We give this book 3.5 Stars out of 5 Stars: About a year after we began writing about our experiences with Covens, Groups and Partnerships, Edain McCoy put out this book through Llewellyn. We were delighted with the ideas and good advice provided by the author at a critical time (around 2003) in the community when many Witches who were finally stable in their individual practice were thinking of forming covens.
Since the publication, other books have been released on the same topic, however this book remains a solid choice for several reasons. The price remains low (used as low as 1¢) while other books on the subject are often large tomes of information with higher price tags.
Price isn't the only reason to choose this book. McCoy did not have as much experience under her garter when she wrote this book compared to now, but her insights remain valid and she offers some excellent advice. She also helps to bring up questions you should ask yourself about forming a coven.
Because she can only draw from her own experiences, remember that this is only one viewpoint, but a well thought out one at that. We have enjoyed watching this author blossom over the years and although she has become a much better writer and more insightful over the years, this is still a good title!
The only thing that bothered us was her dismissal of some excellent trust techniques because of negative experiences she either heard about or was party to. On page 105 she discusses the techniques used by the "encounter group craze of the early 1970's".
One such practice was to have a person fall backwards into the arms of another person in the group. Her presentation of this technique was a group of 'strangers'. I would hope that this in no way applies to covens or working partnerships. We are not strangers to each other, or at least should not be.
Apparently she had the impression that modern covens would, as in the 70's encounter groups, "pass around (the person) like a giant log". This is not true in any of our coven or magickal group experiences. I have never witnessed this exercise in circumstances where a person is tossed around the circle from person to person. Usually, one person allows themselves to fall back to be caught by one or more other coven members. It is an exercise that has little to do with being caught by the single person and much more to do with what goes on in your mind right before you allow yourself to fall backwards. It is an exercise in inner knowledge and the individual trusting others, more than it is an exercise in group trust.
Such a minor complaint about the book is trivial compared to the wisdom the author shares. I recommend this book for beginners who are just thinking of forming a coven, or have just recently formed a coven. It is an excellent starting point to get you off to a good journey together.
Even if you dislike her other books or disagree with her views in other works, this title does evoke some excellent ideas about working in groups (or even partnerships). Good ideas are presented both for existing covens and for developing covens.
Description From the Publisher:
Get an insider's look at how a real Witches' coven operates, from initiation and secret vows to parting rituals. Find step-by-step guidance for joining or forming a coven, plus sage advice to help you decide which group is the right one for you. Perhaps you already belong to a coven, but your group needs ideas for organizing a teaching circle or mediating conflicts. Either way, you're sure to find Inside a Witches' Coven a practical source of wisdom.
***** = 5 Stars: A classic and a must have!
**** = 4 Stars: Highly Recommended!
*** = 3 Stars: Definitely a good book! But if you have limited finances, go for one with a little more meat
** = 2 Stars: Some information, possibly some misinformation, interesting if you wish to form an occult archive that has a little of everything
* = 1 Star: A book unworthy of the trees sacrificed to produce it
- Inside A Witches' Coven by Edain McCoy
Published by Llewellyn Publications, MN, 1997 (about 224 pages)
ISBN 10: 1567186661 / ISBN 13: 9781567186666
- Also published as a Kindle edition entitled The Witch's Coven: Finding or Forming Your Own Circle