Laws of the Coven of WellSpring

I.  Law and History

  1. These Laws are based on the old Gardnerian Law, the existing remnants of the original BlueStar Law, the Laws of the Coven of Raven Star, Summer Oak Coven, and the contributions of the members of this Coven at the time of the Laws' creation.  Though the path of Wicca, as well as the Tradition of BlueStar, encourages both personal growth and individual accomplishment, it should be noted that these Laws are for a Coven, as well as its individual members.  In no way is the free will of the individual superseded by these Laws; they are merely a device to facilitate a harmonious atmosphere for several individuals to work in a Coven environment.  These Laws are not forced upon an individual, except by their own conscience.  Those who cannot, in good faith and conscience, be bound by these Coven Laws are understood to be unable to fully contribute to the efforts of the Coven and shall therefore not be considered Coven members.  It is the right of the individual seeking to join this Coven to accept or decline any offer of membership based upon their understanding of this principal.  It is further understood that circumstances change and situations arise that require individual approaches.   These laws are not meant as restrictions for their own sake but guidelines for a harmonious group dynamic.      

 

 

  1. After any amendments have been made to these Coven Laws a copy of the original version will be kept for archival purposes.  This allows for the historical context of the Coven Laws to be preserved while allowing them to evolve to the needs of the Coven.  To make an amendment to the Coven Laws, a majority vote of the Coven members, taken in full Coven, must occur.  This majority must contain either the High Priestess or High Priest who has governing authority at the time of the vote.

 

II.  Leadership and Succession

  1. The High Priestess shall govern the Coven, as the representative of the Goddess, from Beltain to Samhain.  The High Priest shall govern the Coven, as the representative of the God, from Samhain to Beltain.  This governing authority shall be passed during the ritual observance of these Sabbats, so that a balance shall be achieved.  This governing authority is referred to throughout these Laws as being "in power".  Though each is the final authority during their respective hinge, it must be remembered that leadership of the Coven is a dual office and decisions should be considered accordingly.

 

  1. In the event that the Coven has only a High Priestess or High Priest, the High Priestess or High Priest shall select a High Priest or High Priestess, if he/she has sufficient credentials to serve.  The Coven should be consulted as to their preference in this matter, though the High Priestess or High Priest shall have the final right to determine who shall govern alongside her/him.  The person so selected shall be given all rights and responsibilities of his/her new office and shall not be dismissed by the High Priestess or High Priest once so selected. Should the circumstance arise where no one appropriate is acceptable to perform the role, then the remaining High Priest or High Priestess shall continue to govern the coven until such a time as a suitable Priest or Priestess may take on the role.

 

 

  1. Should it become necessary, for the peace of the Coven, that the High Priestess or High Priest be divested of authority, it shall be done in full Coven.  Such deliberations shall require a majority vote, containing the vote of the High Priest or High Priestess, to rescind authority if the one being divested is not currently in power.  Should the need arise while the one being divested is currently in power, a majority decision of the Coven is required.

 

III.  Sabbaticals & Leaves of Absence

  1. For the purposes of distinction, a sabbatical shall be defined as a period of time in which one is away from the responsibilities of  the Coven, for a duration of either one hinge (roughly six months) or a year and a day (two hinges).  A leave of absence shall be defined as a period of time in which one is away from the responsibilities of the Coven for less than one hinge but more than two Sabbats.  The High Priestess and High Priest are prohibited from taking a leave of absence, due to potential instabilities in power.  Both sabbaticals and leaves of absence are considered to begin at the Sabbat concurrent with or immediately following the announcement of the absence in full Coven.  The taking of a leave of absence to avoid work within the Coven shall be viewed negatively.  If such an occurrence should happen repeatedly, the High Priestess or High Priest may ask the offender to leave for a longer period of time to decide whether the Coven is the right path for the individual to follow.  Sabbaticals, often taken for more far-reaching reasons, shall be viewed as more serious.  If the sabbatical is for one hinge then no other measures need be taken.  If the sabbatical is for a year and a day, the High Priestess or High Priest shall, at the halfway mark of the sabbatical, ask the individual whether there is need to continue the sabbatical.  If the answer is no, the individual may rejoin the Coven on a more active basis.  If the answer is yes, the individual shall continue the sabbatical until the duration is completed.  This will prevent the Coven from potential damage caused by premature return, due to the potential instability of a person on sabbatical.  As sabbaticals tend to be unsettling to the Coven, no one may disrupt the Coven by returning early without unanimous consent of the other coven members. This allows time for adjustment for both individual and Coven. The only exception to this rule is for public (not “open”) rituals.

 

  1. If a High Priestess or High Priest wishes to step down for a sabbatical or resign permanently, they shall do so in full Coven, in person.  The remaining High Priest or High Priestess shall select a High Priestess or High Priest with whom to govern.  If the interim High Priestess or High Priest is serving while her/his predecessor is on sabbatical, the person shall step down when the predecessor has completed the sabbatical.  Whether permanent or temporary, the interim High Priestess or High Priest shall have the full rights and responsibilities of the office while they serve.

