Is your coven toxic? Gossip, infighting, power struggles, and the infiltration of your sacred circle by a sociopath are all serious issues that disrupt spiritual growth, and can even be seriously damaging.
If your coven leaves you feeling poisoned instead of uplifted, it’s time to take a look at the source and decide what to do about it.
Here’s 9 telltale signs to find a new coven.
Rituals are mostly about confirming hierarchy.
Your coven’s leadership should serve its members—not the other way around.
Hierarchies should not be about servicing the leadership’s individual egos.
Healthy hierarchies in any coven facilitate organization and maintain consistency. For example, leadership often helps its members by:
-Delegating tasks to keep the work of the coven fairly distributed so the same people aren’t doing all the heavy lifting all the time.
-Maintaining a clear system of learning the tradition and also helping less experienced members advance in their practice.
-Keeping coven meetings, Esbat rituals, and Sabbat celebrations consistent and fun.
However, if you find that most of your coven gatherings have become about stroking the High Priestess’ ego, you’re probably dealing with a narcissist and not sincere, well-intentioned clergy.
Older members exert domination over younger, less experienced ones.
Older and more experienced members in a healthy coven should be interested in supporting the growth of younger members.
Experienced members who constantly belittle or put down younger/newer members or exert extreme control have a negative influence on the group dynamics at best and are potentially dangerous at worst.
Reports of abusive behavior aren’t taken seriously.
Any report of abuse–particularly abuse of a criminal nature—should be dealt with by the authorities.
Pay zero attention to anyone who tells you to “keep it in the family” or guilts you for not honoring some kind of code of secrecy.
You are under no obligation at all to protect sex offenders, stalkers, or other nut jobs.
Report illegal behavior to the police, cut off all contact, and seek counseling from a professional therapist if necessary—in that order.
Chronic gossip and/or singling out members for ostracization.
If your coven frequently indulges in gossip or has a habit of singling out members, it’s time to leave.
People who talk about others behind their backs to you are also talking about you. 100% of the time, guaranteed.
Who needs that?
Invasive or financially abusive behaviors.
There is no reason your High Priestess needs any detailed information about your finances, your sex life, or your personal history.
That information is for you to share, and you should exercise caution when doing so with new groups.
It’s normal for groups to expect some minor contributions for basic ritual supplies, like incense or candles. You should give as much as you get.
But if you find yourself expected to pay, say, $1500 to gain some “secret knowledge” or advance in rank, run far and fast.
A good High Priestess should make you feel free to explore your spirituality outside your coven work.
Any coven leader who insists you maintain an exclusive relationship with her is dangerous.
The same goes for a High Priestess who demands that you make regular intimate “confessions” to “seal your bonds.”
Or if she gets overly jealous when you seek knowledge or experiences from other sources, is dangerous.
Clergy with a long history of changing circles.
Did your High Priestess start your group (or assume leadership) after a series of failed circles?
Where there’s smoke, look for fire?
It’s not a total dealbreaker. But it’s worth checking in with members from her former circles to make sure there’s nothing you need to know about.
A good High Priestess with nothing to hide won’t mind and will be proud of her references/experience.