Why covens are here to stay

The rains came and they were/are (there is the promise of more on the way) glorious!

My reading continues, and, as so often happens when one starts down the reading rabbit hole, one bit of reading flows into the next bit of related reading. You may well be wondering why I seem to be reading up on the basics? Well, the answer is simple and complex all at the same time; in working my own path I now find myself in a position where I am beginning to help start others along their own journey. As part of that I am, slowly, working up a curriculum for my own series of Wicca 101 Brit Trad Style, as well as working with a couple of seekers (obviously under the guidance of my own teachers). And me, being me, I feel that it’s incumbent upon me to speak from a place of reasoned thought and to have that be based upon a broad base both practical and academic knowledge. And sometimes that means going back to basics.

aleksandrijanci

So to follow on from yesterday’s thoughts on Wicca and Initiation, today we have an offering from Naya Aerodiode: Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay.

I’ve heard a bit of buzz from various Pagan people on the internet suggesting that covens are going out of style, in favor of big public pan-Pagan gatherings.  While I think that the coven is a classic, timeless facet of witchery, like the little black dress, here are some more concrete, universal reasons why covens will always be needed.  Covens are a necessary structure for many practitioners of witchcraft, and despite the trends toward exoteric pan-Pagan community gatherings, covens aren’t going anywhere.

Read remainder of Naya Aerodiode’s: Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay

To turn the discussion to a specifically British Traditional context I’ll quote (with slight editing) Pandora, High Priestess of the Covenant of Winter’s End in Kent, England:

Many people ask questions like: What do you DO in your Coven?

Well, the answers in short form are:
We learn and grow as both Witches and human beings.

Now, here are the longer versions:

What’s a Coven/What do you DO in a Coven/What’s being in a Coven like?
We celebrate and engender our connection with Deity, our Craft and ourselves through Ritual, Meditation and Magical practice.

Can I join?
Well, a British Traditional Coven is not like a movie club or a gym. You cannot pay a fee and join. You have to be ready to work for it. There’s a lot of reading

Generally, once the word WORK comes out of my mouth, I notice that a lot of peoples’ eyes glaze over, and this pretty much ends the conversation. However, sometimes a person’s eyes light up and their whole attitude perks up a bit. These are the people we want, and these are the people who make it in the Craft.

So, a few steps forward then…

Before you decide you would like to join a Coven:
You already should have done some reading, and you should be sure that you want to start down this path. You should have already begun solitary work, and you should know the dates of the Sabbats by heart.

Once you’ve decided to seek out a Coven:
You should read the About page (when available) for the Coven which you’re interested in. Within that page should be guidelines and other basic information about that particular Coven. [My note: if the group you’re interested in does not have an online presence they should still have this information for you. And, as always, caveat emptor, BE SAFE, seek vouches — any legitimate teacher should have no qualms about directing you to people/organizations who can vouch for them.]…You should also be holding solitary rituals for the Sabbats, Full and New Moons.

WAIT! Before you dash off that email/membership information form:
You should realize that being part of a Coven is work. Not that we don’t have our share of fun, we do! I just want you to know that contrary to movies and TV and so on, Covens are for the dedicated and hardworking only. You should be certain that you’re willing to learn new things, You should be ready (and eager, even) to read a lot, and to be accountable for retaining and gaining insight and knowledge from what you read. You should be prepared to know how to respect authority. Finally, you should be able to take this commitment seriously. Covening is like University. If you’re not prepared to learn, you’ll get nothing out of it. We, as leaders, are here to help you, but we will not carry you. While we of the Wicca all walk the path hand in hand, we each still walk alone. If you cannot stand alone on your own two feet with regards to the Craft, then a Coven is not the place for you.

Catechism for a Witch’s Child

magickal_child

original artwork by: Nickilroy

When they ask to see your gods
your book of prayers
show them lines
drawn delicately with veins
on the underside of a bird’s wing
tell them you believe
in giant sycamores mottled
and stark against a winter sky
and in nights so frozen
stars crack open spilling
streams of molten ice to earth
and tell them how you drink
a holy wine of honeysuckle
on a warm spring day
and of the softness
of your mother who never taught you
death was life’s reward
but who believed in the earth
and the sun
and a million, million light years
of being

© 1986 J.L.Stanley

Wicca and Initiation

Here is North Central Texas the sun still blazes through our days and our earth is very thirsty (there is a cold front moving through tonight and I know we all pray for rain), but I can feel the tease of autumn in the morning and evening air. And, although everyone I speak with is grateful for our mild (by Texas standards) summer, I know we’ll happily welcome the cooler weather.

