Coven Caelestes Feles
Celtic & Germanic Wicca
Sacred Order of the Black Forest
Sacred Order of the Black Forest
Our Mission: Coven Caelestes Feles is a member coven of the Clan of the American Eagle, who trains clergy in the Sacred Order of the Black Forest tradition of Wicca, founded by Lady Silver Ravenwolf. Black Forest has clans and covens across North America and Europe with over 400 members, and a 20+ year history, with Pagan licensed clergy in The State of Texas and other U.S. states. We welcome all who earnestly seek to grow in connection to the Goddess and God through the Wiccan path, and are willing to dedicate to a three-to-five year, intensive study program with the goal of achieving licensed clergy status in Texas (or your state as local state law allows).
Black Forest is composed of a very diverse membership; women and men from all backgrounds, races, orientation, you name it! Black Forest, Clan of the American Eagle and Coven Caelestes Feles never, ever discriminates based on any these factors and has a zero-tolerance policy towards any such discrimination or harassment behavior. Please realize and understand that we are a very solid, and family oriented group. This means that we must be very careful about who becomes a Black Forest dedicant. We must take certain precautions, such as background checks, for that chain to remain a strong, safe environment for our members, and bring together those who are of like mind where our ways of practice are concerned.
You must be 18 to dedicate, and our members represent every age group, from 18 to seniors.
Our coven meets with Clan of the American Eagle, usually in Deer Park, TX, every other Thursday at 7PM for classes during the regular school year (roughly Sept-June) on subjects ranging from Stonehenge to defensive magick, depending on the interest of the person teaching. Students research and present a 45-60 minute class on what interests them relative to our courses of study and practice. As a part of the clergy program you will eventually teach classes. Students may attend by telephone and/or Skype if circumstances prevent attendance in person. All handouts are posted on our members-only website for Coven students to study, with an archive that goes back to 2007.
This means that, while the Coven is in Seabrook, travel to classes and rituals around the Houston area will be required.
We have open circle sabbats about eight times per year, based on the Wiccan holiday celebrations (above). Open circles allow members to bring family and other guests to participate in the ritual, celebration party, or both. As a part of the clergy program you will eventually write and perform sabbat rituals.
There will also occasionally be special meetings, workshops, and life-event rituals that members are expected to attend and support. Finally, there are annual meetings that require travel out of state.
This is truly a working/learning organization with a clergy seminary training program. All Dedicants, regardless of experience, must complete ten written lessons that must be turned in routinely, usually within three months per lesson, over a three+ year time period. The biggest reason people are "former BFC" members is that they did not want to complete the work. You don't get something for nothing - the lessons are for a reason. You will learn a tremendous amount of information.
At completion of the program you are eligible for licensed clergy status in Texas.
We have resources from 400+ people, and about a third of them are third degree witches with a minimum of four years study behind them. This program includes a lot of memorization and a lot of oral recitation for altar dedications, quarter calls, circle cast, rituals, etc.
When completed, you will have, at the minimum, a working knowledge of Wiccan theology, clan and coven organization and administration, the knowledge and legal license to perform handfastings, wiccanings, and funerals, over ten magickal disciplines, including high magick specialties, and practical application of all of these in a coven setting.
Black Forest has set a high standard of religious system and magickal training, which was created by Lady Silver RavenWolf. Black Forest is a life-long commitment, so in order to be Black Forest one must live the ways of Black Forest.
The seminary program takes three years and three days at a minimum to complete successfully. Subsequent facilitator and practical training requires up to an additional two years. It's reasonable to expect to train for about five years.
The lessons are intensive, requiring a great deal of study, research, and writing. Each lesson, in addition to classes and holiday rituals which you will create, teach and/or perform, must be completed within three months.
You must be willing and able to travel to attend Sabbats, Esbats, and study groups. As mentioned, most events are in Deer Park, but some take place at locations around the greater Houston area.
First, we will schedule a meeting in a restaurant or similar public place to discuss your interest and if Black Forest is a good match for your goals. Then you may be invited to attend open circle classes and/or holiday celebrations to help you decide if Coven Caelestes Feles - Clan of the American Eagle - Black Forest is right for you.
After a few visits, you may decide to "dedicate" to Black Forest, which is a life-long dedication to our Wiccan tradition or, you may decide that you haven't found the right fit, and we will part ways in love and light.
