Book of Shadows Pages: Colours
-Substitute for any other colour
-Keeping away negativity
-To influence people in high places
-Opening blocked communications
-Trees and plants
-Element of fire
-Element of Air
-Breaking mental blocks
Book of Shadows Pages: Stones
-“Ice of eternity”
-Helps with weight loss
-Helps regenerate energy
-Helps motivate physical activity
-Invoking male energy
-Raises sexual energy
-Promotes wealth and money
-Brings money to the wearer
-Balancing male and female energy
-Protection against trauma
-Connected to the new moon
-Help with wealth gain
Book of Shadows Pages: Tools
-Black handled dagger
-Casting the circle
-Calling the quarters
-Represents masculine energy
-Cleaning ritual space
-Jumping over during weddings
-Kept by the door to ward off evil
-Summoning the divine
-Symbolic of the womb
-Bounty and blessing
-Used for Scrying
-Water or Wine
-Used for consecration
-Used to hold incense
-Burn safe container
Book of Shadows Pages: Sabbats
Date: October 31st
Purpose: Witch’s New Year, harvest, honouring ancestors, talking through the veil.
Date: December 21st or 22nd
Purpose: the end of the dark times, beginning of the light.
Date: February 1st or 2nd
Purpose: Brighid’s day, seed planting, growth.
Date: March 21st
Purpose: Spring, blooming fields, flora and fauna.
Date: May 1st
Purpose: fertility, year and a day marriage, may pole.
Date: June 21st or 22nd
Purpose: Summer Solstice, midsummer’s night, the phoenix celebration.
Date: July 31st or August 1st
Purpose: First harvest, end of hot summer days, autumn begins.
Date: September 21st
Purpose: Second harvest, autumn equinox, wine harvest, banquets
Book of Shadows Pages: Correspondences
Symbolizes: Mind, intellect, reason, science, travel, youth
Ritual Representation: Incense
Elementals: Sylph, Faeries
Tool: Athame or Sword
Symbolizes: Strength, passion, energy, transformation, will, sex
Ritual Representation: Candles
Elementals: Jin, Genies
Symbolizes: Emotions, intuition, wisdom, clarity, healing, daring
Ritual Representation: Water or Wine
Elementals: Undines, nymphs, merfolk, sirens, salamanders
Symbolizes: Stability, order, grounding, birth, death, beginnings, endings, fertility
Ritual Representation: Salt or Soil
Elementals: Gnomes, dwarves, elves, brownies, hobgoblins, leprechauns
Colour: Violet, white, black
Season: All times
Symbolizes: Imminence and transcendence, everything and nothing
Ritual Representation: Fulfilled by presence of practitioners are deities
Tarot: Major Arcana
Covens: Red Flags
So, as a Priestess, and I have heard some horror stories from my students about their searches for a mentor. Most recently I heard from a seeker that a group she was involved with required all seekers to be naked in circle in order to "have their energy inspected", and that the group itself seemed more like an underground adult group than a coven. Unfortunately, stories like this are common, and as such I have decided to make a post about do's, don'ts and reasons to run and never look back. I.E. Red flags.
Due to the nature of this post, I shall start with the bad things. These are common things that denote to a group being seedy, and one that should be avoided.
1. A group requires you pay for each circle or event. Now, many covens have some type of dues even if it is just dedication of time, but if a coven is requiring you to pay $25 a meeting, then you might consider asking around in the community.
2. The group seems overly sexual. Now, many traditions are VERY sex positive BUT, if a coven requires you to complete some sort of sexual task, favor, or really anything that you aren't comfortable with, they are likely NOT a group you want to be involved with.
3. The members are overly intrusive. Basically, if they want to know every single detail of your life, especially things that would not be brought up with anyone other than a close friend or medical professional. You may want to question their motives, because there HAVE been cases where groups, not necessarily covens, stole people's identities.
4. The coven starts separating you from friends and family. Sometimes this is very subtle, "Suzie has very low vibrations, and that's why you've been feeling depressed. You should avoid Suzie". But nevertheless, you will want to be aware that they aren't isolating you.
5. They require you to completely change your day to day life/ conform to their standards. Now, them asking you to shower more than once a week isn't conforming, that's hygiene, I'm referring more to things like, "you must always wear a plain brown peasant dress and Birkenstocks, and your hair MUST always be braided". There is likely something going on, so be aware.
