The thing that continues to surprise me though is exactly how tight these family bonds become, and why they become so tight. Is it because of the amount of time you spend sharing stories with a close group of people? Does the strong magick you practice together fuse together parts of your spirits? Or does the coven simply take on a tribe-like mentality, natural within groups where members rely heavily on one another? I think its actually a mixture of all of the above. Its what forms the group's egregore, or collective energy. In our tradition, egregore is an extremely important concept, one that I stressed the importance of even more once I took the position of HP within my own coven. We now regard this force almost as if it were its own being unto itself. And I do think it is. This force is both comforting and caring, yet will "show its teeth" in an almost frightening way when the coven is threatened.
Recent upsets within the personal lives of a couple of our members have really shown that Dark Mother aspect of our egregore and our own personalities. When someone is harassed, the shields go up and the swords are readied. If someone is financially suffering, we prepare to do what is necessary to support them through it. Everyone lends a hand. Its actually fascinating to see how a group will rise up in the defense of someone they care about. In our case, when you poke one of us, we all bleed. Could that be a weakness? Maybe. Until we all rise up and poke BACK.
Assisting in the co-leadership of a coven is an extremely difficult and rewarding experience. You immediately become responsible for a whole group of people, a whole group of adult people with their own needs and specific abilities. I have to be ready for phone calls at 3am or knocks on my door hours before an event to lend a tissue. I have to be ready to be stern when someone isn't following up on their duties (which thankfully is very rare with us). And most of all, I have to morph myself into whatever type of leader, friend, and covenmate that is needed for any given situation. Its almost shamanic in a way, the constant transformation that is required for everyone to move along.
Amidst the struggles and learning processes, there is also deep, deep joy. In particular, one of our 3rd degree initiates is having a baby this fall. I'm a young gay man working for a busy nonprofit. It is not very likely that I will fall into a parenting situation anytime soon, if ever. But with baby Lily on the way, I get to be an uncle. I get to be there when she's born and bless her with all the power available to me by the gods. I get to support her homecoming with shiny toys for her and mom. And in return, I get the sacred privilege of being part of the life of a brand new magickal person in the world. I could not possibly be more excited. I think some kids are just meant to be in this world and the universe won't take no for an answer..this is one of those kids.
This is all my long-winded way of saying that I'm so proud of my coven and of The Firefly House in general for our joyous growth over the past few years. Each year more initiates join the fold and have their lives changed. Each year the bonds with my brothers and sisters grow even thicker than the blood of the family that birthed me. It is a beautiful thing when a group of people can change the world, in ways both small and large. There is deep power there. With what we have now, we can heal any wound, blast through any obstacle, and rise above any transgressor. This to me is what covens have the true potential to become. Its hard work and it means sacrifice. I would literally take a bullet for anyone in my clan. This commitment means taking risks for yourself and on behalf of others.
For me, it has been a risk well worth taking.