If you dedicate to Black Forest, you will become a member of Coven Caelestes Feles and begin seminary training.
The dues are $25 per year ALL year and due by November 1. Lessons are $20 for all lessons payable on receipt of individual lessons. We use the dues to offset travel expenses for annual out-of-state meetings, supplies, and other expenses that benefit the Coven and Clan.
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Human history has created some wild ideas that still persist about witchcraft, and witches in general. One extreme imagines dark, secret rituals with sinister intent, curses being cast on the unwary designed to bring about their undoing. The opposite extreme draws witches as caricatures, with images of children dressed in their pointed hats enjoying candy; of cutouts of witches surrounded by broomsticks, pumpkins, and dry leaves. This creates a problem in trying to understand witchcraft as a spiritual path. The subject may become either too frightening or too silly to consider. You may be surprised to discover that witchcraft is often quite a bit more sophisticated and thoughtful than expected.
(This article has been edited for this site; to read the complete article with citations and sources: click here)
For the first time in hundreds of years witchcraft is in the mainstream and in a positive light, offering a completely viable, and increasingly respected spiritual practice. Still, a person seeking the spiritual path that offers them their best connection to the Divine and a like-minded spiritual family may easily become overwhelmed by the vastness and complexity of, often contradictory, information that is available. This might seem especially so regarding Wicca, whose primary, mainstream presence lives online and in bookstores.
This article offers some general information, positive comparisons, and ideas that anyone might consider in their search for the path that's right for them. The first consideration, which dictates the spirit of this article, is that the stark contrasts one may find between the objective and subjective realities make it difficult to define any spiritual path or religion. Definitions can either facilitate or impede understanding. A helpful definition is one that is not overly simplistic, and one that mentions important distinctions as well as similarities between familiar and unfamiliar terms where they exist.
For example, witchcraft is generally thought to be polytheistic, but there are witches who are monotheists. The wonderful thing about that fact is that it creates very little division in witches' fellowship, and it's in that vein that this article is offered; that your analysis of witchcraft might be based on a fair assessment of the phenomenon as a whole.
With regard to comparisons made here, this article offers treatment to the most prevalent experiences that a seeker might encounter in the United States; specifically, it addresses our similarities and differences with Christianity, as well as the uninformed association of witchcraft with Satanism.
Witches are people who revere, usually, both the God and the Goddess. They seek a more friendly relationship with their natural environment, endeavoring to recognize the sacredness of all of nature. Witches, further, seek to utilize cosmic or psychic forces to create positive change. To this end, the practice of witchcraft involves knowledge and skill in appropriating the rituals that are believed to harness and focus these energies. Seeing themselves in stark contrast to other occult religions such as Satanism, witches seek to work with these forces in order to enhance their own experience of life and to promote healing and community.
Do these rituals work? Is this even the important question to ask? What could possibly be wrong with such a seemingly benevolent religion? Witchcraft has something to say about who we are as humans, about what our relationship to our fellow humans is and what our relationship to the rest of the universe ought to be, and about how we can relate to the divine. You may be surprised to learn of the comparisons and contrasts that can be drawn from witchcraft and your experience with other religions.
When one begins to investigate the phenomenon of modern witchcraft, it does not take long to notice a range of terms associated with the practice: The Craft, Wicca, paganism, Neo-Paganism, and so on. This summary of certain distinctions between the terms Wicca, witchcraft, and Neo-Paganism may be helpful.
Neo-Paganism is the broadest category, encompassing a wide range of groups "that try to reconstruct ancient religious systems — such as the Norse, Celtic, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian religions — as well as various obscure, forgotten, and neglected occult teachings from around the world." The prefix "Neo" in Neo-Paganism usually indicates an emphasis on one's practice in its contemporary manifestation while still hinting that it is perhaps a revival of, or connected to, something ancient.
Further, witchcraft is distinguished from Wicca (with Wicca being the narrowest category) along the lines of how closely one follows the specific teachings and practices of the English Wiccan Gerald Gardner, who more or less gave the term Wica (with one c) to his practice.
There may be subtle distinctions that some prefer to maintain when opting for one term over another, but for the most part these terms are used interchangeably. The term witchcraft is certainly the most familiar within and without the practice, but it is also the term that carries with it the most unwanted baggage. It often has sinister or evil connotations, and for those reasons many within the craft prefer the term Wicca (for the practice) and Wiccan (for the practitioner).
