Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
Healing the Witch Within
Discovering Wicca as a Young Child
March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Recovering From a Bad Coven Experience
Article ID: 13513
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,577
Times Read: 7,363
RSS Views: 13,378
Author: Bronwen Forbes [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: November 15th. 2009
Times Viewed: 7,363
One of the best things about being in a coven is the sense of family among the members. In fact, it’s not uncommon to feel even closer to your coven family than you do your family of origin. Unfortunately, as with some families, there can be dissent and discord; some covens may be downright dysfunctional, others may “divorce”, e.g. break up with all the rancor and bitterness of a long-feuding married couple that has finally decided to untie the knot.
Spirituality and the expression of religious belief is so intimate, so personal, you may even take this breakup as hard as if not harder than the last time you were dumped by someone you were romantically involved with. Whether you’ve left an intolerable coven situation or your close-knit group has just blown up in your face, the question is the same: what in the world do you do now? How do you even begin to recover from something like this?
First, take a deep breath, and know that you are far from the first or the only person in the history of American Paganism that this has happened to.
Next, treat yourself as if you have just lost a good friend, a family member, or someone you were very much in love with because, let’s be honest here, you probably did just have a loss of that magnitude if, for whatever reason, you’re not going to be circling with the same people any more. Do what you would normally do in this situation: cry if you have to, take a lot of bubble baths, eat more of your favorite ice cream than usual – in other words, indulge yourself a little bit.
Be gentle with yourself and whatever feelings may be coming up (pain, anger, fear, etc.) It’s all part of the healing process. If the coven broke up – as opposed to you leaving on your own – try to get with some of your fellow former members for a meal and just to spend time together, not necessarily in ritual, but to express how you all feel.
Do NOT run to the local community and tell everyone you can make sit still long enough to listen all the gory, intimate details of the coven break. They don’t want to know. You don’t want to look like a nasty little dirty laundry-exposer, especially if you left your group (as opposed to the group splitting up) .
On the other hand, if you know that the group has split off from the leader (s) before, or if other people have previously left the coven for reasons similar to yours, it would be in your best interest to get in touch with these folk – privately – and talk, preferably more than once.
I know from experience that this can be very healing and reinforce that you are not alone in your pain. As best you can, try to move away from general “bashing” sessions into honest appraisals of what went wrong on ALL sides as soon as you can.
It may be tempting to leap immediately into a group situation with your fellow ex-coveners or join a new coven entirely. As with romantic relationships, this is called “on the rebound” and, as with romantic relationships, it is not generally recommended. You are broken. You have been hurt. You need time to heal before committing your heart to another – another spiritual group, that is.
The rule of thumb for long-term romantic relationships is to not get involved in another for a period of time equivalent to six months for every year you were in the relationship. If you were married to someone for six years before a divorce, don’t get seriously involved with someone else for at least three years.
Don’t be surprised if you are seriously considering applying the same rule to your between-coven time. You – and your new group – will benefit from you taking the time to heal rather than bringing all that pain, anger, and sorrow into a new bunch of people.
Consider practicing another religion for a while. This sounds counter-intuitive, I know, but it really does work. About eleven years ago, I had a need to walk away from all things Pagan for a while. Why I had that need is not important, but I was hurting and broken and just needed somewhere definitely “not-Pagan but spiritual” to get my act together.
So I spent the next two years hanging out with a local Buddhist group – meditating on a daily basis, going on the occasional retreat, meditating with my fellow Buddhists at the temple on a weekly basis. My meditation skills improved dramatically (something I was able to bring back with me when I rejoined the Pagan community in the aftermath of 9/11) .
The Buddhist group I chose to be with wasn’t into chanting, so I had a lot of peace and quiet in sacred space; peace and quiet is good when you’re trying to heal spiritually. I developed a deep appreciation for a beautiful religion that, while ultimately not my primary religion of choice, was not incompatible with Paganism, either. And, ultimately, I felt like I still had a Higher Power (Buddha, as opposed to, say, Diana) helping me do what I needed most to do: heal.
If there are no Buddhists near you, look for the Quakers. Most Quaker groups consider themselves Christian but, like the Buddhists, their services tend to take place in peaceful silence that, believe me, you really do need if you are recovering from a bad coven experience. If there aren’t any Quakers, look for the nearest Unitarians.
No, you won’t get a lot of peace and quiet, but you will be with some good people who are genuinely interested in every religion on the planet; you might just learn a few things. If sitting in silence is just not your thing, try a more active spiritual practice like yoga or tai chi.
Of course, eventually you are going to need to take a long, hard look at yourself and honestly think about what you did or didn’t do to contribute to the bad situation. Was it just bad judgment on your part, getting involved with an unethical group? Or were you acting like an insufferable know-it-all until your High Priestess couldn’t take it any more and asked you to leave? Did you do the homework assignments your teacher gave you, or did you slack off? Did your group leaders a) divorce or b) move to Fiji and decide to disband the coven?
This is when a combination of other former members of the group AND some non-Pagan spiritual practice can be of the most benefit; you’ll be able to analyze what happened with others and you’ll have the peace and quiet to get your own head together. To say that this is the hardest step toward healing is an understatement. Be gentle with yourself if it takes the longest to complete.
Above all, give it time. It’s annoying as hell to be told, “Time heals all wounds” but unfortunately it’s true. Do the best you can to keep some sort of regular spiritual practice, even if it looks nothing like what you were doing when you were a member of a coven – it will help you feel connected to the Divine, from whom all healing comes.
I know. I’ve been there.
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Author's Profile: To learn more about Bronwen Forbes - Click HERE
Other Articles: Bronwen Forbes has posted 36 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Bronwen Forbes... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).