Interview: Sewanian Wolf Coven
As part of Occult Heritage Month PENTON interviewed Rev. Sayen CroWolf of the Sewanian Wolf Coven to hear about their Durban based Coven.
What is the story behind the founding of the SWC; when was it founded and why?
The SWC was founded just after the marriage between Morne Pretorius and Francois De Marcy Pugin. Both of us had different but similar dreams: I always felt called to run a religious group or organization (but at that stage I was still classifying myself as a Spiritualist), and Francois had the dream of creating a coven (and at that stage had been in Wicca as a solitary for 16 years). After we got married and I accepted the Wiccan Religion as my path to follow, we started working on the foundational phase for the creation of the SWC.
Ginney May was the RMO that married us and referred us to Carol for our cloaks for our wedding. At that stage the nearest Circle to us was the Celestian Circle and they were a distance to travel to attend every circle. After our wedding, Francois, Carol and I came together and formed the SWC.
The SWC officially opened its doors on the Festival of Mabon of the year 2010. Shortly after we came into existence we discovered Witchschool and we commenced our formal studies through them. At first we were a private group studying through the School. As we progressed we registered the SWC as a Personal Shrine within the CNTSA and today we are registered as a Witan Shrine within the CNTSA.
Currently the SWC has two ordained members of Clergy within the CNTSA namely Rev. Morne Pretorius (Sayen CroWolf) and Rev. Francois De Marcy Pugin (Sewan CroWolf). Lora Thompson (Pantera Dreamwalker) is also close to achieving Clergy status and will bring the total of ordained Clergy in the coven to three.”
Where does the name ‘Sewanian Wolf Coven’ come from?
“The SWC derived the name from the first person who had the dream of one day running a coven in the name of our Lady Hecate; and this was Sewan CroWolf. Each of the letters stands for a direction and element with all its magickal association used in the Coven: S-south, E-east, W- west, A-acacia (spirit), N- north. The CroWolf is Sewan’s nature familiar and the Wolf his power animal totem. Sewan was also the initial Shrine Keeper of the coven but due to work circumstances it was decided that I (Morne) will take over as Shrine keeper.”
What are some of SWC’s central beliefs and what sets it apart from other covens?
“Each and every group is unique in their Path and Ritual style, so it is not always easy to say exactly what makes one different from the other. The Coven is centred on the Goddess Hecate and as such we live by the credo that this is not my Coven nor is it Sewan’s Coven; it is the Goddess’s Coven and as such She will add as She pleases and She will take as She pleases.
In light of this we are not number chasers but we rather want genuine seekers that are serious about finding their Path. But this does not hinder members from aligning their Personal Deities with the credo of the Coven. We must also state that at this stage although the SWC is Hecate centred, this does not mean She is the only Goddess we utilize in our Path and Practices. Members all have their own Patron Deity and all it means is that when the Coven gathers Hecate is, in most cases, the Deity of Choice for circle work. We also incorporate the God aspect within the Coven as appropriate to our Ritual Practices. We celebrate the natural rhythms of Life and celebrate the Sabbaths and Esbats associated with The Wheel of the Year and Lunar Cycles but we celebrate the Solar Cycles as well.
The one thing the SWC does place emphasis on is that there should be unity within the Pagan community. This is one principal that we started to work on since the Coven came into existence. It is a dream that we strive for and to date we have managed to build good rapport with the Celestian Circle, the NPT, independent covens and groups within KZN apart from our Mother Temple of Kephler and Family Temples and groups. Through our networking with the various other traditions we are hoping to see the first step in achieving a united Pagan community in Durban, starting with the first project (Pagan Freedom Day 2014) as a combined effort.”
What is the key to the SWC’s success thus far?
“As stated the emphasis of the SWC is, and will always be, to honour the Ancient ones and in particular our Lady Hecate. As such the success of the SWC is not measured in its membership numbers but rather on how the members of the SWC are growing Spiritually.
Whether we are two or five or ten, the numbers are not our focal point. This is largely one of the reasons why the SWC and its core infrastructure are becoming more successful. We feel that other smaller groups should not focus on how many members they have but rather focus on how to bring honour to your Deity of choice and your Deity will add the members as He/She deems fit. We also strongly recommend and advise our members to focus on studying and advancing themselves within our Tradition and with our Mother Temple Clan of Kheper Temple. Our Sister Temples extend nationally and can easily be found on Facebook and Google search.
The SWC was also formed with an infrastructure to accommodate growth within the Coven. There is no single individual that can take whole ownership of SWC as we have firstly the Council of Heka who comprises of two CO-Heads (Shrine Keeper), Founding Member, Priestess and Priest currently standing in senior positions nearing completion of Clergy. Based on this the council takes majority of votes voted in the best interest of the SWC Witan Shrine under the emporium of Lady RT. Elder Raene Packery from the Mother Temple. The Coven also established orders and members can choose if they want to get involved with one or more orders (for example some orders focus on charity, some communication and marketing, some on environmental affairs and some on the BOS and its making).