6. The coven refuses to interact with any non-members or the community. Word spreads like witch's fire (yes that's a joke) when it comes to scandal, and generally, if as group won’t reach out, it's because they have secrets/ something to hide.
7. The group tries to get you to rely on them or tries to get you involved with things that aren't legal/ are dangerous: alright so this is an actual story, and I'm actually going to be omitting some details due to their grizzly nature. All names and locations have been changed to protect innocents that were unknowingly involved.
Lady Silvermists was the High Priestess of a rather large coven in my area. For many years she was quite highly respected, especially since she was one of the first Priestesses in her tradition having taken her title in the late 80's, and one of only 3 remaining. She was a big local driver of sex positive witchcraft and really was a pillar of the LGBT and Craft communities. But, as we would later finds out, she got involved in the sex trade as a Madame (a woman who lured girls in). She did so by finding girls, usually 14-22 or so who were down on their luck and "training" with her coven, and saying, "well you know, you could try being a rent-a-date (basically it's like a charity auction where you can win dates)", and then after the girls made $1000 in a night, she'd lure them into prostitution and pimp them out. Sadly, 2 of the girls she trapped were victims of a very notorious serial killer, and several others were murdered as well.
As a fellow Priestess, I knew her from the community, but I was ALWAYS warned against becoming friends with her by fellow elders and newbies alike. For years I knew she was bad news, but it wasn't until after she died that I was finally told why the community basically shunned her years before. Her fellow coven-mates, most of whom had no idea she was involved in the "adult entertainment" industry were beyond horrified to find out that she was doing what she did. The coven's Priest (Who had all but pushed her out prior to her death) released a statement making sure that everyone knew he had no idea it was that and trying his best to disassociate with her in every way. Unfortunately, this scandal was so big that his coven disbanded, and any member who wanted to stay in that tradition was offered a spot in Lady SparrowFawn's circle. Only one member would stay.
Yes, this is an extreme case, but unfortunately, it was very real, and the local community is still shaken as a result.
8. Basically, if anything about the group makes you uncomfortable, do NOT join. Do your research, get to know the community, and ask about the group. Other witches are usually quick to warn you of danger and predators.
Good things to look for!
1. The group is very calm about things and takes their time/ lets you take your time in the introduction process.
2. They offer advice and try to help you learn about the craft without pushing you to join. Many witches are more than happy to help you get your foundation, and we know that not every tradition is right for everyone. So rather than pushing you, we'll help you find your own way.
3. The coven and its members have good standing in the community. One thing you'll come to find about this community is that we're tight knit, and we're very supportive of one another. I have seen people on the other side of the state drive six hours into the city to help someone who's barn was destroyed by a storm, like, witches help witches. If the group and its members are good people, you'll likely hear about it from all angles!
4. The group makes special cakes and ale for you. Ok so hear me out here, I am allergic to coconut oil, and a fellow priestess I know is a vegan and puts it in everything, well, at one point we were set to be in a public ritual together, and she had me come over beforehand to run lines and do taste tests. This was because she altered a recipe to use canola oil instead of coconut, which may not seem like a big deal, but she was baking for 150 people and she went out of her way to not hit my allergy. This kind of love and compassion is a good sign in a potential group because it shows that they care.
5. The group encourages your education. Now magickal education is important, but so is college. So, if you have a mid-term on Wednesday at the same time as a ritual, and your group postpones, moves, or lets you miss that ritual, that is a good sign!
6. The group nurtures instead of punishes. One of the topics taught pretty early is herbalism, and "potion" making. Now although for many it is easy, for some people it is difficult and takes them longer. A good teacher knows that everyone learns differently and will do everything they can to help you in an easy non-stressful way instead of getting upset.
7. Honestly, just make sure you're comfortable, and that they're a good fit. It is ok to NOT join a group you aren't comfortable with, and it is ok to NOT join a group just because you don't want to.
This has been long, and I apologize, but as there can be legitimate dangers, I really feel I should stress these things. Mainly that, if you are in any way uncomfortable it IS ok to walk away. Your safety is what matters, and there will always be another coven.
Like any group or society, the magickal community has expectations of manners and behavior. Unfortunately, paganism and witchcraft, unlike other religions and spiritual practices, has no one set of doctrines, or "head" if you will. Because of this, many new practitioners have trouble finding a place to start.
