A coven or covan is a gathering of witches. Due to the word's association with witches, a gathering of Wiccans, followers of the witchcraft-based neopagan religion of Wicca, is also described as a coven. The word was originally a late medieval Scots word (circa 1500) meaning a gathering of any kind, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. It derives from the Latin root word convenire meaning to come together or to gather, which also gave rise to the English word convene. The first recorded use of it being applied to witches comes much later, from 1662 in the witch-trial of Isobel Gowdie, which describes a coven of 13
Offline Covens: these are groups that meet in person to worship. Each group is structured differently, but the common way is a minimum of 13 members, consisting of two leaders; a High Priest and High Priestess, with a group of elder members to act as the council. The councils number can vary depending on the size of the group. Council members are responsible for teaching and advising members on various topics from their spiritual path to personal matters. Many covens also only accept members over the age of 18, unless it is a teen or teaching coven, specifically for legal reasons. Some covens are gendered, some practice skyclad aka naked, some only meet for Sabbats aka holidays, Esbats aka full moons, just teach, or expect you to learn on your own. Each is unique, never feel like the first one you visit is yours forever, be polite, be observant, and seek out the one that makes you feel like family.
Online Covens: for some, the internet can provide virtual covens where fellow witches can connect through various means. Online covens can be rather appealing, especially for those still hiding their faith, or those in rural areas. These can provide a space to chat with like minded individuals of your faith, while still practicing solitary. The groups on Spells of Magic provide such experiences, each with their own unique spin. Spell Casters is an open coven where everyone is equal, while a coven like Black Cross has a ranked system of leaders, council, and members.
How To Find A Coven: luckily the internet provides modern witches with many ways to find a local group. Online you have Spells of Magic, but for offline you can Google "local coven" and your specific area, or go to witchvox.com which has a list of not only covens, but local occult shops. If you are lucky to have a metaphysical store in your area, you can always ask there if they know of any covens or community events. Finally, there is Pagan Pride, a movement founded in the late 90s as a harvest festival to being witches into the community and out of "the broom closet."
Word of Wisdom: always be cautious, you will meet amazing people in the community, but you can also meet scammers or individuals with less than reputable intentions. Always listen to your inner voice. If someone says or does something you are not comfortable with, leave. While it is rare, it does happen. Your path is your own, some covens might have unique practices to their group, such as skyclad, if you are not comfortable, walk away. If they press you, claiming you can only practice naked, this is untrue, what feels right to you is what is right, anyone saying otherwise is deceitful, and possibly dangerous.