As the wheel turns to the next harvest Sabbat, when witches come out in droves for a gathering, there are some who practice solitary. They may still gather for the celebrations and I am not dissing that. I am one of those who practice my Craft solitary. I am going to talk a bit about that.
There are benefits and losses to being a Solitary Witch. One of the main benefits for me is that as I practice alone, i call all the shots. I am in control and I make the decisions. I have no problem with how things are run in a coven and have enjoyed it thoroughly when there was a High Priestess. For me, with the way I like to organize my rits and spells, I like the intimacy and the levels of power and energy that emanate from my altar.
The other big reason for me to practice as a Solitary Witch is that I also avoid politics or disagreements. While I do believe that no one wakes up intending to have differences, they still do happen. It is unfortunate and can be for any number of reasons, that seem quite petty in the long run. But differences do happen for whatever reason.
I did enjoy being in a coven. There are great things about being in a coven. A witch knows when there are events going on, where and with who. The coven can raise more energy in a collective than alone. There is a sense of community in a coven as well. The coven can also help you on your path and tell you where you have progressed spiritually and answer all your questions. These are great reasons to belong to a coven.
However, if your style or preferences or preferred tradition differs greatly from the coven, it is acceptable and most often does occur that a practitioner can become a Solitary Witch. I believe that a witch could keep some contact with a local pagan community when main events are held or major Sabbats are celebrated. A sense of community can help a witch enormously and one should not ignore the possibilities of good friendships that can be developed. Opportunities can arise, such a beach clean up, a fun fundraising event, a party, a Beltaine celebration (A chance to dig out your Renaissance garb), or a chance to call a quarter at a coven esbat Ritual. These should not be overlooked and can lead to even better opportunities. I do keep in touch with the local pagan community here and do not regret the numerous parties, fundraisers, the pagan radio show, or the celebrations at the Universalist Unitarian Church.
So, I still do practice as a Solitary Witch. It is my choice. I brew my ciders and carve pumpkins at Samhain. I honor the other turns in the Wheel of the Year. We all find our own way and develop what works for us. May the Goddess and God guide you as you light your own candles of understanding. Blessed Be Lady Spiderwitch