Second Opinion: Example page

Evaluating Wiccan groups

We receive questions about other groups quite regularly, and requests for referrals to other groups etc. There are some good Wiccan groups that we will be happy to refer you to.
We find it important that the prospective seeker gets enough options to become well informed, and we gladly explain those options below.

1. Pub moots

Pub moots are social meeting points where newcomers and old hands are equally welcome to meet each other, and to orient themselves within the large field of pagan and heathen groups. The pub moots that we recommend you can see listed here (fill in link). Pub moots that we list are led by knowledgeable people who are able to give you good advice and refer you to trustworthy groups.
If a particular pub moot is not listed, this does not mean that it is bad or that the organisers don’t know what they’re doing – it only means that we don’t know much about them yet.


2. Evaluating a group yourself

It is not too difficult to make a reasonably good estimate of a group based on a few criteria. You won’t get 100% certainty but the really bad groups will stand out quite easily using these rules of thumb.

Group checklist

  • Are they regular wicca? Regular wicca are groups whose High Priestess and High Priest can trace their lineage back to Gerald Gardner. These are Gardnerians and Alexandrians. This type of information you will be able to find on a web page about themselves, or they will be able to tell you this personally. About Silver Circle you will find that type of information here. Please note that you will not get information about who exactly initiated them. That would not mean anything to you anyway. But as soon as people claim to be Gardnerian or Alexandrian, you can get that claim to be verified by us or others. In regular wicca you won’t find groups or people who are all mysterious or cloak and dagger about this.
  • Which tradition is it? A regular coven will indicate which tradition they belong to, acoording to which tradition they were initiated, and if they by now have moved away from that tradition so that they should be considered a new tradtion.
  • Not regular? That is possible – there are many groups which have started from books and that follow roughly a wiccan path. That a group is not part of the regular wiccan traditions, does not mean that they are bad. But if the leaders were not initiated, then they will not have the experience, nor the material, which is available in the initiatory traditions. It is good if a group provides clarity about this, and refrain from using names or terminology that gives the impression that they are part of regular wiccan traditions.
  • What is the price of initiation and membership of a coven? A regular wiccan group will not charge you for the actual initiation, nor for the preparations or for coven membership. However it is quite normal that coven members contribute to coven expenses, candles, incense, wine, in-house workshops and so on.
  • How much does a course or workshop cost? A course or workshop which is open to everyone and is not explicitely part of the coven training leading up to initiation, does not need to be free and can indeed cost a normal amount. How much that is, depends on what is being offered. Of course you won’t pay more than what you yourself consider reasonable. You can easily compare course prices with what other activities would cost, such as sport clubs or creative or spiritual workshops.
  • Do you get along? Hmm, yes a purely individual criterium! Do you get along with the leaders of a group? Do they make you feel relaxed, at home, do they give you room to be yourself, do you get the impression that they have something worth while to offer, that you can learn something there? Do they challenge you, inspire you, make you enthusiastic? Or do they scare you, make you feel tense or nervous or inadequate? Do they give you the feeling that you are the master of your own destiny, or do you get swept away in a whirlpool where you lose yourself? You will only find out if you allow yourself to take an honest look at yourself.


3. Asking for personal advice

If you are considering joining a particular group and you cannot figure out this group with the rules of thumb above, or if it is really important to you that you join the regular initiatory wicca, then you can ask for personal advice. We use the same checklist above, but of course we have far more information than most seekers and can easily verify claims just by sending a few emails.
We will give advice about whether a particular group is bona fide, i.e. regular initiatory wicca, or whether they are unknown. In some extreme cases we will advice you against joining a particular group, based on experiences that we or others have had with that group.

If you want personal advice, you can send us an email (address here) and explain which group you are considering joining, and what your questions are. Please remember that even if a group is regular initiatory wicca, this does not necessarily mean that you will feel at home with them – this is something that you will have to find out for yourself

Blessed be!
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The Second Opinion Page is an initiative of Merlin Sythove