Updated: Mar 22
How do I find a Coven in my area???
One of the most difficult things for a seeker of the Craft is finding where you fit into it all. Most seekers start by picking up a book or two and then decide they need to find teachers or mentors that can help them make sense of it all.
Let's face it, being a solitary Witch can be lonely for some and finding a coven isn't easy! Though today in the age of the internet it sure is easier than it was when you had to write letters, snail mail and wait for a response! There is no how-to guide on finding the right group. Part of the magic is knowing who you are though and what you are looking for. You might prefer the life of a solitary. I'll start off by saying in most cases you will not be joining a coven immediately. Most (not all) established groups have some kind of 'apprenticeship' or (cue music) 'getting to know you' period prior to initiation into a tradition or entry into the coven. In traditional "Wiccan" covens you will see these training groups called Pagan Groves, Outer Court or something similar. They are structured to teach you and give you a feel for what a coven is about. In many groups you are going to spend at least a year and a day doing that. Some leaders take a different approach and only get to know people over a period of time, no rituals, just talking and deciding whether they would bring you into their inner group. You will find that Covens are scattered around and not in every area so be prepared to travel. I was lucky when I found the Coven I was initiated into. I was living in a hotbed of Witches without even knowing it in South Florida. I only had to drive about twenty minutes to get to gatherings. It was ideal to say the least. I say I was lucky because I know people who drive to different states, or even fly to get to their gatherings!
At the time, I personally felt I wasn't growing as a solitary and needed some structure. Well I got it! I had walked right into a Grove sponsored by a Gardnerian Coven without completely understanding the differences between all the Wiccan traditions. I learned pretty quickly that I was where I needed to be. Again I got lucky. Previous to that I had a real flop of an experience with an eclectic witch who I think fell in love with me... And turned me off of Wicca for a time, but I digress... Know what you want! I wanted structure. I knew it. I wasn't looking for a group of friends, although I got that too. I wanted training from others who knew more than I did.
What advice can I give to those who are looking for a group but are hesitant? Well first of all, man or woman up! Learn how to spot charlatans and abusers. Use common sense and trust your gut!
What should I be doing? and what do I need to know?
Ask questions. Be prepared. Know what you are getting into!
Some of the more ‘famous’ Witches of the Craft have been around for ages or they pop up out of nowhere and are suddenly presenting themselves as some guru. Don’t get caught up in the charisma of these people. They sometimes want followers to buy their products or prey on your innocence as a seeker. I suggest everyone read the Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame and familiarize yourself with any warning signs. Be aware that some things are completely normal in different Covens or Wiccan Traditions such as secrecy or even skyclad practice, but ask questions of the teachers. Good teachers want you to ask questions!
What do I do first?
Understand the different traditions that are included under the wider umbrella that calls itself Wicca or Wica. Research Facebook Groups, search the groups listed on this site, Google search for groups in your area. How do these groups represent themselves? Are they asking the right questions of applicants? These are important questions.
NOTE ON INCLUSIVITY
Many groups today will add in their profiles or websites their policies on inclusivity for marginalized groups, stating that they do not discriminate against race, sexuality, gender, disability etc. We encourage leaders to do this on Mandragora Magika so that seekers can find groups easily without feeling they will run into prejudice.
Write an introductory email to leaders in your area and tell them something about yourself and your interest in their group. Tell them about yourself and your spiritual history, as much as you are comfortable with. Any group you join will ask you questions to ascertain whether you are sane and safe. You should do the same.
Meet the leader/leaders of the group in a public setting, preferably during the day. Most leaders will only want to meet the parties interested in joining a group. They don't want to meet your significant other who is just going along with this crazy idea you have right off the bat. For the most part you should have exchanged a lot of emails and maybe have talked on the phone already. You should feel comfortable meeting but you should also be looking for warning signs. I have actually heard of women that have been asked very personal questions like their height, weight etc. and directed to supply a revealing photo prior to meeting!! This is a sign to run! Don't walk, run!
If you are meeting with a supposed traditional Wiccan group and are asked for money or are told that there are dues to join, run. This is taboo in our religion. We do it all for the love of what we do and money does not exchange hands for learning. You may be asked to participate with food for a feast or to bring wine or flowers but never money.
Most covens will meet approximately 2 times a month. You are expected to show up, as the leaders do a lot of preparation in between meetings. Respect the people who you have asked to train you. Remember you are a guest in someone's home and you should treat it that way. If you are honest with yourself in what are looking for and are diligent in your search you will hopefully find a group that fits exactly what you are looking for. Much luck on your search, and may the Gods bless your path!
You can also visit our FIND A GROUP pages that are open to all and encompass other paths. Please use discretion when you meet strangers.
If you are looking to join a Traditional Wiccan group and looking for a specific tradition you can VISIT THIS PAGE for more info.
BEST PRACTICE FOR CONTACTING A GROUP
When contacting someone on this site, introduce yourself! Don't email someone and say "I want to join." You will likely not get a response.
When composing your email, tell the Coven/Group leader about your interest in their group and who you are.
Don't ask people for spells or other types of workings. That is not the purpose of the site.
Be patient, not everyone checks their email every day.
ARE YOU UNDER THE AGE OF 18?
Please do not contact anyone listed on this site without getting the express permission of your legal guardian.
Please note that most Wiccan Covens will not want to engage with you until you are at least 18, and most over the age of 21.
There are groups that are oriented around Pagan family activities so please have your guardian reach out to groups that you can participate in with your family.
There are groups run my adults specifically for children interested in Pagan activities. Please look into Spiral Scouts.
ABOUT SI MANDRAGORA
Si is a Gardnerian high priest operating in Flagler County, FL. A practitioner of various kinds of witchcraft since adolescence, he now runs Mandragora Magika, creates occult art for people, grows all kinds of plants but mostly in love with the poisonous variety. Si holds a degree in Graphic Design from the Art Institute.