Solitary vs. Coven Practice
- The Right Practice
- The question has been brought up on numerous occasions concerning
the benefits of being a solitary pagan vs. a pagan in a coven?
Which is best and which is preferred?
- Your personal experiences should be considered as you make
your choice which practice to take. Consider some of the pros
and cons of each path. Research for yourself and about a group
before you join. Then you'll be able to decide for yourself which
is the better path for you. I hope the following ideas can aid
you in your search.
- A Solitary Practice
- The Pros:
- If you are a self starter, or you have a knack of learning
and combining information through research, then the solitary
path might be right for you. You are free to experience many
new forms of rituals, practices, ceremonies and so on. All of
which will provide you with unique information and understandings
that you can mold into your own frame work of belief and practice.
You are not bound by time and place to practice your magikal
rituals or festivals. You are always the high priest or priestess
and therefore you alone control all the aspects of your ceremonies.
- The Cons:
- There is a lot of research, trial and error that goes into
being a solitary pagan practitioner. The more you learn, the
more you realize you don't know. You have no one to share an
experience with, and therefore you might lose an opportunity
to discuss, clarify and expand on your understanding of the event.
You also lose out on interactions with others who are more experienced
than yourself. Again losing an opportunity to learn.
- Other Considerations:
- Being Pagan is a lifestyle. It is an art and craft just as
these names have suggested for centuries. As an artist paints,
so does a pagan paint them self on society and their environment.
With the advent of the internet, chat rooms and email, a solitary
pagan is not really alone any more. A sharing of ideas and experiences
are just around the corner on your keyboard.
- A Coven Practice
- The Pros:
- In traditional covens/clans, an initiate is given a year
and a day to decide if they want to take the path of a pagan
within that coven group. This gives you time to learn, experience
and socialize with other group members. A time to gauge the workings
of the group and decide if your beliefs can fit within it's balance.
A Priest or Priestess or both traditionally conduct all rituals
and ceremonies within a coven. Giving direction and guidance
as needed. For those who like learning from a teacher, this path
might be the right one for you. Again, traditionally; a Priest
is charged with the training and education of female students,
while the Priestess is charged with the education of male students.
This method invokes the balance of God/Goddess, and enhances
the training through the balance of male/female energies. These
directors of the magikal service or events within the coven must
also be skilled in magik and ceremonial practices. They must
be mature, wise and very humble. But they must also have the
gifts of leadership, being able to deal with adversity in a quick
and fair manner. If you can find a coven that is governed by
these kinds of people in a well organized and balanced environment,
then there may be much you can learn from this group.
- The Cons:
- Interaction with members of any group is not always easy.
Discord with an other member can affect your concentration and
your ability to function within the group. Your personal experiences
might also be limited depending on the manor in which rituals
are conducted. Often a Priest or Priestess performs all the ceremonial
tasks, including playing the role of the Goddess or God in certain
ceremonies. Finally, the structured beliefs of the coven may
differ slightly from your own beliefs. Once again creating dis-harmony
within yourself and maybe within the group.
- Other Considerations:
- For all those covens out there that are in harmony, I commend
- If you're in a coven now and you feel as though there are
things going on that are against the principles of your beliefs,
then leave. Nothing says you 'have' to stay. When you're looking
for a coven, you must take it upon yourself to validate the claims
of leadership and education of the Priest/Priestess. Those who
have honestly taken the training, time to learn and become enlightened
will not manipulate you or your path. They will not try to control
your actions. They will not tell you what you can or cannot do,
who you can or cannot associate with. Each of these manipulations
take away opportunities for you to learn, experience karma and
expand in your own wisdom. So beware when you're seeking a coven.
- In addition - NO clan or coven has a legal right to educate
anyone under the age of 18 without their parents permission.
There are many covens who are dictated to teach anyone who asks.
That might be fine within the confines of their traditional rules
or practices. But on a legal front, it is not legal. So be wary
of anyone who tries to solicit your participation, at any age,
or who tries to find underage members to join their group.
- Last thought - And I'm sure this will offend many, but there
are reasons for this paragraph. NO ONE with limited experience
has the ability to start or run a coven. There are so many new
practioners, especially teens, who have decided that after reading
a few books, they want to lead a coven. Please set this idea
aside. Create a 'study group' not a coven and you'll put your
workings to much better use. Being a coven leader is a major
responsibility and requires a great deal of training. Not just
in the history and knowledge of the religion and tradition, but
in the essence of spiritual wisdom, practical management and
leadership, as well as, vast experience. If you don't have it,
don't try it. Just be in a study group; its much easier and simpler
to share ideas.
- A Final Word
- The bottom line is, it's up to the individual. If you feel
as though you need to be guided, then perhaps a coven is the
right structure for you. But make sure you have a strong personal
inner strength and your nature is such that you have the ability
to say 'No' in what you see, what you hear or what is asked of
- If you do decide to seek a coven, there are some extra warnings
you should keep in mind.
- Practioners of Witchcraft do not
believe in Satan or satanic worship. We don't even believe in
the existence of such an evil creature. But many "satanic
cults" are structured like a coven. So be very careful and
cautious as you search for a group to join.
- Witchcraft practioners believe in the sanctity of all life.
Which means we do not believe
in animal or human sacrifices of any kind. That includes torture,
abuse or any other harmful act.
- The practices of Witchcraft are with positive intent and
purpose, respecting all things. Which means you should never
be asked to do something you don't want to do, or that 'feels'
wrong to you. A priest or priestess who requires sexual interaction
in order for you to attain a new level of spiritual enlightenment
is a false spiritual teacher. This is not respect, it is harassment
and abuse of power in my view. The GreatSpirits do not need us
for physical gratification. There are covens who include an aspect
of sexual interaction as a representation of the joining of the
God/Goddess. But in my humble view, this isn't needed.
- Trust is a very important part of a coven or even the participation
of a small group. 2 or more gathered together can accomplish
just as much as a formal coven. No one should feel as though
they are in danger, that your morals are going to be compromised
or your principles will be condemned in any way.
- Thankfully the 'burning' days are over and society is beginning
to recognize that the craft in what ever form is of a positive
nature and not something to fear or condemn. Because of this,
many covens are forming or coming out of the shadows all over
the world. You can start by doing a little research on your own
through the web, or local spiritual stores in your area to find
a coven or even just a group of people who meet for tea and coffee.
- Choose your path with thought and reverence, with positive
intent and with a open heart and mind. May the light of the Divine
be shown upon your path as you find your road to travel.
Source: 1, m1,
- Created: 10.03.2001 Updated: 05.08.2004