The Coven of Aradian Rites
HIGH PRIESTESS ASPPARA DANTALIAN
I have been on the Pagan path for almost 20 years now, and feel comfortable with my relationship with my patron Goddess Aradia and her consort Cernunnos. I did my initial training with Spiral in 2005, and then I decided that I’d like to do my degrees, so I joined the Temple of Athena as a seeker in 2008. I didn’t complete my degrees, but I learned a lot, and made some lasting friendships.
Our coven was established in 2009, at Yule of that year. We chose Yule as the time to inaugurate our coven because of the association with the start of the New Year following the winter solstice. There were three founding members of the coven.
We established the coven as a teaching coven, as I was running courses and workshops on Wicca and related topics. The purpose of the courses and workshops was to make people aware of Wicca and the general movement towards the light! I started off with my “Paganism 101 – The Practical Program” course, which consisted of 12 sessions, ending with a group dedication ritual. My focus when writing this course was on practical applications, as I had perceived that the many similar courses offered in Johannesburg provided lots of lovely information, but no practical application. Each session of my course includes a meditation and a practical project – such as making a Dreamcatcher. The course covers the basics of Paganism and then goes into Wicca in quite a bit of detail. Participants receive wonderful notes in a file, which form a comprehensive Book of Shadows for the newly dedicated witch. This has proved very popular, and to date I have had many people complete the course, and participate in the dedication ritual. The aim of this course was to give the participants the tools they needed to function confidently as a solitary witch.
I then introduced the “Paganism 201 – The Next Level” course, for those who wanted to go further with their studies of Wicca. This course consists of 8 lessons, and participants have to do a total of 7 assignments. These assignments are designed to give the participants in-depth knowledge of Wicca. Participants who show wilfulness, and attend all classes, do their assignments, and attend all the coven esbats and sabbats are then invited to join the coven. This doesn’t happen very often, as people tend to drift off and lose interest for one reason or another.
As it stands at the moment, we are four members of the coven. Four women – through no particular fault on anyone’s part! We function very well. We celebrate esbats as a coven, but usually join with larger groups for the Sabbats. We have good relationships with both the Sacred Sanctum of Vesta and the Coven of Her Flaming Torch, and regularly join one or the other for celebrations. We have a super space at our covenstead for small rituals, but do not have the space or resources for larger groups.
In 2009 I was registered as a religious marriage officer, which means that I am able to perform legal handfastings. I did this so that I would be able to offer the service to the members of the coven, and indeed have had the privilege of handfasting my daughter on the 26th of September, 2010. I have performed many handfastings since then, and I love doing this!
At the moment I am running a Sunday morning group which is busy with its Paganism 101 – which I have renamed Wicca for Life, and a Thursday evening “Craft” group – pun intended! The Sunday class are half way through their course. Thursday evenings are an ongoing fixture. We get together every Thursday to do something crafty that is Wiccan in nature. For example, last week we did Beltane crafts; we decorated candles to represent May Poles, we made ‘wish boxes’ and Goddess Braids for our altars. It was a lovely evening spent in the company of fellow Wiccans, creating something pretty and meaningful, and that’s what we love about our Thursday group!
Should anyone wish to contact me for more information about the courses or workshops I offer, or handfastings, I can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.