"How do I go about attending rituals?" and "What should I call myself?" are among some of the common questions seekers have, with few resources to answer these questions. As someone who has taught many a student and worked tirelessly to integrate newbies into the magickal community, I thought I would write up a short list with some of the basics of magickal etiquette.
Magickal Etiquette for Beginners
· Be polite and use good manners! When you are new in the community, it can be hard to integrate. Due to the prejudice we face, many pagans and witches are slow to accept new people into their circles, especially if the new person is ill behaved. So, make sure to be polite, you're new here so let people have some time to warm up to you!
· Don’t be fluffy! Nobody likes a fluffy bunny on an ego trip. Making outrageous claims and otherwise exaggerating are not going to go over well with the community and can easily get you blacklisted. As irritating as it can be, when you are new, older practitioners are going to see you as inexperienced, and will likely be slow to take you seriously. Many new people, especially young ones, try to "prove themselves" by claiming outrageous things, and just generally bragging. Doing this can, and likely will, get you labelled a "fluffy bunny", and it can hurt your chances of being accepted by the community, so just be you.
· Don’t give yourself a title you didn't earn! It is a common misconception with newbies that everyone goes by "lord" or "Lady" within the magickal community, and this simply isn't true. Titles, while sometimes superficial, are earned through hard work and should not be taken lightly. It is a widely accepted rule of thumb that one should not call themselves by a title unless they have the proof that they earned it, or at the very least, can show their experience.
· Names get remembered! Many newbies are infatuated with the idea of creating a "magickal persona", if you will, and quickly choose a rather outlandish name to be called. Something that I cannot stress enough, is that once you are known, that's pretty much it! If you introduce yourself as "Morgana Skyewynd" or "Donthadeous Articonus" you should be prepared to be called that for the foreseeable future.
· Don’t overshare! The magickal community tends to be pretty open, and it can be hard to not spill your entire life story, but seriously, don't overshare. As friendly as people may be, it can be overwhelming, and incredibly off-putting when someone overshares. So, keep it simple, be you.
· Don’t overdress. While many gatherings will have guidelines for clothes, usually "wear them", don't show up dressed like a cartoon character. I know I know, you're excited and you worked so hard on your robes and accessories, but really, tone it down. At many gatherings’ attendees will be in plain clothes (jeans and t-shirts, or maybe dresses), so play it by ear.
· Don’t wear symbols that you aren't able to explain. OK so for example; back in my youth, the emo subculture was thriving, and places like hot topic and Spencer's were filled with Baphomet necklaces, and pentagram jewelry. You couldn't go anywhere without seeing bedazzled symbols hanging around the necks of "alternative types", but almost none of them knew what they meant. This pissed off a lot of people, and genuinely caused some conflict within the spiritual community because these symbols (the pentagram for example) are religious and sacred to many. It is seen as disrespectful when someone wears a religious symbol without knowledge of its purpose, so please, be aware.
· NEVER bring magickal tools into a circle to be charged without asking the ritualists first! Energy is a sacred thing, and if you take energy that isn't yours, or that you didn't ask for, it can have adverse side effects on other attendees. So always ask first.
· Do not touch other people, or their possessions without asking permission first. Many people have worked tirelessly to keep up their wards, and instill energy into their items, and your touching it can cause problems. So, before you touch someone or something that doesn't belong to you, ask!
While there are other guidelines that are generally accepted, these are a great place to start. I would recommend that all of you practice these when attending events and meetups, and please feel free to add to this list at will.
Have a wonderful day!
Coven Etiquette: Poaching
In the magickal community, there are certain social expectations that we are expected to follow. One of the big ones is coven poaching. You're probably wondering what coven poaching is, and why it's relevant, so I will answer some FAQ's below.
Q: What is coven poaching?
A: Coven poaching is when a one coven lures a member of another coven away from their group. For example: Sarah is a member of Coven A, and while at an event, she's approached by Anne who is a member of Coven B. Anne convinces Sarah to attend an event hosted by coven B, and while she's there, Anne asks very specific questions that get Sarah to talk about her dislikes regarding coven A. Anne then "casually" suggests that coven A isn't a good fit for Sarah, and suggests that she join coven B. Sarah agrees, and abandons Coven A, to join coven B, leaving her priestess and former coven mates feeling betrayed, and otherwise disrespected. Coven A and Coven B are now at odds, which causes strife within the tight knit magickal community.
Q: Why is it such a big deal?
