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Why Can't We Be Friends? The role of friendship in a coven

What is the role of friendship in a coven? What is a coven’s purpose? Must you be friends with the members of your coven for it to function properly?

A few months ago, we released a member of our coven and resolidified/unified our coven in preparation for the coming year, and to reassert our group mind without gaps or division in it. Things were brought up (things always are) when a member chooses to leave a magickal group, and this was no different. In it, it was said that this person was looking for friendship instead of a coven... that they didn’t want a coven in the first place. Which begs the question: is friendship/fellowship a requirement for coven life? MUST you be friends with your covenmates? Is this the role that the coven is supposed to take on?

I was left with these questions, and approached the tarot for answers. Specifically I used Tarot of the Sidhe by Emily Carding and The Septagram Spread of the Whole Self spread that she includes in the book that comes with the deck. The answers were revealing, personal, eye-opening, and deep.

.... but I keep coming back to that central one, What is the role of friendship in a coven?

Life is busy enough even when you are a solitary practitioner, or even if you're not a practicing Pagan at all! We all have obligations and functions that have nothing to do with our spiritual lives, and they take up time as well. That aspect started to creep into the friendship dynamics of the spiritual group, when it was brought up before that many people would attend certain people’s parties, events, or functions (that were not coven-related save the fact that it happened to be a coven member doing it) but not others. Different reasons were cited for non-attendance of non-coven events (my reason was normally distance since I’m a suburban witch with a city coven), but it never was brought up in such a way that it was the primary reason a person left the group.

An important component of our open rituals to the greater Pagan community in NYC is the fellowship that happens after a ritual is over and the circle is opened. Fellowship = friendship? Perhaps. It certainly can be said that I have friendships in the Pagan community that extend outside of my coven brothers and sisters. But that doesn’t make those friendships into spiritual kin, and vice-versa. And even within my coven, I am closer to some members than others, in friendship. But I don’t think that translates into lessening the group mind.

While I do treasure the friendships I have with my covenmates, and I believe friendship definitely serves a role within coven life, I strongly advise that it shouldn't be used as a crutch or an excuse for the real work of a coven to happen. We always want to return to balance. When we found a bit too much fellowship was happening prior to magickal work in our group, we adjusted and reserved fellowship for AFTER whatever ritual working or workshop was happening. This we applied to both our coven-only events and public events, and we found it to be very effective. The focus was stronger, and the energy was much less watered-down after we adjusted.

Food for thought:

  • What are your expectations with regard to friendship and coven life? Think carefully if you are joining a coven for the concept of "built-in friends".
  • What is the role of friendship in a coven? Must you be friends with the members of your coven for it to function properly?

Consider the glossary definition of the word coven from Amber K's Coven Craft: Witchcraft for Three or More:


Do you agree with this definition? Should friendship be included in it?




Image courtesy of Rawich /

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Owner and content-provider of Tarot by Hilary, professional tarot reader with over fourteen years of experience slinging the cards, posts weekly on the Tarot by Hilary blog, and all around woman-about-town. My clients are awesome, and you should be one of them.


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