Choosing a Coven

An introduction to Wiccan covens--whether online or off--including what they are, what they're not, and when to leave.

Reprinted with permission of Red Wheel/Weiser LLC. The Virtual Pagan by Lisa McSherry is available at better bookstores or directly from the publisher at 800-423-7087, by fax at 877-337-3309, or by email at




may also be called a temple, or grove, or circle. If a coven has the right blend of people, it is a marvelous entity. According to


, "The coven is a Witch's support group, consciousness-raising group, psychic study center, clergy-training program, College of Mysteries, surrogate clan, and religious congregation all rolled into one." Each coven has its own personality, woven from each individual's contributions. Ideally, a coven is the training ground in which each member develops his or her pagan potential, not just a group of people who get together to work magick.

Then again, while I sometimes found it difficult, practicing as a solitary provided a great opportunity to grow without externally imposed limitations. I needed to learn to rely on my own perceptions and abilities, instead of looking to somebody else to spoon-feed me enlightenment like a baby. When I was ready to find a coven, I had already spent a long time studying in a semi-structured learning environment.

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