A: The reason coven poaching is such a big deal is because it’s an act that lacks integrity. The pagan/witch community is tight knit and small, and as such we stick together. When one coven poaches a member from another, they're violating one of the basic principles of inter-coven relations and disrespecting many people. You see, when you join a coven, you take an oath to be a part of that group until you part on good terms. If you leave quickly and then join another group, you are breaking your oath. Perhaps you've heard the term "warlock"? In the witch community, warlock is not simply a synonym for witch. A warlock is someone who has been essentially shunned by the magickal community, and carrying the title identifies you as an oath breaker. Breaking an oath in this community is a huge no no.
Q: What if someone is in a coven but realizes it isn't a good fit, so they want to leave?
A: Sometimes things seem perfect but then tur out to not be, it happens, and that's ok. If a person is a part of a coven, and decides that it isn't a good fit, it is generally acceptable to depart on good terms. What that generally entails is, having a talk with the heads of your coven and discussing your concerns regarding your reasons for departing. It is also a good idea to write a formal letter of departure/resignation in order to be as civil as possible. If after being a part of a group you realize you'd like to move on, it is generally not an issue if done so respectfully, and with due warning.
Q: What should I do if another coven asks me to join if I'm already in a group?
A: If another coven approaches you and extends an invitation for membership but you're already in another group, you should politely explain that you are in no place to join another coven. While it is generally unacceptable to be in two covens at once, it is often ok to guest with other groups with your priest(ess)'s permission.
Q: Why can't I just be in both coven's?
A: Once again, it’s a matter of integrity. When you join a coven, you take oaths regarding loyalty and respect, and since most coven work is secret, it is considered risky and unacceptable to be in two at once. When you make a promise to one group, you should keep it and do so with a pure heart.
Q: My coven has a hive/ sister coven that I am equally as involved with, is that not OK?
A: As a general rule, if your coven has a sister coven or hive, they are going to be overseen/ or in communication with your Priest(ess). As far as hives go, many Priest(esses) will send in experienced coven members to help establish the new coven. Because it has been discussed, it is acceptable. However, if your secondary group interest isn't a sister coven or hive, it is disrespectful to be involved.
Q: I am involved with a group that occasionally/ frequently poaches new members, what should I do?
A: If your coven is continuously poaching members, it is in your best interest to leave. The reasons for this include, 1. If your coven is willing to poach, they likely lack morality, and may screw you over in the long run. 2. Once it comes out in the open that your coven poaches, you WILL face discrimination from the community, and you may lose significant social standing among fellow pagans and witches. That being said, no one wants to dedicate themselves to a group that is willing to hurt it's community.
If you end up dealing with coven poaching, regardless of what side you find yourself on, you should try to distance yourself from the situation. Moreover, make sure you know a group well before you join. I hope this I=has been helpful and have a good day!
Spiritual Vs. Religious
"I believe in something greater than myself, but I'm not sure what. I guess I'm not religious."
This comment is one many of you are likely familiar with; people often feel something beyond themselves, but very few choose to define it these days. Studies that have been done in the past few years are showing more and more young people identifying as "non-religious" or spiritual, in favor of traditional organized religion. For many of us, it is not so much a lack of faith, but more so a wider view of it that cannot be confined by the dogma of our ancestors; but that leaves us wondering, "so what does that make us"? In the article below I will go over different aspects of spiritualism, various views on religion, and give tips on understanding the two!
Something I often hear from people is, "Well, I was raised Christian, and I definitely believe in angels, but the bible doesn't sit right with me". Many people, especially those raised in religious upbringings and areas are indoctrinated with the beliefs of the community, and it isn't until moving somewhere new that they start to consider their teachings. Often times there's a "heart feeling" as I've heard it put, that Christianity "just isn't right", but that "I believe in/work with angels. I've always been close to them". Some people look at the separation of the two as blasphemous simply because of the old "well what about god?" teaching, but this truly isn't anything new. You see, angels have been seen as harbingers of peace in many cultures for hundreds of years, whereas the word of god has been corrupted by man, so it is quite common for those who are open to accept what they perceive as light, say angels, while not accepting the whole doctrine. This type of belief, (And those similar), are often referred to as "Christian spiritual" or in some cases "Abrahamic Spiritual".
