Solitary: Practices the craft alone and does not work with a group or coven. By the Gardnerian and Alexandrian way solitary witches are not witches. In order to be considered a witch you must work with a coven.
Eclectic: These witches pick chose and mix various traditions. They have no set path.
Hereditary: These are the practitioners who have been taught the craft from their relative. The craft was passed, unbroken, from generation to generation.
So, now, do you want to be a solitary witch or work with a coven? Let me give you a few Pros and Cons to consider.
If you join a coven you will receive lots of support. There are people available with the same beliefs to talk to. You will also get some structure. You can work your way up from dedicant to High Priest(s).
Just by the fact that there is structure in a coven may discourage some people. The coven decides on the where, when at time of the Sabbats and meetings. If you break the laws of the coven (dishonor) you will be asked to leave. The cons of a coven are not unlike those that relate to any group activity.
OK, so you will go solo and be a solitary. This means that you can learn at your own pace. You can follow your own schedule for Sabbats, within reason. You attire is strictly up to you. Some solitaries will join with a know coven to celebrate Sabbats. You can design your own rituals.
The major downside is that you are on are on your own. Help and guidance from knowledgeable witches are not going to be readily available. The solitary had no linage to look back on for guidance. Solitary witches are looked down on by name of the coven witches. What do you know – a class structure L
So what type of training do you want? You can find metaphysical shops and seek help from them. You can use the local library or book shop. If you have internet access there is a wealth of information available for you.
You may want to join a coven. This decision must be made carefully. Some covens are basically nothing more than social groups. Others are based on the D & D games. Be selective, just as they will want to interview you, you should reciprocate in kind.
NOTE: Witches do not try to convert people.
Once you have decided upon a coven go to a few open Sabbats and meetings, if permitted. If you can not attend an open Sabbat write the coven off. With the exception of two Sabbats, all others can be open.
Sit down with the Priestess / Priest and see what the coven will want of you. The will also ask what you can bring to the coven. Remember, a coven becomes your family away from home. The coven should NEVER supercede your home life. You family will always come first.
Once you are in total agreement – both ways you can apply to become a dedicant. During this time you will be kept under the eye of the Priestess and Priest. Your initial training will last for a year and a day. After that time, if upon the agreement of all, you can become an initiate. From that point on you will go through the three degrees of initiation. Each degree will take a minimum of a year and a day to complete.
Being a member of a coven is a commitment. You will be expected to attend coven functions. Covens usually meet to celebrate the 8 Sabbats – holidays of the God and 13 Esbats – holidays of the Goddess. Members of the coven are given a part to perform during the rituals. Not showing up for ritual is a major NO-NO. If you do not make it you can ruin the ritual.
You may also be asked to help the coven. Many covens take on community work to help the community.
Many covens plan outing and fun events for their members…
One thing to remember no matter what path you choose; When the Student is ready, the Teacher Will Appear.