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Title: Coven  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Contemporary witchcraft, Wicca, Bricket Wood coven, Esbat, Drawing down the Moon (ritual)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


A coven or covan is a gathering of witches.

The word coven remained largely unused in English until 1921 when Margaret Murray promoted the idea, now much disputed, that all witches across Europe met in groups of thirteen which they called "covens".[1]


In 3rd Degree ordination, leaves to start their own coven. Wiccan covens are usually jointly led by a High Priestess and a High Priest, though some are led by only one or the other. In more recent forms of neopagan witchcraft, covens are sometimes run as democracies with a rotating leadership.

Online covens

With the rise of the internet as a platform for collaborative discussion and media dissemination, it became popular for adherents and practitioners of Wicca to establish (often paid subscription-based) "online covens" which remotely teach tradition-specific crafts to students in a similar method of education as non-religious virtual online schools.

One of the first online covens to take this route is the Coven of the Far Flung Net, which was established in 1998 as the online arm of the Church of Universal Eclectic Wicca.

However, because of potentially-unwieldy membership sizes, many online covens limit their memberships to anywhere between 10 to 100 students. The CFFN, in particular, tried to devolve its structure into a system of sub-coven clans (which governed their own application processes), a system which ended in 2003 due to fears by the CFFN leadership that the clans were becoming communities in their own right.

Usage in literature and popular culture

In Robert Burns poem "Tam o' Shanter" and in the Goethe play Faust. Movie portrayals have included, Suspiria, Rosemary's Baby, The Covenant, Underworld and Underworld: Evolution, The Craft, Coven and Paranormal Activity 3.

In television, covens have been portrayed in U.S. supernatural dramas Charmed, Witches of East End, The Originals, The Secret Circle and True Blood. In the 1967 Star Trek original series episode "Catspaw", three witches appeared as illusions and acted in unison to voice a warning to Kirk and the landing party to leave the planet. The third season of American Horror Story is titled Coven and focuses on witches.

In novels such as The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice and the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, covens are families or unrelated groups of vampires who live together.

See also


  1. ^ Murray, Margaret (1921). The Witch Cult in Western Europe: A Study in Anthropology.
  2. ^ K, Amber (2002). Coven Craft: Witchcraft for Three or More. Llewellyn Publications.

External links

  • List of Covens by Location at Witchvox
  • Online Covens supported by SpellsOfMagic
  • Choosing a Coven by Judy Harrow
  • Choosing a Coven (advice on) by Lisa Mc Sherry
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