I remember a time I had a study group simply formed out of desperation to find others of like mind. At that time, there simply wasn’t any groups in my area that shared my religion or beliefs, not even remotely. I figured, I’d start my own group and for a while had a terrific bunch of spiritual folks who enjoyed learning and sharing ritual.
Ultimately, it seemed that the group began to bring up the topic of covens. I was against it. Not that I’m anti-coven, but I think each one of us needs to look deep within ourselves and ask the question ‘why?’. Why a coven and not be satisfied with a study group?
I think most didn’t understand the differences, or perhaps they thought they did, and wanted to deepen their spiritual experience by forming a group that held deeper conviction of faith.
What are the differences? Not subtle by any means. A study group can maintain an intense or easygoing atmosphere in which to learn and teach. A coven, on the other hand, requires a higher commitment, a deeper understanding of group dynamics, and a common goal.
Covens are spiritual families. That is a tough thing to find and work with in this world of vast differing opinions and beliefs. Add members who tackle ego issues and you can gain a powder keg of potential problems.
First ask yourself- why? Why do you need to be in either a study group or a coven? What is your definition of the two? Do you understand what a priest and a priestess offer, and what you have as expectation for leaders of either group?
Do you carry lots of emotional baggage because you’re asking others to help you carry the load. Are you prepared to carry for others as well? What do you need from others and from your spiritual path? Are you looking for an easygoing social network or something intense, personal, and cosmic in your learning (or somewhere between the two)?
Do you want to lead or follow in a group? Can you endure either role? Are you seeking power or empowerment? If you intend on forming your own coven, do you understand the basics of human psychology, group dynamics, and the workings of groups?
I’ve been in both, been leader and follower. From experience, I can tell you to stand on your own two feet and understand your own inner workings before taking on the mantle of leading, while removing the ego in order to learn.