Wicca for Teens: Finding a Mentor, Teacher or Coven
Greetings, young ones! Pull up a chair and pour yourself a cup of tea! Let's talk!
So you're looking for someone to help you learn about Wicca, huh? Not surprising. It's probably very different from the religions you've come to know growing up, which can leave you to feel a bit like you're stumbling around in the dark. You may feel overwhelmed by all the information-- especially since a lot of it seems to contradict each other! And you probably think that what you really need right now is guidance.
Here are a few things you need to know before you go off to seek out groups or teachers.
Wicca for Teens
Ethics are Important
Adults Training Minors
You will probably find that, other than directing you to a book or website, most adults won't give you much help. There's actually a reason for this: adult Wiccans-- reputable adults, that is -- don't offer to mentor minors (except in rare cases when it's with your parents' blessing). You may also find yourself shut out of most open gatherings, as well as covens in your area. This can be frustrating, and may seem unfair to you.
You should know, it's not that we don't respect your choices-- it's that we also have to respect your parents' rights and beliefs. If your parents are against Wicca, it's not right to disregard that and encourage you to lie and sneak-- two very un-Wiccan like behaviors.
We also have to protect ourselves and our community's reputation-- we don't need bad press if angry parents come after us accusing us of "corrupting the youth" simply because we share our faith.
That's not to say adults will never train minors-- it's just not something we're willing to do on the sneak. If your family has a Wiccan family member or friend, and they're willing to teach you about Wicca, have them talk to your parents about it to get permission and put any of your parents concerns to rest.
Tell us about it~ Poll!
If you're a teen, have you been trying to find a Wiccan mentor or coven?
Automatic Red Flags to Beware Of
Run Away from Any 'Teacher' or 'Mentor' Who Claims:
They come from an ancient line of family Wiccans/Witches
They have Wiccan 'powers'
Talks about 'Satan' or 'devils' or 'demons'
Tells you you have to sell your soul or something like that
Tells you that you have to do something crazy for initiation, like swallow live snakes or drink blood
Tells you that you need to be naked or have sex with them to be initiated
Tries to tell you to use 'black magic' or 'cursing' or whatever
Tells you they can control nature like some kind of superhero
Demands money (beyond minor expenses for supplies and such), tells you to do something illegal/unethical to get it
Whenever someone seems over the top...
Beware Wolves in Wiccan Robes
Anytime an adult would be willing to mentor or let you into his group without your parent's permission or without wanting to meet them, or if they would condone sneaking behind your parents' backs, this should be a huge red flag!
Wicca-- like any other religion-- can be used as a front for predators. Dishonorable people lie-- pure and simple. People looking to con you, take advantage of you or lure you into something dangerous will tell you how your parents don't really understand you, and how they do understand you. They'll tell you they do understand you and have your best interest at heart. Any respectable adult who really had your best interest at heart would never, ever encourage you to do things against your parent's wishes.
Not all adults seek to hurt you, but that doesn't mean they're suitable teachers. If they're going to be so irresponsible that they'd encourage you to disregard your parents, then they themselves have not absorbed what Wicca teaches us. People who don't get the lessons of Wicca themselves are not going to be very good at teaching you anything.
Some adults have issues-- they want to feel powerful and important. They want others to look up to them. They want to be a "high Priest/ess" But they want all this to feed their own ego, without putting in the study and work without proving their worth. These adults are not really as worried about what you learn-- they just want to be admired by you. Insecurities and over-inflated egos often makes for poor mentors. They look for people who are untrained and unstudied because they can tell you whatever they want-- right or wrong-- and it's easier to make you believe any load of poop. Years later, you'll find yourself very frustrated that you've been misled and misinformed.
The real lesson to be learned here: adults who would offer to train minors in Wicca by encouraging you to sneak, lie or defy your parents are not adults from whom you can learn anything worthwhile!
The Thing about Covens
Teens Mentoring Teens and Teen Covens
You might think your problem is solved if you find other teens who offer to teach you, or invite you into their covens. Hold up there-- that's not always a good option, either. As noted above, respectable adult Wiccans aren't going to teach teens. Therefore, the teens you want to learn from are probably untrained themselves.
The problem with teen covens is that it's often the blind leading the blind. You have no way to know if your friends are getting Wicca right, or if they're far off the mark.
The word "teen coven" should be a warning sign, because covens are established groups in which training is passed down -- people who have never been trained in a coven themselves certainly have no business starting a coven, or appointing themselves a spiritual leader for others. Untrained teens starting a coven from scratch is evidence that they don't seem to understand what a coven is. Again, it's not an ideal situation for learning anything.
What You CAN Do
Just because you are a teen doesn't automatically mean your hands are tied. There are places where teen Wiccans can seek the community and guidance they need.
First, though, it's important to get your parents' permission and cooperation. These are not things you should (or can, in most cases) go off and do all by yourself. If you are lucky enough to have an open-minded parent who is willing to allow you to explore Wicca, talk to them about bringing you someplace where you can start learning, observing and networking.
Here's a list of places to look into:
- Covenant of the Unitarian Universalist Pagans -- Unitarian Universalism is a religion that embraces all faiths as valid, and many UU churches have sub-groups called Covenant of the Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPs). These groups often have open esbat and sabbat rituals, sometimes classes and discussion groups. Teens are often welcome to at least some of their events, provided parents accompany them or are willing to come and meet with the leaders and sign permission slips.
- Witchvox -- is the oldest and largest Pagan community on the internet. If you look at the bar on the left, you'll find drop-down menus under "Your Town". Select your state (or country if out of the US). Then look at the bar on the left again and click 'events'. It will take you to a listing of all upcoming and repeating events in your state. Look for nearby events and ask your parents to take you to them. Note: you should not attend alone; most groups will not admit minors anyway. By networking you may stumble across teaching circles or covens that do accept teens with parental permission.
- Hubpages -- That's right! You have a wealth of information right here on Hubpages by some great Wiccan authors. We may not be able to mentor you one on one directly, but you can certainly learn a great deal from many of the articles published here. Also, if you ask questions in comments or post them on Hub's Q&A, don't be surprised if someone writes a hub on that topic for you.
- Learn with friends -- while teen covens and teens appointing themselves "High Priest/ess" should be avoided, it doesn't mean you can't study and practice Wicca with your friends. Read books together; discuss, compare notes, celebrate sabbats, hold rituals-- practice informally and learn together until you are both ready to join an older, more experienced Wiccan community.
It Sucks, I Know
What to Do When Parents are Not Accommodating
There are times when parents are just not going to be open to Wicca. When this happens, it's best to put formal practice aside for the time being. If you still want to know what you can do, read my article Teen Wiccans: What to Do When Your Parents Won’t Let You Be Wiccan ideas.
In the mean time, respect your parents while following your own spiritual instincts. Remember, it's not a race, it's a lifestyle-- there is no rush.