No one owns a Witch. The topic of this post may seem a bit dramatic or obvious to some, but unfortunately it’s referring to a problem that shows up far more often than it should. And so we’re going to talk about it. (There’s also a video version linked below).
I received a message from a younger practitioner I had met at event a few years ago, asking for advice. They had found a local group to join and had been so excited. (Which is natural – it’s exciting to find others interested in the same things as you!) But after a while, they began to feel that this group wasn’t for them. They met with the coven leaders to discuss their concerns and thoughts about moving on.
At that point, one would think that the leaders would say, “Thank you for coming to us, good luck on your path.” But no. Instead they told this person that if they left the coven, they would never be able to join any other coven or group in their area and possibly even beyond that. They were basically insinuating that the coven would make life difficult for them if they left.
Y’all, as I read their message, I went from astonished to full of seething anger on their behalf. Who the fuck plays these sort of games TODAY? Like, I know it went down in the 80’s and 90’s, but TODAY? Like who the fuck do they think they are?
So I made a video about it:
Basically there are two main things I address in the video:
1. If you are on the receiving end of this sort of nonsense, please realize that these are MAJOR red flags and that you need to exit the situation ASAP. You WILL find the right folks eventually somewhere, somewhere. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Any group that threatens you on any level if you try to leave is giving serious cult vibes. Doesn’t matter whether we’re talking Witches, Wiccans, Druids, Thelemites, or Christians. They are basically telling you they value numbers and control over crafting effective magic and spiritual growth. You are a sovereign being and you need to take care of your emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical well-being.
2. If you are the one telling people this, you seriously need to reexamine why you are running a group. (Also, stop taking directions cues from The Craft.) If someone doesn’t feel like your group is a good fit for them, then it’s detrimental to the whole health of the group (in addition to the individual) if you believe that synergy, connection, and trust are all part of the magical process. Because they are. You don’t own the people in your group. And don’t give me the “they may take our secrets and tell others” bullshit. And if they do, so what? Take a look at the history of Modern Witchcraft (in particularly Wicca) and tell me how that exact same thing has never happened before. When it does, things go on – that’s because “the secrets” are in the personal revelation of the experience.
In my books and on here I’ve talked about how I don’t think that covens are the most natural state for Witches. As beginners we tend to see joining a coven as a goal to being the actual deal – but it’s just one way. Years ago, it could be very hard to find a group – but now there’s many more possibilities ranging from in person to online. Regardless, take care of yourself, exercise caution, and never believe that anyone is your only option on this path. There are always options.