31 Days of Halloween Day 20: Witch Covens

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Only 11 days until Halloween!

Throughout the month of October I’ll be posting once a day with something to get you into the Halloween spirit, including movie and book reviews, real haunted places, occult topics and more. Come back each day and join in the fun!

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The word “coven” usually refers to a group of witches. It can also be called a cove or clan. It’s a term that wasn’t in popular usage until the 20th century, even though we think of it as something that’s been around for ages.

Some claim that a coven must consist of exactly thirteen witches, no less, no more. That claim is dubious, at best, but some covens actually aim for that number. Many believe there’s a magical number of witches to form a coven. The reality is that a coven must consist of at least three witches. There are records of covens that have far exceeded one hundred, with some claiming that in ancient times covens of over one thousand existed (which is likely a stretch).

Covens can grow too large to manage, which is when one or more members will “hive” or split off and create a separate coven. This can also happen if a witch wants to branch off in a different direction. Some witches join numerous covens throughout their life, switching as they see fit or when their current coven breaks apart.

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There is considerable diversity when it comes to covens. Some are incredibly traditional while others are rather modern or “progressive.” Some restrict membership to only women or men, while others strive to have an equal number of the two sexes and still others don’t care. Some covens have a very strict hierarchy, while others are ran as a pure democracy. Some covens practice magic wearing regular street clothes, traditional robes or even “skyclad” or in the nude. Basically, witches can choose the coven that they feel best suits their personal preferences and goals.

Witches don’t always need to belong to a coven. Sometimes they go years or more at a time without belonging to one. Other witches might never join a coven. The whole purpose of being a part of one isn’t like going to a church. Instead of being a support group, a coven is all about like-minded and equally-able witches practicing the craft together in harmony. Many practitioners believe that certain ceremonies and achievements can only be attained through the combined efforts of a certain number of witches. However, they also believe that discord or strife within the group will dilute or even completely sabotage their magical abilities.

Leave a comment below and join in the Halloween fun! We still have ­­­­­­11 more posts to go this month, so come back and see what else I have in store.

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