Common questions

1) About the coven

Phoenix Song is open to considering people of all backgrounds (gender, ethnicity, culture, etc.) as long as you’re over the age of 21.

Becoming a Dedicant (and being considered for initiation) is about whether there’s a good fit between your interests and the work of the group and the current members. You get the same chance to decide whether you’re interested in working with us.

As a coven and tradition, we have people from a wide range of identities, including a number of LGTBQIA+ folks, neurodiverse folks, and other experiences of the world.

If you have any chronic health issues (physical or mental), they should have been stable for at least six months before considering Dedicancy, and you should have access to appropriate professional support.

You must also be able to get to coven events in Arlington, MA on a regular basis when we resume in-person activities. (It’s fine to arrange transportation with group members if that works for everyone, but you should also have a backup plan.)

As a tradition, we generally focus on working with deities from the broader Mediterranean region – Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Which deities depends on the ritual, its goals, and sometimes the time of year.

Coven gatherings are usually scheduled for Saturdays during the day. (There are occasional exceptions.)

You can’t have a relationship with people who aren’t there, so people in the coven are expected to be at coven events whenever possible.

Obviously work needs or urgent family needs come first, but coven should come before plans for fun with friends or errands or anything else that can happen at other times.

As a coven, we have rituals or discussions scheduled around twice a month, lasting around 2-3 hours.

Dedicant classes involve additional time (see the section below on Dedicant training for details.) Dedicants attend rituals with the coven, but not most other discussions (yet!)

Group members are expected to contribute to potluck for ritual feasts (and it’s very appreciated to lend a hand with cleaning up after ritual or class.) I also welcome chipping in for group expenses (talk to me about what’s helpful right now.)

Beyond that, we expect everyone in the coven to also have an active personal practice. Everyone in the coven (including me) should be spending time learning and doing magical and ritual work on their own.

This might include ongoing learning, daily practice, spell work (when relevant to our lives), offerings to deities, rituals for moon phases, or many other things.

We’re glad to share what we’re doing, but you’re expected to figure out what that looks like for you at this particular point in your life.

Our tradition does have oathbound material (that is, information and content that may not be shared outside the group or tradition).

As a tradition, our practice is to talk about the general outline of what’s included before we ask for any commitment or share specifics. You will get additional details about specific commitments before you are asked to make it.

Generally, you are welcome to share your own experiences with others (i.e. if you want to discuss something that came up for you with a partner, friend, or therapist) but it’s not all right to share other people’s personal information, experiences, or ritual specifics.

This article on oathbound material on my Seeking site will give a better idea of why material might be kept private, and what is involved.

In general, no. A number of the tradition’s ritual and teaching practices are not a good fit for children who may have urgent needs or shorter attention spans.

Parents I’ve taught and been in circle with in the past have often appreciated having time to learn and develop without needing to focus on their child’s needs. My home is also not childproofed.

I can help you find ways to include your children in your personal ritual practices, and some activities may be open to children depending on their ages, interests, and what they’re up for.

Our focus as a group is on our own religious work.

That said, the tradition has always encouraged tradition members to take part in the broader community in some way that suits them, and members may from time to time offer to put on a public event.

I was on the Twin Cities Pagan Pride board from late 2005 until my move to Maine in 2011, and I continue to support other aspects of the community here in Boston.

2) Dedicant (year and a day) training

Dedicant classes take place about every two weeks for a year. You can expect:

  • Attendance at Sabbat and full moon rituals as scheduled
  • 5-6 hours of class a month (two meetings)
  • Homework assignments (reading, writing, creative, and practical): time will vary depending on your speed and how detailed you decide to be beyond the requirements.
  • 20 minutes of practice time at home most days.

You can see an outline of the topics we cover on my Seeking site. (Dedicant year usually follows this pattern, though we may adjust some classes or the sequence for scheduling reasons.)

Nope. I do expect you to invest your time, energy, and attention but my teaching is offered freely to those who commit to the group. That’s how my teachers trained me!

Over the course of Dedicant year, you’ll be asked to read six books and may want to read others for research for some projects (the library is definitely an option here.)

You’ll also be asked to collect tools for your personal use at home. If money is tight for you, we’ll talk about inexpensive options along the way.

Group members are also expected to contribute something for potlucks. We may talk about splitting other group expenses (in advance, and with plenty of warning.)

3) About you

Accommodating specific needs depends a lot on the details. I’m always glad to talk about your needs and preferences for accessibility and see what’s possible.

Some accessibility needs aren’t things I can offer in our covenstead (my home) because of my own day to day needs.

As part of a larger tradition, some things we do are based on my preferences (the kind of group I want to be a part of leading and teaching), some are open to negotiation with everyone in the group, and some are decided by the elders of the tradition (which includes me, but isn’t just me.)

I’m glad to talk about which of these a particular decision or practice comes from, and how open it might be to changes.

I have a page with further details about accessibility. Please let me know if something that is relevant to you isn’t addressed there.

If you’re brand new to Wicca and religious witchcraft, I might first ask you to do some reading (online and in some recommended books) or have some more general conversations and discussions. If those go well, we can revisit training in the tradition at that point.

It’s important to me that prospective students know enough to have an idea why they’re interested in Phoenix Song in specific.

Since we work in a specific tradition, we expect anyone new to the coven to need time to learn our particular methods and cycles.

I’m very happy to adjust training and assignments to adapt to prior experience, but any new person does need to circle with us for a year before considering initiation.

I believe it’s important to experience an entire ritual cycle before making a lasting energetic commitment to a particular tradition or group.

(Last updated on March 30, 2021)