As Americans, this is an important point to remember. We cherish our heritage of religious freedom, but in their enthusiasm to refute the beliefs of witchcraft, some have overstated the case. Historically, it may rightly be claimed that the United States was founded on the ethical concept of natural law (where morality is grounded in the nature of the creator God), but they wrongly conclude that witches do not have constitutional rights, since witches reject the traditional Christian notion of the creator God. Without getting into the tricky issue of how and whether religion should interact with government or public life, we should recognize that, within the limits of law, all Americans have the right to exercise their own religion in accordance with the dictates of their conscience.
A worldview is the sum total of one's view of the nature of reality. Everyone has a worldview even if only a few reflect on their own. One's worldview encompasses one's views of how reality is composed, how it works, and how we as humans fit in or relate to our universe. It can entail one's views about the purpose of life and the origin and destiny of us all.
Naturalism. Starting at the broadest level and working down, it is fair to say that the worldview of witchcraft is naturalism. Naturalism is the view that there is no transcendent reality such as God that can intervene in the natural world. Naturalism maintains that all of reality is interrelated and operates according to "laws." Other expressions of naturalism would include materialism, which sees all of reality as being made up of matter that operates according to material laws.
Witchcraft, though an expression of naturalism, is not materialism. Witches recognize that reality extends beyond the realm of the material. This is sometimes confusing. A worldview can be naturalistic even if it accepts the reality of an immaterial realm; indeed, even acknowledging the existence of gods and goddesses does not preclude a worldview from being naturalistic. What stands in stark contrast to naturalism is a worldview that says that the natural realm (whether material, immaterial, or both) is the creation of a transcendent God. This is supernaturalism, which witchcraft is not.
Occultism. Sharpening the focus, not only can we say that witchcraft is a worldview of naturalism, it is also a worldview of occultism. The term occult is from the Latin occultus meaning "hidden," or "secret." The category covers a wide range of beliefs and practices that are characterized by two main points that are often thought to be "hidden" from the average person. First, the occult maintains that there is force or energy into which one can tap or with which one can negotiate to do one's own bidding. The familiar term spell is applied to the technique of harnessing and focusing this power. The late witchcraft practitioner Scott Cunningham explains, "The spell is simply a ritual in which various tools are purposefully used, the goal is fully stated (in words, pictures or within the mind), and energy is moved to bring about the needed result." Exactly what is the nature of this force or energy, according to the occultist, and what is the best way to work with it, is what makes some of the main differences between the major occult groups such as shamanism, witchcraft, Satanism, New Age, and others.
The occult also maintains that human beings are divine. The practice of the occult arts is thus an endeavor to actualize one's own divinity. As witchcraft practitioner Margot Adler claims, "A spiritual path that is not stagnant ultimately leads one to the understanding of one's own divine nature. Thou art Goddess. Thou are God. Divinity is imminent in all Nature. It is as much within you as without."
Humanism. Witchcraft sees itself as a celebration of all life. This celebration involves the denial that there is anything wrong with the human race. The practicing witch Starhawk rejoices that "we can open new eyes and see that there is nothing to be saved from, no struggle of life against the universe, no God outside the world to be feared and obeyed". Pagan Elder Donald Frew of the Covenant of the Goddess explains, "How can we achieve salvation, then? We're not even trying to. We don't understand what there is to be saved from. The idea of salvation presupposes a fall of some kind, a fundamental flaw in Creation as it exists today. Witches look at the world [around] us and see wonder, we see mystery."
Notice that the term practice is often used with the term witchcraft. What this tells us is that, for many, witchcraft is as much what someone does as it is what someone believes. While it is certainly true that what one does is invariably a product of what one believes, for witchcraft the emphasis is on what the practice can do to enhance one's own well-being as well as the well-being of others. Witches do not simply adhere to a list of dogmas; indeed, in many ways witches like to think that they eschew dogmas. As Adler describes it, "If you go far enough back, all our ancestors practiced religions that had neither creeds nor dogmas, neither prophets nor holy books. These religions were based on the celebrations of the seasonal cycles of nature. They were based on what people did, as opposed to what people believed. It is these polytheistic religions of imminence that are being revived and re-created by Neo-Pagans today."
