If you’re just starting out with Wicca, one of the first things you’ll want to decide is whether or not you want to practice your Craft solo or join a coven. While this is a very personal decision (and only you know what’s right for you), it’s something that you should research do a moderate extent. There are clear benefits to both; but, as with anything, there are also drawbacks to both as well. I’ll go over the pros and cons for each method of practicing.
But first, a little perspective on the “solo vs. coven” situation. This topic is one of the most hotly disputed topics in the Wiccan and pagan community. And although practicing solo has become exponentially more popular in recent decades, there are some Wiccans who believe that “only a witch may initiate another witch.”
Many of the pioneers of the Wiccan belief system, such as Gardner, Sanders, and Valiente, believed strongly that not only must one practice in a coven, but that you had to be initiated into that coven before you could call yourself a Wiccan (and even then, the initiation didn’t mean you were a full-fledged, card-carrying member of Wicca).
There have been, however, some pioneers of the solo practice of the Craft, such as Scott Cunningham and Silver RavenWolf. And because Wicca is a belief system that evolves, it’s becoming more acceptable that some witches feel better flying solo.
Finding (and flying with) a Coven
There are many reasons why one would want to join a coven instead of practicing the Craft solo. Here are just a few of the benefits of practicing with a coven:
You have a sense of community and feeling “connected” to others who share the same beliefs that you do. One of the key aspects of any religion or belief system is the feeling of community and interconnection.
Mentorship and education.
Most covens will have their new initiates complete a “trial period.” This varies in length (see my post on “A Year & A Day“) and exists to ensure a couple of things; first, they want to make sure that you mesh well with them (and they, you). It is especially important that everyone feel comfortable practicing magic with their covenstead because practicing magic is a very intimate thing.
Secondly, they want to make sure that those who are new to Wicca genuinely want to follow the Wiccan path. Many people like the allure of practicing magic and casting spells (and/or they are otherwise infatuated with the image of the “Hollywood witch”), but once they begin to study the background of Wicca, the history of witchcraft, and the practices of the witch (or, more specifically, the coven), they either lose interest, become uncomfortable, or a million other reasons.
Simply put, no (good) Wiccan wants to force anyone to take part in the Craft unless they honestly and genuinely want to do so.
Greater results in spell-casting.
Make no mistake: a solo witch can raise as much energetic power from the Universe as they need to get the job done, and then some. But when you practice with a group, it’s sort of like having a bunch of backup energy to help you along. Knowing that your fellow coven members “have your back” can help many to feel more empowered.
Many more reasons can be added to this list, but these are some of the more popular reasons why practicing with a coven is beneficial. On the flip side, there are some things about joining a coven that may be a turn-off for someone who would rather practice their Craft alone:
Whenever you get two or more people involved in something (whether it’s a troop of girl scouts, a book club, or Congress), you’re gonna have drama. It is a foregone conclusion. Why? Because most of us are people. And, as people, we have our opinions. And sometimes, every once in a while, those opinions differ. And when those opinions differ, it usually leads to disagreements, arguments, cat fights, name-calling, and more.
Covens are not immune to drama. And while Wiccans are a peaceful people, and everyone wants what is best, there’s inevitably going to be some disagreements. Some covens are very tight-knit and cohesive, operating like a well-oiled machine. However, no one is perfect, so the chances are good that there will, at one time or another, be some drama.
Wicca is a belief system that allows its followers to express themselves in ways that most other religions do not. However, when it comes to rituals performed in a coven, there will obviously be some rules and guidelines to follow. This is not a bad thing, per se, but there may be something about how the rituals are performed that either you’re uncomfortable with (for instance, a lot of covens perform rituals skyclad – that’s witch talk for “naked”), or that you outright disagree with.
When you practice in a coven, you’ve got to coordinate schedules. If you’ve ever tried to schedule… well, anything, with a group of people, you know how maddening it can be to get everyone in the same place at the same time. And although it may be nice to have a ‘set time’ in which you meet and practice the Craft, obviously life will sometimes get in the way.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download
I talk a lot about solitary practice on this site, mostly because I am a solo witch, so I know the intricacies of practicing alone. Practicing alone has some great positives to it, such as:
It’s almost like being self-employed; since it’s just you, you can perform a spell or ritual whenever you want. You don’t have to worry about getting everyone together, making sure everyone brought their tools, and making sure everyone’s in a good mood and ready to circle. You can practice on your own time, whenever’s best for you.
Since it’s just you, you can tailor your spells and rituals to fit your tastes exactly, instead of having to perform a ritual that you may not feel is providing the kind of spiritual experience you want.
If you want to do your spell work indoors, you can. Feel like mixing it up and taking a hike into the mountains, culminating with a nature-based ritual? Do it! Flying solo means you can practice your Craft anywhere.
But, just like covens, flying solo has some drawbacks:
No Connection to other witches.
Perhaps the worst aspect of practicing alone (or the best aspect, I guess, if you’re really not a people person) is not having anyone with whom to share your spiritual experience. This can lead to feeling a bit isolated and alone. However, with the advent of the Interwebs, there are now hundreds, if not thousands, of online communities that you can join (most of which do not have the stringent requirements that a traditional coven has).
Lack of resources/mentorship.
Again, this is something that the Internet has helped to alleviate. However, sometimes you simply don’t feel like Googling something to find the answer, and it would be nice to have a mentor that can help answer questions you have. Online resources are great, especially forums, but sometimes it would be nice to have a face-to-face interaction with a seasoned witch.
Changing It Up
In my research and experience in Wicca, I haven’t read anywhere that the decision you make today is the decision with which you must remain forever. As you evolve, so, too, do your needs and desires. Even I do not discount the possibility of one day joining a coven. Just meditate and consider which path is the right one for you based on how you feel you’d be best served right now. You can always switch it up later if and when your path takes a different road.