Want to find a coven?
Mythologized by Hollywood and fantasy novels, the allure of convening with a group of witches to cast spells or gaze into tarot cards is powerfully attractive to the magically curious.
Meeting underground in suburban basements, remote rural groves or behind the closed doors of high-rise city apartments, real-life covens often confirm their mysterious reputations..
The secretive nature of witchcraft makes searching for a coven feel like looking for the Lost City of Atlantis.
But it’s not impossible! Check out the resources below, and get started in your search for a spiritual community of like-minded folks.
Why find a coven?
Some witches prefer an entirely solitary practice.
There are good reasons to remain solitary.
Perhaps you enjoy the privacy of remaining completely in the broom closet.
Or maybe you like to design your own custom rituals without having to take into consideration input from others.
Some people simply like their spiritual lives to remain completely private.
The choice to move from solitary to coven work is a personal one. Never feel obligated to join a coven in order to consider yourself a “real witch.” If you have a practice, you need not justify it.
But it may be time to find a coven if:
-You find yourself feeling alone in your spiritual practice.
-The idea of meeting people with a different take on witchcraft seems appealing.
-You’re ready to learn new techniques and/or get feedback about the ones you already use.
-A desire to teach or mentor others (especially if you are in the Mother or Crone phase of life) keeps creeping into your spiritual life.
If any of the above apply to you, consider some of the following options.
Your Local Occult Shop
If you live in an area with an occult or magical shop, check in with the staff there to see if any area covens are currently accepting members.
Ask if they know of any open rituals you can attend to get a feel for the group.
Many occult shops actually host open rituals themselves, especially on the full moon and Sabbat holidays.
This is a great way to get in touch with local pagans in your community.
The networking site, Meetup.com, is a great resource for connecting like-minded people of almost any faith.
They usually have at least a few listings for earth-based religious or spiritual communities.
Sometimes covens even take out listings there.
Even if you don’t find a coven listed, go to one of the earth-based spiritual events and ask around about covens in the area.
Unitarian Universalist Congretations
I recently wrote about my experience with the Unitarian Universalist community.
While not specifically a pagan denomination, they are a nationwide church that include witches and pagans in their congregations.
Very often, they host discussion groups for practitioners of witchcraft.
At the very least, they can usually hook you up with some leaders in the local pagan community willing to help you find a coven or group that’s a good fit for you.
Unitarian Universalist churches are a good fit for people looking for a more mainstream spiritual experience. They have an excellent reputation for strong ethical practices and are extremely family friendly.
Many covens get booths at festivals like Pagan Pride Day. They usually set up shop there for the exclusive purpose of recruiting members or generating interest in their tradition.
These tend to be larger, established pagan groups with well-ordered leadership and extensive histories. (By “extensive history,” I mean going back 20 years or more).
They often have literature, websites, business cards and even non-profit tax status.
Do not be too impressed with their seemingly organized presentation.
Always approach these groups as you would any spiritual community: with skepticism.
Talk to current and former members.
Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions. Inquire as to how complaints about leadership are handled, what exactly is expected of initiates and how long most members stick around.
Witchvox is an older pagan networking site. The layout is dated. It doesn’t get a ton of traffic. A lot of links are broken, and some of the groups and shops listed in the index have been closed for years.
Truth be told, it was a whole lot more useful 15 years ago than it is now.
However, they do have an index dedicated to finding covens in your area.
Many of the groups there are still active. And because they’ve been listed there forever, if there still around, it’s usually because they are well established. That alone makes it worth looking into.
Again, you’ll generally find an older crowd in these groups.
But there are hundreds of them.
Some are regionally specific. Some are specific to Wicca, or Hoodoo, or Druids, or Dianic pagans. Whatever your flavor of witchcraft or wherever you are, there’s a group on there for you.
(Practitioners of the Craft is an especially large, general witchcraft community).
Read the rules or ask the moderator if it’s okay to post an inquiry about finding a group in your area.
Someone there might surprise you with some good information.
Start a Coven Yourself
This one is so obvious, no one thinks of it.
If you have a long history as a solitary practitioner, you likely have some knowledge worth sharing.
And if you’re a beginner, getting a group together for monthly moon rituals, or on the Sabbats for a meal or a little spell work, is a great way to advance your practice and hold each other accountable to make progress.
Start by building some solid friendships in your local community. Look for other solitaries ready to move into a group setting.
Once you’ve successfully pitched two or three members, read this article about assuming a leadership role in your coven.
Red Flags to Watch Out For
I never want to instill a sense of paranoia or fear about the witchcraft community. There’s enough of it already, and most of it is totally unwarranted.
However, like every other spiritual community (and I do mean every other spiritual community) we have our share of bad apples.
I detailed a lot of this in my article, Witchcraft Mistakes Beginners Always Make.
But they are important enough that I will go over the major ones here.
Use common sense, and avoid at all costs any group flying the following freak flags:
-Groups that pressure their members into unwanted sexual activities under the guise of spiritual practice.
-Leaders who make incredulous claims about their “supernatural” abilities.
-Anyone who pressures you to sever communication with trusted family members or friends.
-Groups that require their members make drastic life changes. (Like quitting your job, moving out of state, or ending important relationships).
-Leaders that demand excessive or unreasonable contributions of your time and/or money.
-Leaders that claim to have “esoteric knowledge” that they only reveal to those willing to submit to abusive ordeals, sexual favors or large sums of money.
-Possessive leaders who exhibit aggression or bitterness to members who break with tradition, seek spiritual counsel elsewhere, or indicate a desire to leave the group.