A look through witchcraft material at the local bookstore will reveal that much of it deals with various rituals and activities that can be perfected in order to manipulate and utilize this cosmic or psychic force to do one's bidding. One will find chapters on the various items of clothing to wear (robes, jewelry, horned helmet, working naked "skyclad"); the tools to use (candles, herbs, tarot cards, talismans, fetishes); and rituals to perform (spells, incantations, chanting, music, dancing)—all of which enables the practitioner to become open to these forces (where they exist outside) or to conjure up these forces (where they originate from within). One will learn how to interpret dreams, meditate, have out-of-body experiences, speak with the dead, heal, and read auras. One can seek to develop one's own powers within the context of other witches (in a coven) or alone (in solitary practice). There are no obligations to follow any previously prescribed method. If what others have done before works, that is fine. If one sees the need to change the ritual or tools to get better results, then that is fine as well. All of these activities are designed to do two things: to enhance the well-being of one's self or those around him or her, and to actualize one's own divinity.
Witchcraft Is Not Satanism
It might be surprising to some to learn that witchcraft is not Satanism. The primary difference is that Satan and/or any concept of "the devil" simply do not exist in our theology, thus there could hardly exist a relationship. Further, we consider the Satan/devil concepts to be Judeo-Christian inventions having nothing whatsoever to do with witchcraft.
Not only do witchcraft and Satanism have different histories, they also have, at a certain level, different views of the world and one's place in it. I add the qualification "at a certain level" because there is a shared occult perspective between witchcraft and Satanism. Satanism and witchcraft are both occult religions; because of this, they both see reality as entirely natural. There is no transcendent God in the truest sense of the term. Further, they both see all of reality, material and immaterial, as interconnected and working according to "laws" that can be mastered in such a way as to make not only material but also immaterial reality work according to one's own bidding. There is a sense in which both Satanism and witchcraft deny that mankind is in any need of salvation.
These similarities are not trivial, but neither are the differences. Statistically, criminal activity that can be associated with occultism is usually associated with some form of Satanism (usually some form of self-styled Satanism). As a matter of principle and practice, witchcraft lives by the creed, "An' it harm none, do what you will."
Satanism is more often associated with an attitude of self-aggrandizement rather than the sense of community that characterizes most witchcraft. Further, Satanism and witchcraft differ somewhat in their respective views of nature and humanity. As researchers Shelley Rabinovitch and James Lewis observe, "To the neo-Pagan practitioner, nature is viewed as somewhere on a scale from benign to overtly positive, if not outright friendly toward humanity. The ideal in most neo-Pagan practice is to become as one with the natural world — to live in harmony with nature. In contrast, neo-Satanists view the natural world as somewhere between benign and openly hostile to humans."
Some witches suggest that the practice of witchcraft can be compatible with Christianity, but virtually everyone realizes that witchcraft is not Christianity. The reason for pointing out that witchcraft is not Christianity is to try to summarize exactly where witchcraft and Christianity compare and contrast in their respective worldviews. Before I outline those areas of contrast, let me acknowledge those areas where witches and Christians might share common concerns.
First, because of our view of the nature of the world, witches often have a sense of environmental concern. Now, the motivations of witches and Christians are widely disparate — witches are environmentally conscientious because of their view that the Earth is sacred, whereas Christians are compelled to be environmentally conscientious as a matter of stewardship of the creation before the Creator — but witches can agree with Christians that there is a duty to be environmentally responsible. How that environmental responsibility translates into public policy and individual actions may vary along the political and personal spectrum; nevertheless, we can all agree that there is an environmental responsibility that each of us share.
Second, witches tend to have a conscientious sense of global concerns. Again, exactly how these concerns translate into public policy and individual actions may vary along the political and personal spectrum, but our common interests stem from the fact that we are all human beings living on the same planet.
Third, witches tend to be benevolently disposed toward their fellow human beings. The stereotype of witches being people with sinister intent wielding spells of black magic needs to be abandoned. We share with Christians in their concern for the well being of others though we will obviously disagree as to what exactly constitutes that well being.
Christianity is monotheistic. Christianity claims that there is a God and no one of us is He. Witchcraft claims the opposite: "We are of the nature of the Gods, and a fully realized man or woman is a channel for that divinity, a manifestation of the God [and] the Goddess." Adler favorably quotes historian James Breasted who said, "Monotheism is but imperialism in religion." In place of the strict monotheism of Christianity, witchcraft not only deifies the self, but it ostensibly reveres the pagan God and Goddess.