Agnosticism is defined by Mariam Webster's as Definition of agnostic. 1: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (such as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly: one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god. And is often used to describe people who choose not to delve into religion, but merely accept that somethings will not be known in this lifetime. This particular belief system is very common among Millennial's, and moderately common among Gen Xers as we were the first generations (more or less) after the hippie movement, and many of us were encouraged to think for ourselves, or explore religion instead of sticking to a doctrine. Often times those who identify as agnostic also identify as spiritual while still choosing to neither confirm nor deny the existence of a higher power. Many are happy simply existing.
Persons who identify as eclectic spiritual gather their beliefs from multiple religions, traditions, and pantheons therein. For example; near to where I live, there is a yoga sanctuary that incorporates both western and eastern teachings in a sort of hybrid spiritual way. One moment you may be connecting with Jesus, but others perhaps with Ganesh, and any other that you'd like. It is common for new agers to be drawn to eclectic spiritualism because it is freedom within freedom, and there is no definite doctrine.
Wicca and Eclectic Wicca
Wicca: a religion founded by Gerald Gardner, is defined by Webster's as Definition of Wicca a religion influenced by pre-Christian beliefs and practices of western Europe that affirms the existence of supernatural power (such as magic) and of both male and female deities who inhere in nature and that emphasizes ritual observance of seasonal and life cycles. And while different practitioners and covens choose different pantheons with whom to work, it is not uncommon to come across eclectic Wicca(ns) who incorporate deities and practices from different pantheons. Often times, especially with younger Wiccans, you will notice that they have been called by deities from all over the world, and as such, they choose to sculpt their craft to incorporate all the teachings of these deities. As the Wiccan religion has no set guideline or doctrines, it has been labelled a "build your own" religion by many, but don't let that dissuade you, this is perfectly ok!
All on one clouders
So there exists a group of people, (I am one of them), who have never truly been able to accept or deny things. While we are, by some means Agnostic, we tend to have a slightly different view on things. Instead of "there is" or "there isn't" when discussing religion, it's more of an, "Ok but". See, (and to be clear this is my personal experience, I don't speak for the collective), I have walked many paths and known many gods as well as their teachings, and for the most part none seem inherently untrue. At a young age I came to accept that there doesn't have to be "one way", and there doesn't just have to be one god or group of gods; there can be many! As a child, we're talking like 4 by the way, I drew a photo of what appeared to be Jesus, sitting on a cloud accompanied by Buda, Ganesh, Nefertiti, Gaia, and as I recall, Mr. Rogers. When asked about it I very matter-of-factly explained that, "Well Nana has one god, and Mama has a bunch of gods and lady gods, and Grama has different gods and lady gods, and Lita is a Buddhist, and that's nice so I wanted them to have a playdate". Amused, my mother asked, "well which one do you think is real", to which I responded, "Well, all of them. Grampa says that it is our belief in god and stuff that makes it real, so if people believe in a god then its real to them. Everyone is different and that's ok, and I think that all the gods and lady gods are ok with it! That's why there's choices". At the time it was of course much more lighthearted; but it still rand true for me. I have walked with Cernunnos, I have called upon Freyja in circle, Hekate has come to me in dreams, and even the Archangels have been present in my life, and as such, I have accepted that there is more than I know. This is often the case for "one clouders", as we simply view our spirituality as unknown but endless. Rather than dissuade ourselves against the teachings of spirituality and religion, we accept that while the paths to the cloud are different, and we may end up at the doors of different deities, there's no reason to decide that one is real over another.
While these are only a few examples of different kinds of spirituality, religion, and otherwise, I hope that these may shed light onto different paths that aren't often in the main stream. As always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions.
Boundaries and You!
As many of you are likely aware, the pagan/ witch/ magickal community is generally a very open and accepting bunch, but sadly, all trees have occasional bad apples. While many (and often most) people will respect your personal boundaries and limitations, you may encounter some who do not, and as such, I am going to go through a few scenarios and solutions regarding respecting boundaries, both your own, and other peoples'.
The touchy feely stranger
You are almost guaranteed to encounter at least one of these people in your life, and unfortunately, in the pagan community there are more than a few. As someone who doesn't like to be touched by strangers, I know how uncomfortable it can be when someone immediately begins touching you at an event. Now sometimes it really is harmless, some people are just more hands on communicators (especially if they spend a lot of time with children), and often time these people notice your discomfort quickly, but it is always a good idea to state your boundaries personally. "I apologize, but I am not comfortable being touched by strangers" is an example of how one could politely approach this situation. This will almost always be taken without offense, and often open the floor for discussion of boundaries. It should also be noted that depending on where you live, you may experience "huggers", and again, it is generally non-malicious and can be easily resolved.
