- Category: About OLW
- Published: 26 December 2013
- Hits: 1915
Our Lady of the Woods is a coven and congregation of the Wiccan religion, which is one of the nature-oriented spiritual traditions of ancient Europe. We are based in the Los Alamos/Santa Fe area, and incorporated as a church in the State of New Mexico.
The Coven is
- Eclectic: We draw from all Wiccan traditions, though with emphasis on the traditions of the British Isles. We celebrate the Divine in both Goddess- and God-forms.
- Mixed: That is, open to both women and men; families with children are welcome.
- Ethical: We follow the Rede, "An ye harm none, do as ye will."
- Non-authoritarian: Most decisions are made by consensus.
- Egalitarian: We encourage, honor, and utilize the spiritual power, insights, and skills of both women and men.
- Open to diversity: We welcome seekers of any age (minors must have parental consent), race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
The coven meets to celebrate at the waxing and full moons and eight major sabbats. We have weekly classes and occasional social activities, retreats, and field trips. Most of our regular meetings are in Los Alamos. Our Lady of the Woods does not offer correspondence courses. Selected activities are open to the congregation, visitors, friends, and relatives.
Our program emphasizes teaching Wicca, including the magickal arts, healing the Earth, and individual growth—spiritual, mental, and emotional.
The Coven recognizes various levels of knowledge and experience:
- Dedicants, who have taken the introductory classes and are seriously exploring Wicca as their potential spiritual path, but have no long-term commitment;
- Initiates, who have been studying Wicca at least a year and a day, learned the basic skills of a priest/ess, made a commitment to Wicca and the coven, and experienced a spiritual awakening or transformative revelation;
- Elders, who have followed the Wiccan path for at least 2 to 3 years and mastered a wide range of magickal skills; and
- High Priest/esses, who have completed training in religious leadership, shown basic capabilities in five areas, and been ordained.
- Initiates may also choose a "magickal specialty" such as healing, divination, ritual or others, and earn a Mistress-of-Arts or Master-of-Arts title in that field.
Introductory classes are open to any sincerely interested person. The series, called Wicca 101, meets weekly for a period of 6–8 weeks. Wicca 101s are offered at the discretion of the coven. Advanced classes are open to Dedicants and more experienced students, though sometimes visitors are allowed with permission. Independent study and instruction from outside sources are always encouraged as well.
In addition to the coven, Our Lady of the Woods also serves a congregation, made up of individuals from the community who are pagan or Wiccan, who agree to follow the Wiccan Rede, and who may participate in public circles and classes as they wish without committing to formal study toward priest/ess.
Generally the Congregation meets about 12 to 16 times per year, including rituals at four sabbats, a monthly dinner out, and other special events such as drumming circles and divination nights. We are open to suggestions for additional events. The members of the Congregation are encouraged to provide ideas and to help create the programs to the level they feel comfortable. Sabbat rituals are held on Sundays nearest the sabbat.
Anyone who is interested in attending an open event listed on the calendar on this site is welcome. One does not need to join the congregation in order to attend or be an occasional visitor. However, membership in the Congregation is generally a prerequisite to applying for membership in the Coven.