To be or not to be…in a Coven

I thought that this entry was going to be about how people can lie and deceive, even those that you would never expect to. I was going to write about a coven experience of mine that made me want to return to solitary practice as a Witch and to not involve myself with any one else spiritually, to protect myself. The tears that came when it all settled in were a thing I thought I would never have to shed. But, I have and there is nothing that can be done about it.

 So, instead, I would like to write about what it is really like to be in a coven and give some advice on how to find one for yourself, from my point of view.

Yes, my view is limited; I am only one person. My view may be a little naïve because I have good expectations when I go into most situations. Everyone else who has ever been in a coven, down to the very last person, will have a different story because they each have a different point of view as to how they were (or are) affected by their own ‘coven experience’. I ask you, then, to take these writings as the picture as it is seen  from one Witch’s window. I see it from a slightly different angle than others might see it. I see it colored by my own pain or pride or frame of reference and I ask that you keep this in mind.

Also, before you form an opinion about how it is, I would also ask that you form an opinion about how it should be, at the best of times and how it could be at the worst of times and realize that the truth is somewhere in the middle (a little tribute to my wise husband).

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Covens are made up of people. As much as we would like to think that we can find a ‘soul mate’ or a best friend that is just like us within a coven, it simply isn’t possible, most of the time. It is important too keep in mind that everyone is different, be it a big or small difference. We each view the world through our own lens and, based on our own frame of reference, form opinions about the world. Covens have growing pains and stagnant periods.

Covens usually make up a set of rules to help govern how the coven members will deal with issues that come up and to protect each other and the coven as an entity. The goal of these rules is to try to cover every possible scenario and to provide a fair forum for hearing each issue and for dealing with each difficulty and for keeping certain things secret or out of public knowledge. Obviously, every possible scenario can not be covered in these rules because there are an infinite amount of them, literally. But, each coven tries to do the very best it can.

Covens sometimes appoint people to sit on a council and to act as the ‘wisdom’ of the coven, to act on behalf of the coven in any situation and to try to seek out the wisest and best course of action for any given issue and to stand by it. It takes strength and wisdom and patience.

Covens create sacred space together and work within this space to create clear avenues to goals and to spiritual growth. This sacred space is, ideally, entered into in love and trust. (On a side note; it is traditionally supposed to be ‘perfect’ love and trust. But, that ‘perfect’ is a concept that we use to try to bring our standards of love and trust up to the very best of our abilities. Our goal is perfect love and trust, yes. But, realizing that nothing is ever really perfect for everyone, all the time, we understand that it is something to work for. So, this perfect love and trust is something we speak to put ourselves in that frame of mind where we are worthy of perfect love and trust, as well as sending out our most perfect version of love and trust to those involved). 

Back to the topic of Sacred Space; it is a place between this world of form and the world of the unseen where our spiritual bodies rise to the surface, so to speak. Within this sphere of light and protection, we conjure, we affirm, we heal and chant and create change. Who knows, we may even lift ourselves out of one universe into a parallel universe to create the change we seek. We open ourselves to the Universe and the love that the Universe has to offer. We seek our own truth and growth.

Coven members teach each other and learn from each other, knowing that each member has a different base of knowledge that comes from our life experiences; our Journey. We realize that our journey of acquiring knowledge is ongoing, life-long, eternal. I believe that persons are involved in covens because their paths have been (or are) meant to cross and they have certain things to learn from each other and to teach.

Coven members care for each other. We drive each other to the store and help each other move or with homework. We lend a shoulder to cry on, if that is what’s needed. Or we stand up and confront those who we feel have wronged us, even if it is within the coven itself. But, we strive to do it from a place of love and of wisdom. This is also a part of teaching and learning.

