(Personal note: I’d honestly call this article “Five things that will give you odd looks from other Pagans”, because you’d be surprised of how much this happens and I couldn’t explain this any better myself. Well, actually I’ve tried… repeatedly. )
Five Things That Will Keep You From Joining a Coven by: juliapgreen
From my own experience, and from comments I’ve heard various coven leaders make online, there are far more seekers wanting to become members of good covens than there are available spaces in those covens. And by “good covens” I mean: there is a tradition being handed down, as opposed to “I read this book and then I started a coven”; the members actively pursue spiritual and personal growth; there is a great deal of emphasis on adult behavior and personal responsibility; and the coven is not being used primarily as a warehouse for potential sex partners.
Competition can be pretty fierce for membership in such a coven. Want to increase your odds? Never, ever do the following:
1. Send a fawning, badly spelled, or ego-maniacal email.
High Priestesses, or whoever checks the coven’s email account, can get a lot of requests for information or membership in a week. Plus, the email checker probably has a full-time job, a family, and is very busy with coven activities and responsibilities. Much as they’d like, they simply cannot respond at length to every one. Here are three first emails that will never be taken seriously. Send them, and you won’t even be invited to meet with coven representatives to “check each other out”:
“I feel called to work with you and your group. I just know the Goddess has sent me to you.”
Oh puh-leeze. Get real. This is a first email! You don’t even know these people! And besides, this kind of talk makes you sound just too spacey to be taken seriously. You also sound desperate.
“cn I join ur coven?”
As I mentioned in another article, many covens require, as part of the training process, that their members read books – hard, dry, technical books. If you can’t even take the time to spell out all the words in your email, it will be assumed that you do not have the mental discipline or reading comprehension to successfully tackle the coven reading list, and your application will be rejected. I don’t care how “acceptable” Netspeak is or isn’t, this is NOT the time to use it! Also, try to be a little more polite in your wording, especially on the first email.
“I’m a second degree Demon Master, and a member of the Order of the Phoenix, I’m an adept at Mindspeak, and I’ve been studying Wicca since I was thirteen, and I’m seventeen now, and would like to know what you think you can do for me.”
There is so much wrong with this approach I almost don’t know where to begin. First of all, no good coven is going to take anyone under the age of eighteen. Period. And most would prefer to wait until you’re at least twenty-one. Twenty-five would be better! Also, references to religious or magical orders and magic abilities that only exist in books of fiction are going to guarantee that your email will become the victim of the ever-dreaded delete key. Finally, you are the seeker and the coven (or specific members of one) decides who will and will not join, not the other way around!
2. Always show up to meetings and rituals late.
This sends the message, “the coven, its members, and the work it does is not very high on my list of priorities.” Other ways to send this message include showing up drunk or stoned, or making last-minute lame excuses to not show up at all: “My best friend, who is not even Pagan, just got dumped and I need to take her out drinking.” Coven leaders tend to frown on this sort of stuff. They also frown on leaving as soon as the ritual is over because “my friends are all getting together and I said I’d party with them.”
I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: A Witch is only as good as his or her word. How will a High Priest or Priestess believe that you will keep your tradition’s oaths if you continually break your word to them, to your fellow seekers, to your family? The answer is: they won’t. And when the time comes to decide who in the seeker’s group will be invited to join, the liar won’t even be on the list.
4. Know that your UPG is relevant for everyone, and say so. Often.
UPG stands for “Unsubstantiated (or Unconfirmed) Personal Gnosis.” This is when the Divine decides to talk to you directly, either during a guided meditation or an elder in the coven “draws down” a God or Goddess to speak. The key word here is personal. What the Gods say to you is for you. Not your fellow seekers, not your fellow coveners, and not your High Priestess. “The Goddess told me to tell you…” is hubris. Plain and simple.
If past incidents of UPG have you convinced you have a “grand destiny” and therefore everything that comes out of your mouth is DivineSpeak, then by all means share it constantly with the group, because you won’t be able to for very long. The lesser beings in the coven who must settle for their own “ordinary destiny” are very unlikely to be enlightened by your pronouncements and will kick you out in a fit of envy.
5. Neglect personal workings that involve soap and hot water.
If you’re worried about the planet, there are ways to shower and conserve water at the same time. Cruelty-free, environmentally friendly soap, shampoo, toothpaste and laundry detergent are readily available at any health food store. Buy them. Use them liberally. And if you don’t already know this, allow me to be the one to enlighten you: that bottle of patchouli oil you just poured all over yourself in no way covers up the fact that you haven’t showered for a week and your clothes have never seen the inside of a washing machine.
Unless everyone in the coven has chronic, untreated nasal allergies, they aren’t going to want to sit next to you if you stink. Shallow? Probably! True? Yup!
It doesn’t matter how hungry you are for knowledge, or how desperately you want to be a member of the group, the coven is under no obligation to accept you. Let me repeat that: no obligation whatsoever. So it’s in your best interests to avoid the above five pitfalls. Trust me.