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Article ID: 8472
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,624
Times Read: 3,916
Author: Willow Marina
Posted: May 23rd. 2004
Times Viewed: 3,916
Wicca is an initiatory path and one I most enjoy through the coven format. I prefer a close working group over a loose circle. I trained in a coven and founded my own after my 3rd Degree. What I provide as High Priestess of my coven is a place to meet, a degree program leading through a series of initiations, rituals, teaching, priestessing, mentoring, and being the lineage link to the Living Tapestry Tradition. What I get is much, much more...
Our Tradition is American eclectic Wicca, and our covens have a great deal of autonomy. We value creativity and believe each coven and its members should create a coven that reflects our connections to Deity and the cycles of the Earth, as these reveal themselves to us. We have similar requirements for degrees, while leaving much leeway for the special knowledge and skills each High Priestess and High Priest brings to their coven.
We have a system of degrees and provide clergy training through 2nd and 3rd Degree. The degree approach works for me, because I am a student of life. I enjoy learning, reading, sharing, researching, and challenging myself. I like the idea of a progressive system of learning, and find that those who come to LunaSolis are looking for that experience as well. As a Candidate to the Mother Coven, before my first initiation, I found it helpful to have a set of requirements to follow, to point me in the direction of becoming part of the egregore - the group mind.
Our coven requirements include general studies, tasks, books, essays to write, and much personal experiential work, for each of the four degrees (Neophyte, First, Second, Third), and the group works on these together in meetings, as well as individually. The coven experience enhances our solitary practice - which each person should maintain. Spiritual commitment isn't just being Wiccan a few times a month at coven meetings.
Photocopies of handouts and rituals are provided so that we all have an identical Book of Shadows. Members supplement their own books with handwritten notes. There are documents relating to coven bylaws and functioning that are also distributed and discussed. We use an email list for the coven between meetings to talk and to plan, and all initiated members of the covens in our Tradition are also on an email list together.
Attendance at meetings and rituals is expected. During my years with the Mother Coven, I can count on one hand how many meetings I missed, so the attendance bar is quite high in our group. If the level of commitment seems too much to someone, we probably are not the coven for them. We are looking for serious and dedicated members. Our coven is a Mystery School, not a social club.
Once a year, I put out word that we are taking new members, and a temporary Outer Circle forms. We do not take everyone who applies. I meet with each potential member one-on- one, for two very good reasons. One, we meet in my home, and I am not having anyone come to my house that I have not met or do not like and trust. And two, if I am to be their primary teacher, particularly with those new to the path, I need to feel a bond with them. I make decisions based on observation, intuition, and experience. I am very clear about the work involved, and the time commitment so that new people understand what they are getting into.
There are a few informal gatherings before the Candidates' classes begin in earnest - a six-month series of classes and rituals to cover the basics. Candidates are associate members of the Coven, and meet separately from the Initiates - those who have had their first initiation into the Coven. Initiates can come to meetings of the Candidates, so that they can begin to know and work with them. After the Candidate classes end, there is a period of three months when both groups meet together. Then the Outer Circle is no more. If all fits, and the Initiates approve of the potential members, the Candidates are initiated into the Coven.
After the Candidate level, the minimum period between initiations is the traditional year and a day. However, we do not give a degree simply because the time on the calendar has passed. Our degrees are earned. The year and a day is not the maximum time period either. It may take some people longer to complete the work, because situations can intrude at times even in our spiritual life. Once the work is complete, and those already holding the degree to which the person aspires agree that the Candidate is ready, an initiation ritual is created. These are not open to everyone. If, for example, the initiation is to 2nd Degree, only coven members with a 2nd Degree can be present.
My experience is that the Divine initiates each of us before the initiation ritual itself. The ritual we provide is inspired and guided by that Force, and is a recognition of the inner transformation, through ceremony, celebration, and the gifting of cords to designate degrees. I was, and still am, very proud of each of my own cords. They symbolize much hard and glorious work on my part. They truly are markers of places along my own path where my spiritual life went to another level.
LunaSolis offers occasional public rituals and workshops, and I do some public work outside the coven. The Mother Coven has brought several prominent Pagans to town for workshops and ritual, and we will continue that service. We attend public Pagan rituals, and enjoy interacting with the larger Pagan community.
I think it is important to be involved in some fashion with other Pagans at the level that is right for each person, and I respect how each person celebrates their spirituality. Those who are solitary practitioners, as I was for five years, are solitary for a reason. Those of us who choose covens over larger circles do so for a reason. I think the more groups in an area, and the more variety in the forms these take, the easier it is for Pagan people seeking affiliation to find a group to their liking.
As High Priestess of LunaSolis Coven, I am its founder. I am responsible for the vision that created it, and for what it becomes. That means as it evolves, reflecting the energy and experience of everyone who becomes part of it, my job is often to just let go and let it happen. Yet, I need also be sure that where it flows is where I want to go. I have seen covens started that lost their purpose, got swept on the tides of undirected vision, and ended up smashed on the rocks of mediocrity. So far, I like where we have come. LunaSolis is richer now than the vision I had when it was launched.
Being High Priestess of a coven that meets in my home is such a blessing in my life. We have a temple room, where we can set up altars for specific work and leave them between meetings. I have a beautifully woven maypole in my side yard by the labyrinth. Down by the stream, in the fairy glen, is our outdoor ritual space.
Creating a coven takes a great deal of work and dedication. I must be available for all of the meetings and rituals, prepared to teach, and even though we share the load, ultimately responsible for everything. It's challenging and wonderful.
Location: Ithaca, New York
Author's Profile: To learn more about Willow Marina - Click HERE
Bio: Janis Strope is High Priestess of LunaSolis Coven in upstate New York. We are a thread of the Living Tapestry Tradition, and are an American eclectic Wiccan coven. In addition to her coven work, Janis offers public rituals for the equinoxes and solstices, and leads workshops and classes at a local spiritual center. An experienced event organizer, she plans local programs and also brings leading-edge Pagans to the community. She is a Priestess of the labyrinth and leads a community walk on the 4th Sunday of each month. Visit LunaSolis Coven at www.lunasolis.com.
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Willow Marina... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)
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