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 Page: Profile: Group   Total Views: 12,829,177  

Group Stats

Formed?: 10/31/1975

New Members OK?: Yes

Incorporated?: Yes

501* Cert.?: Yes



Wvox Stats

Group Id: 32354

Poster Id: 352689

Posted: Jun.7.2008

Total Views: 2507


Covenant of the Goddess
A WitchVox Sponsor


Age Range/Type: Adult
Located in: Berkeley, California
Key Contact: Correspondence Offic

Spiritual Path: Witch
Status: Established Group
Community Support: None Offered




Group Overview: An Overview of the Covenant of the Goddess
The Covenant of the Goddess is one of the largest and oldest Wiccan religious organizations. Wicca, or Witchcraft is the most popular expression of the religious movement known as Neo-Paganism. Wicca or Witchcraft is the fastest growing religion in the United States according to the Institute for the Study of American Religion. It's practitioners are reviving ancient Pagan practices and beliefs of pre-Christian Europe and adapting them to contemporary life. The result is a religion that is both old and new, both traditional and creative.
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Witchcraft: A Spiritual and Ethical Overview
Witchcraft is a life-affirming, earth- and nature-oriented religion which sees all of life as sacred and interconnected, honors the natural world as the embodiment of divinity, immanent as well as transcendent, and experiences the divine as feminine and often as masculine, as well. Like the spiritual world view and practices of Native Americans and Taoists, Wiccan spiritual practices are intended to attune humanity to the natural rhythms and cycles of the universe as a means of personally experiencing divinity. Rituals, therefore, coincide with the phases of the moon, the change of the seasons, solstices and equinoxes and days which fall in between these such as May Day and Halloween. This calendar of celebrations is referred to as the Wheel of the Year. Most Witches consider their practice a priest/esshood, akin to the mystery schools of classical Greece and Rome, involving years of training and passage through life-transforming initiatory rituals.

Witches within CoG generally agree on an ethical code known as the Wiccan Rede, "An it harm none, do what ye will, " which honors the freedom of each individual to do what she or he believes is right, but also recognizes the profound responsibility that none may be harmed by one's actions.

Background and Formation
In the 1970s there was a marked rise of interest in Witchcraft not only in the United States, but throughout the world, reflecting a growing feminist awareness and global concern for the environment. In the Spring of 1975, a number of Wiccan elders from diverse traditions, all sharing the idea of forming a religious organization for all practitioners of Witchcraft, gathered to draft a covenant among themselves. These representatives also drafted bylaws to administer this new organization now known as the Covenant of the Goddess. At the 1975 Summer Solstice, the bylaws were ratified by thirteen member congregations (or covens) . The Covenant of the Goddess was incorporated as a nonprofit religious organization on October 31, 1975.

Organization and Activities
The Covenant is an umbrella organization of cooperating autonomous Witchcraft congregations and individual practitioners with the power to confer credentials on its qualified clergy. It fosters cooperation and mutual support among Witches and secures for them the legal protections enjoyed by members of other religions. The Covenant is non-hierarchical and governed by consensus. Two-thirds of its clergy are women.

The Covenant is coordinated by a national board of directors. Many of its activities are conducted at the regional level by local councils. The Covenant holds an annual national conference open to the Wiccan community, as well as regional conferences, and publishes a newsletter. In recent years, the Covenant has taken part in spiritual and educational conferences, interfaith outreach, large public rituals, environmental activism, community projects and social action, as well as efforts to correct negative stereotypes and promote accurate media portrayals. Its clergy perform legal marriages (handfastings) , preside at funerals and other rituals of life-transition, and provide counseling to Witches including those in the military and in prisons. The Covenant also provides youth awards, sponsorship of college and university student groups, and legal assistance in instances of discrimination.

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Purpose
The Covenant of the Goddess was founded in 1975 to increase cooperation among Witches and to secure for Witches and covens the legal protection enjoyed by members of other religions.

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Functions
The Covenant publishes a newsletter; issues ministerial credentials on request to qualified persons; sponsors a national festival each summer; and encourages networking nationally, as well as regionally through local councils.

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Structure
The Covenant is incorporated as a non-profit religious organization in California, though it has grown to be an international organization. It is a confederation of covens and solitaires of various traditions, who share in the worship of the Goddess and the Old Gods and subscribe to a common code of ethics. The Covenant holds a Grand Council annually to decide matters which require deliberation by the full membership. Decisions are usually made by consensus.

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Code Of Ethics
An ye harm none, do as ye will.
Since our religion and the arts and practices peculiar to it are the gift of the Goddess, membership and training in a local coven or tradition are bestowed free, as gifts, and only on those persons who are deemed worthy to receive them. However, a coven may expect each of its members to bear a fair share of its ordinary operating expenses.
All persons have the right to charge reasonable fees for the services by which they earn a living, so long as our religion is not thereby exploited.
Every person associated with this Covenant shall respect the autonomy and sovereignty of each coven, as well as the right of each coven to oversee the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical development of its members and students in its own way, and shall exercise reasonable caution against infringing upon that right in any way.
All persons associated with this Covenant shall respect the traditional secrecy of our religion.
Members of this Covenant should ever keep in mind the underlying unity of our religion as well as the diversity of its manifestations.
These ethics shall be understood and interpreted in light of one another, and especially in light of the traditional laws of our religion.

