A coven /kʌvən/ usually refers to a group or gathering of witches. The word "coven" (from Anglo-Norman covent, cuvent, from Old French covent, from Latin conventum = convention) remained largely unused in English until 1921 when Margaret Murray promoted the idea, that all witches across Europe met in groups of thirteen which they called "covens".[1]


Beech trees in Mallard Wood, New Forest - - 779513
New Forest in Hampshire where the father of Wicca, Gerald Gardner, stated he encountered the New Forest coven.

In Wicca and other similar forms of modern neopagan witchcraft, such as Stregheria and Feri, a coven is a gathering or community of witches, much like a congregation in Christian parlance. It is composed of a group of believers who gather together for ceremonies of worship such as Drawing Down the Moon, or celebrating the Sabbats.

The number of persons involved may vary. Although some consider thirteen to be ideal (probably in deference to Murray's theories), any group of at least three can be a coven. A group of two is usually called a "working couple" (regardless of the sexes). Within the community, many believe that a coven larger than thirteen is unwieldy, citing unwieldy group dynamics and an unfair burden on the leadership.[2] When a coven has grown too large to be manageable, it may split, or "hive". In Wicca, this may also occur when a newly made High Priest or High Priestess, also called 3rd Degree ordination, leaves to start their own coven.

Wiccan covens are usually jointly led by a High Priestess and a High Priest, although some are led by only one or the other. In more recent forms of neopagan witchcraft, covens are sometimes run as democracies with a rotating leadership.

Online covens

With the rise of the Internet as a platform for collaborative discussion and media dissemination, it became popular for adherents and practitioners of Wicca to establish "online covens" which remotely teach tradition-specific crafts to students in a similar method of education as non-religious virtual online schools. One of the first online covens to take this route is the Coven of the Far Flung Net (CFFN), which was established in 1998 as the online arm of the Church of Universal Eclectic Wicca.

However, because of potentially-unwieldy membership sizes, many online covens limit their memberships to anywhere between 10 and 100 students. The CFFN, in particular, tried to devolve its structure into a system of sub-coven clans (which governed their own application processes), a system which ended in 2003 due to fears by the CFFN leadership that the clans were becoming communities in their own right.

Other contemporary forms

The Urban Coven is a group founded on Facebook by Becca Gordon for women in Los Angeles to gather, hike, and howl at the moon. It meets monthly and is estimated to have almost 3,500 members. A January 2016 gathering at Griffith Park drew nearly 1,000 women, and was described as follows:

"Many of the women ... were there in groups — mothers and daughters, friends, colleagues. Some arrived solo and struck up conversations with other women or hiked in solitude."[3]

Usage in literature and popular culture

In popular culture, a coven is a group or gathering of witches who work spells in tandem. Such imagery can be traced back to Renaissance prints depicting witches and to the three "weird sisters" in Shakespeare's Macbeth (1606).

Orgiastic meetings of witches are depicted in the Robert Burns poem "Tam o' Shanter" (1791) and in the Goethe play Faust (1832).

Films featuring covens include Rosemary's Baby (1968), Suspiria (1977) and its 2018 remake, The Witches of Eastwick (1987), Four Rooms (1995), The Craft (1996), Coven (1997), Underworld (2003), Underworld: Evolution (2006), The Covenant (2006), Paranormal Activity 3 (2011), The Witch (2015) and Hereditary (2018).

In television, covens have been portrayed in the U.S. in supernatural dramas such as Charmed, Witches of East End, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, The Secret Circle, True Blood, Once Upon a Time and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The third season of American Horror Story is entitled Coven, and focuses on witches.

In vampire novels such as The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice and the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, covens are families or unrelated groups of vampires who live together.

Covens feature in the video game Dishonored, specifically in the DLC's Knife of Dunwall, and The Brigmore Witches.

See also


  1. ^ Murray, Margaret (1921). The Witch Cult in Western Europe: A Study in Anthropology.
  2. ^ K, Amber (2002). Coven Craft: Witchcraft for Three or More. Llewellyn Publications.
  3. ^ Blumberg, Antonia (25 January 2016). "This Is What An 'Urban Coven' Looks Like". Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 March 2018 – via Huff Post.


