Rose Ariadne's Chitchcraft Blog

Dear Friends,

Joining with others in your pagan practice is an important step in your spiritual practice. Group work in a coven isn’t for everyone, but if you crave some connection with local witches you should know that coven work isn’t without it’s drama and difficulties. Anytime you get a group of people together, even if they are like-minded individuals, there are bound to be troubles.

The first thing you can do to avoid coven troubles is to not start one yourself. Starting a coven and running one successfully is a massive undertaking. A lot of people start their own group thinking that things will be easy to run. People start their own groups for a variety of reasons. Some are drawn to the power. Running a coven can definitely give you a position of power. There are people who are attracted to the influence they can hold over other people. Of course, these motivations aren’t entirely pure but they do occur on occasion.

The other main reason that people start their own coven is because they like to play hostess. Some people are naturally good at entertaining and want their home to be “the place to be.” A coven should not be founded on the desire to be around friends. Covens are for serious group magickal work. They aren’t party time or play time. You can start an informal gathering for that type of interaction.

But whatever a person’s reasons for starting a coven or other type of spiritual group, more often than not they don’t have the experience, wisdom or patience to successfully run a group of people. This results in coven growing pains or fractures, which normally lead to the end of the coven. And then the cycle starts all over again.

While this isn’t fair to the seekers, or the people who started the group to begin with, it does happen. I urge you strongly to avoid starting your own group until you’ve had many years of experience under your belt and are firmly rooted in your pagan path. If you try to do it too soon, you’ll end up in a situation where your students end up knowing more than you do and the coven will begin to become stagnant. Only start teaching when you truly, truly have something to give.

However, many of you may already be members of groups that are showing cracks or are on the verge of collapse. For the benefit of your spiritual walk, I offer these tips on preventing and weathering coven growing pains.

The first rule of coven work is to be kind and courteous to your fellow members. Many groups seem to have someone who thinks that they “know it all.” They use a condescending tone and correct others on their perceived mistakes. This makes for an uncomfortable coven that no one wants to take part in. Keep yourself out of this position by remaining friendly to all members of your coven. If you think that someone is understanding a concept incorrectly, or has missed the mark in some way, gently guide them toward the right answer in a way that is respectful and mindful of their self-esteem.

In a similar vein, avoid any polarization within a group. Once you get more than four or five people together, there are small camps that sometimes develop. They talk behind one another’s back and create drama in the group environment. This is unhealthy to the life of the coven, and you should avoid taking sides in this silly mind games.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t legitimate grievances in a coven environment. If you do encounter a problem with one of your other group members, you should be open and honest with that person. Talk with them about the trouble with an open heart and mind so you can resolve the problem as quickly as possible. If you find that your issue can’t be fixed by yourselves, have your leader mediate it. Normally it’s very small incidences that get blown out of proportion that lead to the break down of a coven. Nip them in the bud when you encounter them, and don’t try to get other people on your side.

Help your coven grow by growing your own knowledge base. Don’t expect other people to hand you your spiritual education just because you attended a few meetings. Do research and reading apart from your meetings so you’ll have something to contribute to the group.

Being part of a group can be a wonderful part of your spiritual growth, and if you have the opportunity to join an existing group, you should definitely try one out. The experiences you have in a group setting can enrich your magickal life. Despite the sometimes rocky path, being part of one is definitely well worth it.

Brightest Blessings,

Rose Ariadne

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