. They offered that freedom to my sister, and she just never did anything and failed a semester of school she had to repeat. So independent study is not for everyone. And group study is not for everyone, either. Although I had solos in all the school musicals, somehow I never wanted to be part of the whole drama/musical clique. I also did not want to be part of the whole honor society crowd. I have always seemed to just do whatever it is I do, and I often just move around obstacles to my independence, which are often found in group mentalities. I do not think I am inherently bad for working alone as my preferred medium. I still produce things of use for the community, I just do them alone for right now. Is that too convoluted to be of appreciable value?

I do wish there was support and solidarity for/with "solo practitioner protesters and anarchists." It is clear to me that many anarchists and activists are functioning this way. We just do not talk about it, and we do not really have a vocabulary for it. But I think maybe we should look at the Pagan community as a model, in this respect, to figure out how we can integrate those who, at this stage in their lives, feel a necessity to be "solo practitioners" while still wanting to be included, and to be productive members of, the anarchist and activist movement.

homepage: homepage: http://www.kirstenanderberg.com