Many witches choose to become apart of a coven at one point or another. Unfortunately, many witches come into contact with covens that foster toxic practices and relationships between members. The following are a few warning signs that a coven may be toxic.
1. New members are belittled and treated as inferior to established members.
If you join a coven and are silenced, treated as a novice (if you are not one), ordered to perform menial tasks for other members, and/or given fewer rights within the group you should carefully consider whether this coven will help you grow as a Witch or if it will hinder your education and personal practice.
2. Coven leaders demand unreasonable amounts of time dedicated to the coven.
Coven leaders can make or break the health of a coven. If a coven leader demands that a Witch be available to them at all times or deliberately violates a Witch’s agreed upon participation commitment that may be a sign that the coven and its leader are too demanding of its members. There is always a time commitment associated with being a member of a coven, however members should not be required to live their lives around the coven’s needs. Covens should strive to be a supportive and mutually beneficial spiritual group, and that includes respecting members’ other commitments.
3. The coven limits the type of witchcraft that members can practice.
Some covens are specialized, and that is perfectly okay. However, if a coven tries to regulate or dictate the type of Magick that its members practice and study on their own time it could be a red flag. The benefits of being in a coven rarely outweigh the hindrance of having one’s practice limited by others.
4. Coven leaders place more importance on serving them than on practicing your craft.
The majority of problems that Witches encounter when joining a new coven usually have to do with the intentions and goals of the coven leader(s). Unfortunately, some Witches start covens or choose to lead covens to benefit their ego more than to benefit their fellow Witches. You may be able to spot a leader like this if you notice that they focus on their own practice during lessons or coven time rather than on the development of their coven members and/or insist on being treated in an exceptional manner.
5. The coven limits your social contact outside of your practice.
If the rules of a coven prevent a Witch from interacting with their family, friends, co-workers, or acquaintances in the way that they normally would then that coven should be joined with caution. Healthy social interactions outside of one’s practice is important to mental and emotional well being and a coven should not interfere with the social lives of its members.