Q. Is the Covenant just a Facebook organization?
No. The Covenant of the Goddess formed in 1975 as a non-profit educational organization dedicated to securing for Witches the same rights and privileges enjoyed by other religious groups. We are open to all traditions of the Craft, including Eclectics and self-initiated Witches. We are a federation of covens and solitaries of many traditions, and have worked for Witches’ civil and religious rights for many years. We are organized in 14 Local Councils throughout the United States, as well as National memberships for covens and solitaries from areas where there are no Local Councils. We have a small number of international members, mainly from English-speaking countries, such as Canada, the UK and Australia. At Samhain 2015, COG will celebrate its 40th anniversary.
The Covenant’s Facebook presence is an outreach project begun in 2010 by Greg Harder who was then COG’s Public Information Officer. Many people enjoy the mix of Pagan and Wiccan news, archeology, folklore, weird science, music, and other offerings that are circulated nearly every day on our Facebook page.
Q. Do you train Witches?
No, the Covenant of the Goddess does not train Witches. Some local councils may provide public education as a service to their communities, but the Covenant of the Goddess as a National or Local organization does not train Witches. CoG is comprised of Elders and covens trained within their own spiritual traditions. If you are interested in finding a teacher in your area, please contact your local council for suggestions. CoG provides a component of study during Merry Meet / Grand Council to our membership, called Leadership Institute. It is typically a full day of in-depth, topic specific, classes to help deepen our knowledge and practices as leaders and elders.
Q. Are there Solitaries or just covens in the Covenant?
Both Covens and Solitary Witches may join the Covenant. It is mainly an organization of experienced clergy, but we are seeking to improve outreach to new Witches as well through our Associates’ program. If an applicant (Coven or Solitary) lives in an area served by one of our Local Councils, they must apply through the Local Council. If there is no Local Council nearby, the applicant applies as a National member. National Solitaries must be eligible as Elders in their tradition.
To be eligible to apply as a Coven in COG, a group must have been meeting at least monthly for at least six months. It must have at least three members, at least one of whom is of Elder status—capable of teaching and passing on the group’s tradition or way of working. Applicants fill out a membership application and submit a Statement of Practice, introducing themselves and their activities to the Covenant’s membership. Both groups and individuals must state in the application that they consider themselves to be Witches, and that they practice an ethical standard consistent with the Wiccan Rede—“If it harm none, do what ye will.”
Q. What does it cost to join the Covenant?
Because membership in the Covenant can be by coven or solitaries, the tithes vary depending on type of membership. In 2015, a coven’s tithes are between $110 and $170 (sliding scale), and solitary member’s between $50 and $90, with a discount for two solitaries living in the same household are between $75 and $115. As a clergy organization there is an additional minimal dues of $10 for holding clergy credentials per individual.
Q. What are the benefits of being a Covenant of the Goddess member?
The Covenant of the Goddess was founded in 1975 by a diverse group of Craft traditions to secure for Witches the same legal rights as those enjoyed by followers of other religions. Since that time, the Covenant has worked on behalf of the Craft as a whole providing Networking opportunities, Legal Recognition, Clergy Credentials, Military and Prison Chaplains and Advocates, Law Enforcement and Media Education, Legislative Activism, Inter- and Intra-faith Education and relation building, and lastly, a wide variety of community services in the local communities where CoG members live and work. We work to make our world safer for generations of Witches while working together to improve our communities!
Q. Is the Covenant of the Goddess based on a certain Tradition? Is it open to all Traditions?
As written in the charter of the Covenant of the Goddess, its members are not any certain tradition, but all Covenant members are in service to the Lady and the Lord, are willing to serve the needs of the lay members of our religion, to assist one another in the training of clergy, and in all other matters to improve communication. To be a member of the Covenant of the Goddess, you need to be willing to state that you are a Wiccan or a Witch, and beyond that, there are no tradition-specific requirements for membership. The Covenant has had members who also belonged to stregheria or asatru, or even druidic traditions, as long as they were willing to also define themselves as Witches.
Q. What does the Covenant do on a National level? Do they do anything at the Local level?
At the National level, CoG works to make the world a safer place by securing legal rights and recognition for all Witches. Nationally, Covenant of the Goddess holds an annual business meeting known as Grand Council that provides networking for Witches and Wiccans from across the nation. After local Council vetting, Clergy credentials are provided by the National organization that enable and allow members to legally officiate meaningful life-passages in their communities. It is at the Local level that the Covenant of the Goddess provides community services through Local Councils’ member covens and solitaires. There are Local Councils who hold events large and small to gather together for networking, education, and intra-faith working. Some Local Councils provide public education through regular Wicca 101 classes and present Sabbat rituals for the public for each Sabbat on the Wheel of the Year. Many Local Councils are active in local Pagan Pride Day celebrations, sponsoring and volunteering for entertainment, education, vending, and leading ritual. Local Councils perform community services such as food drives for local food banks or animal food drives for local no-kill animal shelters. Local Councils serve their local communities in whatever ways they can, with volunteer labor and charity for the needs of the community. Member covens of CoG are active in their communities in as many diverse ways as there are diverse covens, providing the public a positive face for Witches and for all people of the Craft.
Q. Are there men and women in the Covenant? How about those who do not identify as any particular gender?
Membership in the Covenant is open to anyone willing to identify themselves as a Wiccan or a Witch and who meet the other criteria for membership. Membership is not defined by gender role or sexual orientation. There are male and female members, heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual members, as well as those who choose not to use these or any other labels to represent themselves.