 

  1. If a High Priestess or High Priest leaves without announcing their intention in full Coven, the remaining High Priest or High Priestess shall select a High Priestess or High Priest to act on an interim basis, with full investments of office.  If, within a year and a day, the former High Priestess or High Priest returns, she/he may petition to claim her/his previously held role.  The Coven shall convene to determine if such claim will be granted, or if her/his replacement shall continue permanently in the role. A majority vote by the coven is required to accept the petition of return.  If the former High Priestess or High Priest does not return within a year and a day, the person selected as replacement shall be confirmed in full Coven as the High Priestess or High Priest of the Coven, subject to a majority vote of confirmation which must include the remaining High Priest or High Priestess.

 

  1. When the High Priestess and/or the High Priest of the Coven decide that it is time for them to resign leadership of the Coven, they shall select their replacements and as their final act as High Priestess and High Priest shall pass the mantle of leadership in full Coven.

 

  1. In the event that a Coven member moves away from the covenstead, they shall be considered a satellite member of the Coven.  As such they are expected to continue studying in the tradition of Blue Star, however the circle attendance rules are waived.  Should any satellite member of the Coven wish to start a study group they should do so in consultation with the High Priest and High Priestess of the Coven. (See Section V.)

 

IV.  Hiving and Leaving the Coven

  1. If a person leaves the Coven, yet remains in the Tradition of Blue Star, an effort shall be made to find the person a new Coven to work with, if such is desired and possible.  If the person was also a student of a Coven member, then an effort shall be made to find the person a new teacher, if such is desired and possible.  

 

  1. Any Initiate of the Third Degree may found a new Coven by the process of Hiving.  This Coven will be an independent Coven from the "Mother" Coven, though to avoid strife and misunderstandings the following guidelines should be observed:

    1. The High Priestess, High Priest, and the Inner Court of the "Mother" Coven shall be informed of the intention to Hive prior to doing so.

    2. Members of the "Mother" Coven may choose to join the new Coven.  In making this choice, they shall no longer participate in the activities of the "Mother" Coven for a period of a year and a day, and then by invitation only. This is known as “voiding the coven.”

    3. The Inner Court of both "Mother" and "Daughter" Covens shall meet, as necessary, to make the transition with as little strife as possible.

    4. Any Coven property shall continue to belong to the "Mother" Coven with the exception of personal tools.

    5. These guidelines are not made with the assumption that the new Coven is created due to anger or strife, but with the recognition that the new Coven needs both the time and space to define itself without advice from the "Mother" Coven and its members.

 

  1. In those instances where a member of the Coven is released to join a new Coven, or in the event of a change of teachers, it shall be expected that the leaders of both Covens, or both teachers, will confer.  This is a courtesy so that the new Coven, or teacher, can be assured that release has been given and, if appropriate, to give the new Coven, or teacher, an outline of training and elevations previously provided.

 

  1. Dual membership in Covens is highly discouraged. If such an arrangement is amenable to leaders of both covens, dual membership may be arranged with the clear understanding of the parameters thereof.  If a member of Wellspring has dual coven membership, they will be considered an Associate Member of Wellspring.  A member of Wellspring cannot lead another coven.  If they become High Priest or High Priestess in another coven, they relinquish all membership in Wellspring.

 

  1. Banishment of a member from the coven requires unanimous vote of the remaining members of the Inner Court.

 

V.  Membership and Admissions

  1. Blue Star is a Tradition based in hierarchical Alexandrian structure.  Anyone who has ceased to be a guest and has begun to study the Tradition is referred to as Student.  Those who have been Dedicated into Blue Star are known as Dedicant.  Those who have chosen to study toward initiation and been properly prepared to do so are Neophytes.  Initiation carries the titles Initiate, Priestess or Priest, and Witch.  Within the ranks of the Initiates, there are three degrees, marking levels of experience and skill.  Those of the 2nd Degree have earned the title High Priest or High Priestess (not to be confused with the High Priest/ess of a coven).  Those of the 3rd Degree have earned the title of Lord or Lady.  There are many rights, privileges, and entitlements associated with various ranks, and these sometimes become altered in practice.  The Coven as a whole shall determine the exact details of practice regarding these matters.

 

  1. The Tradition, and therefore the Coven, are divided by initiation into Inner and Outer Courts.  Certain practices, rituals, and secrets are available only to members of the Inner Court.

 

  1. Guests who have expressed a desire to study the Tradition within the bounds of this Coven must present their request to the High Priestess or High Priest, and then allow the Coven the opportunity to consider it privately.  The entire Coven must meet separately to so consider, and must achieve complete consensus in order to admit a new member.  Even one opposing vote shall cause the petition to be rejected.  An exception to this is if a study group, that is an offshoot of the coven yet not completely hived, wishes to add members it remains in their discretion to do so, as long as they consult with the High Priest and High Priestess of the Mother Coven on the matter.  Membership to a study group does not confer membership to Wellspring Grove nor Coven.

