It seems that it was only yesterday when I wrote my first article about El Silbón, perhaps the best-known Venezuelan legend, along with La Llorona. Reading recently and doing some research on the internet, I came across a legend that illustrates very well the teachings of the original myth, along with the dangers of skepticism: the tale of El Silbón and Juan Hilario.
According to popular belief, Juan Hilario was a party man and womanizer from the Portuguesa state, in western Venezuela. He went out to party during a stormy night during the month of May, although he was warned not to do so, as the thunder foreshadowed the presence of El Silbón in the area. Hilario scoffed at the legend and left anyway.
As he walked, Hilario heard the characteristic whistle of the specter, but he was sure that it was only his friends who were trying to play a prank on him, so he made fun of them. He also made fun of the creature again, who did not hesitate to show him how real he can be.
Hilario was hit again and again by invisible hands, and although he tried to defend himself as best he could, it seemed that he was rather hitting the air. The attacks also did not stop at any time, leaving him in increasingly worse condition.
It wasn’t until friends and neighbors recognized him that they insulted the specter and ordered him to leave. After such an episode, Juan Hilario promised not to go out to party again, much less insult what he did not know.
Although it is true that El Silbón speaks first about the ancestors and reminds us to always honor them and learn from their experiences, Juan Hilario’s experience also teaches us that the strength is in the joining. While the poor party animal couldn’t stand up to the ghost, a large group did manage to push him away.
I have been solitary for a long time, although I once had a bittersweet experience with a Wiccan group in Maracaibo where I knew what it was like to be with other Witches and from where a beautiful friendship formed that continues to this day.
That first and only meeting years ago was a time when I had more questions than answers, when I was very afraid of many issues; it is a memory that shows me the passage of time. I’m still insecure about some things, but I have the courage to speak out loud and clear about others.
Being alone in my practice, physically speaking, has put me to the test many times, and it has frequently been that way these days. I have no colleagues to go to, invite, or meet with to discuss these issues. Everyone is far away, everyone is busy, and everyone has their own responsibilities. However, a Witch is never alone.
Since I started my Reiki training, I realized that I work very well with power animals: I feel their energy during therapies and Witchcraft workings. For a long time I have included and honored fae beings in my day to day life, not to mention my ancestors and spirit guides. In my family they say that I have a spiritual zoo because of the number of animals that interest me, but for me they are a support group, an army, and a group of friends.
Many times I have been in trouble and I have asked “my people,” as I say collectively, to be with my family and friends. On other occasions, I call everyone and ask them to come with me when I feel like I’m in danger, although I already know that I don’t always have to.
Being solitary has its advantages, such as working the way I prefer, deciding what to learn, how, when, how much, what to practice, and so on. A solitary Witch is their own guide, and they learn at their own pace and comfort. But the challenges are not few. It requires a lot of confidence, care in where to seek information, and a willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions.
I learned several things speaking with that Wiccan group from my beginnings, and without realizing it I began to follow one of the indications that one of the girls gave me at the time, so many years ago. I’m happy to have met them at that time because they were what I needed to realize many things, to know myself better, and to know Wicca better.
I left the Wiccan tradition a long time ago when it stopped resonating with me, when it stopped giving me answers and began to create discontent in me, but it was a path that led me down the path of the (not so) solitary witch. I learned that divine energy is always here, I discovered the power of the spirits of the earth, the ancestors, those who came before me, and the people whose stories inspire me.
Today I still want to belong to a group, to experience public rituals, with friends, just as I did when I had the Reiki practices during my training as a teacher – but I don’t need it.
Recently, my brother had a seizure and injured his arm. I know how to treat low blood sugar, how to assist him when he has one of those episodes, and I wasted no time in preventing him from fading in front of my eyes, but I started to lose control as soon as he told me that the pain in his arm was too bad and that it increased with every second. I didn’t stop asking and praying while making a thousand calls on the phone. My mind was divided in two: I needed someone to help us, but also for my people to be with us.
In a short time, we had all the help we needed, several hands that reached out to get us out of that situation, and soon we were almost like new. We are still receiving that help. Every day I receive messages, news, reminders, and signals from both the visible and the invisible world that we are not alone, we never have been, and we never will be.
I thought it would take him a long time to recover, but every day I see him improve by leaps and bounds. Although he’s still in pain and needs help with various things, such as getting up and lying down in bed, his relief and peace are increasingly noticeable, and he returns to his usual character, only that his left arm is immobilized.
I still doubt myself, because after spending all my school years being a bullying victim I have to work on my self-esteem, but for a long time I have noticed that sometimes I’m right. Like Hilario, sometimes I don’t feel as lonely as I seem to be.