Solitary -vs- Coven

Traditionally, belonging to a coven was the only way to learn the Craft of Wicca. Thankfully that is no longer the case. Thanks to a large number of people who have published their book of shadows, tutorials, etc., it is now possible to learn the arts alone.

Personally I have chosen to be solitary. This decision was based, in part, on my own personality. I have never been comfortable in group situations. I'm also very headstrong and felt that I could practice more efficiently alone. Perhaps someday this could change, I could find a group I feel comfortable with. Until such time as I can truly join a circle in "perfect love and perfect trust", I will continue as I have started.

That being said, let's compare the two...

  1. With a Coven, the rituals are performed by a group of people;
    with several(principally the Priest and/or Priestess) playing the parts.
    As a Solitary, you do everything yourself.

  2. The Coven meets in a large(usually nine foot diameter)circle.
    The Solitary has a small, "compact" circle.

  3. The Coven uses a "full complement" of tools, depending on the tradition.
    The Solitary uses only what she/he feels she/he needs.

  4. Coven meetings must, to an extent, be held when most convenient for the majority.
    The Solitary can hold a ritual whenever s/he feels like it.

  5. A Coven draws on all its members to build a Cone of Power.
    A Solitary has only her/his own power to draw on.

  6. A Coven has a wide variety of knowledge and specialties.
    A Solitary has only her/his own knowledge and specialty.

  7. A Coven is usually fairly set in its ways.
    A Solitary can change with her/his moods, age, location, etc.

  8. A Coven ritual can become almost a "production" or pageant.
    A Solitary ritual can be the barest minimum of words and actions.

  9. A Coven must attune itself as one.
    A Solitary IS one.

Covens are not to be found everywhere, and finding one can be difficult. There is a saying in Wicca "When the student is ready, a teacher will find them". There's a lot of truth in this. If you truly want to join a coven, chances are you'll find one. Visit local New Age, Metaphysical or Occult stores and take classes on Wicca or similar subjects offered through these centers. More than likely, these classes will be taught by a priest or priestess of Wicca. At the very least, attending such classes will enable the student to meet others of like minds, which could be the basis for founding a new coven or for finding contacts in established groups.

In the end, only you can make the decision to be solitary or to belong to a coven. Don't let anyone else pressure you. If someone tries to pressure you into joining their group, run the other way fast! Good Wiccans would never do this. Wiccans don't recruit. We can encourage, but never pressure or push someone into believing as we do. Enjoy the journey, the path may be difficult but is always rewarding.

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2001 Joelle Miller