To Coven or not to Coven

This is the year we planned to begin an Outer Grove. And we all know how the Gods feel about plans, right? They laugh at them! The important thing, I find, is to laugh with Them lest you find yourself on the receiving end of the Clue By Four of the Gods.

So far, there’s been an unplanned surgery (mine) thrown at us, which rainchecked the first orientation. We’ll see what’s next in the cards. In the meanwhile, we’ve been dedicating ourselves to getting to know the local pagan community and perhaps more importantly, letting them get to know us. How daunting a task!

While we do so, we are mindful of the reality that leaders may consider us to be potential poachers. That is, leaders who may woo their students or initiates away from them. Given BTW does not seek potential members, there is no wooing. We’re happy to answer any questions brought to us (that we can, that is, given Oathbound concerns) and certainly discuss BTW in general and our Tradition, Kingstone in specific, but we are guesting at another’s ritual and there are courtesies to maintain.

This is especially true when someone has been working with a group until a BTW coven opens up in their area. Given ours has a rather infamous fraudulent (invalid) one, we’ve been expected some folks to cross the waters. In fact, it’s somewhat expected of ethical folks, though it’s a complicated situation for all involved. For those in groups that have been biding their time, it’s an even more complicated scenario. And we must tread carefully with both the leaders and members of these groups.

People come to a BTW Outer Grove for many reasons:

  • They feel a calling to the Lady of the Moon and Her Consort
  • They desire the structure of a BTW coven and training
  • They are Seeking the root Traditions of Wicca after following a non-Initiatory or Neo-Wiccan path
  • Having been a solitary, they are looking for a coven and are looking for valid, credentialed leaders to work and train with
  • They’ve had an unfortunate experience with an invalid (aka “Fraudnerian”) coven or leader and are looking to “clean up” their credentials or experience
  • They consider BTW to be a serious, dedicated path and desire same

Of course, there are many other possibilities. Myself, I fell in to basically all of the above and have heard most of the above from others. There’s nothing particularly wrong with any of those or indeed, any collection of the above.

It’s when one (or a collection) stands in the way of the Seeker’s progress. The important thing, as the teacher is not assuming they are just because the student feels comfortable discussing it with you, their teacher. Being on the receiving end a confidence can blow things out of proportion. You may be the receiver of Topic A confidence when in all honesty Topic G is the one really causing the most amount of stress in the student’s life, but they would never discuss it with you! You are only qualified on Topic A, however. You are Topic A receiver. Someone else is Topic G receiver, most likely. Pagan leaders are rarely psychologists. And it’s a mistake to think our clergical status infers upon us some great understanding of the human psyche. And yet, time and time again, we see this occurring. And worse yet, the Seeker not only allows this, they welcome it.

This is a good time to mention the Seeker’s Bill of Rights, found here:


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