External links

American Horror Story

American Horror Story (sometimes abbreviated as AHS) is an American anthology horror television series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk for the basic cable network FX. Each season is conceived as a self-contained miniseries, following a different set of characters and settings, and a storyline with its own "beginning, middle, and end." Some plot elements of each season are loosely inspired by true events.The first season, retroactively subtitled Murder House, takes place in Los Angeles, California, during the year 2011, and centers on a family that moves into a house haunted by its deceased former occupants. The second season, subtitled Asylum, takes place in Massachusetts during the year 1964, and follows the stories of the patients and staff of an institution for the criminally insane. The third season, subtitled Coven, takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana, during the year 2013, and follows a coven of witches who face off against those who wish to destroy them. The fourth season, subtitled Freak Show, takes place in Jupiter, Florida, during the year 1952, and centers around one of the last remaining American freak shows and their struggle for survival. The fifth season, subtitled Hotel, takes place in Los Angeles, California, during the year 2015, and focuses on the staff and guests of a supernatural hotel. The sixth season, subtitled Roanoke, takes place in North Carolina during the years 2014–2016, and focuses on the paranormal events that take place at an isolated farmhouse haunted by the deceased Roanoke colony. The seventh season, subtitled Cult, takes place in the fictional suburb of Brookfield Heights, Michigan, during the year 2017, and centers on a cult terrorizing the residents in the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The eighth season, subtitled Apocalypse, takes place in California during the years 2018–2021, and features the return of the witches from Coven as they battle the Antichrist from Murder House, and attempt to prevent the apocalypse. The upcoming ninth season, subtitled 1984, will premiere in the fall.

The series is broadcast on the cable television channel FX in the United States. On January 12, 2017, the series was renewed for a ninth season, with a two-season renewal alongside Apocalypse. On August 3, 2018, the series was greenlit for a tenth season. American Horror Story is a joint production between Ryan Murphy Productions, Brad Falchuk Teley-Vision, and 20th Century Fox Television and syndicated by 20th Television.

Although reception to individual seasons has varied, American Horror Story largely has been well received by television critics, with the majority of the praise going towards the cast, particularly Jessica Lange, who won two Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performances. Kathy Bates and James Cromwell each won an Emmy Award for their performances, while Lady Gaga won a Golden Globe Award. The series draws consistently high ratings for the FX network, with its first season being the most-viewed new cable series of 2011.

Awesome Comics

Awesome Comics or Awesome Entertainment (also known as Awesome-Hyperwerks when they were briefly joined with Hyperwerks Entertainment) was an American comic book studio formed in 1997 by Image Comics co-founder Rob Liefeld. The company closed in 2000. Netflix was in talks to adapt the characters for a series of films in 2018 but the deal collapsed.

Blue Star Wicca

Blue Star Wicca is one of a number of Wiccan traditions, and was created in the United States in the 1970s based loosely on the Gardnerian and Alexandrian traditions. It continues to be practiced today in areas of the United States (including Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Washington, New Jersey, New Orleans, and others), as well as having members in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Ireland and Canada.

Bricket Wood coven

The Bricket Wood coven, or Hertfordshire coven was a coven of Gardnerian witches founded in the 1940s by Gerald Gardner. It was notable for being the first coven in the Gardnerian line, though having its supposed origins in the pre-Gardnerian New Forest coven. The coven formed after Gardner bought the Fiveacres Country Club, a naturist club in the village of Bricket Wood, Hertfordshire, southern England, and met within the club's grounds. It played a significant part in the history of the neopagan religion of Wicca.

Many important and influential figures in Wicca were members of the coven, including Dafo, Doreen Valiente, Jack Bracelin, Fred Lamond, Dayonis, Eleanor Bone and Lois Bourne. The coven is still active today, though it maintains secrecy and its history is only known up until the 1970s.

Charles Cardell

Charles Cardell (1892–1977) was an English Wiccan who propagated his own tradition of the Craft, which was distinct from that of Gerald Gardner. Cardell's tradition of Wicca venerated a form of the Horned God known as Atho, and worked with a coven that met in the grounds of his estate in Surrey. His tradition of Wicca was continued through Raymond Howard's Coven of Atho. Indeed it was Cardell who coined the term "Wicca", and referred to its followers as "Wiccens".

Charmed (season 7)

The seventh season of Charmed, an American supernatural drama television series created by Constance M. Burge, premiered in the United States on The WB from September 12, 2004 through May 22, 2005. Airing on Sundays at 8:00 pm. Paramount Home Entertainment released the complete seventh season in a six-disc box set on February 2, 2007.