Sometimes, things happen within a coven that hurt us. Those things are part of a learning process. They could be a lesson in learning not to ignore our ‘red flag’ that pops up when someone is not being honest or is telling us a fabrication. They could be a lesson in patience or in devotion. And, on occasion, they could be lessons in knowing when to stand up for yourself and not back down when you know something is wrong. None of these lessons is easy. But, no one I know of ever said this Path would be easy. On the contrary, I have been told repeatedly that this is a very difficult Path and my own experience confirms this.

So, what does one do?

Do you join any coven just because you were invited? I would council against that course of action.

Do you join because you are a good friend of a member? Again, be careful there, too.

Do you join after careful meditation and a process of listening to your inner voice and to the Goddess and God? Yes. This, more than any other course of action is, I believe, the wisest way to approach the inclusion, the joining.

Do we all use this course of action?

Nope.

When I joined my first coven, I had to fill out an application. It was a few pages long and asked some basic questions. I answered each the best that I could and took my time doing it. It was more important to me to be complete in my answers than to be included in the coven. I was more interested in representing myself correctly than in rushing to join the coven. Even though I was very young in terms of being on the Path, I did not want to join the coven just to join a coven. I knew that it would be wise to be honest. And it turned out that I was right because the experiences I had in that first coven were amazing, life-changing and set my feet upon the correct path for me. These events were my proof and validation that I was in the correct coven for me and taking my time to write the most honest answers that I could was the right thing to do because it was a way to show the rest of the coven who and what I was.

In places along the way since then, I intermittently forgot about letting things happen as they should. No, it is not my habit to do so. But, being on this spiritual journey for around thirty years sometimes has disadvantages. I forgot to look at things as if they were new to me, with the awe of a child. That connection to my inner child is a very important part in the choosing of a coven for me and I forgot to rely on that a time or two. This proved to be a disservice to myself.

I want to say to you now, dear reader, that I advise against rushing into being in a coven because you want to be included. Don’t jump in and forget to look at where you are and to ‘feel’ who you are with. Explore each person before the decision is made. If you have any ‘red flag’ issues or any misgivings, meditate upon them. Delve into WHY you have these feelings and really pay attention to the thoughts you have and the answers the Universe gives you. If you have good feelings, look inside your self and ask what these feelings are based on. Listen to your heart and your mind. Listen the voice of the Goddess when She speaks to you in your dreams and thoughts, in meditation or through another person.

Do not join a coven and think that nothing will ever go wrong just because you are involved with a group of spiritual people who also listen to and worship the Divine in the form of the Goddess and God; Things go wrong sometimes.

Just because you find a coven that is looking for members does not mean that it is the right coven for YOU. Be careful who you work with and lend your energy to; not everyone is who they seem to be on the surface.

 Protect yourself, be wise, be awake and aware. Don’t think for one minute that everyone is as good as you hope they are because the fact is that we are all human. Sometimes, we make mistakes and accidents happen. And, sadly, sometimes those who we trust are those who deceive us and we are led along under a cloak of deception and we fail to heed the warnings that our heart screams at us. Listen to those warnings!

 

You might do well to make a general checklist for yourself of things that you should look for that tell you what is right or wrong for YOU. Or you might have a mental list of things that you look for. Another way to feel things out is to employ the ‘red flag’ technique. By this, I mean that you should really listen to people when they talk and if you have ANY type of warning or any feeling in your heart or gut, that they are not saying the truth about even simple things, you should consider exploring whether they are truly honest in their dealings with others, spiritual or not.

Conduct an internet search to find out more about a person involved in a coven or the coven as a whole. If the person or group has been in the public eye (provided the coven has been around for a period of time) or have been involved with groups, there will be some kind of clues about how they operate, even if those clues are between the lines.

Ask others who know them, keeping in mind that everyone will have a slightly different experience with each given person or coven. That is only natural and just the way us humans do things. If anything comes up that gives you pause or makes your ‘red flag’ come out, then back away and really think about joining the group.

