Grovedaughter Witchery

Practical Magic - "Someone Told Me That I'm In A Coven"

“You know, in the Old Days, if a witch betrayed her coven, they would kill her.”

- Nancy Downs, “The Craft

I love this movie far too much for my own good, and I feel the need to share an anecdote from my past, in the hopes that my witchlings will learn from it.

My first teacher (and I use the term loosely) in witchcraft was a girl a little older than myself who was knowledgeable in her craft and well-schooled in Neo-Wiccan principles. We were (sort of) friends at the time and I sat circle with her on a few occasions with a couple of other people who were in the same small group of friends. Nothing was ever formalized; we were just a bunch of witches having fun and learning together.

Well, things went sour. It’s a long and sordid tale and involves Miss Thang getting some weird ideas in her messed-up little head and deciding she wanted to try and ruin my life because of it. I won’t bore you with it. The long and the short is that she turned out to be full of many kinds of shit and we don’t talk anymore.

There was a long period of time where I had to battle, almost daily, to disprove, neutralize, or otherwise counter the damage she was doing to my reputation and my personal life. At the height of the bullshit, two of our mutual friends sat her down and said, “This is nonsense, you need to be honest with Bree about why you’re acting the way you are.” So she called me and against my better judgment, I went over to hear her out.

And she promptly opened her little spiel with the “if a witch betrayed her coven” line. To which I responded with, “Okay, fine, except that we were never in a coven and I never spoke of what we did outside the circle, so I haven’t betrayed shit.” Despite this beginning, the evening turned out pretty well, and things calmed down considerably, but like I said, we still don’t talk, and with good reason.

The lesson I’d like my witchlings to take away from my story is this:

Unless you have taken specific vows of covenship to another witch or group of witches, DO NOT let anyone try to manipulate you by telling you that you’re in a coven. Sitting circle together, even casting spells together, no matter how often you do it, does not count as being in a coven unless these vows are made.

No one gets to "tell" you that you're in a coven. Either you take vows and make promises knowingly and of your own free will, or you're not in a coven. Period.

Even if you ARE in a coven, you should not have to reveal your darkest secrets or participate in rites/spellwork that make you uncomfortable or appear skyclad (naked) in order to be considered a full member, especially if you are underage. Most importantly, you should be free to leave WHENEVER YOU CHOOSE TO WITHOUT REPERCUSSIONS.

Membership in a coven is more than just a social group for witches. It’s a bond between practitioners on both a personal and a magical level that is supposed to encourage confidence, growth, and understanding. It should never be held over your head as blackmail, or make you feel trapped or obligated to go against your own moral code, and you should NEVER be made to feel like you’re betraying anyone if you don’t want to join or decide to leave.

Be safe, witchlings!

Addendum: It’s also important to note that the film writers have Nancy talking straight out of her ass here. There is no historical evidence to suggest that her statement is true, and even if it was…hey, cool motive, still murder. For which they would have been hanged.

So...nice try.

The views expressed on this website are the Unshared Personal Gnosis of the witch known as Bree NicGarran. They are not intended to be taken as absolute truth, nor are they intended to invalidate the religious views of the reader. They are meant only as a suggestion and are limited by the knowledge of the writer. Please always be sure to double-check your sources, refer to medical texts, and read critically before using any information in your own practice.
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