Law is an aspect of society and culture. 19th century Craft Law (from which our original Laws were derived) was an extensive list of do’s and don’ts that reflected back into the “Burning Times.” Each one was valid for its time. Most Laws were established to specify the authority of the Priesthood, interaction of the group, and how the Coven would operate. Some were established as means of survival within a decidedly hostile world. Formed in 2000, JaguarMoon’s original Laws were taken directly from ShadowMoon, our Mother coven. Created by Lady Mystara, those Laws were taken from her previous coven, Starkindler with whom she studied although she did not become a part of their lineage. Dianis Lucien, founder of Starkindler states: The StarKindler Tradition was formally established in 1987, although it had antecedent groups as early as 1974. Starkindler traces its initiatory descent from Gerald B. Gardner through the Temple of the Pagan Way (Uranus) in Chicago, and from Alex Sanders through the Du Bandia Grasail line.
JaguarMoon’s Founders – Ash, Estrella, Hyssop, and Maat – made changes to the Laws in the early years, removing some of the more obtuse, irrelevant, or odd laws that seemed more old-fashioned than useful. Lady Maat has continued to make small changes to the Laws over the years, in keeping with a desire to keep the materials relevant.
Perhaps the biggest change is that we came to realize that we do not follow the path of Wicca, but Witchcraft, and that our strongest spiritual link is eclectic rather than tied to any previous Tradition. We define Witchcraft as: an Initiatory, Oathbound, Magick-using, Pagan Priesthood, dedicated to the Goddess and her consort the God, that celebrates its Mysteries through a seasonal cycle of solar and lunar revels.
In 2018 the Laws were subjected to intense revision by Lady Maat and Daystar, with assistance from Cynnamon.
Though the path of Witchcraft encourages both personal growth and individual accomplishment, these Laws are for a Coven, as well as its individual members. In no way is the free will of the individual superseded by these Laws nor are they forced upon an individual, except by their own conscience. Those who cannot, in good faith and conscience, be bound by these Coven Laws cannot fully contribute to the efforts of the Coven, and therefore cannot be Coven members. It is the right of the individual seeking to join this Coven to accept or decline any offer of membership based upon their understanding of this principal. It is further understood that circumstances change and situations arise that require individual approaches. These Laws are not meant as restrictions but guidelines for a harmonious group dynamic.
All amendments are tracked and preserved electronically. This allows for the historical context of the Coven Laws to be preserved while encouraging them to evolve to the needs of the Coven. To make an amendment to the Coven Laws, a majority vote of the Coven members, taken in full Coven, must occur.
Although generally shared only amongst the Art of Ritual class participants and coven members, including Dedicants, the Laws are public.
Statement of Inclusivity
JaguarMoon Coven is inclusive.
We utterly reject racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, ableism, sizeism, jingoism, classism, and transphobia.
We believe diversity strengthens us as individuals and as witches; we embrace all facets of the human condition. Our students and members are different in gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, religion of origin, and age, as well as in cultural backgrounds, life experiences, economic status, thoughts and ideas.
We welcome and respect the stranger, the so-called other. We believe that gender (in all of its variations), sex, skin color, religion of origin, preference in partner, or biological status are facets of an individual's overall being, and all are welcome here: no requirement for participation in our class or coven is based on any biological facet.
Shame has no place in the circle. We believe that any act that takes place between consenting adults is beautiful. There is no shame in any body type, physical expression, disability, or adornment.
Our tradition is based on the idea that witchcraft empowers the individual and imbues each practitioner with complete sovereignty. No teacher, priest/ess, member, or student of JaguarMoon will ever violate the sovereignty of another.
We honor honesty and compassion as the foundations for an atmosphere of trust.
Ritual and magic require our full attention in the Circle. Illness -- physical, mental, or spiritual -- is not a moral failing and there is a place in the Circle for those who are sick and trying to get well. For our sake as well as theirs, those who by reason of addiction or mental illness do not have the ability to be fully present are still loved by us, but may be asked to get help before they return to the Circle.
Violation of these standards will result in dismissal from the Class or Coven.
We choose to:
1. Live in a manner which honors the Lady and the Lord.
2. Harm none.
3. Explore and practice Witchcraft
4. Expand the body of knowledge available to us as Witches.
5. Support one another within the Coven in growth, healing and our aspirations.
6. Hold rituals to celebrate the seasons, work magick, recognize rites of passage, and honor the Lady and the Lord.
7. Honor the Earth and all Her creatures as sacred, and work to heal and protect the environment within our community, throughout the nation, and across the world.
8. Teach Witchcraft to members and students.
9. Educate the public, when appropriate.
All members of this coven must commit themselves to these Laws in their beliefs, activities, and lives.
Leadership and Succession
JaguarMoon Coven operates by consensus and includes Dedicants in its decision-making whenever possible. If a vote ends in a tie, the High Priestess shall make the final decision.
The High Priestess shall govern the Coven, a vital role but not sole in authority: A wheel’s hub depends on the spokes and rim to function. Though she is the final authority, it must be remembered that leadership of the Coven is dependent on the consensus and input of other Coven members.
Should it become necessary that the High Priestess or High Priest be divested of authority, it shall be done in full Coven. Such deliberations shall require a majority vote, containing the vote of the High Priest or High Priestess, to rescind authority if the one being divested is not currently in power. Should the need arise while the one being divested is currently in power, a majority decision of the Coven is required.