Sometimes, even after you've made your boundaries clear, some people continue to cross them. For many it is unintentional, a habit if you will, but it is never a bad idea to gently remind them. Some people, especially those who frequent pagan gatherings have become extremely comfortable around people, and forget that not everyone is at their level yet, so try not to get too upset, and again, politely restate boundaries.
The Boundary Pushers
Unfortunately, there may come a person (or people), who will intentionally push boundaries with you. Sometimes it's little things like standing very close but not touching, but other times it'll be more noticeable. If this person has already been made aware of your boundaries, give them a firm warning that they are pushing you and they need to stop. Sometimes this is enough, but if that doesn't work, you need to firmly ask them to let you be. While this may seem harsh, it is the safest option. If that still doesn't work, or if they make you uncomfortable at any point, GO FIND AN EVENT STAFF MEMBER! I cannot stress this enough, if someone is making you uncomfortable, you should immediately speak with a person in charge so that they can intervene.
The Straight up Boundary Breaker
Sadly, there are people in this world who are both entitled and disrespectful when it comes the bodily anatomy of others. Many times, this person will not only ignore your boundaries, but seek to break them intentionally, and for the sake of causing harm. this is NEVER OK! If someone purposely breaks your boundaries, and ESPECIALLY if you feel threatened by them, speak to a person in charge IMMEDIATELY! The person in charge should put your safety first and ask the offender to leave, or at the very least, make sure they stay away from you; if the situation calls for it they should be more than willing to call the police. Moreover, while you may not want to do it, if you are in any way assaulted or harmed, you should immediately call the authorities. Your safety is the most important thing!
The Nosey Nellie
Every community has its fair share of nosey neighbors, and the magickal community is no different. You will almost always encounter someone who "simply must must must!" know all about you, and while annoying, its generally harmless; share only what you feel comfortable with!
The "lineage" obsessed classist
In some pagan and witch communities, especially in the south, who trained you and your lineage is a "big deal". This is honestly nothing more than disguised classism. There are some, mostly older, practitioners who believe in magickal "purity" stemming from direct teaching from certain "acceptable" elders, (think the Malfoys from Harry Potter but training lines instead of bloodlines), who will often try to put down anyone who doesn't fit their mold. These people pull the old "well you're not really a witch..." line if you don't provide "proof" of your training, and to be clear they're just being snobs. If you practice witchcraft, you are a witch. Plain and simple. If you follow a Wiccan path, it doesn't matter how you got there, you are a Wiccan. And so on. These people are often argumentative, so to avoid a fuss, you can either not answer, or if you'd like you can say, "I'm sorry, but I took vows and cannot answer". This is generally the best way to avoid conflict.
The overly interested admirer
Every now and then, you'll come across a person who, while taken with you, you don't have feelings for/ interest in. This person can often be a very docile person, but also somewhat invasive. Now, this one is somewhat understandable, humans naturally want to know more about people we find alluring, but it can be overbearing for the other person. If you find yourself with an overly interested admirer, you should make it clear that you have no intentions of pursuing a relationship, and that a friendship will reveal much of their questions with time. If they won't accept this, it is best to simply distance yourself from them; getting the authorities involved should things escalate.
While uncommon, you may encounter someone who just comes off as predatory, pushing you for things like personal info, private history, and just generally being threatening. Seek help Immediately in this situation. Do not give this person any personal information and seek the help of a person in charge as soon as possible. If you ever feel threatened by another person at an event or gathering, seek help and if no help seems to come, you should find the safest possible way to get home. Obviously, if you feel this person poses a credible threat to yourself or others, call the police.
A common unwanted advance is one involving someone who’s just too friendly. An example of this; Sara is new, and Mary happens to be one of the first people Sara talks too. Mary takes a shine to Sara right off the bat, but Sara is still very hesitant and nervous about the situation. Mary keeps pushing Sara, "lets hang out!" and "add me on Facebook!", but Sara isn't comfortable with this, and Mary doesn't seem to understand. When you are the Sara in a situation, make sure to very clearly outline your boundaries, it's possible that the Mary misread your willingness to talk as an opening for a close friendship, it happens, and they won’t know until you say something.
