Archive for July, 2011
At least once or twice a week I find myself fielding an email that goes something like this, “Hi I’d like more information on your group/coven. What does it take to join?” That’s the very simplistic version, but the answer is almost universally the same. I have to tell them we aren’t currently taking new members and then I suggest ways for them to become more involved in the community they are a part of.
Sometimes, the response is positive and other times not. In our, immediate gratification society, it’s difficult for people to understand why they are being turned away. Covens are, for all their mysticism, actually quite a bit of work. They are built on the bonds of friendship and those relationships typically don’t develop overnight.
We all have a need to belong, to know that we are not alone on this journey and to find others that hold the same beliefs as ourselves. I think everyone goes through this and sometimes that need shifts into overdrive.
Everyone has to start somewhere and when you’re delving into a new spirituality it can be daunting and confusing. Wiccans/Pagans/Witches typically don’t proselytize, so if you started seeking you feel like you’re pretty committed to the process. You feel like you should be taken seriously, and that everyone should want you in their group.
Here are a few tips for those looking for a coven, mentor, or teacher:
1) Become involved in your community. You’ll find you will naturally build connections with others as you attend open functions, study groups or volunteer at an event.
2) Be yourself. All too often people pretend to be someone/something they’re not in order to garner acceptance. This only hurts you in the long run because trust is hard to regain once broken.
3) Know your craft. Read/Study/Practice on your own. Groups like individuals who take initiative and show they would be a valued member.
4) Be selective. Just as a group is being choosy you should as well. What do the members offer you? Will they help further your path? Do you connect?
5) Be persistent but don’t stalk. If you have a desire to study with someone or join a particular group take no with a grain of salt. Ask if they have study groups, open circles, or other opportunities to meet with them. Making a connection takes time but groups evolve and change all the time and a closed door today may open in a year or two.
These are some very simple concepts, but they are the ones that people seem to overlook all the time. If you are patient and persistent opportunities will present themselves. When I first moved to St. Louis I didn’t know anyone and I wanted to make friends in the local community. I decided that I was going to get involved.
I even went so far as to make that declaration out loud. Little did I know what the universe had in store for me. There really is something to the saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you may just get it.” I ended up meeting someone that pointed me in the direction of Pagan Picnic. I decided to contact the committee to see about donating some time at the event.
I was invited to the next meeting and I went with my significant other in tow. By the time the meeting was over I was being asked to assume a committee position. I told them I’d need to think it over, but by the second meeting I was in and suddenly in charge of programming for the picnic. Now, years later it’s become once of my passions and it opened up so many doors to me. I met people from all kinds of different groups and I got to know them. Eventually, I had groups inviting me to attend functions and consider becoming a part of their group. Those people I know consider family. We have the occasional tiff, but push come to shove, they are there for me.
When you look to bring a mentor, teacher, or group into your life they are becoming a part of you and your journey. Make sure those you surround yourself with are ones that are worthy of your time and energy and that you are doing the same in return!
Yes, this question has actually been posed to me. I thought I would share the story since I think it’s worth telling.
When I was working in Springfield, I was fortunate to have a very good boss. I enjoyed going to work everyday and genuinely liked everyone that I worked with. There was a feeling of family there that I just really enjoyed since it was the first time I’d lived away from home.
Renee always put herself out there for her employees. She was always available by phone for countless questions on products and to mediate any customer issues. She was a loving and giving person and one that ended up in a bad situation. She was divorced, but living with her ex. Her two teenage sons lived with there as well. The living situation left much to be desired and one evening she tried to break up a fight between the boys. Renee got tossed like a rag doll.
When we were working the next day, I noticed the bruises. I didn’t even think about it before the words were coming out of my mouth. I insisted that she pack her things and come stay with me until we could get her a place of her own. She stammered something about being in the way and an inconvenience. Well, as we all know I’m not exactly tackful at times and I told her that if she didn’t pack her things that I’d come and do it for her. So, over the next few days she collected her things and I made space at my place for her.
It was ideal really. We worked opposite shifts so one of us almost always had the place to ourselves. Well, one night after work I came home to grab somethings before heading to Kansas City for the weekend. In my rush to get her squared away I had ‘forgotten’ that my witchy books were up on the shelf in my walk in closet. So, when I entered the threshold of the apartment Renee looked up from reading one of my books and greeted me with a voice reminiscent of Glinda the Good Witch saying, “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”
At this point I was caught. I hadn’t come out to my co-workers as being Pagan, but here it was as plain as could be. I swallowed hard and blurted out, “I’m a good witch, of course.”
Really, what else could I say? (That leads into a whole discussion on black and white magick…which is for an another post.) I was afraid there might be repercussions from that admission, but thankfully there weren’t. It didn’t affect our relationship, personally or professionally.
That was a moment of truth for me. It was when I really felt completely committed to the path I was walking and honestly it felt good being able to say it out loud to someone and be held accountable for it. After that moment I’ve never doubted the path I’ve been on and I’ve never looked back.