Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
ENCYCLOPEDIA
Glossary
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

May/June 2016 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article

Coven

This article was written by John Michael Greer on April 01, 2005
posted under Coven

In Scottish folklore and modern Pagan practice, a group of Witches. The traditional number of members in a coven is thirteen, and Margaret Murray, whose writings on medieval Witchcraft were a major source for modern Wicca, insisted that this was an absolute rule. The medieval evidence does not support her claim, however, as groups of thirteen are hard to find in any pre-Murray discussions of Witchcraft lore of the Witch trials.

The word coven is a Scots English version of convent or conventicle, and simply means "gathering." It appears in the records of a few Scottish Witchcraft trials, and was taken from those sources by Murray.

In modern Wicca and many other Pagan traditions, the coven is the basic unit of organization, and consists of three or more people who meet at least often enough to celebrate the eight Sabbats. While thirteen is considered the optimum number of members, this requirement is usually honored in the breach, and covens range in size from three members to twenty or more. In most Wiccan traditions, the leadership of a coven is centered in the High Priestess, who may or may not share her authority with a High Priest. Other officers include a Maiden, who is female and assists the High Priestess, and a Summoner or Guardian, who is male and assists the High Priest; these positions are often held by members in training to become High Priestesses or High Priests themselves.

Today's world offers us many opportunities to create and live in stress; even though it has been many thousands of years since we have had to fear attack from wild animals, modern man has his fight-or-flight system turned on most days, and with no idea how to turn it off. Work, relationships, schedules, kids, media, and much more assist in... read this article
The Eight Phases of the Moon
Becoming a Werewolf: Ancient Shamanic Dog Magic
The Journey of Self-Discovery
Color Your Tarot
11 Magical Ways That Angels Send You Guidance

Most recent posts:
Letting Go of Fear
Christine Jette’s wonderful book, Tarot for the Healing Heart, teaches how to use tarot for issues of health and healing on all levels. For so...

How Much Should You Meditate?
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Doron Hanoch, author of the new Yoga Lifestyle. How much should you meditate? All the time!...

Llewellyn's 2016 Tarot Catalog Is Here!
We are proud to bring our readers our sixth annual tarot catalog! Discover the newest in tarot offerings from Llewellyn, Lo Scarabeo, and Blue Angel,...




Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar
84th Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $18.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac
Holidays & Lore, Spells, Rituals & Meditations

By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Sun Sign Book Llewellyn's 2017 Sun Sign Book
Horoscopes for Everyone!

By: Llewellyn, Kim Rogers-Gallagher
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN