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Expert Panel - Autumn Equinox 2022

Our expert panel is made up of different folk all from different aspects of paganism and witchcraft; our experts between them have decades of experience in their own personal paths. Each edition they will be grilled with questions from you.

Please remember, if you would like to ask our panel a question you can contact us here.

This issue, we received two anonymous questions from readers.

How would I go about getting involved in a coven or group?

LAUREN (Traditional Witchcraft): The best thing to do these days is join social media groups for local pagans and start making connections. Naturally a lot of covens/groups are quite private and don't openly advertise online. Go to more casual meetings, like pub/café meets, and get chatting to people someone will know a group that is running.

Image of a white woman with heavy black eye makeup, wearing black clothes and a silver necklace, with dark brown hair and a shaved side. Header says 'Lauren'. Text underneath image reads 'Lauren is a heathen traditional witch based on the Northumberland coast. She has been a witch for over fifteen years and is especially interested in shamanism, ancestral work and hedgewitchery. SPIRITUAL PATH: Heathen Traditional Witch. POTN EXPERT IN: Witchcraft'

RICH (Heathenry): Attending local pub or café moots is usually a good way to find out which groups are active locally.

If there’s no group that fits your perspective you could always start your own with a few like minded people from the same pub/café moot. This might seem like a daunting step but everyone starts somewhere. There’s more than one ritual leader/author who got there start because someone didn’t turn up for a few weeks! You’ll perhaps make mistakes but you’ll learn from them and develop method or path that works for you.

Also, importantly never feel pressured to join or stay in a group.

DEBI (Eclectic Witchcraft): I haven’t had much to do with specific covens and groups in my twenty plus years in the Pagan community but I do have a lot of experience with creating community and safe spaces in general and my advice would be to shop around and never compromise on your comfort. A group should make you feel safe and valued; if it doesn’t, always question why, at least within yourself, if not with the group members at large. Social media is a great way to go about it, just searching the name of your area and whatever branch of paganism you follow. Alternatively, the Pagan Federation reps in your area will always know who is who and generally have a good understanding of which groups are best for new members. Every district has their own group and page and if you’re unsure which district you’re in, you can always message the PF or PF Community Support Team pages to ask!

Image of a white man with a beard, short grey hair, and black glasses. He is wearing a navy knitted jumper. Header reads 'Rich'. Text under image reads 'This is Rich. He researches legends about ancient wolf cults, trolls, and Viking undead. He has been Heathen for six years, and he invented 'Idiot Mead'. SPIRITUAL PATH: Norse Heathen. POTN EXPERT IN: Heathenry'

What is the one thing you want to tell newcomers to paganism, magic and/or witchcraft?

LAUREN (Traditional Witchcraft): Do lots of research into different paths and find what resonates with you. But don't forget to actually go out in nature, you learn a lot from the spirits of the land!

RICH (Heathenry): Be imperfect, make mistakes and learn from them.

Read widely and never be afraid to be embarrassed about books/authors you once loved.

Always keep the perspective of a novice, no matter how much you think you know, there’s always more to learn (and plenty forget!)

Image of a white woman with shoulder length dark blonde hair. She is wearing a vest top and a silver pentacle necklace. Header above image reads 'Debi'. Text below image reads 'Debi is a pagan of twenty years and recently won an award for her services to the community. She specialises in inclusive practices and parenting as a pagan. SPIRITUAL PATH: Animist/Druid/Heathen/Witch. POTN EXPERT IN: Eclectic Paganism'

DEBI (Eclectic Witchcraft): People tend to get a little offended when I answer this question as I just don’t mince words! To put it as bluntly as I usually do: read. Read books. Ones written by actual pagans within the community. Don’t just watch Charmed or Vikings and go “oh, that looks good” and start doing whatever they’re doing. It’s fiction and it’s insulting. It’s fine to watch those things and start to investigate something you feel drawn to. A whole generation of Pagans is made up of mostly those who watched The Craft and were drawn to Paganism… But they’re superficial and incorrect stereotypes that harm us in the long run, so go deeper. Read books by the likes of Mabh Savage, Kristoffer Hughes, Nimue Brown, Paul Pearson, Professor Ronald Hutton and more. That’s where you’ll find the real heart of our community knowledge. You can really find yourself in those books. I’d also recommend reading something like Pagan Dawn, Green Mantle, Pagans of the North and other community publications because not only can you find some authors worth following from articles and reviews, you can also see the opinions of every day readers and members of the community. Good luck! And, remember, this is a journey, not a destination. Never stop learning.


Editor's Note: You can join the POTN affiliated Facebook group, North East England Witchcraft and Pagan Circle here to find likeminded people and get information on moots in the north east.

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