The SWC is more than just a Coven or a religious body, it is a family. And a family of Wolf Packs and as such we are very close and work close in all matters. People compare and nick named us “the wolf pack” and we pride ourselves in the fact that we were once strangers and now we are family.”
Has the SWC played a role in the greater Pagan community in SA?
“The SWC is currently finding its feet within the greater Pagan Community. We are hosting the Official Pagan Freedom Day under the SAPC banner for 2014 in KZN (and can be found on Facebook under KZN Pagan Freedom day 2014 Unity in Diversity). We also participate in debates and we contribute to distributing and signing petitions.
Besides this the SWC also managed to bring together the Pagan Community within Durban and surrounding areas. We are on good terms with Lady Fey from the Celestian Circle as well as Ms. Cathy Oliver grove head of the NPT KZN. We are also on good terms with some independent groups as well as solo practitioners. With PFD 2014 we managed to bring these people together, to sit around one table and to share ideas and for one day to forget about our differences but to celebrate our uniqueness in perfect love and perfect trust.
The SWC conducted the earth day circle in the year 2012 at PFD. We also had a serving member on the planning committee for that year. Currently the SWC has also been tasked to chair the upcoming SAPC meeting. We are also planning to Host the CNTSA national Lustration in Durban 2014 together with the PFD 2014 with much excitement as individuals and families nationally will be attending.”
What are some of SWC’s most significant milestones so far?
“One of the biggest milestones in the SWC is the fact that we were awarded to host the national lustration and the regional PFD here in Durban in 2014. This is a historical moment since, as far as we can tell, this has never happened in Durban before. To magnify this with much excitement we will have both the Elder for Africa for the CNTSA, Rt. Rev. Raene Packery, as well as the Head of the Celestian Circle SA, Fey Fand and Gardenerian movement together with Dr Dale Wallace UKZN (a remarkable lady that left deep tracts within the Pagan Community) and more Golden Oldies like Maggie Joubert from Moon Dragon KZN and Patrick Dragon Roland all present on one event! We are also looking forward to the attendance of various community and national members presenting workshops including the African Traditional Path of Sangomas.
Another milestone for the SWC was when two of its members, myself and Carol (Celesteskye) actually met up with the head of the CNT, Lord Don Lewis, from the USA this year with the international Lustration of the Ancestors hosted in Cape Town. And WOW what a great event for SWC indeed and honourable to say the least!
The SWC has also managed to start unifying the Pagan Community of Durban and we brought many of them together in the planning of the upcoming PFD 2014 with the Core focus on Unity in Diversity.
Another milestone was the fact that we managed to lift our charity programme off the ground, and up to date we have donated clothes and food to Children’s homes, we have managed to raise goods for the SPCA Hillcrest and we are also getting involved with Animal Action. The funds we are raising for the upcoming Lustration and PFD will also be donated to a much needed charity organization.
The SWC is also a registered study group within the CNTSA and we have one member in mentor training. We are boasting two members of Clergy and we have two more upcoming members, of which one will by the grace of the Goddess achieve Clergy status before the end of this year.
Rev. Sewan also managed to get Wicca amongst other non book religions listed as a recognized minority religion on one of the largest Renal companies in South Africa. This is a remarkable milestone not just for the SWC but also for all Pagan and Wicca folk across SA!”
With such a busy coven so involved in the Durban, and greater Pagan communities, where do you see SWC a few years from now?
“We trust in a few years from now the SWC will be stronger than it is today. We will have at least four members with Clergy status and one member registered as a RMO through our Mother Temple. We hope to again be awarded the opportunity to host PFD and with each passing year to get more and more people involved, even non Pagan folk. The dream is to unite all Pagans, even non-Wiccan and solitary practitioners, and bring the community together so that we can achieve more public awareness and thus acceptance of Wiccan and Pagan Folk.
We also hope to be registered as a Proto Temple within the CNT and to have an active study group with one mentor based here in Durban. We wish to issue a newsletter with some tested and adapted spell work in it that would be fit for the South African market. We also hope to have two charity programmes running, one for Humans and one for Animals, and to be more actively involved with environmental programmes.”
What ideals do you hold for the future of Paganism and other occult-orientated beliefs in SA?
“The dream is to be truly accepted as a minority religion, and perhaps in time with lots of hard work to be taken seriously by the main stream religions. We wish for all religions to co-exist without judging one another. We dream of a future where we will no longer be associated with Satanism but that the public in general will see us as a religion in our own right, and that the general public will be able to distinguish between us and other religions.
We are accepting to all faiths and beliefs, but uphold our standing as Pagan. We are striving to work on community awareness, and the more we become public, the more the people will learn about us and what we are, and the more they will lose their ignorance and become more accepting of Pagans in their community.