Gardnerian Wicca

Gardnerian Wicca, or Gardnerian witchcraft, is a

tradition in the neopagan religion of Wicca, whose members can trace initiatory descent from Gerald Gardner. The tradition is itself named after Gardner (1884–1964), a British civil servant and amateur scholar of magic. The term "Gardnerian" was probably coined by the founder of Cochranian Witchcraft, Robert Cochrane in the 1950s or 60s, who himself left that tradition to found his own.Gardner claimed to have learned the beliefs and practises that would later become known as Gardnerian Wicca from the New Forest coven, who allegedly initiated him into their ranks in 1939. For this reason, Gardnerian Wicca is usually considered to be the earliest created tradition of Wicca, from which most subsequent Wiccan traditions are derived.

From the supposed New Forest coven, Gardner formed his own Bricket Wood coven, and in turn initiated many Witches, including a series of High Priestesses, founding further covens and continuing the initiation of more Wiccans into the tradition. In the UK, Europe and most Commonwealth countries someone self-defined as Wiccan is usually understood to be claiming initiatory descent from Gardner, either through Gardnerian Wicca, or through a derived branch such as Alexandrian Wicca or Algard Wicca. Elsewhere, these original lineaged traditions are termed "British Traditional Wicca".

Jamie Koven

James W. Koven (born April 18, 1973 in Morristown, New Jersey) is an American rower.

Koven began rowing as a boarding student at St. Paul's School. He continued rowing as a college student at Brown University where he studied mechanical engineering. Koven became a member of the U.S. Rowing team in 1993 and was a member of the team for eight years, retiring after the Sydney Olympics in 2000. As a national team rower Koven won the World Championships in 1994 in the Men's Heavyweight 8+. In 1996 Koven was in the Men's Heavyweight 8+ that finished fifth. In 1997 Jamie switched from sweep rowing to the single sculls. He trained with Scott Roop, his coach from Brown, and won the World Championships in the Men's Heavyweight 1x in September 1997. In 1998 Koven won the World Cup in Munich and the Diamond Sculls at the Henley Royal Regatta. At the World Championships in Cologne that summer he had an equipment malfunction in the semifinals; he finished 8th in that regatta. Koven continued to row in the single scull through 1999 but moved back to sweep rowing in 2000, competing in the Men's Four at the Sydney Olympics, finishing 5th place. In 2001 Koven competed in the Men's Four that won at the World Cup at Mercer Lake.

Koven retired from rowing after the Olympics in 2000. In the fall of 2010, Koven came out of retirement and began training with the U.S national team in Chula Vista, California.

Koven married Sophie Coquillette on February 20, 1999. They have four children, Lucy Anne(13), Annabel Francis(9), Charlie Coquillette(5) and Henry Crowley(2 months).

List of American Horror Story cast members

American Horror Story is an American horror television series created and produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. An anthology series, each season is conceived as a self-contained miniseries, following a disparate set of characters, settings, and a storyline with its own beginning, middle, and end. However, Murphy has stated that all of the seasons are and will be connected by the end of the series.The first season, subtitled Murder House, takes place during 2011 in Los Angeles, California and centers on a family that moves into a house haunted by its deceased former occupants. The second season, subtitled Asylum, takes place during 1964 in Massachusetts and follows the stories of the inmates and staff of an institution for the criminally insane. The third season, subtitled Coven, takes place during 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana and follows a coven of witches who face off against those who wish to destroy them. The fourth season, subtitled Freak Show, takes place during 1952 in Jupiter, Florida and focuses on one of the last remaining freak shows in America and its struggle to survive. The fifth season, subtitled Hotel, takes place during 2015 in Los Angeles, California and centers on the unusual occurrences and people of a mysterious and outdated hotel. The sixth, subtitled Roanoke, takes place in 2014 in North Carolina, and follows a documentary of experiences endured by a couple and one of their relatives while living on Roanoke Island followed by reenactments, and, in 2016, follows the real experiences on the Island of the couple and the reenactors of the documentary. The seventh season, subtitled Cult, takes place between 2016 and 2018 in the fictional city of Brookfield Heights, Michigan, and centers around a clown cult terrorizing a neighborhood suburb in the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. election. The eighth season, subtitled Apocalypse, takes place in the near future and centers on a group of survivors in a radiation shelter, after ICBMs destroy the world's major cities.

