If your coven is inclusive, say so

Recently I was contacted by someone from the USA looking for an inclusive coven. Having ascertained what state they’re in, we started trawling through the coven listings on Mandragora Magika. It’s hard to figure out from the listings which covens are inclusive.

I’m currently reading Queering Your Craft by Cassandra Snow, in which they basically say don’t bother joining a coven because they’re all heterocentric, and single out Gardnerian Wicca in particular as the biggest culprit. I and many others have spent a lot of time making Gardnerian Wicca more inclusive, and attitudes have changed hugely— but how would anyone know that if they don’t hang out in Gardnerian spaces, and covens don’t specifically say that they are inclusive?

There are people listing their covens on Mandragora Magika who are members of the inclusive Wicca Facebook group, or who have told me that they are broadly inclusive, but their covens are not described as inclusive. So how on earth are seekers supposed to know which covens are inclusive?

You don’t need to list every aspect of how your coven is inclusive on your listing (you can save the details for your website or Facebook page), but LGBTQIA seekers are going to skim past your listing if you don’t explicitly say that your coven is LGBTQIA-inclusive/queer-friendly/queer-affirming. The same applies to disabled and BIPOC seekers.

This is our coven listing on Mandragora Magika (Canada):

We are a small, friendly Gardnerian coven in Cambridge, Ontario. We practice inclusive Wicca and are from the Whitecroft line. We are also interested in folk magic and folklore.   Yvonne ran a coven in Bristol, England from 2003 to 2011, and Yvonne and Bob ran a coven together in Oxford, England from 2016 to 2018. We moved from England to Canada in 2018.
We welcome LGBTQIA+, disabled, and BIPOC members and strive to create a safe, inclusive, and magical environment.   Yvonne has written three books about inclusive Wicca, the inner work of witchcraft, and co-edited Pagan Consent Culture.

There may be many reasons why people are not explicitly saying that they are inclusive (and I really feel you need a brief summary of who you are including, as the meaning of “inclusive” can vary). It may be fear of censure by the more conservative elements; it may be that it just didn’t occur to people that Gardnerian Wicca has an image problem. I know that huge changes are happening, because I keep up with what’s going on in the community — but seekers are not going to know unless you explicitly say that your coven is LGBTQIA-inclusive.

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5 thoughts on “If your coven is inclusive, say so

  1. Not a coven, but this is why one of the first things my partner and I did when we joined the organising committee of our Druid Grove was write an inclusivity statement and post it to the Grove website. It’s so important to both visibly provide reassurance that your community is a safe space, and also deter any would-be homophobes from turning up at a ritual and causing trouble. Our statement is at https://cambridgedruidry.wixsite.com/grove/inclusivity-statement if anyone wants to use it as a template/example!

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