What to look for, and questions to ask
Asking questions is always a good thing, though a seeker might wonder what they can ask about. Here are a few helpful, healthy questions to ask a potential teacher or Coven. Always remember to trust your intuition: if someone or something doesn’t feel right, then run! You can always take a closer look when you’re at a safe distance.
Questions to ask a potential teacher or group leader:
- Can you describe your practice/training curriculum/Tradition?
- If I’m accepted, what would be required of me?
- Is there advancement and what does it look like?
- What are some of the guidelines and ethics?
- How much time would training typically take?
- Are fees charged?
- Where would we meet for training or coven activities?
- What roles are available within the Coven setting
- Power dynamics: consensus, hierarchy, benevolent dictatorship.
Some red-flags to take note of:
- A teacher who enjoys an audience, demands the use of unnecessary titles, or gains personal benefit from the students or members.
- Non-traditional, or unexpected nudity
- Expectation of sex
- Filming or photographs
- Dues outside of normal expenses or donations
- A teacher or leader who breaks their own rules, disempowers you, or actively violates ethics such as “…harm none.”
- Expectation to sever ties with friends, family, or personal spiritual practices
- Renunciation of past religious affiliation
- Feeling drained or confused after contact/ritual participation
Other red-flags to be aware of are whether the teacher/group benefits financially or emotionally by your involvement. Whether the individual or group is made of stable and healthy people – if you notice there’s always someone in crisis, or a leader who drinks/uses substances before every ritual, or is continuously unable to meet with you or facilitate group activities, then you should step back and take a second-look.
And last, but not least, talk to other teachers and group leaders. Make connection with people in your community, so you have a sounding-board for any questions or concerns you might have. Compare information, look for consistency or a lack thereof, and if you notice something isn’t quite right, such as if there’s a high turnover rate for a teacher/group, too many negative comments about personal/group ethics, then take a little time to reflect before you make any decisions. Talk to others. You don’t have to do this alone.
Also remember that there are tons of articles on the internet, regarding seekers looking for a teacher or Coven. Read the material and be informed, as there are plenty of unethical and unhealthy individuals who would happily suck you dry and toss you aside after they were done with you.