Sunday, May 28, 2006

Covens

I’ve noticed that many people mention that they had been involved with a coven in the past, but it had since broken up. Based on what I’ve read on personal sites, it seems that it is common for a coven to break up after a time, whether a few months or years. I know that it is not possible to keep groups together forever, but when groups are disbanding this fast and this often, it makes me wonder.

Covens are basically groups of people that worship together, right? But there has to be much more to it than that just to keep a group together. Some of the things that I have noticed, based on some of the reasons I’ve seen for groups breaking up, covens have to have the right mix of personalities, similar skill and knowledge level and “status” level. What I mean by status is that each person in the group has to feel on equal level with the others.

Although I have never been officially involved with a coven, I have had the experience to work with a group. I had been interested in learning more about Paganism, and mostly had been reading about it on my own. A friend of mine, who I was just getting to know at the time, noticed one of my books in my car and asked me if I was Pagan. I told him that I was more of a seeker. By the end of our conversation, I had been invited to take part in a full moon ritual with a group of his friends who at the time were just starting to form a coven.

After my experience with this group, I can understand the draw of wanting to work with a group. The energy of working together was amazing; I still can’t put words to what I experienced that day. This group worked well together, everyone had a speaking part, and everyone participated in another way other then their speaking part. It was a very good experience for me to see how working within a group could be beneficial to the feeling of a Pagan community and also the knowledge that is learned within a group.

Instead of rehashing everything that I have learned about covens from the internet, I’ll just put some links up for you to look at if you wish.

Coven - Wikipedia
Choosing to Join a Coven - Witches Voice
Wicca Covens - a Book about covens
Cyber Covens
Defining Covens, Groves, and Circles
Wiccan Covens Directory

4 comments:

Katherine Ayala said...

I'm actually surprised that you haven't become a pagan at this point. It seems like it's your path but you're keeping it at arm's length...

By the way, I'm back on Blogger... :-)

Sojourner said...

LOL - I'm not ignoring your comment. I've just spent the last day figuring out how to answer it. Stay tuned....

Wanderer said...

It seems to me that one of the issues that leads to covens frequently lasting for finite periods of time is based on the nature of what they are.

Most people look at the dissolution of covens as being explosive events (not referring to hostility here, though it has happened) in that it is a whole, and then all parts are scattered.

The frequency with which a coven unravels rather than simply losing a membere here and gaining one there is mostly due to the intensity and personal connection between all members within.

If someone leaves a church, whether due to simple relocation, differences in belief, or some actual discord, many people may not even notice. Those that do will see that one of many isn't there anymore.

Covens are small, intimate units. If you move away and are forced to leave one, you are not easily replaced. Your absence is noted whenever a circle forms. Something key to the coven is simply gone. This in and of itself can have a detrimental effect on the stability of the coven as a whole. Like an eggshell, the simple crack can spread to the whole, and it will simply dissolve.

If there is a difference in theology, or some discord that causes you to leave, this is felt even harder. The coven can't avoid considering the issue at every gathering, and even if no sides are taken, it can fester.

In short, it is like a family. Regardless of what the reason is, when a family member leaves, they leave a hole. When it is a fight that causes it, the remaining members feel it harder.

The intimacy and personal connection within a coven can easily be damaged, maybe even irrevocably so, and thus the energy raised and used is similarly effected, when a member is lost for any reason. As such, the covens fade, or explode.

Sojourner said...

Wow! Wanderer, thanks for you input! The fact that Covens, by nature, are small, intimate groups does have an impact on how they interact.