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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in grand coven

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Are Megacovens Covens?

Since the days of Margaret Murray (at least), the term “coven” has referred to a small group of witches that practice together regularly.

In fact, however, while small groups predominate across contemporary Witchdom, there's no shortage of much larger groups—in some cases numbering more than 100—that call themselves covens.

So: is a group of (let us say) 130 people actually a coven? If not, what is it?

Historically—appeals to the supposed “number of full Moons in a year” aside—the coven is a product of the Age of Persecutions. The notion of the Horned and his coven of twelve undoubtedly originated as a “satanic” parody of Christ and his twelve apostles.

Tradition does, of course, make provision for a larger group, called a Grand Coven, the name given to a number of covens which gather together (usually on a one-off basis) for a specific purpose.

(Also known as a Coven of Covens, the Grand Coven rather charmingly traditionally numbers 169: thirteen thirteens.)

Still, that's not how contemporary megacovens function.

Well, me, I'm nobody from nowhere, but if you ask my opinion, “coven” implies small. (This is certainly the most widespread understanding of the term as currently used.) If a megacoven is a coven in any sense, it's a non-traditional coven at best.

So as for me, when referring to these larger groups, I plan to stick with the term “megacoven,” at least for now.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
    Historically, numbers in a coven are not specified. A coven refers to: coven (n.) "a gathering of witches," 1660s, earlier "a mee
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Let me add that the social dynamics between a group of, say, nine, and one of ninety are, as one would expect, entirely different.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Ah, but what if we read Murray, not as historic history, but as mythic history? Then her work becomes a guide to how to think and
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Certainly as the Craft grows and expands, there will be an increasing need for larger congregations. "Temple" seems to me a good n
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Sounds to me like they have transitioned or are transitioning from coven to neopagan community. Curiously reminiscent of househol
A Leaf from 'The Book of the Sabbat'

Grand Sabbat

Naming

...
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
From: Invitation to the Grand Sabbat

This is a tribal gathering; as such, we operate as a tribe, under tribal thew (custom, law). If you attend, you are either a member, or a guest, of the tribe. This fact has certain implications. Everyone is expected to act responsibly at all times.

We police ourselves. If a situation arises, handle it. If you can't handle it, find someone that can.

There are many people in a tribe. Some you will like; some you may not. (Witches, of course, tend to be people with a lot of jagged edges, anyway.) It nonetheless remains everyone's responsibility to maintain the sacred moot-frith, the peace of the gathering, at all times. If you can't treat others with civility and respect, then you don't belong here.

At the heart of tribal democracy lies personal responsibility. If you don't like something that someone else is doing, it's up to you to say: Please stop. If someone asks you to stop what you're doing, please think seriously before continuing.

Note also that our people respect the power of intoxicants and regard them as sacred. If you're going to use, use in a sacred way.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
North Country Samhain

On Halloween weekend writer, witch, and ceremonial magician Frater Barrabbas hosted a gathering of Traditionals and friends at his home here in SE Minnesota. I swear, I’ve never seen so many stangs and black cloaks in one place before.

It’s been a warm, golden autumn here in Lake Country. We drove out to Barrabbas’ on Saturday afternoon (I’d spent the night before with my group here in Minneapolis, dancing with Old Hornie around a 150-year old white oak in a river meadow down by the Mississippi) through a landscape newly naked. The cottonwoods, birches, and maples had only recently shed their gold, leaving behind the oaks’ brown and russet, and the smoky green of Northland pines and cedars.

Barrabbas’ land is bounded by woods, a lake, and a cauldron bog. We found there a crowd of almost 40, some from as far away as Illinois and Georgia, subtly fueled by our host’s lively batches of homebrew: the rich, spicy Oktoberfest was especially beguiling.

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