*This is the first part of a two-part series*
Not all pagans join a coven. Many do, and for a variety of reasons. I myself am a solitary, but I’ve been considering joining a coven for a year now. However, it’s a big decision, and choosing a coven can be daunting.
So, here’s the start of a sort-of guide to choosing and considering working with a coven:
Why do you want to join a coven? Throw out all prior knowledge gleaned from Hollywood and such. It will probably only confuse, intimidate, or misdirect you. If you’re new to paganism, joining a coven sounds like a great way to meet people and advance in the craft–but covens (generally–I can’t speak for all of them when I’m not even in one!) are a lot of hard work. Are you willing to put yourself through years of bettering yourself and gaining a deeper connection with deity? These are things that many covens do work on. Covens are not a place for fluffy bunnies! So what are your reasons? Do you think they are good enough? If they are truly good enough reasons for you to be happy with, then they will be good enough for everyone else when you make your decision.
Research different traditions and paths. There are the paths of Wicca, Asatru, Druidry, Fae/Faerie/Feri, Discordianism, Religio Romana, and many others, as well as the subsets within each. Wicca, for example, is one path but there are the subsets of Alexandrian, Gardnerian, Celtic, Eclectic, Christian Wicca, etc. Knowing what some of these different paths mean can help to narrow down the decision of which path you most are or most want to be. Some traditions are more strict ritual and tradition based while others allow more individuality within the coven. Just as there are many different sects of Christianity within the overall Christian umbrella, so it is with Paganism. If you wanted to join the Catholic church, you wouldn’t show up at a Presbyterian church, would you? So if you want to join Alexandrian Wicca, you shouldn’t join a Gardnerian coven. Once you’ve done your research and at least narrowed down the options (and excluded things you know you don’t want), move on to Step 3!
Covens will not seek you out. It’s all a part of the no-proselytizing belief that [most] pagans have. Covens will not blatantly ask for new members or post a nice bright sign on a billboard for you to notice. You have to find the coven. Once you think you have a path in mind, research some more on the internet. Some covens have a website for interested people to contact them. Ask around if you can, or ask in a metaphysical store if they know of any local covens and who to contact. This may be the trickiest part of joining a coven–actually finding the coven! Example–I live outside DC and I can only think of three covens, two of which are larger covens with websites and one which is smaller. The last I only know about because my friend is in it–otherwise I would never have known it exists. Living outside a large city and I can only think of three covens? I can guarantee that there are many more covens out there but they don’t advertise themselves in the ways people usually think of.
*Go to Part 2.*