Joining a Coven

I often get asked, “How does one go about joining a group?” Coven work isn’t for everyone; there any many witches who enjoy and prefer working alone. However, coven work can be part of a fulfilling spiritual experience. There are many ways to find a coven that fits your needs. While sometimes it can be difficult to even find a group of Pagans in your area, much less find a group that is perfect for you, one will never know unless one embarks upon the journey.

The most popular way to find a local group is The Witches Voice at is the most comprehensive witch and Pagan networking engine on the internet today. Organized and easy to navigate, this is the best place for one to start, especially if you rather communicate via text and email than phone calls. Another way to find a group is to search the groups on yahoo. Many covens use these email-friendly lists to communicate. Be aware, though, that many large social and solely online groups call themselves covens. You can always visit your local occult or metaphysical store. Many times, local covens either rent/use space in a local shop, or post notices on the shops bulletin board. You can always ask the proprietor of the shop about local groups. Also, subscribe to mailing lists of meetup groups, social groups, or Pagan events. Going to open events and networking may lead you to a group.

Once you do find a group that you are interested in, you’ll probably be asked to meet with the leadership of the coven, or attend a meet and greet to meet the coven in its entirety. These meetings are the place to ask any questions you may have of the coven, and answer any questions that they might ask you. It’s important, not just that they fit your needs, but that you fit theirs as well. Make sure your goals and your participation expectations are very clear. You’ll want to make sure the coven is structured in a way in which you could be happy.

My suggestion is to be at your best at these meetings. Once you are part of the coven family, then you’ll get to know the issues that your coven brethren have. This is not the time to tell your potential coven family that your wages have been garnished because you don’t pay your child support, that you have problems having orgasms, or that the Dagda has chosen you as his personal songstress and sends you unicorn dreams that you just KNOW means that you were a priestess of Brighid in a past life. Unless you are asked a question, don’t overshare; whether it’s personal life issues, or UPG (universal personal gnosis). Don’t lie, either. Ever. A coven is based on perfect love and perfect trust, and a little lie (even lies that you think don’t matter) will come out sooner or later.

Don’t come in with an entitled attitude. Realize that the coven is taking their time to meet you. They aren’t doing you a favor, and most likely they aren’t feeling like they NEED another member. Realize that even if you’ve been part of other groups before, or have studied for over ten years, you may still need to take dedicant/ newbie classes. These classes may include “Wicca 101” material, but there may be other reasons why one is expected to take these classes.

In my group, “beginners classes” help the initiates get to know the dedicants. It also gives the dedicants a chance to learn what the coven believes, how they perform ritual and other important concepts. In our coven, every dedicant goes through these classes, like a rite of passage. If you gripe or fight us on taking our classes, that shows us that you want to be part of a coven, not our coven. Usually, if you are aspiring to be part of a group, that group has traditions, and certain ways of doing things. Don’t come in hoping to change it into something you want to join. Also, realize your role in the coven at this point- if you are a newbie to the coven, don’t expect to plan rituals, or have large parts (if any) in ritual, etc. Entitlement is a big turn off.

I’ve heard someone say, “I was SO bored with the open event that [insert coven name here] put on. They just talked afterwards, and didn’t do anything witchy. Should I say something to the high priestess?” Um, no. They are opening their ritual to give you an opportunity to circle with a group. Putting on an open (or public) ritual is a very time consuming endeavor. Being invited to one is a privilege.

One the subject of non-witchy activities, one of the most common misconceptions of coven behavior is that it’s all witchcraft all the time. This isn’t true. It’s not all ritual/ trance/ meditation/ divination. If you want to be part of a well-balanced family-type group, you’ll get to know one another really well, which means that at some point, you’ll need to put the wands down and socialize. Sure, there may be scheduled classes and workshops, but realize that some of the best spiritual discussions can happen organically out of regular conversations.

Another question I get is “what does a coven look for in a potential member?” In my experience, sanity and the absence of icky drama, first and foremost. Adult life skills are also helpful. Be able to balance your checkbook, do your laundry, be aware of your hygiene, clean your house. Craft skills are also helpful, as are camping skills. If you’ve been on a Craft path for awhile, it might be helpful to choose and focus on one facet of the craft. Have a solid solitary practice going on.

Coven life shouldn’t take the place of your personal practice and relationship with the gods, but should complement your practice. Finding the perfect group for you might take time, but it is definitely worth it in the end.


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