There are so few Covens that are led by trained Priests or Priestesses. By trained I mean a woman or man who has trained under an Elder and been Initiated; someone who has studied the Craft and knows how to teach a Tradition. So you finally meet the Coven and the Priestess but you find that you don’t really like her very much. She may be younger than you, or much older. You get a feeling that you don’t connect with her. Even though everything that she is saying and explaining is wonderful and the circle energy is very good you think that maybe you should leave the circle. Unfortunately you realize there really are no other places to learn in your area. What should you do?
This happens from time to time with new Seekers, they don’t ‘like’ the Priestess or maybe they don’t like someone in the Coven. They mostly explain it as: We don’t connect. This is a mistake of a beginner because they are bringing their mundane attitudes and judgements into the Circle. The first thing is to listen. If the person is honourable, truthful, and honest; if they are following the Wiccan Rede and have not done anything to harm you, wait. Wait and listen to what they stand for and watch how they act towards others.
A Coven is a group of people seeking spiritual transformation. Many types of people, many ages, races sexual orientations and cultures join Covens and these people may never meet in normal circumstances. There is bound to be some misgivings at first. However it is important to understand that the Coven relationships are anam-cara, soul friendships. Outside of Circle you may not have much in common with the person but in Circle, if you can come with an open mind and heart, you will meet the true self of each member of the Coven.
Here are other examples from my own life. Bran is one of the teachers in our Tradition. He wears leather, has tattoos and rides a Harley. He may look like a biker but he is a very knowledgeable Wiccan Priest with many years of experience. The first time he walked into the Sacred Cauldron we wondered: What is he doing here? Later on I married him!
Here’s another example: One of the Coveners came to me and told me she didn’t connect with Poppy (not her real name) and that she felt uncomfortable being in Circle with her. I asked her to explain why she felt that way. Did something happen? There was no reason, just a feeling. I happened to be very fond of Poppy and I knew that she had lived through terrible heartbreak in her life making her a little prickly! It took time for her to warm up to others and she was not a fuzzy cuddly type of person. I explained that while listening to our intuition is a good thing, bringing mundane judgement into a spiritual circle is not helpful. We are not marrying each other (at least not in our Tradition!) and we don’t have to hang out after Coven if we don’t want to. I told her a few things (with permission) about Poppy’s life and she was shocked. She started to look at her in a different light and they became friends. They don’t hang out after Coven and in the outside world they have very little in common but in the circle they now connect on a spiritual level, from heart to heart.
Here’s another example: I had a teacher that I greatly admired and asked her to come and give a talk. This teacher was very knowledgeable and advanced spiritually but she wasn’t a warm huggy type. She was self-assured, reserved and came across as a bit strict. She was a teacher coming to give a talk, not coming to make friends. Some of the people that came to her talk said: Well I don’t like her. She wasn’t very friendly.
They missed the point! Her talk was wonderful and the knowledge that she had shared was important. When you go to University, you don’t have to like your professors to appreciate what he teaches you. Changing your attitude and approaching an advanced teacher with respect and gratitude for what they teach changes the relationship you have with them. You are coming to learn so leave your judging at the door!
This doesn’t mean that you cannot walk out on someone who breaks the Rede as you interpret it. I once belonged to a Circle of women and one of the Priestesses told me that I would never become a Priestess and really feel the Goddess because I didn’t ‘bleed’. (I had undergone a hysterectomy because of uterine cancer.) You can be sure that I left that Circle because of attitudes that I couldn’t accept.
So if you find a High Priest or Priestess or a Mentor in the Craft, don’t judge them. You’re not joining a social club. Listen, be respectful, ask questions and thank them for their time. Let your heart learn from them. Be humble! Don’t miss your chance to experience the transformation of a Coven experience because of mundane judgement.