 

  1. Member Inner Court – Blue Star, 1st degree Initiate and above

    1. Attendance required at all scheduled coven Sabbats, Esbats and classes.  Any absence requires one week’s notice given via email to the inner court mailing list OR notice during scheduling.  Emergency absences due to illness or other obligation require a phone call to either the HP/s or the officiating P/s before the event  AND an email to the inner court mailing list within 48 hours.

    2. Absences should not exceed 3 per hinge. Three absences within a hinge warrants a conversation with the Hp and Hps regarding commitment level to the coven and continued membership level. In the case of excesive abscence the Hp and Hps may decide to revoke membership.

    3. Member is entitled to accessibility to all associated coven lists, websites and coven related events and activities.

    4. Members are required to vote/ share an opinion – even if it is to abstain WITH reason.

 

  1. Member Outer Court/Grove – Blue Star Neophyte, Dedicant

    1. Attendance required at all scheduled coven Sabbats, Esbats and classes.  Any absence requires one week’s notice given via email to the Grove mailing list OR notice during scheduling (if applicable).  Emergency absences due to illness or other obligation require a phone call to either the HP/s or the officiating P/s before the event  AND an email to the Grove mailing list within 48 hours.

    2. Absences should not exceed 3 per hinge. Three absences within a hinge warrants a conversation with the Hp and Hps regarding commitment level to the coven and continued membership level. In the case of excesive abscence the Hp and Hps may decide to revoke membership.

    3. Member is entitled to appropriate level lists, websites and coven events and activities or by invitation.

    4. Member has a voice in coven policies, but no formal vote.  Member may be asked to share opinions on certain topics/issues or consulted on radical changes to coven activity, laws or decisions.

    5. Member must read and acknowledge coven laws.  

 

  1. Associate Member – Blue Star Initiates*, Neophytes, and Dedicants

    1. Member was at one time a full time member of either the Inner or Outer court in good standing

    2. Member will retain access to appropriate email lists, websites and appropriate level coven related activities and events

    3. Attendance is encouraged when possible

    4. An Associate Initiate will have a voice in coven policies, but no formal vote.  Member may be asked to share opinions on certain topics/issues or consulted on radical changes to coven activity, laws or decisions.

 

  1. Friends of the Grove – All levels including guests and students

    1. Members are invited to join the Friends/Grove email list

    2. Members are encouraged to attend open coven events posted in the Friends/Grove list

    3. Local Initiates may be asked or encouraged to have a voice, or provide an opinion, but will have no formal vote

VI. Security and Dispute

  1. No member of the Coven shall tell any outsider about the Coven or any information concerning the Coven, its members, or its meeting times and locations without first speaking with the High Priest/ess.  In mundane situations, when those not of the Craft are present, no reference shall be made to the Coven or to another's participation in the Craft or the Coven.  The only exception to this can be made in those instances where known Craft-friendly persons are involved.  However, discretion is still strongly advised.

 

  1. All complaints from Coven members regarding internal affairs, which cannot be resolved by the persons involved, shall be directed to the High Priestess or High Priest for resolution.  As the Coven is a community, the High Priestess or High Priest shall strive to find a solution that satisfies the needs of the individual(s) bringing the complaint, as well as the Coven as a whole.  If such disputes are brought before the High Priestess or High Priest, by any member of the Coven, then the decision of the High Priestess or High Priest shall be considered binding upon all parties involved.  It is therefore highly recommended that, if possible, disputes shall be resolved by the Coven members among themselves.

 

  1. Once a ritual is under way, each role has the full right to perform their duty within the bounds of their conscience and prior agreements, regardless of rank.  Any disputes, unless they affect the safety of the Circle, may be dealt with after the Circle is completed.  This will foster the trust needed to work as a Coven, and encourage advance discussions of potential issues.

 

 

 

VII.  Glossary of Terms

 

Open circles - circles where attendance is open to more than just coven/grove members

Closed circles - circles where only coven/grove members are allowed to attend

Inner Court circles - circles where only Initiates are allowed to attend. Inner Court circles can be open or closed.

Public circles - circles where attendance is not restricted by invitation or membership

Voiding the coven - the period of a year and a day where a daughter coven is not allowed to attend circles held by the mother coven except for public rituals

In power - also known as holding the sword, the Hp or Hps during their respective hinge of the wheel of the year

Hinge - *not piano* - there are two hinges, Beltane and Samhain, that divide the year into halves at which time the power passes from Hp to Hps and back again.

Absence - missing a scheduled event. Events where knowledge of absence was present at time of scheduling do not count towards the three maximum absences per hinge.

Guest - anyone who has not asked for and been granted membership into the Inner or Outer Court/Grove.

"Suck it Bitches" - sarcasm is frequently employed in Wellspring. If this is not ok with you we encourage you to find a more appropriate to your sensibilities group to circle with. We put the Mirth in the phrase "Mirth and Reverence."

Ill will - please see deleted sections of coven charter and laws.