Christianity is exclusivistic. Christians adhere to Jesus' words in The Bible, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." Contrast that with what Adler states: "The belief that there is one word, one truth, one path to the light, makes it easy to destroy ideas, institutions, and human beings when your own spiritual path is not necessarily mine."
Christianity is theologically authoritarian. Usually this term authoritarian has negative associations, but if authoritarian means "recognizing authority" then Christianity certainly does that. Christians recognize that not only has their God revealed Himself through the things He has made, but He has also revealed Himself finally and fully through Jesus Christ and the Bible. In contrast, Frew says, "To grant a traditional text such authority would be to say that this is it, the truth for all time. But we are a nature religion, and a fundamental truth of nature is that everything changes."
Christianity recognizes everyone's need for salvation. Christianity centers on the belief that the most important message they have to give to the world is the gospel of Jesus Christ; that without the sacrifice of Christ to wash away humanity's sins and reconcile creation to creator, there is no hope in the world to come. In witchcraft there is absolutely no concept of any human fall from divine grace necessitating reconciliation, much less salvation. Witchcraft teaches that our destiny is to return again to this world through reincarnation. Cunningham comments, "While reincarnation isn't an exclusive Wiccan concept, it is happily embraced by most Wiccans because it answers many questions about daily life and offers explanations for more mystical phenomena such as death, birth and karma." Frew expounds, "While many of us believe in reincarnation, we do not seek to escape the wheel of rebirth. We can't imagine anything more wonderful than to come back to this bounteous and beautiful Earth."
Conclusions are yours alone to draw; and that effort is exactly what witchcraft and this witch encourages you to undertake. Socrates is quoted as saying, "The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being." A life worth living, both physically and spiritually, full of love and light, is our deepest wish for all beings of all paths.
Coven Caelestes Feles clergy offer a wide range of spiritual and life-event services.
Select items below for information on these services. If you would like consultation for other needs, or guidance on the Wiccan path, please contact us using the form on the Contact page to discuss details and your specific needs.
Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.
A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing.
Divination, as the name indicates, is to ask Divinty to graciously offer guidance such as during times of difficulty or confusion. It is not a parlor trick. The most important element in any divination effort is you, the querent. If you enter the reading with serious intentions, and honest, loving motives, then you will get insights and information of these high qualities. To attempt divination with anything less would be a unsuccessful; so please, consider carefully what you're willing to bring to a session before making such a request.
Every witch in our Coven and Clan specializes in a preferred medium of divination; in truth the medium chooses the witch. For that reason, ask for the method that speaks most to you, whether Tarot, tea leaves, etc. and we will pair you with the our best specialist in that medium.
One of the rituals that most Witches and Pagans deal with at some time in their lives is personal and/or house or apartment blessing. Negative energy is everywhere, along with positive energy. But to ensure the peacefulness of your self and your home, and to be kept safe from spiritual attacks, one must know the proper way of cleansing theirselves and their personal space. Just as our spirits need a nice clean body to reside in, we, as people, need the comfort of knowing our homes are peaceful without negative entities or bad spirits.
What is hypnosis?
Hypnopsis is a trance state characterized where the unconscious mind is active. It's not really sleep because you are alert the whole time. It is frequently compared to daydreaming or when you arrive at your distination but don't remember driving there. You are fully conscious, but you tune out most of the stimuli around you. You focus intently on the subject at hand, to the near exclusion of any other thought.
This state of focus can be utilized very effectively to enhance positive behaviors that you're working on (programming), to discourage negative behaviors that you're working to minimize or remove (deprogramming), and to learn about your past, whether in this lifetime or previous ones.
Caelestes Feles works with several certified and licensed hypno-therapists who can assist you with past-life regression, and programming/deprogramming.
Select items below for information on these services. If you would like consultation for other needs, or guidance on the Wiccan path, please contact us using the form on the Contact page to discuss details and your specific needs.
A wiccaning or saining ritual welcomes a newborn into the "world family," providing spiritual protection for the infant as he or she grows in the material world. A wiccaning ceremony can be done soon after the child is born or can occur later in the year. Sometimes when parents join the Craft they ask the high priest or priestess to perform a wiccaning ceremony for children anywhere from birth to ten years old.
