Merry meet all =]
Ok so i'll try to make this short. I have a friend, let's call her D. D is pagan ( just putting that general term because I'm not exactly sure how to describe her religious/spiritual views) and I have been friends with her for many years now, she is also a few years younger then I am, so it's sometimes odd when she gives me advice ( cus in my head, sometimes i think " since im older... is it weird im getting advice from a 15 year old when im 18??" kind deal)
The problems I am having with D in two ways, 1. She thinks ( and is entitled to her own way in the world) that I can not be a solitary practitioner unless I have self-initioated myself/ self-dedicated myself after one year and a day or study... and/or that I have to self-intiate myself and if i have not already done so, go through a year and a day.
2. she also thinks that my version of my own take for my plans on a handfastening are wrong. Becasue i HAVE to do it traditoinally, by a high priest/ess or else it's wrong or not real. D as also gone as far to way that, she would not go to my handfastening unless it's done the right way.
... ( face palms) really now?
I'm not saying that she is wrong... but she's wrong. As in... she is welcome and allowed to think how she wishes... but it's kind of hurtful when I get told these things by her..... Especially when ( at the time of planning my handfastening, that i wish to have one day) she was going to be like, the only person to for-sure go .. then she changed her mind when she found out more details... and as of right now.. i belive she would still wish to go.. but she may have her reservations.
On the matter of the self-deciation year-and-a-day is mandatory issue... I do not belive that as a solitary, I am to go through a whole year and a day before I am " real". I was real the moment I was born. I was a wiccan the moment I wished that to be so... thus, in my eyes, it was like an automation self-initations the second i decided to go on this path... and also that path may and will change later in life, day by day. One day I may not refer to myself as wiccan... as of today i say i am an Agnostic-Henotheistic Wiccan/Neopagan who is very eclectic in my ways.
Do i think a year and a day is a good thing and in somecases really nessicary, yes.. but not also. I think that you can acheive your goals in life, not with in a year, but over a long period of time that has no set timeline... I dont know when my " year and a day" started or when it will end.. and i dont count the days. I will study and think of and keep walking along my own path the way I wish to...
sorry.. kinda made it longer that i had planned to in the beginning.. and it sortof got a bit rant-ish.
I love who i am. and I love my dear friend D, even if she makes hurtful comments ever so often. her flavor spirituality and how she shows it is her own, and I have mine. =]
I think, in most cases, the year and a day are important because it prevents you from making hasty decisions. But other than any formal training, I think that you know yourself better than anybody else, so it is really up to you as to how long would be sufficient. As to the handfastening, it is your day, so the ultimate decisions are up to you. Even if every detail is not entirely traditional, doesn't mean that it is wrong. You should tell your friend how you feel and if she is really your friend, she will eventually come around and be there for you. She has the right to her opinions and you have the right to yours.
The path itself is a breathing growing "religion" (as it were) and as one learns one grows and develops on the journey. 'i suggest to keep an open mind to possibilities but do what feels right in your heart and soul. Our loving Goddess will always lead you right if you ask and ones heart always stays true to one self if one only sits and listens.
I would assume that in two years your friend has probably outgrown her limited attitudes, but, FWIW, here's my 2 cents. BTW, my own background includes three very traditional lineages--two American, the other British--and I'm a 3rd degree British Traditional High Priestess, practicing since about 1975. So if she won't take my word for it, I don't know whose word she'll take.
Most solitary practitioners have probably never done any sort of ceremony. This doesn't stop them from practicing. How could it?
Others do the traditional year-and-a-day, to give themselves the time to develop their practice in the way they want. That's useful for them, and I recommend it, but nobody can require that of you as a solitary. Some may take a shorter time, others a longer time. There's never a need to rush. Take things at your own pace.
Within any given tradition (as in, a teaching or initiatory lineage), there may (or may not) be ways that are considered customary, or even "right": for example, British Traditional Wicca works with, and is largely based on, male-female polarity. That's part of what British Traditional Wiccans use to define the tradition as a whole. A Witch may use methods counter to that polarity, but those methods won't be British Traditional. Doesn't mean they don't WORK, though. And Pagan religions are very practical.
For your handfasting, you should do things as you see fit: it's your ceremony, nobody else's. If you want a British Traditional ceremony (for example), certainly, go find a BritTrad High Priestess to officiate; if you don't want a specific tradition, you don't have to have one. As long as you and the Gods bless your union, that's all that's necessary for your ceremony to be effective.
The Gods don't prefer people with traditional initiations: they appreciate the sincere and open heart, and a thoughtful mind, and a willingness to work, with or without initiations. So pray to your Gods, listen for answers, and do what you honestly understand to be right for you.
It seems to me you're already doing that. Good for you!