A coven is a microcosm social organization, that can be structured much like a macrocosm government. Within a full-scale teaching coven, there will be quite a bit of leadership to share and organization needed to pull off the Great Work of magick. A busy coven gets together for 8 sabbats and up to 13 full moon esbats a year. More if you circle for new moons. It has often been referred to as herding cats, when we talk about the difficulties of integrating the needs of up to 13+ people who are–NO DOUBT–very strong and singular people (such is the nature of witches.)
To keep the peace, and share the responsibilities, it is helpful to establish guidelines of engagement for all members, at all levels of attainment, at all levels of involvement, via a written document known as a charter. Without a good one, covens tend to implode.
A Coven’s Structure should Reflect the Group’s Values
Coveners should consider in advance what sort of governing structure would best mirror their unique mission and values. Our coven is based on the Modern Witchcraft values of interconnection and personal sovereignty. Therefore, we chose to be a democracy with yearly-elected leadership.
As a group, we painstakingly wrote and ratified a charter that describes how all our structures will be implemented and maintained. Even better, we’ve put a “dispute resolution” plan in place BEFORE there has been any dispute to resolve. You’d be amazed how drama-free, and respectful a coven we have been so far, thanks to these clearly defined guidelines. It’s a wiccan miracle, I tell you!
Consider drafting a bill of rights for your coven
In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of our charter is the Individual’s Bill of Rights. I think that these governing policies that we’ve all vowed to uphold, help to keep our group “cult-proof” and make these values easily explainable to new seekers when first they enter into the training program. On the very first night of class orientation, I hand them a copy.
Like any good charter, ours is subject to yearly review and amendment, so that it remains a living document that can continue to evolve as we evolve. I offer these ideas for your consideration, as a starting place for your coven’s conversation as you begin to write your own Bill of Rights.For the sake of ease, I’ve replaced our specific group name with “The Coven.” Also, where I’ve inserted “Participants,” ours said “Sojo Tribe Members,” which is clearly defined in previous clauses of our charter.
Basically, our Bill of Rights applies to everyone who is invited to come play on our witchy playground.
A Covener’s Bill of Rights:
1. The right of inclusion:
The Coven offers equal opportunity in pursuit of membership to any legal adult without discrimination, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, spiritual path, gender expression, sexual orientation, or intersexes.
2. The right to personal sovereignty:
Participants will be treated as a sovereign beings with dignity and respect; participants will never be coerced to go against their own conscience, to commit illegal acts, to contribute beyond their means, to engage in any sexual or physical actions they do not condone, or to perform tasks beyond their physical abilities.
3. The right to confidentiality:
Participants have the right to keep their involvement in Witchcraft and The Coven private. Confidentiality of personal information will be maintained between seekers and mentors, barring any indication of injury or harm to self or others.
4. The right to freedom of expression:
Participants may freely express themselves in constructive ways, as long as it remains respectful, maintains discretion and upholds the right to confidentiality, harming none.
5. The right of access:
Participants have the right of access to the current Charter, and have a representative on the Leadership council who is available for mediation on their behalf.
6. The right to consistency:
The rules and requirements of this charter apply equally to all participants.
7. The right to participate in governance:
Participants may bring new business before any scheduled business meeting of the coven, by contacting a Leadership Council representative no less than forty-eight hours in advance, so that they may be added to the agenda. The Participant’s attendance is required to present their idea or concern.
8. The right to a peaceful separation:
Participants may discontinue association with the Coven at any time, and depart in peace, according to their own free will.
Are there any additional rights that you would add??
May all your covening endeavors be fruitful,