Posted: September 24th. 2004
Times Viewed: 2,896
In the past eight years that I have been Wiccan, I have read numerous articles on being in a Coven, and why that is best, and being Solitaire and why that is best.
So...which is better? Or does it really matter as long as in your heart you honor the Wiccan Rede your very best, observe Karma, and give back to the Earth - our Goddess Gaia - as she provides for us?
Who is to say a Coven is the best and only way to go? Solitary or Coven, it is up to you.
I was in a Coven for a couple of years. I liked it. We had classes, rituals, socialized. Of course there was the politics: an immature High Priestess, who seemed to be on a flighty ego trip, who spread evil gossip about anyone who did not like her instead of just leaving well enough alone. That Coven has long ago broken up. Unfortunately, this happens a lot, at least from what I hear women say about their Coven experiences. Some experiences were so horrible or just plain strange for a couple of these women; I refuse to even write about them as the Covens still exists today.
When I was dedicated into that Coven, I had three wonderful people around me (no HPS) who had my best intentions in mind. However, when I think of it more, I really did dedicate myself to the Coven, and not the Goddess Herself. I read the books and did what I was supposed to do in the Coven, but something was missing.
There are some successful, beautiful, ethical Covens out there, that is a fact; so I don't want anyone to think I am bitter and putting down any other Coven. Being in a Coven can be a wonderful experience - I know that from experience. I know of some lovely, beautiful Covens in my area alone.
I had a Coven, well, more of a Pagan group, actually. We all taught each other. I was more of an organizer and motivator, planner - well okay, I basically ran the Group! It lasted about one year. I loved it, and when we broke it up, on account of my work and college, we had five good, genuine women in it. We did more than teachings and ritual. We volunteered our time with a bake sale for charity and we adopted a beachfront to clean. It was what I thought a Pagan group/Coven should consist of.
Now, with a child, and a husband who would also like to become more involved, we may join a local environmental group together; the local Sierra Club, or something like that. That will be our "Coven."
With so many Pagans with children, jobs, lives of their own, a Coven is just not a realistic option.
Let us remember when Covens first made their appearance...okay, appearance is not the right word here! At one time, long ago, before the burning times of Pagans and Christians alike, everyone was Solitaire! Like Solitaries and the Pagan families of today, they lived the Pagan lifestyle, honoring the Goddess or whichever Deity they worshipped. On Sabbats, Pagans (not that they called themselves Pagan at the time) got together and celebrated outdoors, usually during the day, if not at night, and continuing throughout the next day.
Covens came about when Pagans had to go into hiding to literally "save their hides." Usually a Coven meeting began around midnight, so any (Roman?) soldiers and anyone else would be sound asleep by then. They kept them small so as to not lead into distractions and make too much noise. Solitaries of today live in a similar way as the Solitaries of long ago - at least when it comes to their faith. They may attend the local Pagan festival in town with their open circles, read, meditate, do yoga, drum, and live the natural Pagan lifestyle in the way that feels right for them. They garden, which grounds and centers; grow healthy, organic food to feel closer to the God/dess and the Earth, and drink teas to ingest the healing spirits of that particular herb. They might go to the local New Age shop for a class and socialize with others of like minds. They live close to the Earth as much as possible, just like our ancestors of long ago.
I do understand, however, that depending on where you live, a Coven may be your only choice to converse with others. In Florida, where I live now, I can run into a Pagan anywhere!
Some people make the mistake that the word solitary means being lonely. Being lonely is in the mind. I have known men and women in Covens who felt lonely, and Solitaries who flourish!
Here is a Solitary dedication I made up which seems very powerful. Though I have been following a Goddess Trad for eight years, this changed me somewhat.
On the night of the Full Moon, find a place outdoors where you can be alone. If possible, be skyclad, wear your favorite Goddess jewelry, and an essential oil of a particular plant/flower spirit you would like to be close too. If you can blend your own form of Goddess oil, please do, and wear it only for rituals. Of course, fake, synthetic oils will not do. You are presenting yourself to the Goddess, and synthetic oils are dead, no life in them at all, no spirit at all! You do not need to shower or bathe for this. Wrap a black blanket or sheet around you, letting in enough light to see your way around. Black here is for "change," for "coming out of the dark," so to speak. Slowly leave your home, or wherever you are, and walk very slowly under the Full Moon. Place on your shoulders all the material thoughts you have, the negative thoughts, the "keeping up with the Jones," the "wanting to have the best car, jewelry, clothes, et cetera" thoughts. Place all the selfish thoughts on those little shoulders of yours. Think of all the times you ate meat without thanking the spirit of the animal, and place that on you too. This may take a while! As you walk around, perhaps in a circle (counterclockwise would be appropriate, as you are getting rid of something - but walk how you wish), feel your shoulders getting heavier and heavier; you will be hunched over and feeling your burdens. When the time feels right, throw off that black sheet, and raise your hands to the Goddess. Do this with power and confidence. Out loud, ask the Goddess humbly to come into your life, heart, and ask for signs of following the right path in life. Dance, sing a humble song, swaying back and forth, drum in a clockwise circle, do whatever your heart tells you to. There is no one there but you. I cannot tell you what to say really; you may even cry as you feel Her love enter you and fill you with light and help shed the material, selfish ideals of the modern world. Give back to the Goddess that night by planting an herb or flower in Her name.
I write this because I have read just too many articles preaching that if you are not in a Coven, you are not a real Witch, or even a Wiccan - that is an old fashioned belief anymore, I think. I consider myself simply NeoPagan, as I study and practice much Native spirituality along with a Goddess Trad. I blend a Goddess tradition along with a Native one - the Gaia Tradition - started by Kisma K. Stephanich. It's a great book, by the way!!
So, If you do not find the right Coven for you, or simply enjoy communing with the Gods on your own or with another friend, and simply wish to make your home and your family a "Coven," then there is certainly nothing wrong with that!
Location: , Florida
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Bio: Lady Coventina lives and works in Florida as an esthetician. She has a husband and a beautiful, sweet toddler named Taliesin, whom she is raising in the Pagan path. She has been Wiccan for eight years, and follows an eclectic path strongly influenced by Nature/Gaia. She is currently on a yearlong "Medicine Reiki" Masters course. She loves gardening vegetables, rituals at the beach, hiking up north, reading, dancing in the rain, and drumming on her hoop drum during the moon cycles. She performs house cleansings and Reiki services in and out of her home. She would love to meet other cheerful women of like mind in her south Florida area.
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