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Author Topic: Do you prefer coven or solitary? (wicca)  (Read 12640 times)
fatalperfection
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« Topic Start: February 24, 2009, 01:40:36 pm »

Just curious... do you prefer solitary work or coven work if you're wiccan? (or other pagan religion) Just curious what other people's experiences with covens were. I've heard positive and negative, but I've always been a little nervous about seeking out a coven. Plus I like the freedom of solitary work. But I also feel a bit isolated, cause I know no one who is pagan. If you are solitary, how do you keep from being isolated? How have you found other pagans to associate with in your area?
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Mike
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« Reply #1: February 24, 2009, 01:54:48 pm »

Just curious... do you prefer solitary work or coven work if you're wiccan? (or other pagan religion) Just curious what other people's experiences with covens were. I've heard positive and negative, but I've always been a little nervous about seeking out a coven. Plus I like the freedom of solitary work. But I also feel a bit isolated, cause I know no one who is pagan. If you are solitary, how do you keep from being isolated? How have you found other pagans to associate with in your area?

Since I am only a few months into my path, I have felt that working solitary would be best for me at the moment. There are plenty of resources out there for the solitary Wiccan to get started right away and I feel that this is a strong point of that path. Also I prefer to work by myself where spirituality is concerned. I'm not at the point where I feel I am ready to dive right in to the groups in my area.

However, as you have mentioned, the downside is the isolation if you know no one else who is Pagan in your region. My suggestion would be to try to look on the web for anything in your area. I know WitchVox (http://www.witchvox.com) has a directory that you can look through. That's a start, but it can be tough, so keep trying!

I have never had any experience in a coven, so I can't address that. I hope this helps a little!

Blessed be,

Mike
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« Reply #2: February 24, 2009, 02:49:14 pm »

Just curious... do you prefer solitary work or coven work if you're wiccan?

I have been both and they each have their good points and bad points. I don't know many pagans, wiccans etc in my area other than my family/coven (which at the moment are the same thing).  However, being solitary helped me solidify my own beliefs so that I could be sure I was walking the path that worked best for me.

I got lucky with my mom being like minded as myself, but it sometimes gets frustrated having your mom and High Priestess be the same person. You get nagged at from both aspects. Smiley

I personally don't know how to find others in my area but I have made some good friends through witchvox.com.
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« Reply #3: February 24, 2009, 03:43:25 pm »

Since I am only a few months into my path, I have felt that working solitary would be best for me at the moment. There are plenty of resources out there for the solitary Wiccan to get started right away and I feel that this is a strong point of that path. Also I prefer to work by myself where spirituality is concerned. I'm not at the point where I feel I am ready to dive right in to the groups in my area.

However, as you have mentioned, the downside is the isolation if you know no one else who is Pagan in your region. My suggestion would be to try to look on the web for anything in your area. I know WitchVox (http://www.witchvox.com) has a directory that you can look through. That's a start, but it can be tough, so keep trying!

I have never had any experience in a coven, so I can't address that. I hope this helps a little!

Blessed be,

Mike

I prefer coven work.  I trained in a coven, initiated to a coven and now I run one. 

Working alone would not suit my work, though I did so for many years, thanks to not being in a situation where I had a coven handy to me, nor support within my home for my open practice of my religion.  Now, I have my tiny little coven and we work together fairly well.
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« Reply #4: February 24, 2009, 03:44:32 pm »

I got lucky with my mom being like minded as myself, but it sometimes gets frustrated having your mom and High Priestess be the same person. You get nagged at from both aspects. Smiley


I do NOT nag!  I encourage.  They're different.  Now, get to work and get your house picked up!
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« Reply #5: February 24, 2009, 03:48:38 pm »

I prefer coven work.  I trained in a coven, initiated to a coven and now I run one. 

Working alone would not suit my work, though I did so for many years, thanks to not being in a situation where I had a coven handy to me, nor support within my home for my open practice of my religion.  Now, I have my tiny little coven and we work together fairly well.

Indeed! I would definitely be interested in experiencing that at some point down the road. Although we have many Wiccans in the area, most of the established covens are female-only. For now, I have to make do and, as I've said before, I don't feel ready yet to jump into the fray. Hence why being solitary works best for me now.
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« Reply #6: February 24, 2009, 03:55:09 pm »

most of the established covens are female-only.

