Finding a Coven

Finding a Wiccan Coven

If you have been reading up on Wicca for a while and you know its the path for you, you may find yourself thinking about joining a Coven where you can practise with other people and get more training. This piece was born out of the requests of many hundreds of people who have contacted me over the years asking for information on how to find a Coven or how to approach a Coven for membership. Some people complained that after many months and in some cases years they are still unable to find a group which have a space available, or that they were simply unable to locate “their local coven”.

The Wiccan Tradition is usually taught by a High Priestess & High Priest. These are usually Second or Third Degree initiates of traditions such as (or based / born out of) the Alexandrian Tradition or the Gardnerian Tradition. Both these and other traditions practising within this Mystery tradition will have their own criteria for accepting new members and in addition, each Coven will also have their own unique criteria. Today there are Covens all over the UK, Europe and North America. There are also covens in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and in many other parts of the world. Depending on where you live you may however need to be both willing and able to travel in order to attend meetings with a Coven, if you were accepted into one.

Yes, I said “if you were accepted into one”. The Wiccan Tradition is different from mainstream religions, it is a “Craft” rather than “just” a religion. It is a spiritual path that requires a great deal of commitment and Covens (especially established ones) are very careful about who they accept as members. A Coven many only accept two or three members a year, or they may only accept one every other year. An estabished Coven is likely to expect the Seeker (person looking for Coven training and initiation) to be able to “fit in” with the group. So even if you found your “local” coven there are absolutely no guarantees that they will automatically accept you as a member! Today there are covens in nearly every country in Europe, the Americas, South Africa – there is likely to be one within travelling distance of where you live, but there are no guarantees that you will be accepted as a member purely based on that.

If they are willing to consider you for membership, then you may still have to undergo a period of training, study and evaluation prior to being initiated and becoming a member of the Coven. During this time (which varies, but is usually a “year and a day” – ie. 13 Full Moons) the Seeker will be expected to prove their commitment to the Coven, the tradition etc. Again criteria for this varies from Coven to Coven (even within the same tradition).

So how do you find Covens in your area?

The Wiccan Tradition is not for the “meek”. There is no spoon-feeding here. If you want to find a Coven you will need to go out there, talk to people, attend moots (social gatherings), festivals, workshops or any other event at which there may be likeminded people. If you stay at home and never mingle with people then you won’t find a Coven. The internet can be a useful resource in helping you find out about meetings in your area – a good place to start (if you haven’t already) is http://www.witchvox.com or on the Avalonia Forums. You will need to talk to people, you will need to ask questions and you will need to be willing to make the effort to learn as much as you can so that when you meet people who may be able to help, you know which questions to ask!

Issues to consider before approaching a group for membership:
1. How much of your time are you able to commit to a group? 1 meeting a month, 1 a week etc.How will your loved ones feel about the time you commit towards learning and working with a Coven?
2. What are you own personal beliefs in regards Divinity?
3. How far are you able to travel to attend meetings? How will this affect your family life and your other relationships? Will you be able to afford it?
4. How do you feel about working “skyclad” (ie. naked)?
5. What do you expect from a Coven? [I would recommend you read "The Real Witches Coven" by Kate West for some ideas of what Coven-life may be like]

How much homework have you done?
Well? Speaking from my own experiences as a Wiccan High Priestess, I know that I personally prefer taking on people as trainees, that have done their homework! What do I mean by homework?
You should know a little about the history of the tradition, have an established interest in working with the Old Gods and Goddesses and have a good general idea of what the tradition is about. To me this is a good indication that the person I am speaking to is serious about wanting to learn more and will be able to be committed.

Good books to read prior to approaching Covens for membership include:

Circle of Fire, Sorita d’Este & David Rankine
Wicca Magickal Beginnings, Sorita d’Este & David Rankine
Lid off the Cauldron by Patricia Crowther
Fire Child by Maxine Sanders
King of the Witches by June Johns
The Witches Bible by Janet and Stewart Farrar
Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration by Philip Heselton
Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler

Each of the above offers something a bit different, and I think its good for you to be exposed to different ideas so that you can find that which is right for you.  Knowledge helps and encourages discernment.

Keep in mind that you have a CHOICE when it comes to joining a Coven. The Coven Leaders / Members will also have a CHOICE as to whether or not they accept you as a member. They will ask you questions and you should be ready to also ask them questions about themselves, their practices and their tradition. Coven membership is a mutual decision – the Coven will be able to decide whether or not they want to work with you, and you have the right to decide whether or not you want to work with them. Although there are many bonafide Covens, Priestesses and Priests working within the many traditions of Wicca today, there are also always dubious groups and individuals using the name of the tradition to cover activities which may be harmful to you and others – so it is necessary to take some precautions:

1. When after initial contact with a prospective Coven you are invited to meet with them, insist on meeting in a public place. Treat it like you would a “blind date”. Don’t hand over your home address, work details or other personal information until you are sure that you trust the individual (s).

