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Author Topic: Starting a coven with college students  (Read 5513 times)
Samantha
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« Topic Start: May 24, 2010, 12:52:56 pm »

Hi everyone

Something I've been meaning to do is start a coven, my main reason for doing so is that I want someone to share my spirituality with - to celebrate the sabbats with, combine spirituality with socialising and things like that.

I'd be looking to start a coven with people around my own age, the uni-student age.

Has anyone done this? Any advice? Suggestions?

Thanks
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« Reply #1: May 24, 2010, 01:02:23 pm »


Any advice?

Disperse power. Establish a policy structure that does not allow any individual or subgroup to feel like they're "in charge."



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« Reply #2: May 24, 2010, 05:21:34 pm »

Disperse power. Establish a policy structure that does not allow any individual or subgroup to feel like they're "in charge."

I think it is better to discuss how the group will be organized with its members. Some groups go nowhere if no one is in charge. Other groups do fine.
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« Reply #3: May 24, 2010, 05:26:15 pm »

Hi everyone

Something I've been meaning to do is start a coven, my main reason for doing so is that I want someone to share my spirituality with - to celebrate the sabbats with, combine spirituality with socialising and things like that.

I'd be looking to start a coven with people around my own age, the uni-student age.

Has anyone done this? Any advice? Suggestions?

I'd consider very seriously whether what you want is a coven, or whether what you want is something else - a Pagan student group, a study group, an open circle, whatever.

There's two reasons for this: first, traditionally, covens involve ongoing commitments to the group that can be problematic in university - if someone graduates, or studies abroad, or has an internship that really changes their availability, you can end up with all sorts of complications about how to include them and how to maintain the close relationships and interactions a coven should involve.

A more flexible group - with expectations, certainly, and a regular schedule, but with more options about participation, more flexibilty over vacation periods, things like that might be a much better fit. It also gives more options for including new people over time than a formal coven setting would, and would also give you more flexibiltiy in exactly what you do together.
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« Reply #4: May 24, 2010, 07:24:31 pm »

I think it is better to discuss how the group will be organized with its members. Some groups go nowhere if no one is in charge. Other groups do fine.
My own experience with that is that defining it by the negative is a key factor in the "going nowhere" - when the focus is on "no one is in charge, we have no leaders," people tend to act like non-leaders; when the focus is on, "leadership is shared by all members" (or "reponsibility for the group" or some other similar phrasing, if people don't like the word "leadership"), people are more likely to be active about it.

Variable mileage - if everyone involved really is invested in the idea of actively-shared power already, phrasing it in negatives is less likely to encourage passivity; if you've got people who are really habituated to/more comfortable with passivity and see power as "something someone else has", it takes a lot more than words to change that.

Going back to Samantha's original question, my best advice is "start small".  Not just in actual numbers, but in the sense that a coven, with its closer relationships and commitments, is a larger project than a circle that's basically just people who get together from time to time for ritual and to "talk shop".  It sounds like you might not yet have pagan acquaintances to "talk shop" with at all yet; finding folks like that would be the first step - it might seem like starting a coven/circle is a good way to do that, but what you'll get is kind of "whoever"; their approach to paganism may be very different than yours/each other's, or they may be people you dislike or can't get along with.  This is where something like a study group or just a coffee-and-discussion group is likely to be a better place to start.

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« Reply #5: May 27, 2010, 02:32:46 pm »

Hi everyone

Something I've been meaning to do is start a coven, my main reason for doing so is that I want someone to share my spirituality with - to celebrate the sabbats with, combine spirituality with socialising and things like that.

I'd be looking to start a coven with people around my own age, the uni-student age.

Has anyone done this? Any advice? Suggestions?

Thanks


This is exactly what I'll be doing next semester, so I'll share with you my gameplan. Smiley

First, I'm gonna check in with the office of student affairs (or whatever the equivalent will be at my new school) and look into exactly what'll be needed to start a new club. According to policy, the school itself will help students with the initial effort - hosting the first get-together, finding people who are interested, etc. For us to be a functioning club, we need six members and a budget.