Handfasting is an ancient tradition which involves binding the hands of the couple with ribbon or cord in public ceremony to symbolize marriage vows. The betrothed couple may decide to vow for a specified period of time, for a lifetime, or for many lifetimes. Whatever the case, handfastings are a beautiful celebration of life for couples, families and friends.
Black Forest clergy are licensed clergy in the State of Texas and can perform legal marriages, or a private handfasting ceremony without legal filing such as you may choose.
In the Great Cycle and Mystery of the Universe, everything is born, lives, and dies to be born again into the stream of life. We join together to say farewell to our loved one and send them on their journey in love and light, into the care of the Goddess until it is their time to join us once again. Though the sadness be great, we are comforted in this celebration of life and look forward with joy to meeting our beloved again. Caelestes Feles would be honored to facilitate the spiritual aspects of celebrating life and saying goodbye in this lifetime.
Some of our clergy and members prefer to keep their religious affiliation private and do not wish to be photographed, videoed, or posted online in any way. Please let us know about your plans on this issue to discuss possibilities and a solution.
Spiritual services are $40 per hour, including travel time if involved.
Life-event services entail a $150 hearthstone fee for non-Black Forest clients. This fee covers the High Priestess and Priest, other clergy as required, and the use of ritual items, if not provided by the clients. The fee may vary depending on any special circumstances. Any travel expense would also be the clients' responsibility, and should be arranged and paid for in advance.
We are happy to work with clergy of other faiths to serve in your interfaith ceremony. There are some special considerations that we will discuss in order to create a harmonious and successful ceremony.
Here are some of the most common questions and answers about Caelestes Feles and Black Forest Clan. Please contact us using the form on the Contact page if you have further questions.
What's a clan versus a coven?
A clan is a group of covens in the Black Forest organizational structure. Under specific circumstances, a coven becomes elevated to clan status, and as its members found their own Black Forest covens, the new covens remain members of the original clan.
What is Coven Caelestes Feles versus Clan of the American Eagle versus the Sacred Order of Blackforest?
Coven Caelestes Feles is a member coven of the clan of covens in Clan of the American Eagle. Clan of the American Eagle is a member clan of the Sacred Order of the Black Forest, the umbrella clan founded by Lady Silver RavenWolf that encompasses all other clans in Black Forest. A founding clan is referred to as a tradition only after the founder passes through the veil. Since Lady Silver is still with us, we are not yet referred to as a tradition. Because Black Forest has 42 clans and hundreds of members, it is often referred to as a tradition, but that is not traditionally accurate.
What do covens and clans do?
In our structure, the seminary study program is facilitated through your coven, including study groups and occasional esbat rituals. We all join together with the Clan of the American Eagle for all classes, holiday celebrations, life-event services, travel, etc. There is some variation from clan to clan in Black Forest; for example some clans only gather once or twice a year and classes, holidays, etc. take place within its covens.
I've heard rumors that the Black Forest (BFC) is a stuffy family. Is this true?
Yes, if you consider a family oriented Tradition stuffy. We work robed. We do not perform the physical Great Rite. We do not advocate drugs within a ritual circle or while you work magick. What you do on your own time is your business, but don't bring it to circle. We are very PR conscious. We have to be. The whole magickal community is looking at you and your behavior.
Who is Lady Silver RavenWolf?
Lady Silver is a nationally recognized leader and elder of Wicca, and via her writing has been instrumental in guiding the future of one of the fastest-growing faiths in America today. The author of 17 books, she has been interviewed by The New York Times, Newsweek Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal among others.
What if I'm engaged or married to someone of a different religion?
We fully support the spiritual paths of all individuals and will gladly cooperate with clergy of other faiths to make any life-event ceremony a positive and beautiful experience. Ceremonies for families of mixed faiths may entail special considerations and planning, so please let us know about this and any other special considerations as soon as possible to ensure a seamless spiritual experience for everyone.
What is a wiccaning ceremony like?
Like all life-event ceremonies, the altar and quarters setup will be provided, if you don't have ritual items that you want used, and the clergy alone will cast the sacred space and circle. Then guests enter and are seated outside the circle, followed by the participants, who enter through a "doorway" opened and then closed by clergy. The baby is blessed, officially named, and dedicated to the Goddess and God (or Divinity within our Celtic and Germanic pantheon of your choosing). Participant and guests then exit, and clergy will close the quarters, circle and properly store ritual items.