Erm...  I'm not BTW, and technically not Wiccan (Wiccish?  Sure, that'll work)  But how can any coven call themselves Wiccan if they're female only?  Wicca is a fertility religion.  For fertility to happen one generally needs both the male and the female, last time I checked.

Our coven is coed.  We're a little estrogen-dominant at the moment, but that is by chance, not design.  Without a male presence I wouldn't feel we were doing what we're supposed to be doing.

They're Dianic or Feminist Reclaiming or something.  Not BTW for certain, and IMNSHO, not Wiccan.

And thus ends my little rant. 
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« Reply #7: February 24, 2009, 04:06:27 pm »

Erm...  I'm not BTW, and technically not Wiccan (Wiccish?  Sure, that'll work)

I never said you were. If it was implied, I apologize.

Quote
But how can any coven call themselves Wiccan if they're female only?  Wicca is a fertility religion.  For fertility to happen one generally needs both the male and the female, last time I checked.

Our coven is coed.  We're a little estrogen-dominant at the moment, but that is by chance, not design.  Without a male presence I wouldn't feel we were doing what we're supposed to be doing.

I wholeheartedly agree with you in this aspect, but it's not my place to tell them otherwise.

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They're Dianic or Feminist Reclaiming or something.  Not BTW for certain, and IMNSHO, not Wiccan.

It is possible. I feel the lines get blurry when discussing the relationship between these two groups and Wicca.
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« Reply #8: February 24, 2009, 04:20:11 pm »

Although we have many Wiccans in the area, most of the established covens are female-only.

I never understood the concept of female dominance in wicca. Seems so unbalanced to me. Plus I don't think I could stand that many other girls besides myself in such closeness!
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« Reply #9: February 24, 2009, 04:30:06 pm »

I never understood the concept of female dominance in wicca. Seems so unbalanced to me. Plus I don't think I could stand that many other girls besides myself in such closeness!

In Wicca, it is supposed to be a balance between male and female. Dianic Wiccans and Reclaiming are feminist traditions that focus on, for the most part, the Goddess alone. There have been a great many debates about this issue over the years between members of the BTWs and Dianic Wiccans, as well as Reclaiming. I feel there will always be a bit of tension between these groups due to the whole balance issue.
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« Reply #10: February 24, 2009, 04:33:41 pm »

I never said you were. If it was implied, I apologize.

I wholeheartedly agree with you in this aspect, but it's not my place to tell them otherwise.

It is possible. I feel the lines get blurry when discussing the relationship between these two groups and Wicca.

I wasn't trying to say that you did, just one of those noises I make.  Smiley  Sorry.  You'll get used to my weird written out noises.  Maybe.  My kid is still not used to them.  *shrug*  I write like I speak.

The blurry lines really aren't all that blurry once one actually looks at what constitutes Wicca, Dianic Wicca and Reclaiming.  Now, to get those who keep blurring things to do that.  

That would be too much of a miracle, I'm afraid, though.  Since Wicca is pretty well known, all manner of groups glom onto the name to try to make explaining what they do easier, when really all they're doing is giving people a grand misconception of what they do.

If you do not worship the Wiccan God and Goddess, you aren't Wiccan.
If you do not practice skyclad, in a mixed gender group, you aren't Wiccan.
If you do not enact the Great Rite, you aren't Wiccan.
If you do not use the rites of Wicca, end of discussion, you aren't Wiccan.

I'm not Wiccan.  I'm an Irish-Celtic Witch.  My training is heavily fortified with Wicca-influenced practices.  But my gods aren't the Wiccan God and Goddess, so I'm not Wiccan.  And I don't want people to misconstrue what we do as Wicca.  I have too much respect for my Wiccan sisters and brothers to do that.  Smiley  When people ask I tell them I'm an Irish-Celtic Witch.  If they want to know what that means, they really do need to ask more, but for the most part, that stops the conversation with anyone not interested in learning, and starts the real conversation with those who might even have what it takes to become a witch in our coven.


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« Reply #11: February 24, 2009, 06:23:50 pm »

Just curious... do you prefer solitary work or coven work if you're wiccan? (or other pagan religion) Just curious what other people's experiences with covens were. I've heard positive and negative, but I've always been a little nervous about seeking out a coven. Plus I like the freedom of solitary work.