Of course, I'm completely fine with doing things unofficially - it just makes me grin at the thought of my new Lutheran school helping me do Pagan things. Bwahaha. Cheesy

A lot of things will be up in the air for awhile. Networking, especially early on, is key, as is publicity. I read somewhere that in advertising, someone needs to see or hear about a product seven times before they actually go in the store and buy it. Prepare to print out a /lot/ of flyers, and make liberal use of things like Facebook groups and your college's list serve.

Now, my method is to be loud and proud about my group - I'm gonna be out of the broom closet from day one. If you're looking for a more sheltered approach (which definitely is preferable to a lot of people), you will probably have to rely more on word of mouth. Do you have Pagan jewelry? Make sure you're wearing it. Check out Paganish books from your library or bring some of your own, and make a point of reading them in a public point on campus. People will notice, and the people who really recognize those sorts of things will start up a conversation with you.

As to what the actual group will entail, that depends on the people who end up joining it. It may be an informal study circle, that gets together every so often. It might be a really intense coven (or coven-like entity) where people are interested in energy and magical work. It might end up being a conglomerate of not just Pagans, but also Buddhists, hippies, super-liberal Christians and Jews, and other like-minded people, similar to what my previous college group was. All of these are possible outcomes, and all have their own strengths and challenges.

A lot of what will happen will be touch and go. Your job as facilitator is to get the word out on a regular basis, show up on time (that's 90% of success!), and make sure you respond to the needs of your group members. And watch out for yourself, of course. Smiley
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« Reply #6: May 31, 2010, 04:53:23 am »



Going back to Samantha's original question, my best advice is "start small".  Not just in actual numbers, but in the sense that a coven, with its closer relationships and commitments, is a larger project than a circle that's basically just people who get together from time to time for ritual and to "talk shop".  It sounds like you might not yet have pagan acquaintances to "talk shop" with at all yet; finding folks like that would be the first step - it might seem like starting a coven/circle is a good way to do that, but what you'll get is kind of "whoever"; their approach to paganism may be very different than yours/each other's, or they may be people you dislike or can't get along with.  This is where something like a study group or just a coffee-and-discussion group is likely to be a better place to start.

Sunflower

Thanks for all the advice - I think Ellen M might have hit the nail on the head, I probably do need to start small and maybe organise a Pagan study group or coffee/discussion group before I get into a real coven - I was planning to go to quite a few more Pagan events and non-online classes to meet people and interact. It's kinda like when you're looking for a new housemate, you don't want to necessarily go with a 'random' - you want to see if you like their personality, if they have the same views you have on responsibility, fun and housework  Cheesy

Thanks for mentioning the idea of starting a club at my university, my university does that too - I think I might look into it, there used to be an alternative spiritual pathways club (which included Paganism) but that seemed to have dispersed - the leader probably graduated or something. ...

Thanks for the advice and suggestions everyone - it really helped.
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Ellen M.
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« Reply #7: May 31, 2010, 08:37:55 am »

Thanks for all the advice - I think Ellen M might have hit the nail on the head, I probably do need to start small and maybe organise a Pagan study group or coffee/discussion group before I get into a real coven - I was planning to go to quite a few more Pagan events and non-online classes to meet people and interact. It's kinda like when you're looking for a new housemate, you don't want to necessarily go with a 'random' - you want to see if you like their personality, if they have the same views you have on responsibility, fun and housework  Cheesy

Thanks for mentioning the idea of starting a club at my university, my university does that too - I think I might look into it, there used to be an alternative spiritual pathways club (which included Paganism) but that seemed to have dispersed - the leader probably graduated or something. ...

Thanks for the advice and suggestions everyone - it really helped.

Glad to be of service!

Definitely start small. It helps weed out the crazy, the leeches, and the disinterested. Not that you might not get a few of these in a small circle, but you definitely want to know what you're getting into before doing a ritual with folks.

"Alternative spiritual pathways"... nice phrasing. You know, at my old college it was easier in some ways to restart a club (which required different paperwork) than to start up a completely different club. The budgeting process was easier, and you at least had some history with the campus, even if all the folks had since graduated.
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