Remember:
YOU have a choice – you don’t have to join the first Coven you find. There is no hurry for you to work in a Coven, take your time. Better to find a Coven you work well with, than work with one where you feel uncomfortable with and as a result waste both your own time and energy, as well as that of the other Coven members. Be honest with yourself!

Here are some important pointers:
* You should be comfortable with your HPS, HP and other members of the prospective Coven. Trust your Instincts!
* Sex should never be expected in return for training, nor should it form part of your initiation.
* You should never be expected to pay large sums of money in return for training or initiation. You may however be expected to contribute towards general temple expenses (ie. incense, candles, tools etc – as well as mundane expenses incurred such as tea, coffee, toilet paper and car share if applicable). Temple expenses may vary, you may be expected to contribute £2 – £5 per meeting or to contribute by bringing the items as mentioned. You will usually also be expected to bring food and drinks to share for ritual feasting, as well as flowers and other offerings for rituals. Each group work slightly differently, make sure to ask.
* Confidentiality is VERY important to all Wiccan groups, and neither the Coven nor the Tradition is likely to change the rules just for you! The Virtue of Silence will be one you will need to exhibit in regards to members, covenstead (place of meetings) and other Coven activities.
* Expect a lot of hard work, study, practice and remember that it is a commitment – not a social club!
* It is important that you enjoy being part of the group you join.

Article by Sorita D’Este (c) 1998,
updated for Avaloniav 2003; 2006; 2007

Originally Published on http://www.avalonia.co.uk

31 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. stasha
    Jan 03, 2009 @ 14:19:15

    need to find a teacher in South Africa please help

    Reply

    • earthchild
      Aug 25, 2009 @ 14:41:03

      Hi there, i have just started studying the Craft and am wondering if you had any luck locating a teacher? I am looking for a study partner.

      Reply

      • Quinn
        Oct 26, 2009 @ 03:34:55

        Hello all. I have been practicing and continually studying for 11 years. I practice Paganism, mainly Wicca, sometimes I tie in other various things too. I would be happy to help answer any questions you might have and help you in anyway that I can as well. I also have a website with lessons on Paganism if you are interested.

        http://www.learnpaganism.webs.com

        Thanks!

    • Justin Da Silva Barnard
      May 24, 2010 @ 17:42:50

      Hey there Stasha, i live in South Africa too and I am seeking a coven.
      Let me know! Hehe, I am on Fcaebook :)

      Blessings )O(

      Reply

  2. claire
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 15:35:11

    need to find a teacher in my area. south africa johannesburg please help.

    Reply

  3. David Flynn
    Jul 26, 2009 @ 14:31:47

    Practising solitary for a while and looking to join a coven in Northern Ireland.

    Reply

  4. selsna
    Nov 04, 2009 @ 21:04:42

    i am having a hard time finding a local coven in my area and i have already tried the mentioned site witchvox.any help would be appreciated.

    Reply

  5. Georgia Davies
    Mar 07, 2010 @ 22:12:14

    hiya i’ve been reading about wicca for a while now and it just seems right, i’m hoping some one knows of any covens or teacher around Rhyl-wales if you do it will be a great help if you let me know of any.

    Reply

    • Louise Bridge
      Aug 05, 2010 @ 18:05:15

      To Georgia,
      Hello, i was wondering if you managed to find a teacher in this area. I am just starting out on the wiccan path and i am also from this area.
      Any help much appreciated.
      Louise

      Reply

  6. Eliazar
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 01:07:47

    Is there anyone outthere who can grant me a free blank book of shadows? Im living in Mexico and those kind of things dont run around like everything else you might want to look for.

    Reply

  7. Andrea
    May 09, 2010 @ 08:37:04

    I’ve been studying witchcraft for about 15 years, and I’m looking for a teacher in NZ. Preferably in Auckland, I’m from a family which all members are highly spiritual.

