As always, people who have options are responsible for the choices they make. Be thoughtful and careful. Ask for the guidance of the Gods and listen for the still small voice that carries Their response. The quality of your experience depends on the choices you make now.
As polytheists, we celebrate diversity. Sacred diversity also shows itself in a wide range of variation among those covens that are ethical, competent and Spirit-led. You don't just want a good coven, you want one that is a good fit for your own talents, temperaments, inclinations and style. Here are some compatibility issues to consider:
* Mixed gender or all female or male?
* Size - the traditional maximum is thirteen, but quieter people may feel more comfortable in smaller groups. The average size of a coven is more like five or six.
* Ritual style - ranges from highly formal and ceremonial to spontaneous and "shamanic."
* Teaching style - they may have a highly structured curriculum or they may let their teaching be directed by student interest. If there is a prescribed curriculum, does it cover your particular interests?
* Decision-making style - this can range from full consensus process through majority vote to parent-like benevolent dictatorship.
* Time demands - good training requires the student's time and work. As the Craft matures, our notion of what a priest/ess needs to know has grown accordingly. Pacing makes a big difference -- we can either pack it in or stretch it out. Find out what a coven's typical time demands are, both for attendance and for homework. Figure out whether you can meet those demands while continuing to have a job, a family and a life.
* Thealogical emphasis or focus: Goddess only, Goddess and God in balance, or full-blown polytheism? Any particular pantheon or historical or cultural emphasis?
* Social contact - do you want your coven to also be a large part of your social life, or would you rather keep social and coven life mostly separate? (If your mate is not involved with the coven, you'll almost certainly prefer the latter.)
Coven-shopping is healthy for both covens and coveners. Meet as many covens and coven leaders as possible. Visit as many covens as you can before you commit to one. Remember as you weigh your choice that they are asking themselves remarkably similar questions about you -- and this is exactly as it should be. We all benefit when the best possible matches are made, for the coven process forms the leaders of the future -- and our Craft must ever survive.
Get to know the coven. Get to know the leaders. Coven participation is not just a simple transfer of knowledge or skill -- it is socialization into a small, closely-bonded community of priest/esses. So one final question sums up all the issues we've looked at so far. Do you want to become more like these people? If so, ask them if they will have you as their student. And may the Gods guide your Path to Their service.
Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):Ray Abrahams - A Modern Witch Hunt Among The Lango Of Uganda
Padraic Colum - The Children Of Odin The Book Of Northern Myths
John Dee - A Letter Containing A Most Brief Discourse Apologetical
William Butler Yeats - The Secret Rose And Rosa Alchemica
Anonymous - Starting A New Coven Looking At Yourself