Joining a Coven
If you have found your ideal coven and would like to join, the next step is to have an old-fashioned chat with the group's leader. Tell him or her of your interest (specifically, what attracted you to this particular coven). Ask if the coven is open to new members and how to go about getting more involved. Find out when they hold initiations. The initiation process will vary from group to group, but in any case you'll probably have some studying ahead of you and some things to learn before an actual initiation occurs.
There's nothing to prevent you from leaving a coven if you find you've made the wrong choice. Although covens would like people to stay for a while for the sake of continuity, witches recognize that each individual's path changes every day. Try to part on good terms. As the witches say:“Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!”
Start thinking ahead. What role do you see for yourself in this group? Do you seek a specific function that utilizes your skills and talents? If, for example, you're a musician you might enjoy playing at rituals. Or if you're a good writer, perhaps you could craft some specialized spells, incantations, or rituals for the group.
This attitude will show the prospective coven your sincerity — and that you're thinking in terms of the group and not just about yourself. Also, it will help you define your place in the coven if and when you choose to take the next step (initiation).
Initiation into a Coven
The initiation is a very important moment of bonding. At this stage, coven members extend their Circle, in all its quirky intimacy, to another person. Every person in the group should be present for this activity.
Each coven will enact its own, unique initiation ritual, even though there may be similarities from group to group. The ritual reflects the philosophy, traditions, objectives, and orientation of the group.
One nice welcoming ritual involves braiding or knotting yarn to symbolize that the new member's path is tied in with the rest of the coven. The initiate brings a length of yarn, which is tied into the bundle created by the current members. In some cases, the coven's priest or priestess will keep the bundle or wear it as a belt as a sign of office.
At the time of initiation, new members can choose the magickal names they wish to use in sacred space. They then go to each person present, introduce themselves by that name, and greet them as a brother or sister in the Craft (perhaps with a kiss on the cheek or a hug).
“Some traditions have degrees of initiation,” explains Debbie Michaud in her book The Healing Traditions & Spiritual Practices of Wicca. “At each degree, more ‘mysteries’ are revealed to the initiates. Structured rituals are performed using images, forms, and languages in a religious, magickal, and mystery context.”