How to Find a Coven

Looking for a coven? Here's 9 ways to to find your witchcraft community.

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.

Meetup

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.

Pagan Festivals

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

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.

Facebook Groups

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.

How to find a coven or magical spiritual community.

3 Comments

  1. A coven, like any other group, is always the first step in exclusivity. The coven will label itself as being pro this and con that will eventually start excluding those who do not fit in with the party platform. Many people will be surprised that this exclusivity often has nothing to do with “witchy” matters, but on gender, ethnic and social differnces as well. Many males who have attempted to delve into witchcraft have been openly made to feel unwelcome, often from local occult shops that operate more like social clubs. In short, joining a coven is often about having to fit into someone else’s mold rather than finding your own place in the Craft,

    1. Hmmm . . . I agree with a lot of those sentiments.

      I do think, as you said, this is true for pretty much any group, including sports clubs, churches, political affiliations, even book clubs and knitting circles. I don’t necessarily think a group labeling itself with certain ideals or principles is necessarily a negative thing.

      “Many males who have attempted to delve into witchcraft have been openly made to feel unwelcome.”

      Interesting. I’d like to hear more about what you mean when you say that. Perhaps you can give me some specific examples?

      It’s true that there are covens that are female-only, and you are correct that witchcraft is largely dominated by women. It’s one of the very few spiritual arenas where we are the majority.

      I think it’s also fair to note that this dynamic is the exception, not the rule. Women are far more often excluded from power positions like clergy in tradition, mainstream religious orders, where men undoubtedly dominate.

      But even in the world of witchcraft, there are lots of groups that are exclusively for men, male mysteries, ect. I personally would not attempt to enter or disrupt those orders.

      Similarly, I don’t necessarily begrudge women for wanting spaces that are female-only, particularly groups that practice gender sensitive rituals like skyclad (not my cup of tea, personally, but to each her own).

      I think there is a place for that, as well as a place for men to commune on issues that are unique to their gender is a space that is safe from those who don’t understand that experience.

      Also bear in mind that not all men are made feel unwelcome because they are men, although they may misinterpret it that way.

      For example, unfortunately, some men enter majority female spaces in the hopes of using it as an alternative to a dating site, and this is often understandably met with resentment.

      I’m certainly not suggesting that’s you. I have no doubt that some men are unfairly excluded from certain spiritual circles just as some women are unfairly excluded from spiritual circles.

      I’m just saying, I’ve definitely seen situations where women were like “Yo, that guy is a creeper, he keeps trying to get me drunk on cakes and ale and go home with him.” And the dude is like “That’s not fair! You guys won’t let me play because I’m a man!”

      No dude. We just don’t want you hanging around the ritual space eye-balling our underage daughters.

      It’s usually easier for those guys to blame the group or accuse them of sexism than it is to recognize that they’re kind of pervy, they got called out and no appreciates it.

      I’m sure you’ve witnessed similar situations.

      “In short, joining a coven is often about having to fit into someone else’s mold rather than finding your own place in the Craft.”

      This I do respectfully disagree with.

      I don’t think belonging to a coven necessarily negates your spiritual autonomy anymore than belonging to a book club negates your personal taste in literature.

      In fact, I think the more diversity and variety and lively debate there is a coven, the more interesting it is. I was friendly with a coven once that had a hoodoo/voodoo practitioner, a hedge witch, a Santeria practitioner and Dianic witch. They all played nice and had really interesting rituals. I don’t think anyone who knew them would say they hadn’t found their own place in the Craft.

      Thanks for your insights, and your thoughtful comment.

  2. Undoubtedly, as a woman, you have walked into some place where you were the only woman and had the feeling of being the black swan in the pond full of white swans and it is an uncomfortable feeling isn’t it? And you have to summon up a bit of courage to stay and participate.

    If you t keep that personal sensitivity awareness in the ront of your mind the next time you go into an occult shop you may become aware that the majority of people there are female you might be aware of how males might have to overcome that black swan feeling when walking in there.

    That is in a sense a normal reaction based on our personal conditioning, It would in a sense be abnormal not to feel a bit unnerved to be in any situation where you were in a group within which you are the minority. So, trying to be a participant in whatever is going on is not merely a matter of taking a first step, but often a huge leap across a seemingly vast chasm. So this person is going to have to be extremely motivated to accomplish something, either for good or ill and who can say which is the case.

    Unfortunately, as I have experienced myself, in these occult gatherings, as with any group, there are some ignorant and prejudiced people who form into these groups to be selective and exclusionary just for the egotism of being one of the “us” being superior to the “them”

    In one case, I saw an ad for a psychic circle being held at one shop and when I went there I was not allowed, because as I was told, they only allowed gay men in the circle because they were more in touch with their feminine side and therefore more acceptable to the goddess.

    Now you may react to that with horror and revulsion, but you know that there will be people who read this and think it is perfectly acceptable and unfortunately humanity is on the whole ignorant and prejudiced. But, this could cut like a double edge sword.

    When I encounter this kind of situation I am glad to find out about it as quickly as possible because I do not mind being excluded from that kind of environment and I want nothing to do with people like that. But, you have to wonder about the mindset of those they do let in. When you have policy of no dogs allowed and you let a dog in, do not be surprised if you end up getting bit.

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