Joining Our Coven
The process below may, at first glance, seem cumbersome and like a lot of "to do" simply to become a member of Oak and Willow. Something to consider when you become a member of a group is that there is great responsibility both on the part of the coven (membership) and you the hopeful new member. Within that responsibility is the energetic bonds that are formed between coven and Tradition members. The health of those bonds help to feed the growth of the coven and Tradition, as well as the personal progress you make in your spiritual endeavors. With that being said, it is more disruptive to hastily take a new member into the group who has not taken some time to get to know what he or she is committing to, than to require a slow, steady process to be certain that this is where you want to be and with whom you wish to share your spiritual journey for now.
Getting to Know You:
Begin by attending several of our open events. This will give you an idea of what we do and how the general workings of our group operate. Make sure to talk with those who have identified themselves as members of Oak and Willow. We welcome questions and this is a good way for you to get to know the individuals that comprise our group. If you feel that you would like to join our coven, make that intent known to Leadership (Rich or Robin). You will be asked to attend a minimum of 6 open events hosted by Oak and Willow (or The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, if a Tradition Event) over the course of a minimum of six months. Membership will also be told of your intent to potentially become a member and opportunities to interact more directly with each of the members should be made. This allows for a deeper level of interaction, a trial period working consistently with our group and the opportunity to find out more about why you wish to petition Oak and Willow. It is encouraged that you also try to attend open events hosted by other covens within the Tradition, if you are able, to enable you to make a decision to petition based on having something to compare the differing energies of the covens within our Tradition. Remember, that when you join any of the covens within our Tradition, you are also a member of a larger spiritual family, and will not be limited to just your own coven's events. So, it is good if you can interact within the larger group for some of those events.
So You Want to Petition:
The process of requesting membership in our coven is called "petitioning". By this time, you should have attended several events, made yourself known to membership and leadership and have a clear idea of why you feel oak and Willow is the right spiritual home for you. We ask that you submit a letter stating your intent to "petition" Oak and Willow.
Some questions to think about before you petition for membership would include:
What qualities are you looking for in a magical group?
What personal qualities do you want to have before joining a group?
What you feel you can offer to the coven by way of experience and knowledge, both magickal and mundane.
And, what do hope to learn from members of the group, leadership and the Tradition as a whole.
Please include a statement of your spiritual background and any other information that you feel would be of importance to make a clear case for your intent. The letter would be given to either Robin or Rich and is then copied and shared with all of Oak and Willow membership.
Did I Get In?
The decision to accept a new member is determined by a number of factors. Largely it is based on trying to determine if the petitioner will be a good energetic fit for the group based on observation during the 6-month getting to know you period. Other factors we consider are what obligations the person may already have and if this level of commitment would be viable now. What personal issues may need to be worked out first before the individual would be able to contribute in a healthy positive manner. Stepping onto a spiritual path can cause many upheavals in the best scenarios; so you want to be sure that you have the time, energy and focus to put into your own personal growth.
If all are agreement that the fit has potential to be a good one, you will be asked to have an interview with membership and leadership. This is an opportunity to ask all those questions you hesitated to ask, as we will also be asking many questions of our own. Once the interview is complete, membership votes on accepting you as a new member. We generally send you out of the room for a time and tell you that day whether you will be asked to join or , perhaps wait a bit longer.
If accepted, we generally have our dedication ritual at the next available Full Moon.
What should I expect if I Dedicate* to Oak and Willow?
(excerpted from The Monthly Muse written by SidheDances)
For the first year and a day the new member that has dedicated and has been accepted into our coven is called the Dedicant. The path of the Dedicant is one of learning as s/he learns about the coven of the Oak & Willow and the tenets of the Assembly Of The Sacred Wheel. It is a time for both Dedicant and members of the Oak & Willow to ask questions and see how they work in circle together.
Now is the time when Dedicant and coven learn more about each other, as we celebrate the Wheel Of The Year. In circle it is important to have members to mesh well within the group as we are between the worlds. To be able to celebrate, learn, and work magic together is a joy we do responsibly as we celebrate the gods.
* to Dedicate means to officially become a member of Oak and Willow and our Tradition during a ritual specifically designed for this purpose.