Our Tradition receives about 5 emails a month from people in our geographical area asking about our covens and how to join. We have several covens in our Tradition, but not all of them have their doors open to the public throughout the year. Most shut their doors for 9 month periods (we call them "gestations") from Imbolc till Samhain to help their newest members build bonds of trust. When any of our covens open their doors, we notify applicants of their interviewing options thru email. Please be aware that the closest coven to you may not necessarily be open to new applicants.
Our covens make no effort to proselytize our religion or recruit new members, and this website serves as our only public channel for the sole purpose of providing our current members with timely information about our covens' activities and helping seekers in our area know that we exist. Most of the people who approach us about joining our covens are just learning about Wicca and/or have never been in a coven before and have little to no idea what Wiccan covens are or what they do. If you're thinking about joining a coven, there are a number of really good books out there on the subject. Highly recommended are Judy Harrow's Wicca Covens and Ellen Cannon Reed's Heart of Wicca. However, each coven, whether traditional or eclectic, is unique in its purpose, rites, and character (including our Tradition) because each coven is always the personalized creation of its members who have unique experiences, needs and expectations. So here is a bit about the general character of our covens and the kinds of things we require for new members to join any of them.
For us, a coven has several functions:
It is a philosophy in many Wiccan traditions to measure the interest of any new applicant of a coven by how persistent he or she is in applying. If an applicant's interest is casual, the coven's members are rarely willing to invest serious time examining the applicant's history, assumptions, character, and expectations, or preparing the applicant for inclusion and eventual initiation into the coven. We're in no rush to bring new applicants in. We're not interested in growing in size -- we're interested in growing in strength and trust. There are a lot of well-considered reasons for not making the joining process quick and easy, and some of them protect the applicant more than they protect a coven! Consider for a moment if you think it would be wise to rush into any relationship which involved opening your heart up and sharing intimate aspects of your life with total strangers. You'd be taking a huge risk by doing so (and so would we), and that is essentially what is happening by applying for any coven. The process requires patience and steadfast interest. If we don't see these qualities in an applicant, then we know that joining a coven isn't really that important to the applicant after all.
The first phase of application for any coven in our Tradition is a series of short dialogues over email in which coven liaisons and the applicant can safely get a sense of each others' interests, history, goals, and compatibilities. We don't practice merit-badge spirituality (we're not impressed with anyone's 'Wiccan seniority' or 'Wiccan lineages' ... we've met too many questionable types who've had both). Compatibility with our current members is a higher priority to us than an applicant's previous experience in the Craft. To put it another way, we are far more focused on who we are becoming together with you than who you have been with others in the past.
After several online dialogues to assess the seriousness, experience and willingness of an applicant to dedicate time to this effort, the coven members coordinate face-to-face gatherings with the applicant in a public place. These meets provide both the applicant and designated coven members opportunities to further gage compatibilities and characters. If these social visits pan out and the coven feels the applicant is serious enough in his/her willingness to commit time (on average 3 nights a month) and energy (no money involved) to participating in all of the coven's activities, then the applicant is invited to participate as an 'initiate' with other applicants in the circle's activities for a 9-month period (think of it as a tour of the Columbian Wicca Tradition with serious homework involved) from Imbolc to Samhain. The goal of this 'gestation' is to help initiates learn the fundamentals of our Tradition so that they can make a completely informed decision by Samhain as to whether or not they wish to become full members of the coven or not. Should an initiate choose to become a full member, his/her membership is voted on by the coven members, requiring 100% consensus. Yes. 100% consensus.
If the individual is just learning about Wicca or has never been involved in a coven before, the 9 month gestation becomes a time of serious concentrated Wiccan training and coven training. Wiccan mentorship is like learning how to fly, and Coven mentorship is like learning how to fly in formation (which is an entirely different style of flying than flying solo).
