The loss of a coven can cause just as much turmoil as the loss of a spouse or loved one. Most covens vow to keep their members secret, which makes it difficult to talk to others outside of the coven when trouble arises. Covens take vows together, explore magick together, make promises to each other, and the loss of that support system can leave a painful hole. Coven break ups are rarely discussed in public, but the effects of a break up can have impact on the larger community.
Coven dynamics are already complicated. In coven we know a lot about each other; the good, the bad, and the ugly. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have issues, fight, or hurt each other. In a healthy coven most issues can be worked out, even when there are hurt feelings or triggered tempers. However, not all covens are healthy and certainly no coven is healthy all of the time. There are times when the problems of a coven are irreparable and it’s hard.
The witch and pagan communities are small. A coven break up doesn’t mean you won’t ever see those other people again. Chances are you will. If your coven had a amiable split this isn’t a problem, but if the break up was more explosive or painful, it can be hard to go back to larger community or public rituals with those folks.
Just like with a romantic relationship, a coven break up can be done with ease and grace. It is possible to dissolve the group with beauty and intention. A coven break up can be done with ritual and blessings from your Godds. But, just like a romantic relationship, a coven break up may happen with an implosion, messy, painful, and with ramifications that no one can truly understand in the moment of it.
I’ve been through more than a couple coven break ups. For the most part the coven break ups I have been through have been more of a slow fizzling out. Busy schedules, family obligations, and other parts of life calling people away. It happens. I have also been through the pain of covener betrayal and the fallout of in-fighting. It’s hard, it hurts, and the pain of it comes in waves, like any other form of grief does.
The complication comes in being able to process and work through your feelings without betraying any oath, secrets, or promises. (I am not speaking about the fallout from abuse, that is a whole other conversation. When there is abuse all bets are off.) You need to be able to grieve and that can be hard because the people you are grieving may have been the people to hold your grief in the past. The loss of a coven, the break up of a group can leave you feeling isolated and alone.
Trust this; you are not alone. Anyone who has been a part of a group has been through the break up of a group. It does take time. It takes vulnerability. You may have to be a part of difficult conversations, you may have to hear challenging things, you may have to face how you’ve hurt others or express how others have hurt you.
There is no easy solution. There isn’t a simple answer on how to get through it. I wish there was. Just like any other heart break it takes time. And time heals all wounds.