    Reply

    • Yvonne
      Jan 13, 2011 @ 22:02:15

      Hello Andrea, I am not a teacher but I am looking for someone who would be prepared to study with me. I live in Wellington

      Reply

  8. traci
    May 14, 2010 @ 18:37:20

    i would like to find a coven in peoria illinois —i wnt this for my path and i have been involved in this path for a few years under some circumstances others in my family make it hard for me bb

    Reply

  9. Suretha
    Aug 11, 2010 @ 12:19:11

    Hi

    I’m not practicing the craft yet i traced my family back to one. Is it possible to inherit any form of gift from former family members and if yes how do i learn to use them at will. None of my current existing family is interested in even talking about it where can i seek help as this “gift” is affecting my 4yr olds live in drastic measures. Due to my ignorance I
    m not sure how to help him. The coven members refuse to help me due to the distance. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Reply

  10. claire elboughey
    Aug 12, 2010 @ 22:10:53

    just lookin 4 a teacher 2 confirm few bits and bobs thanks xx

    Reply

  11. Jess
    Sep 02, 2010 @ 12:38:43

    Am looking to finding a coven in Devon or Cornwall if any body could help.

    Reply

  12. Nada
    Oct 11, 2010 @ 18:11:46

    Hello all, I am very interested in A) finding a priestess(? – practitioner) who introduced me to the wonderful craft and all that it can help with physically, emotionally and spritually and B) if this is not available, where would I find or how would I find someone who really knows about the craft so that I can resume my interest and the “health/homostasis” that

    Reply

  13. Nada
    Oct 11, 2010 @ 18:16:42

    {sorry, computer has a mind of it’s own}

    I was learning to achieve. I am currently reading but this person understood that I learn better when I am both able to hear, and vocalize what I am learning.
    I have some current health issues that I really want help”coping” with, ie. cancer LCH out of remission again. Is there any help.

    Reply

  14. Tina
    Dec 10, 2010 @ 03:01:55

    Trying to locate a coven in Utah, Please help

    Reply

  15. rajoo
    Dec 13, 2010 @ 20:27:17

    im looking to join a coven in durban sa.if anybody knw bov a coven in durban area,pls let me knw.tks

    Reply

  16. PhOeNix!
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 11:33:11

    Hey.. I also live in South-Africa I need to find a coven.. soon to live in potchefstroom…. I see a few fellow southafricans wich published two years ago!. Hopefully u get this…. I’ve been studying the craft in both alexandrian and gardnerian….

    Namaste!

    Reply

  17. sam
    Mar 14, 2011 @ 23:20:16

    hey names sam and i jst started this and i need a teacher close to licking missouri

    Reply

  18. Sunnette Muller
    Apr 03, 2011 @ 01:49:50

    Hi
    Stasha, i live in South Africa too and I am seeking a coven.
    Let me know please. I am geting married soon and is in need of a High Priestess. Please help. I want to start my life with the right path. Sorry I am Afrikaans and I need to learn more need youre help please.
    Thank You.

    Reply

  19. rachel
    Apr 03, 2011 @ 16:56:06

    hi im Rachel i live in west virginia i have been studing wicca on my own for about 13 years and i was trying to find some ppl near me that do to i just moved.

    Reply

  20. mosi
    Aug 14, 2011 @ 03:30:23

    hi i’ve been interested in the path of the goddess and im currently moving to savannah, georgiao do you know of any covens there?

    Reply

  21. David Sutton
    Oct 08, 2011 @ 13:00:08

    I am searching for spiritual truth,peace and happiness. I have arrived at Wicca and it seems to hold ancient answers to modern problems.I have a great fasination for Wicca and would love to learn more. I live in Buckinghamshire can anyone help me?

    Reply

  22. Debra S. Mathis
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 20:15:48

    I am looking into a coven in Peoria Illinois. Can you help?

    Reply

  23. Kelvin.y.
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 20:02:19

    Thank u for sharing this information. I’m a Nigerian interested.Can u direct me on how to be one. Kelvin

    Reply

  24. Daymion
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 01:27:04

    Thank you for the information it that really makes me consider my feelings and my knowledge I may not be ready. However I may know for a fact that the wiccen beliefs are my calling I may need more study

    Reply

  25. Kimberly Gonzalo
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 03:42:59

    I will be moving to South America and I just need to figure out how to reverse the holidays, etc for the rituals, like during Yule it will be summer in South America and so on; so would I practice Midsummer at that time and so on. I would like to know these things before I move down there so I am prepared, it will not be so easy when I’m down there because they are mostly Christian or Catholic and well Pagan will not go so well down there especially with my family down there.

    Reply

  26. Rick
    Nov 25, 2012 @ 18:39:47

    Great advice thankyou. I have been reading Wicca for a long time and feel completly drawn to it, even with years with no reading, i still consider myself Wiccan. Im in New Zealand..Looking for a Coven.. Blessed Be.

    Reply

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