If others have previously been involved with the coven in question, go to them and ask them about their experiences within the coven. Again, keep in mind that their experiences are subjective. But, if there is more than one person, you should be able to get a more complete picture of the truth.

Lastly, please, please, DO NOT join a coven because you feel a pressing need to join because you think they are the only coven around. It is likely that they are not the only one around. They are probably simply just the only one you know about. It’s happened to me. Search around. Put out a psychic ‘Coven Call’ and state your wishes to the Universe. You could even write your coven requirements on a piece of paper and incorporate that into a magickal working to find the correct coven.

My point is to do the homework, before hand.

 

I hope that this blog entry has been enlightening. It is my hope that this is a help to at least one person. And, I hope that any person this blog entry does help will keep in mind that this is only my point of view, my story, my thoughts. Your decision is up to you, of course. My wish is for you to make an educated decision.

 

May the light and blessings of the Goddess be with you on your Path. 

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8 thoughts on “To be or not to be…in a Coven

  1. Mark says:

    I would humbly add as a continuation of thought that there is a phenomenon that occurs when dealing with people called “Little Lie – Big Lie”. Simply stated: a person who is in the habit of telling little lies will also tell big lies. It is up to us – the searcher – to discern those lies for what they are and then to decide on the course of action we feel is correct. People will only show you the face they want you to see, but a Coven should be something different. It should be a place where every member feels they can be themselves (without the use of facades) and not have to worry about how they will, or will not, be accepted.

    I, also, forgot that along the way and was bluntly reminded by the Goddess in a recent endeavor.

    My council? Listen to what the Goddess tells you…from that quite place in your heart…for She will never lead you astray.

    May the peace and the love of the Universe find its way to your doorstep.

  2. Thank you for this reply. It is something I had not thought of.

  3. Symbian says:

    Extreemly Insightfull, full of Wisdom especially for Seekers JoBeth ! For Such a long time I wanted Pagan Friendships, a Spiritual Community to belong to, to actually feel like I was a Participating Witch (In Training), The Internet magically provided me with those open venues, However… Most of Those Venues have a bit of a Quirky Side to them – Most are full of Rapant and Raging Egotism, Shadowed Politics, Ongoing Psychological Control Dramas and unstable Psychological Self Worth Issues … I am certain that durring your search you stumbled upon those as well, … a Little Daunting .. arnt they ! …. Not Quite The Pristine and Beautiful Enviornment that is Advertised ! Well …I decided to try to go in two directions with my Interest in The Craft, Firstly to learn as much as I could about Human Psychology, Control Issues and Control Dramas, (The Cellestine Phrophecy – Turned me on to Those ones… I know that it is Pure Fiction, however, intuition and common sence told me that there are certain Universal Truthes when it comes to dealing with People … And Humankinds need to Control, Dominate,
    and steer others to their “Will” … Potential Reality … I Call It ! Well I found out rather quickly about “Coven Will” and In a Perfect form of Paganism – Coven Will would be Balanced between Harmony and Chaos – Which I believe is where it Should be ! That wasnt the Case ! For a great deal of my Coven research I found so much Dysfunction and Turbulance that I became disheartned, I discovered that there was way too much Dramatic Licence applied, and most of The Traditions had lost their Origional Integrity, Their Core Philosophy had been modified and adopted so many times … that They are not what they once were ! When I realized this – I thought Long and Hard about How and if I could ever find a Tradition that has stayed true to their Event Horizon Integrity, I found a Few … but I also got an Idea … How did the Cave Dwellers Deal with Deity, How did they develop a relationship with their Gods and Goddesses ?, Survivol and Keeping on Their Good Sides was their Motivation, Their Learning Curve was Steep … Learn Quick … Or Die Fast ! ( I am Talking about their Individual relationship with Deity – before Tribe or Coven had even been thought of !) So These Primitives went extreemly out of the way to develop a Repor with the Gods … I was Amazed … Finally, I had found Witchcraft and Paganism `Without` Issues or Control Dramas ! … YAY ! … However … I would classify it as Sollitarry, not anywhere close to being able to be tribal or Coven based, when it was just between The Gods and a Primitive- Things were Great ! but the Moment a Tribal Chief, Medicine Person or Council felt that they could interpret the will of the Gods beter than the Primitive could for themselves ….well.. that is when control dramas and human Competitive nature kicks in ! … JoBeth … I Soooo appreciate your Posting This ! Thank You for allowing me to share my Thoughts here …my Journey is still a `Work In Progress` Much Love :3 ❤ )O( Symbian