Leaves of Absence
A leave of absence (LoA) is a period of time in which a Coven member is away from their responsibilities. Leaves of absence usually start with the Sabbat concurrent with or immediately following the announcement of the absence in full Coven. Leaves are for a specific period of time, the minimum of which is a lunar month and the maximum a solar year.
If a High Priest/ess wishes to step down for a sabbatical, they shall do so in full Coven, in person. The Coven will then elect an interim High Priest/ess to govern. Whether permanent or temporary, the interim High Priest/ess shall have the full rights and responsibilities of the office while they serve.
If a High Priest/ess leaves without announcing their intention in full Coven, the Coven will then elect a High Priest/ess to govern as soon as is practical. If, within a year and a day, the former High Priest/ess s/he may petition to reclaim their previous role and responsibilities. The Coven shall convene and vote to determine if such claim will be granted, or if her/his replacement shall continue permanently in the role. A majority vote by the coven is required to accept the petition of return. If the former High Priest/ess does not return within a year and a day, the person selected as replacement shall be confirmed in full Coven as the High Priest/ess, subject to a majority vote of confirmation which must include the remaining High Priest/ess.
When the High Priest/ess decides that it is time to resign leadership of the Coven, they shall select their replacements and as their final act as High Priest/ess and shall pass the mantle of leadership in full Coven.
A healthy coven attracts new members. It may reach a size in which too much energy is devoted to administration, and too little to community, communication, and spiritual growth. It may grow ‘top-heavy’ with many Second and Third Degree Initiates and few Seekers or Dedicants. It may attract far too many qualified and excellent Seekers to accept in any year.
For these reasons, or others deemed sufficient by the Coven, a Third Degree initiate may be chosen to form a new coven, or one may chose to leave the coven on his or her own.
Any Third Degree Initiate may found a new Coven through Hiving. This “Daughter” Coven is independent from the "Mother" Coven, though to avoid strife and misunderstandings the following guidelines should be observed:
• The Inititate will inform the High Priest/ess of the "Mother" Coven of the intention to Hive prior to doing so.
• Members of the Mother Coven may choose to join the Daughter. In making this choice, they shall no longer participate in the activities of the Mother Coven for a period of a year and a day, and then by invitation only. This is known as “voiding the coven.”
• The members of both Mother and Daughter Covens shall meet, as necessary, to make the transition with as little strife as possible and to plan the Hiving ritual.
These guidelines are not made with the assumption that the new Coven is created due to anger or strife, but with the recognition that the new Coven needs both the time and space to define itself without advice from the Mother Coven and its members. In no way are the members of either Coven prevented from communicating with one another. Mother and Daughter Covens may join together to do ritual or other activities any time after the initial year.
Banishment of a member from the Coven requires unanimous vote of all Initiates of the Coven.
There are times when communication goes awry and misunderstandings occur. This situation seems to reach a critical point more quickly online than in the physical world. Keeping in mind our basic operating rule of respect, each party is asked to clarify the situation so as to understand what the other party is saying, rather than what they appear to be saying. Most misunderstandings are remedied by clear communication.
Sometimes, however, disagreements arise, and are not remedied by clear communication. Coven members are asked to take their disagreement offline and into private discussions so as to contain the disharmony. They may ask for an outside party to mediate a discussion (online, on the telephone, or even in person, if that is possible). This outside party should be a member of the coven if the topic of disagreement is coven-related.
If the situation is not remedied through mediation or further discussion, the parties have two choices: forgive and forget (also known as agree to disagree) or both members may leave the coven. At no point will private disagreements be allowed to create disharmony within the coven.
Membership and Admissions
Membership in the Coven will be offered to all who are recommended by any Coven member and agreed to by a consensus of Coven members.
No one will be denied membership on the basis of their race, gender, ethnic background, sexual preference, financial situation, physical handicap, or age (provided they are over twenty-one).
Participants in the programs sponsored by this coven may include the following:
• Guests: Interested parties who may attend any open activities.
• Seekers: Persons who consider themselves to be a Witch and participate in and support coven activities as part of their training (usually: students of the Art of Ritual class). Seekers are treated as Coven members in many ways, but do not have voting rights or a say in the governing of the Coven.
• Coven members. Membership in the Coven is of two types:
o Dedicants: Persons who have dedicated themselves to study the path of Witchcraft and who are guided by active Coven members in a course of study. A Dedicant is deciding whether JaguarMoon is the best Tradition for their growth as a person and as a Witch.
o Initiates: Persons who have joined JaguarMoon Coven through the Rite of Initiation.
Coven members are expected to actively participate in the governance of JaguarMoon Coven and to mentor Seekers in the Art of Ritual Class.
Any person's membership or participation may be curtailed, suspended, or terminated by consensus for the following reasons:
• lack of attendance or participation;
• violation of any of these Laws.
Fees and Expenses
Seekers are asked to pay a fee for the Art of Ritual class. Payment is due before the class begins each year. If the cost is a hardship, Seekers can contribute in other ways (e.g., a writing project). No potential Seeker will ever be turned away from the Class because of financial hardship.
The fees are used for cyber fees such as domain names and space on a server (our equivalent to candle costs in a physical coven), advertising the class, and administrative expenses, such as mailing costs.
The names, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, and other information relating to individual members shall be considered confidential and may not be disclosed to non-members without permission of the individual involved. Disclosure of confidential information without permission will be considered a violation of the Laws of the Coven and grounds for expulsion from the class or Coven.
Revising the By-Laws
Any part of these by-laws may be amended by consensus of the Coven
Above all, the laws are intended to firmly lead, not to bind.
By my hand,
High Priestess & Founder