Coven Life vs. Solitary Life

Choosing between becoming a solitary witch or becoming a member of a coven can be a tough decision. It involves many factors. What kind of witch do you want to be? Do you live in an area where there are covens? Are there covens of the tradition that appeals to you in your area? Do you feel comfortable in a group? Do you have the time to commit to coven activities? These are important questions. But let’s examine the issue more closely.

Pros and Cons of Coven Life

The Pros: In a coven, you get a lot of support. You have people available to you who have more education in the craft than you do, so you can learn from them. There is camaraderie in a coven. You also get some structure in terms of schedule and how you go about learning the craft. Within the coven structure, you can work up to higher degrees, eventually attaining the rank of High Priestess (or Priest). The teachings of a coven have been handed down through a lineage — which is important to some people.

The Cons: The fact that there is structure in a coven can be a con for some people. The coven will make decisions about meeting times and attendance that might not fit your busy schedule. Covens have certain expectations of each and every member that you may not be comfortable with. Many covens have dress (or undress) requirements that you might not like. The other members of the coven will judge you in that they hold you accountable for the upkeep of the laws of the tradition.

If you break the laws of the tradition of your coven, your coven and its community can oust you. If you leave the tradition and go to another tradition, you may have to start your training all over again as if you had never been trained at all. There are many traditions that will not recognize the degrees granted by covens of other traditions. Finally, the membership of the coven is a group of people you will be spending time with. If you decide you don’t like another member or if the group chooses to admit a new member whom everyone likes but you, you will probably be uncomfortable. Basically, the cons to coven life are pretty similar to the cons that come with any group activity.

Pros and Cons of Going Solo

The Pros: The solitary witch can learn at his or her own pace. A solitaire does not have to worry about earning degrees. A solitaire can follow his or her own schedule and is not bound by a coven’s timetable. Solitary witches can wear whatever they want during rituals — street clothes, robes, or nothing at all. Solitary witches keep company with whom they choose and, unlike coven witches, do not have a set group they must associate with. As a solitaire, you can take on students when you want, if you want, and when you feel you are ready. Many solitaires design their own rituals.

The Cons: The downside to going solo is that you really are on your own. Help and guidance from knowledgeable witches are not going to be as readily available as they would be if you were a part of a coven. As a solitaire, you must go out and seek the companionship of other witches. Some witches harbor prejudice against solitary witches, believing that you are only a true witch if you have been initiated by a coven. Because the solitary witch does not earn degrees, sometimes other witches do not recognize the solitaire’s level of proficiency in the craft. If you do join a coven, no matter how many years of solitary experience you have, your learning might not be recognized and you have to start again as a neophyte. Finally, the solitary witch has no lineage that he or she can look back to for guidance.

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