I first came across the term covenstead in Uncle Bucky's Raymond Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft. In the Big Blue Book Buckland describes the covenstead as "the name given to the home of the coven (the place where it always, or most often, meets). Within the Covenstead,* of course, is found the Temple." I've been a part of several covens over the years, but most of those situations seemed to lack a true covenstead. Rituals were undertaken in several different locations: a few houses, maybe a park, etc. Those places were all nice, and my house numbered among them, but they didn't feel like a covenstead.
So, last week I skipped my Pagan Experience post. Partly because I was in full production mode over at FiberWytch (still am, in fact), which tends to make me feel overwhelmed; as I still work at an outside job part time, and I have invisible illnesses, multitasking can be a challenge. I also have a tendency to become nonverbal when working full steam ahead on crafting projects. But if I’m going to be honest, a bigger reason I skipped it was that my reaction on reading the prompt was more or less “meh.” Because as a godspouse and spirit worker, I’m a spirit-centered pagan, not an earth-centered one. Or so I told myself.
Well then. A day or two later (while I was in the shower, as it happens), Odin set me straight on this notion. “Not earth-centered, is it? What about the Making? What about all of the plant oils and herbs you work with? Those plant spirits have a home, you know, and it isn’t out in the ether somewhere.”
As a professional psychic and witch of over twelve years I have done my share of love readings for clients. It’s ok, we all do it. We all want to know how love will potentially shape our future. Inevitably most of these readings either end up being about a current relationship on the rocks, when an ex may or may not come back around, or when the client is finally going to find their prince. As the reading winds down almost everyone asks the same question: Is there a spell I can do to bring love into my life or fix the love that is already there?
It's Watery Wednesday and with that comes our Community news post of the week: Canadian Pagans gathering; the Wild Hunt looks back at 2014; an Australian kickstarter; Starhawk as model leader?; witchcraft = Wicca, or not?
The Canadian Gaia Gathering Conference (one of the biggest Pagan gatherings in Canada) is open for registration. (They are looking for presenters, too!) The conference for 2015 will be in Edmonton, Alberta May 15th to 18th.
Want to catch up on last year's hottest news stories in the Pagan world? The Wild Hunt's 2014 retrospective should do the trick.
For today's Airy Monday post, at the close of 2014 we look back -- but not just to the year gone past but to the days of our ancestors. Modern Cornish witchcraft traced back to Elizabethan times; a matriarchal temple; bringing Bronze age Cyprus to life; down the way from Stonehenge, Silbury Hill unveils its secrets; a historic and fascinating map of Inuit Arctic "highways."
This archaeology dig was supposed to be for Neolithic remains. The researchers were pretty surprised to find solid evidence of Cornish witchcraft stretching from the 1600's up to the 1970s.
I'm not sure that every coven unrelated to a specific tradition needs a "Book of Shadows." I probably wanted one for my coven because I have strange control issues. After finding a ritual structure that worked for our circle I wanted to get it all down on paper, and share it with everyone in our little group. For our group a BoS made perfect sense because we work the same way ritual to ritual.
A BoS is not necessarily a rigid, never-changing book of instructions, but it often contains ideas that consistently work. If the quarter calls I'm using "work" why would I want to change them every month or so? I also think there's real power in repeating a ritual structure over and over again. It takes the guess work out of ritual and creates an atmosphere that lets the mind and spirit quickly ease into ritual mode. When my coven's opening chant starts I'm in "work mode" and instantly push outside concerns away.