The matter about being a solitary pratictioner is the fact that you are, indeed, alone.
No matter how many pagan people you meet or talk with, if you define yourself a solitary is probably because you practice alone and study alone and so you face all the problems and issues of this path by yourself.
The study plan can be such a hell for a solitary (personal experience!). When you join a tradition you usually get involved in an already planned structure of degrees and for each degree you’ll get your subjects to get to know.
But how to deal with it all alone?
The fields of knowledge are quite impressively a lot. So first of all you should define what would you like to study and then go for it.
This is not easy at all thou. Let’s consider some second degree topics, as astrology, divination, herbalism and so on. If you don’t organize a study plan you will probably find yourself in a year dealing again with the basics of all this subjects because everybody has a life to carry on and go through more advanced topics requires a very deep commitment most of the time.
In my opinion the best way to balance your study plan and your daily life is to link them tightly through subjects that appeal both.
I personally started my study plan in this way:
Why herbalism? Because it is a very massive and comprehensive subject. If you start studying herbalism you will get to know astrology, kitchen magick, moon magick, candle magick and so on. And, most important, you will be able to link your practice with your daily life. The making of incenses, powders, teas… is something that commits you daily and, especially if you must keep your practices secrets from your mates, is something you can do in day light without worrying about the judgment of unwanted eyes.
A good way to start is the always quoted Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs and his Kitchen Witch, and, of course, going out and look for some herbs to begin with. Most of herbs can be found at the mall, if you, as me, live in a city and can’t grow or find herbs around the streets.
Why circle? Are not we supposed to be already advanced circle casters? Maybe yes, maybe not. But what I mean with “circle” is everything that suit in a casted circle. The circle is the center of my practice, as for native people “everything I do is done in a circle”. The circle is comprehensive of under and upper worlds, of totems, winds, directions, elements and so on. So the more you study the more your circle is strong and the will is effective.
(The list of recommended books on this is too long to fit here, but I will go through this in the blog, so keep reading!)
When building our study plan we should also consider something against Aleister Crowley warned us about in his “Magick”: not to rest too much in the things we feel comfortable with. I’ll explain this better: you must DARE, and work on balance instead of stay where is easy to. If you can work with the North but not with the West put a remedy, don’t indulge.
The seek for knowledge requires you to improve, not to sit and rest. Think about it.