In Wicca and other comparable forms of modern Neopagan witchcraft, a coven is a collection or ar of witches, a team of believers that gather together for ceremonies of worship, such as drawing Down the Moon or celebrating the Sabbats. Other words may additionally be used, such together clan, grove, sept, touta, cove.
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The native “coven” (or “covan”) was originally a late middle ages (c.1500) scot word definition a collection of any type of kind, deriving indigenous the Latin source word “convenire” (meaning come come with each other or to gather). The very first recorded usage of the being applied to witches, however, came lot later, in the 1662 trial of Isobel Gowdie, which described a coven that thirteen members. Also then, the word remained mostly unused in English until 1921, when Margaret Murray promoted the idea, now lot disputed, the historically every witches throughout Europe met in groups of thirteen i beg your pardon they called “covens”.
The variety of witches in a coven may vary, and any meeting of 3 or more can be considered a coven. Twenty is often thought about a rule-of-thumb maximum, return covens of approximately sixty are not unheard of. Some covens limit membership to thirteen, possibly in deference to Murray‘s theories, and possibly on the grounds that this is the best number which have the right to be comfortably accommodated in the traditional 9-foot circle. However, part groups consider that a coven the as countless as thirteen deserve to lead come unwieldy group dynamics and also an unfair burden on the leadership.
A coven usually has actually one or 2 leaders, recognized as the High Priestess and/or High Priest, and also each coven is usually autonomous and also makes its own decisions (depending ~ above the specific tradition that follows). Part covens are really democratic in your practices; part are an extremely hierarchical, strongly regimented and autocratically run. Once a coven grow too large to it is in manageable, it may break-up or “hive”. In Wicca, a freshly made High monk or High Priestess (with 3rd Degree ordination) may additionally leave to begin their very own coven, and also strike off in brand-new directions.
Many covens (called initiatory covens) require that the leader initiate brand-new members prior to they have the right to be considered part of the group or tradition, which usually requires some type of official induction ceremony and also oath of loyalty after the prospective member has brought out the compelled level of research (often for the classic year-and-a-day). Various other covens operate on a self-initiation basis, or expropriate initiates indigenous other groups or traditions.
Some covens occupational in robes, some in modified street clothing, and also a couple of go “skyclad” or naked. Some space “teaching covens” and are happy to take on newcomers; others favor to keep to the existing membership and aim to develop a closer family-type relationship. Part “open covens”, or those through an “inner circle” and also “outer circle”, allow interested outsiders to gain a taste that coven exercise without committing themselves. Part covens space gender-segregated, although many are open to both sexes and often shot to preserve a an ext or less also balance of male and also female members.
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