We are a religious and spiritual community, which is led by the Wiccan High Priestess and High Priest of the Fellowship of the Lord and Lady coven. Our community events are not coven events; they are open to the public, and they are designed so that absolute beginners can be introduced to Wicca, can meet other people in the community, and can get a small taste of Wiccan ritual and take part in some traditional seasonal practices and activities.
We host Pub Moots once a month, except in December, because it's a very busy month for everyone and we don't usually get a big turn out, so we use the time for Wiccan Circle instead. From January to November, we always meet on the 2nd Wednesday evening of each month. You can check the community events page for a summary of this information. But, you can count on us being there. It's drop in, so you don't need to book ahead or confirm that it's on. We will be there unless by some fluke of nature we are all sick or out of town at the same time, but that almost never happens.
We hold Wiccan Circle 12 times a year. At 8 of those meetings we perform a Sabbat celebration ritual, one for each of the 8 Sabbats, the solstices and equinoxes and the days that fall midway between each of those. At the other 4 meetings per year, we do other activities, such as labyrinth walk, divination, open discussion for questions and answers, we talk about and share books, drink tea, and do fun things like crossword puzzles, trivia games, and that sort of thing.
Pub Moots are totally relaxed environments. We show up around 8pm; we come in the main door, move around the corner to the right, and then to the right again and usually take up the couches and the comfy chairs around the low table near the large windows looking out onto the front patio.
There is no particular way to recognize us, except that we look like a bunch of Pagans! People will be wearing pentacles around their necks and on rings. Sometimes a book or two will be out on the table. And if you're unsure, you can always just ask, "Hey, is this the moot?" If it's the wrong table, they won't think anything of it. But if it's us, you'll get a warm welcome and invitation to join us.
The Merchant is a beautiful old pub/restaurant downtown Kingston, with lots of old wood beams, limestone walls and low ceilings. There is a small separated side room with long tables and benches on either side of it near the couches at the large front facing windows, sometimes we take up that room. If you can't find us, you can always poke in there.
The numbers are small, but cozy. We order some drinks and some pub snacks, we chat about whatever is on our minds. And usually, if you stay long enough, we try to strike up a conversation about our religion and spirituality, and we talk about books and culture and Pagan and Wiccan history. If you don't think the conversation is going the way you wish it would, and you really want to know something about something, just ask. We are more than happy to talk about all kinds of Pagan and Wiccan topics, it sometimes just takes a little prompting and prodding to get the conversation rolling.
Pub Moots are a Pagan tradition. They are by far the easiest and least intimidating way to poke your nose in and join the community. We are all craving community these days, when we spend most of our time sitting at home, in front of our screens. Coming out to a pub and seeing people, face to face, and talking with us and learning something new is important for our mental and spiritual health.
If you don't want to spend a lot of money, that's okay too. You can order a soft-drink for just a few dollars and milk it to the end of the night. But if you want to, the beer and other drinks are great and the food is good too.
The ritual itself begins at 8pm, and the doors are open some 20 to 30 minutes prior to when the ritual starts. This gives plenty of time to arrive and come in and take off your shoes, and say hello or introduce yourself and get settled in before anything begins.
You are welcome to bring your own cord and athame if you have them. And you are encouraged to bring your own chalice or cup, but if you don't have one we can provide one.
You should come dressed comfortably, jeans and a shirt or sweater is acceptable. We ask that you not wear clothing which bears logos or legible words, as these are distracting when people are trying to stay focused on the purpose of the celebration.
During the first 20 to 30 minute period of time we are setting up the altar with standard ritual objects, such as God and Goddess statues and candles, chalice, wand, athame, sword, besom, pentacle, and seasonally appropriate decorations such as flowers, or apples, or pumpkins, etc. depending on the time of year. People who have come out to our events before, whom we've gotten to know, are welcome to help us prepare the altar and set out candles around the circle, etc. New people may observe and questions are welcome.
When we're ready to begin the ritual, we give a brief introduction and go over a few simple points of etiquette, such as leaving your electronic devices silenced and outside of the circle. Roles for sweeping, calling and dismissing quarters, and ringing the bell are handed out. These roles are given preferentially to people who have participated in ritual on multiple occasions in the past. You are never required to take on a role in the ritual if you prefer not to.
With the participants outside the circle space, the circle is swept, to which we all chant and give our energies. The circle is then consecrated and purified by smoke, water and salt, by the High Priestess and High Priest. This makes the space sacred, ready and fit to invite the God and Goddess to attend. The circle is then cast with a sword by the High Priest. When the circle is cast, the boundary becomes a border separating the sacred inside space from the mundane outside space, and it is inappropriate to cross that border without a "door" being cut, through which to pass.
The High Priest cuts a door to invite the particpants in. As each participant enters the circle one by one, the High Priestess blesses them and annoints them with oil. Once in the circle, we are both solemn, but also relaxed and happy, and talking is appropriate only if it is mindful of the next part of the ritual taking place. When it is time for the next part of the ritual to begin, talking should come to an end so that everyone can pay attention and participate without interruptions.
