Starting Your Own Coven

Starting a group of your own isn't hard if you have the right people. One person cannot start a coven. Get a group of like-minded friends together and you can all discuss how you want your coven to be run. It is important to remember that a coven cannot be run by one person's ideas alone.

Once you and your group have decide to get together and create the coven, you can all pitch in some ideas for the name of the coven. The name should include what the coven is about or something that is important to all of you. Many coven names contain the location of the coven: "Teen Bristol Coven," "Northwest Teen Coven," or "Salt Lake City Teen Coven." Some covens choose names based on things that are sacred to them: "Green Man Coven," "Coven of the Trifold Law," or "Coven of One Mind." Sometimes coven names touch on the type of magick they will focus on: "Green Wicca Coven," "Coven of Three Shamans," or "Celtic Circles Coven." Share everyone's ideas on coven names and make sure everyone votes for their favorites.

If you like, you can create a design or a symbol for your coven. Make sure it isn't too complicated. Everyone in the group should be able to draw it with relative ease. Some covens use designs such as a tree or a triple moon symbol. Decide what everyone in your group likes best.

A group book of shadows is sometimes used, but I strongly encourage you not to keep a coven book of shadows. Too often the group's bookkeeper will leave the group suddenly or lose the book by accident and there is no way to replace it. Instead, everyone in the group should have their own book of shadows and you can copy spells and information from each other. One idea is for everyone to have matching notebooks. You can all get together to decorate them during a group meeting.

Your group will need a set of rules that you all agree to live by while in the group. These rules do not need to be complicated at all. The list below outlines a few rules you may or may not wish to implement in your group. Make sure everyone copies the list of rules down in their book of shadows. Examples:

  1. Anyone who wishes to join the group may join.
  2. Each person may bring a guest if they like.
  3. Each person is responsible for bringing one item to each meeting.
  4. A member can only be removed from the group by a majority vote.
  5. Each member will have a say in how rituals are created.

There are two ways to decide how member jobs should be divided. You can have everyone perform the same job each time, or you may choose to rotate at every meeting. In small groups, it is usually, but not always a good idea if everyone does the same job each time. In larger groups, people often like to rotate jobs and take turns doing each thing. I will outline some fair ideas below that you may wish to incorporate in your group, depending on the number of people you have.

  • 2 members: Both people take turns reading lines for rituals. Have one person read each paragraph with both of you playing the role of priest or priestess.
  • 3 members: Same as with a two-person group.
  • 4 members: Each member is responsible for one of the quarter callings. Choose a different person at each meeting to also play the role of the priest/priestess.
  • 5 members: One person takes a turn being the priest/priestess at each meeting while the other four are responsible for calling the four quarters.
  • 6 members: Two members alternate with the role of priest/priestess while the other four represent the quarters.
  • 7 members: Four members call the quarters while three alternate as the priest/priestess.
  • more than 7: Each person can be responsible for a single job during the ceremony. Multiple people may also be used for some jobs.

It is very important that everyone in the group votes for what structure to use. It is not fair for one person to lead the group and make all of the decisions.

Group Activities

At each meeting, you should have a list of activities prepared. This will keep everyone busy and having fun. Here are some ideas you can use for your own group meetings.

Lessons: Lessons are great for each meeting. You can have one lesson per meeting, or require everyone to bring something each time. Not everyone is comfortable with getting up and speaking in a group. A good idea is to have everyone copy a lesson or article they read in a book, magazine, or website. Have each person make a copy of the article for everyone in the group and exchange them to add to your books of shadows. This is fun to do while everyone is having their refreshments.

Ritual: This one is rather obvious. This can include a ritual for a holiday or a group spell for health and abundance.

Cooking Lesson: When meeting a someone's house, you may want to have one person teach everyone else how to make their favorite recipe. Of course, every meeting should include refreshments of some kind. Juice or tea with cookies is great.

Crafts: Group crafts are a lot of fun. There are a number of crafts you can make for each season. Yule tree ornaments, flower garlands, pomanders, blank books, jewelry, and wreaths are several ideas. For your first group meeting, you may all want to decorate binders to use as your books of shadows.

Book of Shadows Craft: A simple design for a book of shadows uses colored glass rhinestones which can be found in any craft store. You will need: one three-ring binder in black or your favorite color, one rhinestone in each of these colors: red, yellow, blue, green, and clear (or purple), a silver or gold acrylic paint marker, a pencil, hot glue or super glue, a round object, and a ruler. First, find a round object to create a circle in the center of your book cover. A small plastic margarine tub is perfect. Place it upside down on the center of the binder cover and trace around it lightly with a pencil. Check to make sure it is centered. If not, you can always erase it and try again. Next, draw lines across the circle using the pencil and a ruler to create a pentacle. Remember, you can always erase if you need to. When you feel confident that your pentacle is straight, place the margarine tub over the circle again. Hold it as still as possible and trace around it with the paint marker. Let it dry completely (or it will smear) and then draw the straight lines of the pentacle. Use the ruler to keep them perfect. Once your paint is dry, glue your colored rhinestones to each point on the pentacle. The clear (or purple) rhinestone goes at the top.

Games: Include some fun games for group members to play. You can have prizes for the winners that you made yourselves, or just give out extra items you have such as candles or gemstones.

Herb Garden: This is a fun idea for groups who like to meet at the same house each time. You can create your own herb garden and care for it together. Everyone helps care for it and when the herbs are harvested, everyone may have an equal share to take home and use. Everyone should also help decide which herbs will be planted and share in the cost of the materials. Be sure to only get herbs that will grow well in your area.

Camping: Have an adult take everyone on a camping trip into nature. It can be overnight or just a day trip. Make sure you have some outdoor activities planned.

Drumming: Drumming is very popular at Pagan gatherings. Most drummers need little or no experience. Just bring along a drum and do what feels right. Those who do not have a drum find that they can use other percussion instruments or dance to the beat.

Singing: Learning new songs is fun, especially around a campfire. Some people can read music, but the easiest way to learn songs is to play them on a stereo and print out the lyrics for everyone to sing along. Soon, you will all know the words without needing to use the backup music. There are many Pagan songs that are easy to learn.

Volunteer: Doing volunteer work is a perfect group activity. Have everyone bring a plastic bag and a pair of gardening gloves and pick up trash at a local beach or park.

Collecting Dues: It isn't necessary, but some groups collect a little money from all members to help pay for some of the things that the group needs. Make sure that everyone thinks this is a good idea. Everyone needs to vote on who should be treasurer. Vote for who is most honest or have an adult be in charge of the money. Everyone should also be able to vote on what the money will be spent on. $1 (US) is a fair price if meetings are once a month. Twenty-five cents per week is a good price for teen groups.

When and Where to Meet?

Decide on where you would like to meet. Some groups like to meet at a public park. Usually, group meetings take place in a group member's home. Find out where everyone feels most comfortable and make sure your meeting place isn't too far away for anyone to be able to get there.

Most groups meet once per month on the full moon. This may be hard for teenagers, who usually have school during the week. Instead, try holding meetings every other weekend or every three weeks. Be sure the meetings are set for a time when everyone will be able to make it. Someone should have a copy of everyone's phone number just in case last-minute changes need to be made.

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