Fraudulent and unethical groups

Sadly, there are groups that are unethical and/or fraudulent.

We would strongly advise against joining any group that exhibits two or more of the following behaviours:

  • Charges money for training or initiation. [1]
  • Claims that sexual intercourse is required as part of any ritual or initiation (it can be part of the third degree initiation, but it is optional). It is never part of the first or second degree initiation.
  • Claims that it is completely unproblematic for a senior member of the coven (i.e. high priestess or high priest) to enter into a sexual relationship with a junior member of the coven (i.e. dedicant, neophyte, or initiate). [2]
  • Tries to make you think that engaging in sexual relationships with other members of the coven is part of Craft practice and/or a requirement (except the above-mentioned consensual practice between third degree couples, and in private).
  • Dismisses large swathes of legitimate members of the initiatory Craft as “not proper witches”. [3]
  • Tries to limit social contact between coveners outside of meetings.
  • Tries to limit your social contact with other Wiccans. [4]
  • Tries to tell you not to read certain books. [5]
  • Peremptorily dismisses any concerns you have about something that makes you uncomfortable, e.g. by calling you a prude.
  • Tries to prevent you from reading widely and critically about Wicca.
  • Dismisses and belittles anyone who disagrees with them.
  • Has members who strike you as unduly dominated by the leaders.
  • Works entirely from one particular person’s teachings and does not allow deviation from those principles or allow people to question them.
  • Makes it difficult to leave the group and claims you won’t find another group if you do leave.
  • Refuses to provide verification that they are what they say they are; can’t seem to keep their story straight.


[1] It is ethical to ask members to contribute to costs for incense, candles, and photocopying/printing. It is usual to ask members to bring food to share.

[2] This is not a problem if a senior member of the coven brings in their pre-existing partner. It is to be hoped that their pre-existing relationship will outweigh any inequality in the circle. If a new relationship starts between a senior member and a junior member, it may be advisable for one or other of the parties to take some time out for a while.

[3] The vast majority of initiated Wiccans will tell you that non-initiated or self-initiated Wiccans are not members of initiatory Wicca. Whether or not the uninitiated can call themselves Wiccans is widely debated. The vast majority of Wiccans would uphold the right of anyone to call themselves a witch, and respect other initiatory traditions such as Anderson Feri.

[4] Pretty much every HPs or HP would prefer their first degree coveners to ask their advice (and in some cases, permission) before circling with another group. This is partly for your own safety, and partly to keep you focused on one magical system.  However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with socialising with other groups, and if someone tried to prevent that, it would certainly be a red flag.

[5] It is ethical to advise members not to read chapters in books which reveal details of initiations, as most people want the content of initiations to be a surprise.

Further reading

The New Right

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