Teen Covens: Do They Work?
Article ID: 13670
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Mara Light
Posted: January 31st. 2010
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As adults we tend to know ourselves a little better, we know certain rights and wrongs, we know how to handle some one when they're unfair to us; and sometimes we even know when to just let things go. As pagans whether we're in a coven, a community, a solitary practitioner, or maybe even working with a mentor or a friend, we have certain opportunities that allow us to explore any religion of our choosing... and to practice it.
We also have the ability to meet other pagans at festivals and learn from elders because they see us as willing and able to accept their advice and their help. They tend to want to only teach people of older years (from 20 on up) because they feel they are emotionally ready (usually. Obviously they have to be careful whom they choose to mentor; and visa verse.) or even some time financially ready.
But where does that leave teenagers?
Teens are not always lucky enough to get someone older than them who is willing to teach--or perhaps they don't live in an area that has a lot of pagans that they can easily find. Or they could feel uncomfortable talking to Elders because they feel they won't 'get them' or will be too strict, or don't have the same ideas/beliefs that they're just starting to figure out.
So what do they do?
Well, usually they become solitary practitioners or find an online group (Thanks to WitchVox's awesome data base) , or they create a coven. A coven you say? But they're kids! They don't know what they're doing! What if they read the wrong books? What if they learn the wrong things from bad people on line? What if they mess up a spell or cast a circle wrong? What if they think The Craft is REAL!?
These are all valid concerns, and in some cases, things like this DO happen. But perhaps because of my own experience, and because I talk with teens on a fairly regular basis, I have a bit more trust in them and their abilities.
When I was just turned thirteen, I found a group of girls in my Jr. High, three of them. We were close and I quickly found out that they were pagan--a coven in fact. As they described what they did and what they believed I found myself astounded. Why, everything they described was stuff I had done naturally as a child (or was taught by my parents who were both very animal and nature revering; though at the time Christian) !
I grew very excited and asked if I could join. They looked at each other then my friend Anne (names are changed) spoke and said, "That would be great...but you have to do a year and a day. Itís a lot of work, and you would need to study a lot and show that youíre serious. We can't just accept anyone you know?"
I quickly assured them that I was very serious and wanted to genuinely learn. So for a year and a day I was taught by the three girls (who each represented an element) on how to commune with trees and feel the vibrations of the earth and stones, how to become more aware of energies around me and read tarots and runes; how to listen to the voices in the wind and learn about different gods and goddesses.
After a year and a day (a little more than that actually!) I was initiated into the coven and while we are different sides of the country, we're still in contact after all these years, bound by the words we'd said. I realize I was probably very lucky to be in a coven that took the words "in perfect love and perfect trust" so very seriously and happened to pick the right books and had a strong sense of right and wrong (no love spells, no tampering with others wills) .
But in all, isn't that what a coven is? A group that supports you, has your back, and accepts you for who you really are? Even as adults we find it hard to find a coven like that I think--sometimes it feels impossible.
But being a teen, I think it is even more important to have that connection; especially when it comes to religion and the practice of magic. Itís hard enough when your trying to figure out your own identity and then have to have parents, teachers, and even other teens who don't understand and might even think its evil. So having girls or boys of a like mind are great.
Teens of this day and age are much smarter, wiser, and more resourceful than I think parents or adults give them credit for, especially for many of the teens that are trying to learn about the Wicca/pagan path. I have talked to many, many teens (ranging from 12-19) who are very serious about being pagan and frustrated that they can't find a place that will teach them without gobs of money that they don't necessarily have, are so closed off that teens don't even know they exist, or can't find any one who will take them seriously.
I have met a few covens created by teens and seen them worked very efficiently. I think the Internet has helped in that regard as it makes information easier to get.
On the flip side I have seen teens create covens because they're 'in the moment' and it quickly leads to bickering and fighting and occasionally even curses (much like the witch wars so famous among us 'grown up pagan's huh?) .
But for teens covens that DO work, here are the things I've seen that kept them together and have created wonderful groups of pagans that any pagan parent would be proud of, and will make a great positive influence to the pagan community:
1) Egalitarian or democratic (High priestesses/priests are rotated or voted on unanimously.)
2) Have roles (each is given an assigned place; perhaps one is good at tarot or earth magic, other coven mates learn from them and know to go to them)
3) Have respect for each otherís words and ideas (and in fact I've seen a high priestess of a teen group defer to another member who was more knowledgeable in a subject. No know-it-alls and holier-than-thous in these groups!)
4) Get together and practice magic/religion often, and share information
5) A great sense of humor
Of all the groups I've talked to, the ones who laughed, who joked with each other in a friendly way, and who showed an eagerness to learn from people were the ones who reminded me most of my group. They have a respect for each other, for what they practice, and what they believe in. And these are the people that elders feel aren't ready to learn; who aren't mature enough.
There is of course, to be fair, always the practical side of not being able to teach because the children's parents don't want them learning; and you DO need parental consent. But for you teens out there who might be reading this and thinking of starting a coven, let me give you some advice that I've seen work, and has worked for me.
--If you start a coven remember that the people joining will be your brothers and sisters, there for you through thick and thin. So please be select in whom you pick for your coven, and be sure that their personalities blend with yours and that you trust them.
-- Keep a sense of humor. Of course you need to be serious during a ritual or when your doing a meeting, but sometimes things are just funny; and its okay to laugh! I remember at a somber ritual we had to do we ended up laughing because our high priestess made a funny face. In the end, that laughter gave us a boost of energy we had really needed. And besides, have you ever done a circle with fairies and NOT laughed? It's pretty hard.
--Don't give up if you can't find an elder or adult that can teach you. Online sites are always good sources of information, especially through this site. Please use the common sense I know you all have in spades and don't always believe everything you read.
-- Always be open with your group. If you have a problem with another member--or even the high priest/priestess, let them know. They are first and foremost your friends, and if they're power-tripping, maybe you should all have a group talk about it. If you are scared of any one in your group, then you need to seriously consider that as a problem.
-- Learn from each other. Each and every person has something or two that they are better at than others, whether is tarot reading, attuning to rocks, or reading minds. Every one learns from every one. Just keep that in mind.
So do teen covens work? I like to think that they do. Maybe not all the time; but then even adult covens have a hard time; sometimes harder. I've seen so many good examples from the younger generation, and it warms my heart that they there seem to be so many girls (and even a few boys!) that will one day be leaders in some way in the pagan community.
Being an adult doesn't mean making a coven is easy, sometimes we have it a lot harder since it gives us time to get an ego on occasion, and no matter the age starting a coven is always a lot of work.
So to all you teens there who are making covens or thinking about it, I welcome you and wish you the brightest and best!
Location: Lake Forest, California
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