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Confidentiality
All information given to the Covenant of the Goddess or any of its officials is considered strictly confidential, unless you indicate otherwise. No information about members is published or given out without explicit written permission. Direct access to the Covenant's mailing list is limited to the Board of Directors. Maximum privacy is assured.

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Newsletter
At every Sabbat the Covenant publishes a newsletter of Craft and Pagan news, original articles, poetry, humor, rituals, and announcements. Member covens receive the newsletter automatically. Individual coveners and non-members who donate a suitable tax-deductible gift will also be placed on the mailing list, to receive the newsletter and other mailings. Circulation is limited to members and friends of the Covenant.

Subscription Form Word or PDF

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Finances
An annual membership tithe is set every year at the Grand Council to cover bare expenses, based on the previous year's expenses and any projected cost increases. The annual financial statement is published in the newsletter. Other activities are supported by fund-raising. All contributions to the Covenant of the Goddess are greatly appreciated and are tax-deductible.

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Applying For Membership
Any Goddess-supporting coven or solitary can be eligible for membership in the Covenant of the Goddess, if certain criteria and requirements are met. All inquiries into membership should be sent to the National Membership Officer. If the coven or solitary is in an area near a Local Council, the National Officer will forward the inquiry to the local Membership Officer, who will respond.

Membership Application in PDF.

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General Criteria For Coven Membership
Generally focus theology and ritual, etc., around the worship of the Goddess and the Old Gods (or the Goddess alone) .
Believe in and follow a code of ethics compatible with that of the Covenant.
Have been meeting monthly or oftener for at least six months.
Have three or more members who have been formally accepted into the clergy.
Be a cohesive, self-perpetuating group

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Requirements For Membership
Full Membership: The applicant must be recommended without reservation by members of two different covens or solitaries that are known to the Covenant.

Provisional Membership: The applicant may receive one letter of recommendation, and then has a year and a day to obtain the required second recommendation to achieve Full Membership status.

The appropriate Membership Officer (National or Local) shall verify information regarding the criteria and requirements.

Please see the CoG Bylaws for further information on membership requirements.

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Assembly of Solitaries
This is the term we use to collectively represent the Members who are Solitaries, i.e. practicing alone. Each Local Council may devise its own standards for admission of Solitaries, in harmony with national guidelines.

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Local Councils
A Local Council is a smaller branch of the Covenant, consisting of at least three member covens of at least two different traditions, in reasonably close geographic proximity to each other. The Local Councils meet at least twice a year and usually more often. They may choose to initiate independent projects, sponsor local festivals and workshops, and generally work together for common goals close to home. As the Covenant continues to grow, we encourage new member covens close to one another to form their own Local Councils.

See the Local Councils page for information on CoG's Local Councils

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Affinity Groups
Within a Local Council, Affinity Groups may be established to further the interests and aims of two or more Local Council Members who share common interests and aims other than their tradition of Our religion. Covens may, at their discretion, join one or more Affinity Groups. Affinity Groups will approve Affinity Group membership, determine the frequency and purpose of their meetings and select and follow through on their own projects and activities. Affinity Groups shall keep the Local Council First Officer and other appropriate officers informed of their activities. Affinity Groups are encouraged to invite membership by CoG Members beyond Local Council boundaries.

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Voting
When a matter requiring a decision is presented before the Covenant in council, it is discussed by the members in attendance until a consensus is reached. If a consensus cannot be reached, then a vote may be taken. A coven holding a current Full Membership is entitled to one vote. Each such coven also holds the power to veto, though this is exercised only in extreme cases. A coven with Provisional Membership is entitled to one vote, but does not hold veto power.

An Assembly of Solitaries is entitled to one vote if, and only if, three individuals are physically present at council and unanimous in their choice of vote.

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Ministerial Credentials
In order to be eligible to receive Ministerial Credentials as a Priestess or Priest, a person shall:

Be an active member of a coven which is a Full Member of the Covenant.
Have been "confirmed" to taking on the full commitment to the requirements of that coven's Tradition of our religion.
Have undergone at least a full year of active training for the ministry of that Tradition.
These credentials shall remain valid only so long as the person remains an active member of a coven which remains an active member of the Covenant.

In order to be eligible to receive Ministerial Credentials as an Elder, a person shall:

Satisfy 2) and 3) above.
Have undergone an additional full year of active training for the ministry.
Be fully able to form a coven, admit members, and train them in the tenets and practices of that Tradition.
These credentials must be renewed each year; the National Credentials Officer can provide more details.

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"MerryMeet" - The National Festival
The annual Grand Council or national business meeting is held as part of MerryMeet, our annual national gathering, which is open to the whole membership as well as Pagans and Witches who are not part of the Covenant. The festival is usually held at a secluded campground or resort, and moves to a different area of the country each summer. In addition to the council meeting, the program may include workshops on aspects of the Craft, concerts, a feast, a talent show, and the opportunity to purchase (or barter for) art, crafts, and ritual tools by Pagan artisans. Registration and further information about MerryMeet.

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For More Information
Please refer to our Contact page. for more information about CoG or contact our Correspondence Officer.


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