As our wheel turns toward autumn my thoughts turn inward and I find myself coming across many thought provoking writings. The following on Wicca and Initiation comes from one of our craft Elders, Morgana Sythove. I suggest it should be required reading for all seekers, but also think those of us with more than a few craft years under our belts can always benefit from a refresher on the topic as well.

There is often a great deal of dissension over the issue of Wicca and initiation. Many people believe that you can be a Wiccan without initiating or that a person can perform a “self-initiation”, while others (mostly Wiccan) declare that initiation is definitely needed and that self-initiation is generally a ridiculous concept.

link to the remainder of the post on Morgana’s blog

Announcing the DFW Pagan Book and Movie Club

Pagan? Like to read? Like to watch movies? Would you like to socialize with other Pagans who like the same things? Well, this group might just be for you.

We’ll start out as a book club reading Pagan related books (authors, plots, etc.) – mostly fiction, but as the group gets more established we can add movie nights, and maybe even games nights to the mix.

If this sounds like fun check us out at our Facebook pages for details.

Facebook: DFW Pagan Book and Movie Club

Bookclub

We don’t have a date, time or place set for to first meetup (we need some more members) but we do have a book.

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

The Synopsis from Good Reads:

The first adult epic fantasy novel from multi-million copy bestselling author of CHOCOLAT, Joanne Harris.

The novel is a brilliant first-person narrative of the rise and fall of the Norse gods – retold from the point of view of the world’s ultimate trickster, Loki. It tells the story of Loki’s recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of his one-eyed master, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself. Using her life-long passion for the Norse myths, Joanne Harris has created a vibrant and powerful fantasy novel.

Loki, that’s me.

Loki, the Light-Bringer, the misunderstood, the elusive, the handsome and modest hero of this particular tissue of lies. Take it with a pinch of salt, but it’s at least as true as the official version, and, dare I say it, more entertaining.

So far, history, such as it is, has cast me in a rather unflattering role.

Now it’s my turn to take the stage.

With his notorious reputation for trickery and deception, and an ability to cause as many problems as he solves, Loki is a Norse god like no other. Demon-born, he is viewed with deepest suspicion by his fellow gods who will never accept him as one of their own and for this he vows to take his revenge.

From his recruitment by Odin from the realm of Chaos, through his years as the go-to man of Asgard, to his fall from grace in the build-up to Ragnarok, this is the unofficial history of the world’s ultimate trickster.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18665037-the-gospel-of-loki

A little night music — Moonlight Sonata

“The young May moon is beaming, love.
The glow-worm’s lamp is gleaming, love.
How sweet to rove,
Through Morna’s grove,
When the drowsy world is dreaming, love!
Then awake! — the heavens look bright, my dear,
‘Tis never too late for delight, my dear,
And the best of all ways
To lengthen our days
Is to steal a few hours from the night, my dear!”
–  Thomas Moore, The Young May Moon

A beautiful (as always) post from my cyber friend Bridget.

arignagardener

Already the constantly turning wheel of the year has brought us to May Day… Bealtaine…the beginning of Summer in the Celtic calendar. The Blackthorn is in blossom now…soon it will be followed by the Maybush as Hawthorn is often known.

The Romans celebrated this time with the Festival of Floraia…in honour of the Goddess Flora…Goddess of fruit and flowers. They would feast for 5 days.

Imagine the scene in the old days in Ireland…fires lighting on every hill on the eve of Bealtaine…must have been a wonderful sight to see the hills glowing in the distance. The main fire was at Uisneach…in what is now county Westmeath. Fires in the home were quenched and then relit with coals from the embers of the bonfire.

In the not so distant past the churning of butter was an important activity on every farm. Indeed as a child I remember my Mother making butter in…

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