How much does a wiccaning ceremony cost?
Life-event service entails a $150 hearthstone fee for non-Black Forest clients. This fee covers the High Priestess and Priest, other clergy as required, and the use of ritual items, if not provided by the clients. The fee may vary depending on any special circumstances. Any travel expense would also be the clients' responsibility, and should be arranged and paid for in advance.
How do I become a member?
First, we will schedule a meeting in a restaurant or similar public place to discuss your interest and that Black Forest is a good match for your goals. Then you may be invited to attend open circle holiday celebrations, and open classes to help you decide if Clan of the American Eagle is right for you. After a few visits, you may decide to "dedicate" to Black Forest, which is a life-long dedication to our Wiccan tradition; or, you may decide that you haven't found the right fit, and we part ways in love and light. If you dedicate to Black Forest, you will become a member of one of our covens and begin seminary training.
What are my options in dedicating to the BFC Clan if there are no facilitators in my area?
We have a Skype option for those who do not have access to a BFC Facilitator in their region. BFC also has cyber covens. However, the student must be prepared to travel on occasion. Dedication and Initiations must be performed in person. The Grand Coven Meeting and other possible Coven gatherings also require the physical attendance of a student.
Does the Black Forest family currently have witches who have switched traditions?
Yes, we have several. Partly due to the fact that we are less constrictive on your personal time and energies than other Traditions, and partly because... well... who knows? These individuals must serve a two year probationary period before their next elevation in the BFC and must complete the required lessons.
How do I choose a coven?
Usually, you become a member of the coven that you first make contact with. Since the entire clan carries out most functions together as a whole group, considerations such as location may not be a factor.
Do I have to enter the study program to become a member?
Yes. Black Forest and its clans and covens were founded to train clergy. We can point you to resources that might help you find a non-teaching coven if that's your preference, just ask us.
I want to know why the Black Forest is so selective. Doesn't everyone deserve initiation?
Even if we wanted to, Black Forest could not be for everyone because everyone is different, seeking various levels of information, training, and socialization. Black Forest is what each of us puts into it, representing years of hard work by everyone.
Is there communication between the members on a national scale?
Yes. Many of our members now communicate with each other on-line, as well as more conventional methods of communication. Lady Silver encourages communication between covens, clans and individuals. Every four years the Grand Coven convenes just outside Harrisburg, PA. This is a gathering of all the BFC members from around the world. Yes, the world. We have covens in multiple countries. There is a facilitators' website for all facilitators to share information, lessons, and discussions.
What is the curriculum like?
This is truly a working/learning organization. It is a clergy seminary training program. There are ten written lessons that must be turned in routinely, usually within three months, over a three+ year time period. The biggest reason people are "former BFC" members is that they did not want to complete the work. You don't get something for nothing - the lessons are for a reason. You will learn a tremendous amount of information. We have resources from 400+ people, and about a third of them are third degree witches with a minimum of four years study behind them. This program includes a lot of memorization and a lot of oral recitation for altar dedications, quarter calls, circle cast, rituals, etc.
Will there be training other than the 13 BFC lessons?
Yes. We urge Facilitators to try to bring in as much extra-curricular training as they can. American Eagle holds training classes twice a month in Deer Park or by Skype. We also offer training in altar tool cleansing and dedication, quarter calls, circle cast, and altar dedications. Our online archive contains the handouts from lessons and rituals as well as various magickal postings since 2007. This is only available to BFC members.
What is the ultimate goal of the study program?
At completion of the program you are eligible for licensed clergy status in Texas. BFC is pagan licensed clergy in Texas, and you will have, at the minimum, a working knowledge of Wiccan theology, clan and coven organization and administration, the knowledge and legal license to perform handfastings, wiccanings, and funerals, over ten magickal disciplines, including high magick specialties, and practical application of all of these in a coven setting.
How much does the study program cost?
The dues are $25 per year ALL year and due by November 1. Lessons are $20 for all lessons payable on receipt of individual lessons. We use the dues to offset travel expenses for annual out-of-state meetings, supplies, and other expenses that benefit the Clan.
Will the BFC give me my tools as gifts at my initiation?
No. At one time it was expected that the Coven give initiates their tools, however, times have changed. We feel that part of your training involves collecting your own tools. You will need your tools by your second initiation. You will need a black robe during your dedication year.