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A coven of witches or pagans is a group of individuals who gather together to perform witchcraft, study the occult, and create a community. A coven can also be a group of people who assemble for self-development and spiritual enrichment. Covens do not always worship the same god, practice witchcraft, or follow the same rituals; however they share an interest in ritual, meditation, and enlightenment practices.
Coven literally means “assembly”, and true to its etymology it is an assembly of likeminded witches or pagans. What they do in their covens varies from group to group, but there are a few basic things that almost all of them do.
Almost all covens do spells together, and almost all of them celebrate holidays together.
Some covens also study their faith and craft together. They might also do community outreach like volunteering.
A Coven Is A Gathering Of Witches
Witches gather together for many reasons. Sometimes they gather to worship gods, celebrate holidays, or do spells. It’s hard to say why witchcraft evolved into a group activity, but it may have had something to do with the desire of practitioners to work together for the good of all.
They Do Spells Together
Witch covens will come together to do group spells. What spells they do will depend on the group. They may have a system to request certain spells, or they may have a set calendar for when certain spells are done.
Group spells can be more powerful than solitary spells, but that’s usually not the point. But when the magic is strengthened by the will of multiple witches, the power can be intoxicating!
They Celebrate Holidays Together
While there are many different traditions and holiday systems out there, covens often choose at least a few holidays to celebrate together. Whether they follow the modern wheel of the year or a more ancient reconstructed tradition, there are sure to be some wild parties.
You’ll find most covens probably celebrate Samhain or Halloween. Other popular ones are Beltane, Imbolc, Midsummer, Lammas, and Yule.
They Study And Practice Together
Some covens will develop their own traditions or adhere to one that has been handed down through the ages. They may develop regular services or rituals to perform. They might also do group meditations.
The idea behind this isn’t to strengthen magic but to build community around shared values. It’s a group effort to make these practices a stable part of your life. There are few settings more conducive to spiritual development than a coven meeting.
A coven can be very helpful for beginner witches, since the more experienced members can help guide them.
They Do Community Outreach
Volunteering together is a great way to change how the world sees pagans and witches! Many covens go out into the world and help others. It might be serving at a local soup kitchen or offering to hold a workshop at a public school.
There are many ways for pagans to help others. If you know that local mothers are struggling to feed their kids, kitchen witches could offer to make meals. Or if there is a homeschooling group, you can offer to teach the homeschooled kids skills that are friendly to non-witches, like plant identification and yoga.
It’s Really About Trust
When you are in an established coven, your belief in the religion goes beyond simply accepting what you are told. You have seen that there are people who have dedicated their lives to being better pagans and witches, and that is inspirational! If you trust them, what they can do will strike you as miraculous!
They Create A Safe Space
A coven is a found family, one where the members should strive to be loving and gentle in good and bad times. It’s inclusive of all their strengths and weaknesses, but it is also clearly defined.
When you are part of a coven, you think nothing of healing or sharing your pain with your groupmates. You can feel free to ask for help!
Your coven mates should accept and embrace all your weird traits and habits, just as you accept and embrace theirs. You can all feel a sense of belonging.
Are Covens Online Or Offline?
Covens can be either online or offline. Thanks to the global pandemic, online covens are more common than ever! But in person covens are still a very special experience that should be explored.
Online covens will be beneficial in building community, but there are some things you won’t be able to get when not in person. You probably can’t feel the energy in the room when congregating in a chat room, for instance. And you can’t give feedback on each other’s abilities when everyone is online.
How Do You Join a Coven?
Joining an online coven is often as simple as searching through social media. Find likeminded people, get into a group chat with them, and start working together!
An offline coven will be harder to find. You can check with your local metaphysical shops, libraries, and book stores. These places commonly give space to covens and might know how to contact the coven leaders for information on how to join them.
You can also check online classifieds to find local covens! No matter what, though, joining a coven is going to require you to be social and willing to be open about your faith and craft.
Do People Perform Spells During the Full Moon With a Coven?
Covens perform rituals at different times depending on their beliefs. Full moon and new moon rituals are actually very common among covens. They use the phases of the moon to power their magic.
If they follow a solar calendar or a different one altogether, they may not do moon rituals. As always with pagans and witches, there’s no easy answer!
What Are Some Requirements To Join a Coven?
Each coven will have their own requirements. Some common requirements are that you must be a certain age, practice a certain kind of magic, or follow a certain faith.
Before you join a coven you will be told all of the rules. You may find that the coven isn’t for you once you hear those rules, though, and that’s okay! Don’t force yourself to put up with rules you don’t agree with just to join a coven.
If a coven isn’t a good fit, you can still be friends with the members and even maybe join in on some rituals. But you shouldn’t agree to things you don’t want to agree to!
Are Covens Like Fraternities/Sororities?
Covens can be seen as similar to fraternities and sororities. They’re groups of people that come together for a common purpose, that celebrate together and mourn together. Unfortunately, some covens even haze like fraternities and sororities.
Is It OK To Be in a Coven if You Are Not Pagan?
Every coven will have their own rules on this. Some are more universalist, while others require you to share their beliefs and practices. All you can do is follow their rules as stated!