It is no small deed or commitment, applying for a coven, and although an applicant can pull out of the coven at anytime during his/her application process, taking an Oath which guarentees confidentiality is required of any applicant before he/she shares his/her first gathering and/or ritual with the group. This Oath is discussed at length and in complete detail prior to any applicant's involvement. There are no karmically-threatening surprise Oaths used in our Tradition. For a general overview of our coven's more focal bylaws, please read the content of our Coven Profile page.
We do get a lot of questions from applicants, and this section answers most of them. Please read this section of the page before emailing us if you are seriously considering joining any of our covens -- as it may answer any questions you have about us and save us both a lot of reading and writing time.
Does it cost anything to join your coven? Nothing except your time and effort. We do not handle money in any capacity. We have no treasury, no dues, no property, and no part of our activities focus on financial matters. You will not need to buy anything to fully participate in our activities: contrary to popular belief, witches have managed to work powerful magic in the world for thousands of years without the benefit of shopping at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Azure Green or buying books published by Llewelyn and Phoenix. Occasionally our rituals, roadtrips, and gatherings require each of us to chip in to make things happen, but these situations are always discussed and voted on by consensus of all the members and no one is ever pressured into paying for anything. By the same token, every member is completely expected to make an investment of their time and energy in any of our coven's activities. Every member of any of our circles, whether he/she be an initiate or a full coven member, is expected to pull his/her weight in all coven duties.
Are you a teaching coven? Do you mentor new students? Do you handle initiations? Yes, our covens are teaching covens, but each member serves in the role of student and teacher to one another. We do not have rankings in our covens, nor do we offer 'accredited curriculums' which 'certify' anyone as a 'Third Degree,' etc. Our coven's initiations serve only to honor a member's accomplishments with personal goals, rites of passage, and recognition of various stages of coven involvement. However, all of our coven initiates do work their way thru a very intense and comprehensive 4-year curriculum to learn magical theory and practice and to prepare themselves for Wiccan priesthood and personal ministerial work. If you're looking for some form of lineaged initiation, etc, our covens will be happy to point you towards other groups or persons who are involved with validation-model Wiccan traditions.
Do you practice skyclad? Does your coven practice the Great Rite in true? How does your coven feel about alcohol and drugs? Depending on the purpose behind our rituals, our covens do celebrate some of their rituals skyclad. There are many pragmatic reasons for doing so and we make no exceptions for those rituals that require it of our members. The Charge of the Goddess is quite specific in its requirements. Several of our members are married and have taken vows of fidelity to their spouses which prohibit them from working the Great Rite "In True" with other coven members (we honor all oaths and vows taken prior to our own). There are also many medical challenges and risks involved with working the Great Rite "In True" these days. To safeguard against these challenges and risks, our covens' practice of the Great Rite is done symbolically (though no less powerfully). We believe in legal and responsible use of any substance which does not compromise one's health and safety or the health and safety of our covens.
Are you Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Georgian, or some other tradition of Wicca? Where can I learn more about your Tradition? No one ever learned to ride a horse by reading about it or talking about it. There are some things which can only be learned and understood by 'doing,' and Wicca is one of them. Our covens practice an eclectic form of Wicca which enables its members to accomplish the exact same thing the founders of Wicca accomplished: to be their highest spiritual and religious authority, to create their own religious rites to serve their needs and the needs of those they share this planet with, and to minister to the community in a highly effective way. We call our Tradition Columbian Wicca, and we invite you to read our Coven Profile page for a very brief explanation of why.
Our Tradition is non-hierarchical. We deliberately have no single High Priest or High Priestess running any coven because we all run our covens and serve in those capacities. By the same token, our constantly evolving Tradition of Wicca is a semi-formal Tradition: it has a growing liturgy, it observes the standard Wiccan holidays within the context of the Wiccan mythos, and many of its rites follow portions of the original Wiccan rites, teachings and methodologies used in Traditional covens. Our members are not ignorant of Gardnerian and other formal Wiccan Traditions (quite the contrary)-- they simply choose to create a new and unique Tradition which effectively implements Wiccan principles and at the same time embodies the combined character of each coven's current members. The best way (in fact the only way) to learn about our Tradition is to be emersed in it. Our Tradition is over a decade old now, with over 70 initiates, witches and priestesses/priests involved in several circles ... which means that our Tradition is working beautifully for us. And that, in the end folks, is the only litmus test any Tradition needs to prove itself worthy and viable.
