Solitary seeker, solitary practitioners.
The first topic area we present here at Gumbo Wicca is the concept of the Solitary Wicca. I work solitary, as opposed to with a group, a coven. My structure originated with Scott Cunningham’s book on the subject.
Building and moving forward
The goal of Gumbo Wicca is not to re-invent the wheel. Our goal is to present a different wheel. Auto drivers in cold climates require “snow tires” and other accessories to keep their cars safe. That’s a type of wheel. It’s one we don’t use or need along the bayous. We present a different wheel that works on the paths around New Orleans. So, when an author like Cunningham works, it’s easier to refer the seeker back to that book or article than spend time re-hashing it and avoiding plagiarizing the original.
Teachers develop frameworks. Whether it’s a Book of Shadows or a syllabus for a coven’s course of study, the framework is their foundation. Gumbo Wicca begins with the basics of solitary practice. We offer the Wicca a framework for that practice when it’s 95°F and 95% humidity outside. When the Wicca in Boston switch from boots to sandals, we’re already running around nearly naked down here.
Growing the tradition
The Gumbo Wicca Tradition formed in a New Orleans context. Seekers desiring that experience, that approach to Wicca, gravitate towards the mindset. Life may bring them to places outside New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana, but they, as the song go, “know what it means…”
So, a seeker in Boston puts on her sandals for first time this Spring, her heart finds her way back to New Orleans. She “gets” the Gumbo Wicca Tradition. We welcome that seeker, as well as those from the beach, the mountains, and the plains. If you close your eyes and focus your practice on the heat, humidity, the bugs and the birds, the rain and the potholes, you’re ready to join us.
Gumbo Wicca Tradition is a specific practice.
Gumbo Wicca Tradition
What is, Gumbo Wicca? Put simply, it’s how I, Alaric MysticKnyght, practice witchcraft. I’ve been at this for over thirty years now. Gumbo Wicca started out with a murky form, but it’s shaped up a lot over time. This website starts with the Gumbo Wicca Tradition’s formation. Here’s how that happened.
I came to the Craft from a Catholic upbringing. While one might think this is stark transition, it’s really not. Catholicism contains many similarities to the pagan traditions and practices it supplanted. In many parts of Europe, Catholic priests worked existing practices of worship into their idea of worshiping the Christ.
Shifting belief from other denominations of Christianity present greater challenges. After all, the Protestant Reformation was about reforming Catholicism. Reformers desired simplification. They wanted a scale-down of ritual. Simple beliefs required less “smells and bells.” Fast forward to modern Protestant practice. The prospective Wiccan faces a wide chasm between, say, a Southern Baptist upbringing and the folks in the coven. Or, say, Calvinist beliefs in predestination.
While leaving the Roman Catholic Church to become a witch is still greater jump than becoming an Episcopalian, it’s not as severe as as some. Catholics, Anglicans, and Episcopalians find common ground with Wicca.
Becoming a witch in the Gumbo Wicca Tradition
I’m very much an introvert. So, “peopling” doesn’t come easy for me. Forming my approach to the Craft focused more on just me. I worked in a self-taught Golden Dawn-style practice of Ceremonial Magick. Learning by reading Regardie, Crowley, and Dion Fortune, helped me sort out perspective. Fortune in particular, pulled me away from Catholicism, but slowly. She saw a great deal of value in Christian writing and belief, adding her esoteric perspective to the mix.
It wasn’t hard to include Ceremonial Magick into my beliefs and practices. Doing so, however, led me further away from the Christian view of God. Visualize walking out of church, heading to a stream or bayou. When you get to the water’s edge, the focus is less on the building, more on the ebb and flow of the water. That called to me, and I became a witch.
I wasn’t ready to step out and look for others in the Craft. So, I continued to read. Starting with Regardie and Fortune led to Buckland and Gardner. Someone back in the early online days suggested books by a Wiccan named Scott Cunningham. Cunningham’s books on the tools of the Craft, what many would call “kitchen witchery,” appealed to me. I encountered Cunningham’s Witchcraft: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. A great fog lifted in my mind!
I knew then it was OK to be a Solitary Witch. It was OK to be a Wiccan and not be part of a coven.
I knew I could take what Cunningham wrote and make it into my personal practice.
Beltane Beginning reboots Gumbo Wicca
I’ve been at cross purposes with my websites for too long. MysticKnight’s Musings, my personal blog, is a long-time thing. It’s my account on Da Twittah, Facebook, and Instagram. Gumbo Wicca is my framework for Wiccan practice and for the Running Waters Book of Shadows.
Re-structuring my web servers, both here at home and in the cloud, forced me to examine these two sites. I’ve decided to merge them, after a fashion. Mysticknyght dot com continues as my personal site. Gumbo Wicca begins anew, as a place for myself and others.
You’ve probably heard of the content management platform, WordPress. I use it for most of my writing and web work. The platform has a feature called “network sites.” The idea is to have one main site, then others related to it. It saves space on servers. So, the main site is still MysticKnyght dot com. GumboWicca dot com sits under MysticKnyght. It’s associated but separate. Gumbo Wicca presents a group discussion space. The site gets its own theme, color scheme, etc.
Goals of Gumbo Wicca
The primary goal of this site is development of my Book of Shadows. I would like input and feedback on it as we go along. I hope to publish it as a book at on Gumbo Wicca as a tradition at some point. Input from others ranks high in this process! Wiccan authors, elders in other traditions, as well as newcomers to the Craft are most welcome here.
Why a Beltane Beginning?
That’s easy, we’re all stuck at home! The servers are here at the house. Coffee shops offer people-watching and a different writing environment. Home is where the hardware is. So, sunshine and coffee on the patio offer proximity to the servers. We turn the wheel a bit, marking Beltane. Seeds planted at Ostara begin to sprout. Same for website ideas. The challenge now is to keep it all well-tilled and watered.