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Solitary vs. Coven: What are the Benefits of Both?

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Solitary vs. Coven: What are the Benefits of Both?

Postby Kat » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:56 pm

I think each practice and even the making of the altar are way too personal to be shared with a coven. each believes in his own gods,right? I'm just wondering how those of u in a coven think about it. what makes u share your practices and what u get out of it.
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Re: coven vs solitary

Postby loona wynd » Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:06 pm

greekwiccan wrote:I think each practice and even the making of the altar are way too personal to be shared with a coven. each believes in his own gods,right? I'm just wondering how those of u in a coven think about it. what makes u share your practices and what u get out of it.

Covens are typically based on a specific tradition. They may have specific Gods that are worshiped in that coven. Each coven witch has their personal practice that will be separate from the coven. They may even have other Gods they worship outside of a coven. Covens have their own altar set ups and practices. When in the coven you work with the covens practice. On your own you can basically do what you want.
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Re: coven vs solitary

Postby Xiao Rong » Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:17 pm

I'm still VERY new to the coven / group practice setting (a local group of Pagans that I casually participated in recently decided to be more serious and "coven-like", although it is still a very relaxed atmosphere ... this happened about a MONTH ago and we've met twice since), so I won't have as much to say as the others who have been in a coven for a long time ... I know what you mean about feeling like your beliefs are too personal to share ... but so far it's less about sharing your own personal beliefs and practices, and more about what we build together as a group. Actually, come to think of it, no one in my group has actually tried to talk about their own individual beliefs, and it doesn't even matter all that much. We're just like, "Hey, ___ sounds really interesting, let's discuss/try out the ritual/learn that chant/play with my Ouija board next time!" (again, my group is VERY relaxed) Everyone brings different experiences and skills to the table, and I always learn something new. It's not important what I have on my altar at home, it's about contributing to a group altar that we all like and celebrate together. Right now we are just practicing casting a circle, which is usually kind of funny because we are all so unused to working together and we clearly each have different styles.

I've been a solitary for like 3 years now, and my problem is that my spirituality becomes too academic - it's all just books and journals and theology in my head, and I have a trouble translating it into practice. Being in a group helps me make it real and experience it. Sometimes there are things that I don't particularly believe in that crop up in our group rituals or altar making (for example, I do not worship a Lord and a Lady, just the Goddess), but I feel like they're less important than just being together, making friends, and learning new things you wouldn't otherwise. I still have my own separate practice and beliefs, and in a group I am co-creating something else cool and exciting.

(goodness, I hope the other experienced coven folks don't think I sound too naive!)
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Re: coven vs solitary

Postby PhoenixFlight » Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:59 pm

Xiao Rong wrote:(goodness, I hope the other experienced coven folks don't think I sound too naive!)


Not at all, if anything, I would be interested to hear more about your journey into becoming more involved with them. I think it would be nice to read through, especially for members here who have never had a group setting; this is of course if you would be willing to share your journey :)


As to my own experience.. Similar to Xiao's actually; very relaxed, and rarely is the personal belief aspect brought in to the group setting. Some things quite obviously must be discussed, such as how to properly cast a circle, etc. and certain things must be decided beforehand, such as which person e,bodies the energy of a specific element, etc (I usually am fire, if you couldn't tell ~insert extreme sarcasm here~) It really is what you build as a group, rather than what you build as yourself. You can keep them seperate rather easily, more so if you're all from different specific paths. Now, in a more formal setting, such as Gardnerian Covens, or Dianic Covens, you're looking at a specific set of beliefs, and a certain ritual setting. Everyone within that path knows "the rules" already, an dis expected to adhere to those in both their personal and group settings, so in cases like that, it's not a matter of keeping your personal beliefs out of it, so much as it is simply all agreeing on the same things, and interpreting them in the same ways.


...then there's the matter of online covens, and honestly, that's a whole 'nother animal in itself. Discussion for a different time methinks..
~that is an interesting notion, in it's own way~
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Re: coven vs solitary

Postby loona wynd » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:52 am

PhoenixFlight wrote:
Xiao Rong wrote:(goodness, I hope the other experienced coven folks don't think I sound too naive!)


