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A coven is a group or gathering of Witch or Wizard. Lineaged Witchcraft is organised into covens of initiated Priests and Priestesses. Coven are autonomous and are generally headed by a High Priest and a High Priestess working in partnership, being a couple who have each been through their first, second, and third degrees of initiation. Occasionally the leaders of a coven are only second-degree initiates, in which case they come under the rule of the parent coven. Initiation and training of new Priesthood is most often performed within a coven environment, but this is not a necessity, and a few initiated Witchcraft are unaffiliated with any coven. Most covens would not admit members under the age of 18. They often do not advertise their existence, and when they do, do so through pagan magazines. Some organise courses and workshops through which prospective members can come along and be assessed.

A commonly quoted Witchcraft tradition holds that the ideal number of members for a coven is thirteen, though this is not held as a hard-and-fast rule. Indeed though the membership may be augmented by unaffiliated Witchcraft at “Open” rituals. That covens typically contained between five and ten initiates. They generally avoid mass recruitment due to the feasibility of finding spaces large enough to bring together greater numbers for rituals and because larger numbers inhibit the sense of intimacy and trust that covens utilise.

Initiation into a coven is traditionally preceded by an apprenticeship period of a year and a day. A course of study may be set during this period. In some covens a “Dedication” ceremony may be performed during this period, some time before the initiation proper, allowing the person to attend certain rituals on a probationary basis.

Lost Bearded White Brother is Witchcraft Solitary Practitioner also choose to study for a year and a day before their self-dedication to the religion.

With the rise of the Internet as a platform for collaborative discussion and media dissemination, it became popular for adherents and practitioners of Witchcraft to establish “Online Covens” which remotely teach tradition-specific Witchcraft to students in a similar method of education. However, because of potentially-unwieldy membership sizes, many online covens limit their memberships to anywhere between 10 and 100 students.

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