It's not an "or" for me. "Or" assumes it's only one or the other - and in reality, I think that healthy group practice requires a healthy and meaningful personal practice. I adore my coven work (I'm HPS of a coven in a Wiccan-based tradition. The coven just past its first anniversary.) But I also adore my personal work - some of which I talk about with my covenmate, some of which I don't, but which is separate from what we do together.

My take on group work in general is that the *right* group is invaluable - but that the wrong group ranges from "Not as good as it could be" to "potentially dangerous and certainly miserable" and it's a good idea to be clear what you're looking at. There's more and more ways to find out, fortunately - my blog has a bunch of posts about things that might be helpful to seekers-of-groups, but knowing what it is you want, and what it is you can contribute are good starting places.

For example, someone who comes in wanting everyone to be good friends, and support them - but who doesn't want to commit to showing up regularly is going to be a bad fit. So is someone who isn't interested in anything a coven does (I'm not talking about 'does things differently in their personal practice' but 'pushes to change the shared group work significantly'). Both of these are, at heart, self-awareness issues, and awareness of what you want from the group.
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« Reply #12: February 24, 2009, 06:37:10 pm »

I wasn't trying to say that you did, just one of those noises I make.  Smiley  Sorry.  You'll get used to my weird written out noises.  Maybe.  My kid is still not used to them.  *shrug*  I write like I speak.

No worries! I realized it when I reread what you wrote.

Quote
If you do not worship the Wiccan God and Goddess, you aren't Wiccan.
If you do not practice skyclad, in a mixed gender group, you aren't Wiccan.
If you do not enact the Great Rite, you aren't Wiccan.
If you do not use the rites of Wicca, end of discussion, you aren't Wiccan.

I would generally agree with this. Sometimes I get a bit confused with certain traditions and where they are at on the spectrum.

On a different note, sorry if we derailed you Fatal! Back on track. Hehe.
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« Reply #13: February 24, 2009, 06:37:27 pm »

I never understood the concept of female dominance in wicca. Seems so unbalanced to me. Plus I don't think I could stand that many other girls besides myself in such closeness!

One of my running jokes is that I get along well with women who don't generally get along well with other women - it's true for all three of my closest local friends, and also for a number of my college and more distant friends.

Things that help me:

- We're women with different perspectives, ideas, and interests. Focusing on the stuff we want to share together, rather than on the other stuff that's in our lives, is generally more useful. (So, for example, we will happily - as I am this weekend - go out together to dinner and a concert. But there's also lots of stuff where we don't overlap: only slightly in pleasure reading, for example, and not reliably in some other interests.)

- We make a deliberate choice to keep things low-drama - and to build communication skills, ways of interacting with each other, and so on that help make that possible. Some of this is hard work: I think all of us are fighting against parts of what we grew up with around these issues at times. And we're not perfect, and sometimes mess up. But we do find it leads to deeper and meaningful interactions - not superficial ones.

In other words: mainstream culture does not encourage women to develop skills that lead to deeper and mature friendships that share responsibility, control of what's going on, and true commitment. That doesn't mean we can't do it - just means we have to learn some skills and apply them and find other people willing to do the same.

- Dealing with one's own shadow self and concerns about ego is, in my experience, pretty helpful. Again, it's an ongoing process, and everyone will continue to have work to do. But I'm a lot more likely to develop meaningful friendships with people who aren't in the trap of "I need to lose five (or even twentyfive) pounds so I'll be beautiful and everyone will love me" or "My only identity is as wife/mother/whatever and there isn't anything else in my life." Concern for one's wellbeing is good, and so is loving your family, but when those become the only things you form your life around, it's really easy for imbalance to get out of hand.

I knew some of this before finding the group I trained with. But working with them - and some of the ritual work, in specific, about forming and caretaking a community, and making deliberate choices about where and how I spend my energy - has really helped me get some of this in better balance *and* do something useful with that balance going forward to continue to create the kinds of interactions I really want in my life.
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« Reply #14: February 24, 2009, 08:49:58 pm »

One of my running jokes is that I get along well with women who don't generally get along well with other women
Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
It's one of my running jokes, too.  I'm not surprised we share it, but I'm tickled.

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