The quarters are called. East then south, west then north. If you have never done this before, we will tell you what gestures we make in common, what direction to face, etc. The quarters invite elemental guardians, spiritual entities who are below the level of gods, to protect the circle while we celebrate. The God and Goddess are then evoked by the High Priest and High Priestess. A description of what we are doing is given, and we get into the main part of the sabbat. We discuss what the sabbat is about, we give some history, some common activities, and people are welcome to contribute their thoughts and ask questions about the sabbat, its symbolism and our purpose in celebrating it.
Next, we always have one or more than one activity that is directly related to the Sabbat and traditional for that seasonal time of year. The activity is basic, in the sense that it is appropriate and accessible for beginners and people who have no experience. The activity involves something hands-on. It is often something practical, to teach a divination technique, a simple magical technique, or just a celebratory seasonal art or craft. We decorate candles and then bless them, or we make a witch's ladder, or a corn-grain dolly, we scrye in crystal balls or black mirrors, we read tea leaves, or learn to use a pendulum, we learn about recipes for seasonal foods, we make brighid's crosses, or decorate eggs, etc. During this time, we laugh and chat, and tell jokes and stories and enjoy the community and the presense of the Old Gods together. Sometimes we will chant and drum, sometimes we will read poetry or read short stories from Pagan mythology.
After the middle section and the activity, we have the "cakes and ale." We ritually bless the cakes (bread, apples, or actual cake), and ale (wine or mead, with a non-alcoholic alternative option.) We toast each other and the Gods, we share and eat and drink together. You are encouraged to bring your own chalice or cup if you have one. Since COVID we do not pass around a shared cup anymore.
Lastly, we bid farewell to the God and Goddess and thank them for their attendance. We dismiss the quarters from their charge, we release the circle. We sing a circle opening song together. Once the circle is open, the boundary that we established at the beginning is released and it is then acceptable to cross it, as the room has become a mundane everyday space once again.
Then people are free to go or to linger as they please. While we tidy up, dismantle the altar, clean the dishes, and pack up our supplies.
At Wiccan Circle we celebrate the 8 Sabbats.
|Major Sabbat, Cross Quarter, The Goddess is now in the underworld after following the God. The boundaries have dissolved so the non–living and the living my cross into each other’s worlds.
|Minor Sabbat, Quarter, The Wheel turns once more and the Goddess at Yule is with child. We celebrate the fact that the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half of the year.
|Major Sabbat, Cross Quarter, We are celebrating new life, an awakening and the growth of the returning light, “The Sun.”
|Minor Sabbat, Quarter, On this Sabbat we are celebrating the renewed union of the God and Goddess. This seed will bring with it growth, birth and bounty.
|Major Sabbat, Cross Quarter, At this time of conception, the Maiden Goddess has reached her fullness, she is the manifestation of growth.
|Minor Sabbat, Quarter, We celebrate the Sun God, his warmth, energy and strength. The bonfires represent the Sun at its peak.
|Major Sabbat, Cross Quarter, This is the time to celebrate the First Harvest of: fruit, grain and corn. A ritual cutting of the first grain is celebrated and items made from the grains.
|Minor Sabbat, Quarter, The Sun God’s strengh is starting to wane, nights begin to get longer and days become shorter with the air crisp and cool.
At four Moots in a year, between the months of Sabbat Celebrations, we host open topic discussions, hold Q&A sessions, and take requests about topics of interest.
Pub Moot is a social gathering for drinks and conversation. Wiccan Circle is where we celebrate the Sabbats as a community, but it is meant for beginners. Wiccan Circle is designed to introduce people to Wicca and to give you a place to experience ritual and spend time with other Wiccans in a spiritual environment; it is not meant to teach you deep secrets about witchcraft, the gods, magic or divination. The community events are also open to people who do not even consider themselves Wiccan, but follow some other compatible Pagan path.
A coven is like a close-knit family. The meetings are more frequent, the practice is more intense, the topics and the learning go deeper. In a coven, one practices and studies magic, history, mythology, and ritual. We deepen our connections with the God and Goddess and with each other.
The membership of a coven is private information. Membership in a coven is by invitation only, and involves an initiation ceremony for entrance at the first degree. When, where and how often meetings are held, and what is done at those gatherings is private.
Entrance into a coven is not offered, it has to be pursued. If someone barely knows you and invites you to join their coven, that should be considered a red-flag and you should be wary about who you are becoming involved with. The members of a coven work closely with one another and trust is required for the work to be successful.
If you are sincere in your interest in Wicca, if you are dedicated to learning the secrets of witchcraft, and you are committed to a spiritual relationship with the Wiccan God and Goddess, and if you are prepared to put in the time to come to the meetings, to help your fellow coveners and to work hard and learn the material, then joining a coven may be right for you.
In order to set your expectations correctly, there are several things you need to do.