Growing your coven membership can be difficult in a practice that does not proselytize or actively recruit. Plus, with modern paganism being a new religion that is often misunderstood by the general public, many practitioners don’t blatantly display their faith, so others might not even know they are a practitioner. But if pagans and Wiccans don’t recruit, how can they find new members? The majority of people learn about paganism and Wicca through books, online, or from close friends.
It can be really challenging to find other practitioners with whom you want to share your magickal practice. Finding the right collection of people for close magickal work takes time, energy, and a lot of effort. Here are a few ways that your coven can begin to find new members and grow its membership.
One of the best ways to find new members for your coven is to go online. There are tons of places to search, but the best place to start is a quick google search of your town and the keyword ‘Pagan’ or ‘Wicca’. Depending upon where you live, the number of results may vary considerably. If you live in an urban area, you could get more results than you have time to look through or next to nothing in a rural area. Either way, it gets you connected by seeing other groups out there. It isn’t recommended to “steal” members from other covens, but checking out what is available is a good way to see what others are doing. It is highly recommended to have a website for new recruits to find your coven online and a page where they can submit questions or inquiries to the group. Luckily, there are easy step by step website creation tools, like Wix, for all those witches that might not be so tech-savvy.
Nowadays, every coven needs a Facebook page. Honestly, it might be the number one way people find covens to join. Get a Facebook page for your group and start posting up all the great things your group does together. It is a perfect way for potential members to see what your coven is like from a safe distance (for both of you!). If you are a coven focused on women’s rights, post information up for others to see and share about that topic. If you are a group that is currently working on astral travel, include information about that in your posts. There’s also a spot for a coven mission statement and contact information.
You could consider also getting a Yahoo Group; however, this mode is a bit antiquated, so it might not be used by your coven’s demographic. Look into whether or not these groups are still used in your area before spending a lot of time creating and maintaining a group. There’s a great British traditionalist group called Amber and Jet where a lot of seekers look for groups in their area to connect with. This is a great forum but be careful not to get too lost in all the banter and posts.
So, what about finding members that aren’t looking online? There are lots of ways to find new members for your coven that does not utilize the internet. One of the best ways is to put up flyers at a local metaphysical, book, crystal, or herb shops. The flyers do not have to be super flashy; they just have to get across who you are as a coven and how to get in contact with you. If it is possible, you could even leave some business cards at the shop for people to take if they are interested. And while you are there, you might offer for your coven to teach an introductory class on Wicca or hold a specialized class on a topic to meet more interested people. This is also a great way to show that your coven has talents and knowledge vital to the pagan community and offer your insight and expertise as a resource.
And that leads to another great way to promote your coven – hold a public ritual. Holding a public ritual for either a high holiday or a cause (political, environmental, etc.) brings like-minded people together to effect a change in their community. This is a ripe time for people to learn about your coven and consider potentially joining. It gives members of the coven a chance to physically interact with potential members to see if the person might be a good ‘fit’ for the group. And it gives the potential member an opportunity to ask questions and be engaged while learning more about how the coven interacts with one another and with the larger community. Consider the public ritual as a way to connect with the larger community as well because it is a public way to provide resources to other groups. Invite other organizations to come to the ritual, like feminist organizations, political groups, animal rights, or community activists. By partnering with other groups, you increase your visibility in the community. And the best part is, your coven gives many solitary practitioners a chance to feel a bit more connected to a local group of awesome witches, which might make them interested in your coven.
Another way to promote your coven is through local or regional pagan conventions, fairs, or festivals. An online search for ‘pagan festivals’ will reveal a host of possibilities. And if it doesn’t, consider creating a small conference in your area to bring practitioners together. You could attend a larger regional or national convention as a coven to network with people and learn how to put on a convention in your area. What a great way to promote your coven and provide people with a gathering space to learn and participate in collective rituals.
On a smaller scale, you could set up a booth or tent at a local festival to share information about Wicca and your coven. Have information printed for people to reference that might be helpful for them, such as your mission statement and how to contact your group. But it could also include things like local lawyers that help pagans, lists of great blogs to check out, or books to read. If your city has pagan markets or craft shows, consider setting up a booth, asking if you can hand out information about your coven, or putting up some flyers to reach out to people.
You can also reach out to faith-based organizations or churches that welcome pagans. The Unitarian Universalists are known for welcoming pagans, and some even have their own groups called CUUPS (Covenant of the Unitarian Universalist Pagans). But not all UU churches have these groups, so there may be pagan UU members looking for a coven in their area.
Participate in your local Pride Days as a coven to reach out to your local community. Many new members may be at these celebrations just looking for a spiritual home. Consider having a float in a parade to reach out to the community and potential members.
You may also want to partner with another group or coven to spread the word. Other covens may be currently closed to membership but still have people reaching out. Keeping in contact with other local covens means they can send you potential members any time they are contacted. It is important to be open and willing to share potential members as each coven has its own flair and flavor, which may appeal to certain types of people. Always try to keep the channels open and friendly with other covens!
Word of mouth is a tried and true way of finding new members for a coven. The chain of knowing someone who knows someone who is interested in joining a coven actually works! In fact, this might be the easiest and best way to find other coven members because they generally come highly recommended by someone you know and trust.
However, depending upon your area and the sentiment towards witches and pagans, be very, very careful about which method you choose to use in order to gain new members. Sometimes being out in the public eye can be dangerous, so it is important that your coven discuss all the benefits and drawbacks before choosing any particular method for finding new members. It is also advised to pick a person in the coven who will be in charge of answering questions for potential members so that any inquiries don’t fall through the cracks.
Choosing one or more of these methods to find new coven members can help fill out your ranks or replenish lost members. Just know that it takes time to find the right person to join your coven, and it also takes time to find the right strategies for finding new members. Not all of these techniques will work for your coven, but one or two might help connect your group with a whole new group of potential members while providing the community with a lot of great resources!