Not at all, if anything, I would be interested to hear more about your journey into becoming more involved with them. I think it would be nice to read through, especially for members here who have never had a group setting; this is of course if you would be willing to share your journey :)


As to my own experience.. Similar to Xiao's actually; very relaxed, and rarely is the personal belief aspect brought in to the group setting. Some things quite obviously must be discussed, such as how to properly cast a circle, etc. and certain things must be decided beforehand, such as which person e,bodies the energy of a specific element, etc (I usually am fire, if you couldn't tell ~insert extreme sarcasm here~) It really is what you build as a group, rather than what you build as yourself. You can keep them seperate rather easily, more so if you're all from different specific paths. Now, in a more formal setting, such as Gardnerian Covens, or Dianic Covens, you're looking at a specific set of beliefs, and a certain ritual setting. Everyone within that path knows "the rules" already, an dis expected to adhere to those in both their personal and group settings, so in cases like that, it's not a matter of keeping your personal beliefs out of it, so much as it is simply all agreeing on the same things, and interpreting them in the same ways.


...then there's the matter of online covens, and honestly, that's a whole 'nother animal in itself. Discussion for a different time methinks..
Even Gards and Alexandrieans can have private practices that are seperatel from the coven practice. The rituals of the Gods in those religions can't be performed outside of covens so basically you worship those Gods in covens. You can have seperate practices. Though in that coven everything stays as the tradition was handed down else it ceases to be that tradition any more.
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Re: coven vs solitary

Postby loona wynd » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:54 pm

rezam wrote:What of coven interaction?
Covens as I understand them are supossed to feel like a spiritual family. Together you build up a group mind and a group practice. Coven work is very much what the group develops as a whole. Covens may over time end up developing a cohesive tradition without planning to.
rezam wrote:I've been with a group here and there but not a coven.
What do you think defines a coven? I know there are circles and other types and names for groups out there. How do you know that this group wouldnt fall under some sort of coven?
rezam wrote:I know some towns have covens and whatnot that secretly know each other. I like that covens can help it's members but lack the experience with one. Does social interaction get in the way?
I dont think so. Most covens have social events that are seperate from their worship and ritual work. In many ways the social events can the the process through which covens also find prospective members. many of the social events are open to the public so everyone can meet and understand what goes on freely. Its also a more relaxed setting.
rezam wrote: Can things get out of hand?
What do you mean by this?
rezam wrote: I was living in a town where there were runes carved on the counter at taco bell which I thought was great, the lack of secrecy and creepy discretion. I think part of that comes from the openness and freedom but also that gangs often have magic users.
Runes carved open like that huh? Thats interesting. I'd be careful around those energetic fields personally. Runes can do strange things when simply messed around with and not studied properly.
rezam wrote: Anyone and everyone can be a witch/wiccan whathaveyou and it's very accepted by society.
Its more accepted than it was 20 years ago yes. Its more accepted than it was five years ago yes. However there are still places and large amounts of the population that find witchcraft and magic to be any number of things. You also have atheists and scientists asking for proof and evidence of magic. So while its more acceptable there are also more questions and pressures to prove ourselves and that what we do works.
rezam wrote: Secrecy often is the only reason there tends to be any issues unless of course there is a big issue occurring, such as malevolence or the odd ball becoming a guinea pig for those new to magick so they have practice.
Oaths protect and keep traditions maintained and intact. If people did not swear certain oaths to in some paths the original paths and traditions would be so modified by now that they would not in any way resemble the original traditions. In other cases some experiences can only be known and understood through coven work. So preserving and keeping that information prevents misuse and misunderstanding of context.

You might want to look at the:Oaths-secrecy and common knowledge thread in the forums for a better understanding of what I mean by why oaths are maintained and why they exist today.
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Re: coven vs solitary

Postby firebirdflys » Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:00 am

In a coven you can raise energy different than if you are by yourself. There are many exercises and practices that require another to make it happen. A coven is a spiritual family, and there can be layers to this family...the outer layer holds public rituals, while members and others participate in Moons and Sabbats and those on the path of the clergy are generally the secret and inner core/foundation to the group.
rezam wrote: Does social interaction get in the way? Can things get out of hand?

Part of the coven experience is forming that bonded "other" family, and like families...you betcha things can get out of hand....and occasionally folks get booted out for insubordination. Sometimes folks won't come because they know their ex is going to be in the circle...Or they come not knowing the ex would be there, and it turns in to a bitch fest. Yeah even coven families have their troubles, but hopefully the Priestess will break out the talking stick and things will get into the light where they can be worked on...or not.
Personally, the coven experience has changed my life and while I still practice some things solitaire, I am very happy when the group meets together.
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