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How I Started a Coven, and lost my sole


Really, how could I resist that title?

Several months ago, Diotima and I started an eight-week session of classes on Wicca fundamentals, hosted by a local (and excellent) metaphysical shop in my town.  We met once a week and covered the basics--me from my American Tribal (mixed gender Dianic) and folk magic POV and Diotima from her more formal tradition.

We had a terrific group of students and we covered a lot of material.  The students come from a wide array of backgrounds and were eager to learn from teachers, instead of books and the Mighty Sacred Interwebs.

We talked and meditated and did ritual together.  And ate snacks, too.

On the last day of class, there was a sense of...sadness, I suppose I'll call it.  The group had bonded really well--and that doesn't always happen. We had scheduled a celebratory ritual for the final class and discussed some of the things that had been most meaningful for them.

Then...they wanted to stay together. They wanted to know more. They wanted more real-time experience in both worship and magic.

They wanted to start a coven.  Bless them.

So we all got out our calendars and we looked at dates and times and places.  We discussed what the ramifications of this were, what their time commitment would need to be.  I suggested they come together as a working-and-discussion-book group.

The corners of their mouths turned down. They didn't want books, not right now. They wanted a teacher.

We decided to meet in a month and set some ground rules and parameters. There was much hugging and giggling as they left the room.  They were a little giddy with it all. When the class began, Diotima had wisely set up a closed and private Facebook group for discussion and questions.  In the month that followed our final class they cheerfully asked questions and offered solutions.

Did I mention it's a really good group?

This past Saturday was our appointed meeting time.  Two of the group were under the weather, so we were careful to take notes so they'd know where the group-thought was headed.  And Diotima has decided not to continue on.

We set ground rules and talked about what we'd be doing. We set an end-date for this particular commitment.  We finished our time together with a healing ritual. And we meet again near Beltane.

As I was walking into the store, the sole of one of my Tevas came loose and then fell off completely as I was arranging the chairs.  I took my shoes off for class but mentioned at some point my poor sandals.

They laughed.  I started a coven...and lost my sole.

See?  It was irresistible!

I've done coven work on and off for decades now, and here I am as the convener of a teaching coven.  It's good work.


Last modified on
Tagged in: coven teaching Wicca
H. Byron Ballard is a ritualist, teacher, speaker and writer. She has taught at Sacred Space Conference, Pagan Unity Festival, Southeast Her essays are featured in several anthologies, including “Birthed from Scorched Hearts“ (Fulcrum Press), “Christmas Presence“ (Catawba Press), “Women’s Voices in Magic” (Megalithica Books), “Into the Great Below” and “Skalded Apples” (both from Asphodel Press.) Her book Staubs and Ditchwater: an Introduction to Hillfolks Hoodoo (Silver Rings Press) debuted in June 2012. Byron is currently at work on Earth Works: Eight Ceremonies for a Changing Planet. Contact her at,


  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan Monday, 06 April 2015

    I love this! I am a Witch working at a Christian church (fully out and supported!) and I bike to work every day. One morning I was wearing the brand new boots my fundamentalist Christian family had gifted me for my birthday. Right as I step off my bike in front of the church, the sole falls off. When I told my coven sister she promptly composed a ballad about how the Witch lost her sole on the way to the Chapel. We performed it at Witchcamp a few weeks later and now I will never be able to wear those boots again without laughing.

  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard Monday, 06 April 2015

    What a wonderful story. I wonder how many other folks will chime in with stories of their list soles. Thanks for commenting! And how good to hear you so supported.

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