Solitaire is a term coined first, for me at least, by Annie of Mirth and Reverence to mean a solitary practitioner and as a noun for such a person it really hits the nail on the head. I’d love to know where she herself got the term because it would be personally satisfying, either now or later, to follow the use of the term within a Pagan and or Heathen context. What comes across most in Annie’s use of the term however is the sense of dignity and pride that she imbues Solitaire with. Its hard to know without actually asking her whether that is something she does intentionally or unintentionally, however it is something that is definitely needed in such a noun. Solitary practice is something that is more common, seemingly, than group practice within the Pagan and Heathen community and so it makes sense that there would be a noun for solitary practitioners and group practitioners; what is unfortunate is that unlike Solitaire as used by Annie, ‘solitary practitioner’ regularly seems to be tinted or tainted with various implications and or intentions of regret, loneliness, lack of choice, disdain and many more.
Although solitary practice is undoubtedly something that some Pagans and Heathens choose, there are also just as many Pagans and Heathens who have little other option but to practice on their own. In both cases however, the use of Solitaire adds a sense of worth and as said before, dignity to being solitary. Whether a by-product of the societies that we live in or something else, being on your own and or introverted etc have become something negative within the modern world. How often have you heard ‘it’s always the quiet ones’ or ‘…always on their own…’ Even something as simple as ‘cat lady’ has implications and or intentions of denigration. Admittedly, the issue is far, far, far more complicated than a two paragraph consideration but solitary practice and solitude are facts of life for many Pagans around the world and having a term like Solitaire that does seem to judge them for that seems to really be of benefit to the Pagan and Heathen community.