Although each season is set in a different time period, there have been characters who have appeared in multiple seasons. Pepper, played by Naomi Grossman, was the first character to appear in multiple seasons, having appeared Freak Show after appearing in Asylum. In the next three seasons, more characters from previous seasons made appearances. As Apocalypse was described as a crossover between Murder House and Coven, several characters from these two seasons reappeared in Apocalypse. Murphy has stated that as the series progresses, more and more characters will be making a return to the show.

List of Twilight cast members

This is a list of the cast members from The Twilight Saga film series, which is based on the novels by Stephenie Meyer. The main stars of the films are Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, and Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black. Twilight (2008) is based on the New York Times best selling novel of the same name (2005) and was directed by Catherine Hardwicke. The second film, The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) is based on the first book's sequel (2006). It was directed by Chris Weitz. The third film, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, directed by David Slade, was released on June 30, 2010. and is based on the third installment in the series (2007). The filming of Breaking Dawn pt 1 started on November 1, 2010. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (commonly referred to as Breaking Dawn – Part 1) released in theatres on November 18, 2011, and released to DVD on February 11, 2012 in the United States. The film grossed over $712 million worldwide. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (commonly referred to as Breaking Dawn – Part 2) was released on November 16, 2012, by Lionsgate in the United States, in consequence of the merger between Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment. The film (101 days in release) was a box-office success, grossing over $829 million worldwide, becoming the 34th highest-grossing film, the 6th highest-grossing film of 2012 and the highest-grossing film of the Twilight series.


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List of Twilight characters

The following is a list of characters in the Twilight novel series by Stephenie Meyer, comprising the books; Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, as well as The Twilight Saga film series adaptations.

New Forest coven

The New Forest coven were an alleged group of witches who met around the area of the New Forest in southern England during the early 20th century. According to his own claims, in September 1939, a British occultist named Gerald Gardner was initiated into the coven and subsequently used its beliefs and practices as a basis from which he formed the tradition of Gardnerian Wicca. Gardner described some of his experiences with the coven in his published books Witchcraft Today (1954) and The Meaning of Witchcraft (1959) although on the whole revealed little about it, saying he was respecting the privacy of its members. Meanwhile, another occultist, Louis Wilkinson, corroborated Gardner's claims by revealing in an interview with the writer Francis X. King that he too had encountered the coven and expanded on some of the information that Gardner had provided about them. According to Gardner, the faith which they followed was the continuation of the Witch-Cult, a pre-Christian religion that originated in the paganism of ancient Western Europe. This was in keeping with the widely held theories then propagated by the anthropologist Margaret Murray and her supporters.

As Wicca developed in the latter decades of the twentieth century, some of the figures who were researching its origins, such as Aidan Kelly and later Leo Ruickbie, came to the conclusion that the New Forest coven was simply a fictional invention of Gardner's to provide a historical basis for his faith. The historian Ronald Hutton accepted this as a possibility, although recognised that it was not "implausible" that the coven had indeed existed. Later research by Philip Heselton which was published in the early twenty-first century, indicated that there was much evidence for a coven of practitioners - whose members he identified as being Dorothy Clutterbuck, Edith Woodford-Grimes, Ernest Mason, Susie Mason, Rosamund Sabine and Katherine Oldmeadow.

Our Lady of Endor Coven

Our Lady of Endor Coven, also known as Ophite Cultus Sathanas, was a Satanic cult claimed to have been founded in 1948 by Herbert Arthur Sloane (born September 3, 1905, died June 16, 1975) in Cleveland, Ohio, though some argue that it was not conceived of until 1968, after Sloane's contact with the Church of Satan. The group was heavily influenced by gnosticism (especially that found in the contemporary book by Hans Jonas, The Gnostic Religion), and worshipped Sathanas, their name for Satan (Cultus Sathanas is a Latin version of Cult of Satan). Sathanas (or Satan), was defined in gnostic terms, as the Serpent in the Garden of Eden who revealed the knowledge of the true God to Eve. That it called itself "Ophite" is a reference to the ancient gnostic sect of the Ophites, who were said to worship the serpent. The "Lady of Endor" is a reference to the Witch of Endor. Sloane's Coven was first publicly documented in the middle of 1968, when British occult writer Richard Cavendish said that he had received a letter from a Satanist "lodge" in Toledo, Ohio and a 1967 interview with Sloane with a Toledo newspaper about his occult & fortune telling business made no mention of it. While current scholars of Satanism point out that there is no substantial evidence showing Our Lady of Endor Coven existing prior to 1966, some also point out that it is likely that his group did have roots prior to that time:

