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.
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.
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.