What Is A Coven?

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What Is A Coven?

The word “coven” itself may already be in your vocabulary.

But, what is a coven?

Yes, a coven is a group of witches, to put it simply.

But there is much more history, ritual, and meaning behind covens.

Covens hold a sacred pact and bond their witch members together uniquely.

A coven is a congregation of witches dedicated to the teachings and practice of Wicca.

While there is often a deity of some sort whom the coven worships—like a pagan god, an animal, or the devil—it is not necessarily essential, especially if the coven does not prescribe to strict tradition.


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In the nontraditional sense, a coven can be created by any group of witches who wish to come together to practice magic.

Traditionally, witches are initiated.

The initiation practices can vary between covens, but the point of initiation is to make a solid, solemn promise of loyalty and dedication.

Sometimes sacrifice is involved, but that doesn’t necessarily mean slaughtering an animal.

The sacrifice could be personal like sacrificing a sentimental object or becoming vegan.

Covens led by a High Priestess are the most common traditional formation of a coven.

When a witch is training to be a High Priestess and her training is complete, she may then split off from her current coven to form her own.

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A coven is really just a group of witches, so exact numbers can vary.

Usually, at least three witches are needed to make up a coven, and traditionally no more than 20 may join.

However, large covens reaching much higher than 20 members are of course possible.

But the number of witches does not determine the strength of the coven, that is deemed by the strength of the witches that make up the coven.

Historian Margaret Murray theorized that ancient covens would usually consist of 13 members.

This number could be because 13 people can comfortably fit around the nine-foot circle.

This circle is used as a protective barrier between the witches and the entity that they summon.

But there is also thought that it is parallel to Christ and his 12 disciples, there would be 12 witches with one leader.

Covens have a purpose.

The purpose of a coven is to bring witches together.

A coven can teach rituals and spells to each other to gain more knowledge and pass down traditions.

Also, covens are stronger and more potent than individual witches.

When witches come together and practice as a coven, their spells are more powerful and more likely to manifest what they intended.

There is also a sense of unity and acceptance within a coven.

For centuries witches have been condemned for being witches—remember Salem?

So coming together in a coven can give them solace and they can look out for each other.

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Colleen Fogarty is a writer who covers self-care, astrology, and relationship topics.

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