Does your coven have any restrictions as to who can join? Yes, we do: no one under 21 may apply or participate in our coven's activities. We don't have anything against teenagers or children; our members simply value their freedom to treat adult subject matter and share fellowship without any government hassles regarding the involvement of minors. All coveners (initiates and full members) are required to take certain vows and agree to abide by the coven's bylaws before they may participate in the coven's rituals. These vows and bylaws are outlined ahead of time so there are no surprises for applicants. Violation of these vows and bylaws result in a person being dismissed from the coven. The process of assessing any applicant's compatibility, behavior, personality and history may at any time disqualify her/him from joining as well. Remember, in the same way you may not be the best thing for our covens, we may not be the best thing for you either. The application process is drawn out to protect your interests as much as ours, and to help you assess how beneficial our covens might be to you as much as how beneficial your involvement in our covens might be to us.
Do you offer public rituals? Do you have an 'outer circle' of people who can participate without committing themselves to your coven? Do you allow guests or spouses to participate in your gatherings? No, no, and no. We celebrate all of our gatherings, whether for fellowship, study, or ritual, in the privacy of our members' homes and in private places outdoors. No audience, media representative, non-member, spouse or bystander is permitted to observe our rituals or activities, and anyone attending our rituals is a full participant. Private and intimate lives are shared in our covens, and we do not take our trust bond in circles lightely. Our covens occasionally allow guests to attend their rituals, but only with the consensus of all coven members prior to a ritual which has been appropriately crafted for their participation. On occasion, we also have age-appropriate rituals specifically geared towards the children or minors of coven members (such as celebrating rites of passage).
Why doesn't your coven have a single High Priestess or High Priest? The roles of HPS and HP are rotated among all of our members. Many of us have been involved in the Craft for decades and have seen some horrible abuses of hierarchical authority by certain people who permamently held those two positions; from micro-managing control-freaks and ego-consumed snobs to dependency-gurus and energy-vampires. Several of our members left their former religions (even their Wiccan ones) to avoid all the typical problems associated with priestly hierarchies and spiritual lineages. We believe in every individual's own internal power, his/her capacity to work that power to a willful purpose, and his/her direct connection to the Divine without requiring intermediaries. We do not believe in the concept of 'Elders' or 'first among equals': again, all of our members meet as complete equals. Complete. Equals. Always. From Day 1. That is what 'meeting as equals' means. There are no exceptions.
Note: by sharing this policy, we are not implying that every coven with a High Priestess or High Priest or Elders is undesirable. Not by a long shot. Many witches function very well with a designated permanent 'lead,' 'minister couple' or 'seniority league' in charge of their coven. But the governmental emphasis in our covens is leadership through rotation and decision through consensus. By rotating the roles of leadership, the leadership qualities of each of our coven members become each coven's greatest strengths.
What exactly does your coven do? We do not discuss the activities of our covens with non-members. We keep private lives private. Suffice it to say, we make time for each other, on a weekly basis, to grow in strength and trust, to heal what needs healing and tear down what needs tearing down, to teach each other and learn from each other, to pool our skills, talents, energy and resources to achieve our combined goals, and to meaningfully observe the Wiccan wheel of the year in the private company of those we can thoroughly trust with our personal intimate lives. To learn more about the Wiccan religion, we encourage you to read the content of our other website pages as our religion helps to achieve all of these reasons for being a coven in the first place.
We hope that this page has helped you to assess whether or not our Tradition is right for you. If you wish to continue with the process of joining one of our covens with its doors open, we invite you to email our webmaster at the firstname.lastname@example.org address.