It seems fitting that first entry to Hedgehog Squeaks should be just before Imbolc, as Pagans in Touch was founded just prior to Imbolc more than 10 years ago. As odd as this sounds many of us solitaries, while solitaries for good reason, do a bit better when we can periodically discuss, practice and worship with others. But only periodically. Pagans in Touch arose from this very idea. That we are solitaries and we love being solitaries. That we have found our magic in ourselves. That our magical education is in no one’s hand but our own. But we do have questions. We have ethical questions that we think we know the answers to, but that we want to talk about, to ask about, to get another point of view on. We have skills that we have developed on our own, but sometimes need someone else to practice with or against. We know the experience of holding a ritual all by ourselves, that singular connection that comes only when you are completely centered with no distractions and no other voice in your head, or your ears. We know the feel of our magic as a singular entity unblended with anyone else. The power of the words “so mote it be” when there is no other will but your own being done. It is experiencing these things with others that we, at times, wish to know, to understand, to experience. Most solitaries believe in the strength of their own magic, but know that by being in a group that magic can amplify and grow. That the magic of several blended together with one common goal can move mountains. That sometimes celebration is a lot more fun when there are other people to celebrate with.
It can be hard for solitaries. Not all covens or groups are welcoming to solitaries. Many are uncomfortable with inviting someone outside of their path to a ritual or event. There are mysteries that are unique to specific groups that they cannot share with those outside of that group/coven. Or that they are just unwilling to share. There are several groups that do not recognize solitaries as being “real” Pagans. Initiation into the magical arts is critical to some groups, and most solitaries never experience that initiation. Because of this many solitaries feel left out by the broader community. There are events that solitaries can attend that help, the Pagan Pride days that happen across the county, Pagan Spirit Gathering, Pan Pagan Festival or Chrysalis Moon. These events are amazing and amazingly welcoming to solitaries. But most happen yearly, or you’ve gotta camp and almost always be willing to travel. The advent of the internet has been amazingly helpful! It’s easier to reach across miles to people with more experience to answer questions. But attending a ritual with others is still a bit more difficult.
Pagans in Touch was created on the idea that it could be a go between for solitaries and groups. It could be a place where solitaries could talk and discuss different aspects of paganism, it could offer rituals to those who wanted the experience, and be a place for people to learn about paths outside of their own. It could also be a place where covens and groups could leave information if they were willing to allow solitaries to visit and experience their groups. Where they could share information about their path with those who are looking to learn and who might be willing/wanting to join a group. A starting point for some, a place to grow for others, a home for many. Pagans in Touch has homes in Illinois and Maryland, it’s a growing community based on the idea that each solitary pagan has a place, that every community can grow and that we should all be there to help each other out with that growth.
It was a very cold Yule just before we came up with the idea for Pagans In Touch. A group of us solitaries sitting around talking about how awesome it would to have a community of solitaries who could come and go as they pleased, who could share their journeys with each other and know that they weren’t alone, a whole group who could offer ritual to each other to attend as we pleased with no pressure to be anything other than exactly the solitaries we were. By Imbolc we had a Meet-up group created, and our first meeting scheduled.
For me as a solitary, and a daughter of Brigid, I saw the creation of the Pagans In Touch at Imbolc no less, as a chance to pass on the Pagan torch I carried, to help light a new hearth fire for someone else, to keep a light bright in the darkness. I hope that each of you who attends a Pagans in Touch meeting feels the same way. That you come away from each meeting with a better understanding of all of the unique members of your community. That you walk away with a little more understanding than you did before getting there. Most importantly that you leave having had a little bit of fun, a lot of laughs and a big old smile.