    • Thank you for reading this entry. I appreciate your reply very much.
      I wanted to mention a few things.

      First, another great book about what to look for and what to avoid when looking for a coven or when involved in any group is “Truth Or Dare” by Starhawk. Excellent work. It isn’t fiction. Rather, it is a tool; a reference book.
      Also, I wanted to address your comment on “Core Coven Philosophy”; I believe there was, a long time ago, a very basic core coven philosophy. But, as more and more people started down the Pagan Path, that philosophy has changed and evolved to reflect the increasing awareness of the Pagan community. This core philosophy must endure some kind of change as time passes or there will be no growth. Without growth, there is no forward evolution, only stagnation.

      Within your reply, you spoke of the relationship of a ancient human with divinity. So, I thought I would throw in my two cents as well. My thoughts on this are that the relationship with ancient, prehistory human happened naturally. She / he discovered that there was an undercurrent of ‘something’. Call it Nature, Power, Divinity, Gods or Goddess. It was there. I believe it happened slowly and was so ingrained into the psyche of ancient humans beings that it became a part of our group consciousness. Just my two cents…

      You also spoke of a hierarchy of power or authority among ancient humans in the form of a Medicine Man or Council. I have to say that I agree with you that there are those in power (and have been all through history) who practice ‘power over’ and steer a group for their own purposes. But, in a coven, is SHOULD be different. The High Priest or Priestess should be a servant just as much as a person of authority. The coven SHOULD be strong enough to say “Stop that, we don’t agree”, or what ever needs to be said and the High Priestess SHOULD be able to look at it from all angles, from a place of Wisdom and Love. Not an easy thing to do because the human ego is not always in agreement. But, I think you get my point.

      Keep posting those awesome blog posts! And keep replying to others. The Pagan community needs more thoughtful people like you!

      Blessings!

      • Symbian says:

        Awww … Thank You Very Much ! I have never been one to Hold my Tongue very Long … But when I got a first hand living example of the “Your Words have Power and can affect others” (Part of The 13 Goals of a Witch)and I ended up saying something without thinking about it too long it ended up hurting someone emotionally and perhaps spiriually .. I lost that friendship due to my own ignorance ! While I will ensure that it will never hapen again …The Damage was done !From That moment on …I Choose my Friends over time with Intuitive Wisdom And I practice an Unconditional Compassion which I apply to ALL ! That was a Very Hard Lesson The Goddess Sent me .. But I believe that I survived, and am that much the wiser for it ! It pleases me soo much that even though I have never been initiated …I still have a valid sence of Balance , Harmon, Kaos, and that I have such natural Belief and Faith in The God and Godess … I MUST be a Passionate Witch ! … Well at least I feel Like a Pssionate Witch – Giggle ! (and Playful to … as you can see !) I Honour Your Wisdom and Insight ! and Thank The God and Goddess for our Meeting ! You can also PM me at spiritsinthecave@hotmail.ca if you have any Ideas or wisdom that you would like to share ! While I adhear to The Rede the best way I can … I also believe that “All Paths are Valid” All … are part of the Balance of Harmony and Kaos …and cant have on without the other – Grin ! I Welcome your Frendship ! ad Embrace all that can Be !
        Blessed Be !

  4. Symbian says:

    I Love your Theme by The Way ! ❤ ;3

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