It seems probable the group was in existence before 1966, although I have not found any traces of it in literature prior to that date. Sloane himself suggested that he was already operating in the 1940s, but given the many parallels with Wicca the group displayed, it is more likely its date of origin must be located sometime after 1953, the year Gerald Gardner's neopagan cult of witchcraft came into the open.

Summoner (Wicca)

The Summoner, sometimes called a fetch, is a position in many traditional Wiccan covens. The primary, or at least most evident, function of the summoner is to call other coven members to a meeting or ritual. The summoner is also responsible for all inter-coven communication, and traditionally is the only member of a coven who will know where other covens reside. (This tradition is generally not followed today, and there is argument about to what extent it was ever followed). In many covens, the summoner is always male, and is considered the masculine equivalent of the maiden.

Historically, the summoner was the person who would let members know about covens, and who would find new members in the community.

Treehouse of Horror VIII

"Treehouse of Horror VIII" is the fourth episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 26, 1997. In the eighth annual Treehouse of Horror episode, Homer Simpson is the last man left alive when a neutron bomb destroys Springfield until a gang of mutants come after him, Homer buys a transporter that Bart uses to switch bodies with a housefly, and Marge is accused of witchcraft in a Puritan rendition of Springfield in 1649. It was written by Mike Scully, David X. Cohen and Ned Goldreyer, and was directed by Mark Kirkland.

Universal Eclectic Wicca

Universal Eclectic Wicca (UEW) is one of a number of distinctly American Wiccan traditions which developed following the introduction of Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca to the United States in the early 1960s. Its corporate body is the Church of Universal Eclectic Wicca (CUEW) which is incorporated and based in Great Falls, Virginia.

It is particularly noted for its early Internet teaching coven – the Coven of the Far Flung Net (CFFN), and for its inclusive approach to solitary as well as coven based practitioners.


Wicca (English: ), also termed Pagan Witchcraft, is a contemporary Pagan new religious movement. It was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and was introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant. Wicca draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan and 20th-century hermetic motifs for its theological structure and ritual practices.

Wicca has no central authority figure. Its traditional core beliefs, principles and practices were originally outlined in the 1940s and 1950s by Gardner and Doreen Valiente, both in published books as well as in secret written and oral teachings passed along to their initiates. There are many variations on the core structure, and the religion grows and evolves over time. It is divided into a number of diverse lineages, sects and denominations, referred to as traditions, each with its own organisational structure and level of centralisation. Due to its decentralized nature, there is some disagreement over what actually constitutes Wicca. Some traditions, collectively referred to as British Traditional Wicca, strictly follow the initiatory lineage of Gardner and consider the term Wicca to apply only to similar traditions, but not to newer, eclectic traditions.

Wicca is typically duotheistic, worshipping a Goddess and a God. These are traditionally viewed as the Moon Goddess and the Horned God, respectively. These deities may be regarded in a henotheistic way, as having many different divine aspects which can in turn be identified with many diverse pagan deities from different historical pantheons. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as the "Great Goddess" and the "Great Horned God", with the adjective "great" connoting a deity that contains many other deities within their own nature. These two deities are sometimes viewed as facets of a greater pantheistic divinity, which is regarded as an impersonal force or process rather than a personal deity. While duotheism or bitheism is traditional in Wicca, broader Wiccan beliefs range from polytheism to pantheism or monism, even to Goddess monotheism.

Wiccan celebrations encompass both the cycles of the Moon, known as Esbats and commonly associated with the Goddess (female deity), and the cycles of the Sun, seasonally based festivals known as Sabbats and commonly associated with the Horned God (male deity). An unattributed statement known as the Wiccan Rede is a popular expression of Wiccan morality, although it is not universally accepted by Wiccans. Wicca often involves the ritual practice of magic, though it is not always necessary.

Notable figures
Key concepts
Rites and ritual
Folklore and mythology
Major historic treatises

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