It is not at all uncommon for a member of a certain group or coven to take an interest in a newbie. Sometimes it’s simply, "We have the same/similar path, would you be interested in meeting my coven?", or, "My group is a teaching coven, and we'd love to meet with you if you're interested". Other times it may be a bit more invasive, such as, "oh well, solitaries aren't really witches so you should join our coven right now", or "well, your coven is great but you should leave and join ours" (See my post about poaching). Regardless, if you are not interested, it is completely ok to say so, and you are not required to give a reason. "Thank you for the offer, but I am not seeking a coven/ am not interested" will suffice. If they continue to push, seek help from a person in charge.
The unsolicited sexual offer
I will not go into specifics on this topic as it is self-explanatory, however, I will give two vague situations and their solutions. Someone approaches you and makes a polite but unwanted sexual offer; politely decline and state that you're not interested. Someone approaches and makes an overbearing or lewd offer/comment; very firmly but calmly turn them down and ask them to leave. In this situation, it is best to simply ask a person to leave instead of trying to engage in a back and forth. Regardless, you should report this to a person in charge, and if necessary, contact police regarding a credible threat of harm.
Your boundaries are important, and while you should always make sure to make them clear, it is never OK for someone to disrespect them. Moreover, if you are at an event, then you need to respect other people's boundaries, and take care to not to be any of the aforementioned people. That being said, have fun! And of course, be Safe!
So you're guesting with a coven
So, you're guesting with a coven?
Awesome! Guesting is the first step in the search for a permanent home with a coven; but guesting doesn't mean you're in, and you should keep the following in mind;
1. Be polite! You are guest in their circle, so do not be cocky or overstep boundaries. It's great if you have a background in magic and the community, but you are not running this show, so be polite, and listen.
2. Don't play the "more experienced than thou" game. What do I mean by that you may ask, well, it is not uncommon in magick settings for people to try to start experienced based pissing contests, "Well *I* was trained by Lady BananaRamaDotCom who is a direct decedent of *insert ridiculous claim here*, and who studied under Crowley AND Gardner! I am basically royalty!". Ok great, good for you, but for the record, literally NO ONE cares or wants to deal with this. The easiest way to be ostracized by the community is to be THAT person, on SoM we call it Fluffy, but either way, do NOT do it.
3. Do NOT touch things that do not belong to you! Items in circle are often very specifically blessed and enchanted by their owners and touching them can mess with people's hard work. Alternatively, it is just straight up rude, so don't do it.
4. Always be early, but don't be invasive. Now, despite the common reference to "pagan standard time", it is extremely rude to be late to an event as a guest. Word of the wise, show up ten to fifteen minutes early.
5. Feel free to offer to help, but don't be pushy. Now, if you're like me, your first instinct in any situation is to offer to help your host; maybe it's chopping veggies for a salad, of setting chairs up for the guests, or really whatever they need, but not every host will accept your offer. Sometimes you will get someone who says no thank you, and that's ok! Accept their answer graciously, "Okie dokie! If that changes, I am here!" and sit down.
6. Never be afraid to set boundaries! If something in the situation makes you uncomfortable, it is ok to tell your host!
7. Always be aware of allergies and dietary restrictions. If you have an allergy or dietary restriction, tell the host ahead of time. Alternatively, ask your host about the group's allergies and dietary restrictions so that you can avoid them.
8. NO ONE has the right to touch you or make you uncomfortable! If you are in a situation and you no longer feel safe, find a way to leave without making a scene. It is also a good idea to have an SOS person on standby because even if a group seems nice, you can never be too careful!
9. Be aware of predatory behavior when guesting at potential covens! This is a long blurb, but here is a short version;
-No legit coven will charge you to be a member. Most covens require an act of service, and sometimes you may want to spend money, but no legit coven will charge membership fees.
-If a coven requires a "sexual initiation", RUN! Run like the ground is on fire, because this is never a good sign. No teacher should EVER require you to sleep with them in order to be taught; and unfortunately, situations like this can be connected to sex trafficking.
-If the coven starts to isolate you from your friends and relations, job, etc., RUN! Coven's should be a support system, not an all-consuming control panel.
-They're isolationists. If a coven refuses to interact with the community, there is almost always a reason. Do your research before you commit to make sure you're not walking into the lion's den!
Now, these may all seem like common sense, but still, be safe everyone!
Lady Wynnie is the ArchPriestess and founder of Covenant of the Rose. She is also a talented writer who will be blogging about the coven and it's happenings!