Eclectic Covens

Ξ September 12th, 2009 | → Comments Off on Eclectic Covens | ∇ Spirituality |

There’s a trend in the witchy pagan community to form eclectic covens that like to mix and combine various traditions.

In the San Francisco Bay Area there’s one eclectic coven of particular interested call the “Come As You Are Coven.”

The Come As You Are (CAYA) Coven is an eclectic, open, drop-in coven whose mission is to create safe, loving, magical space for all those who wish to participate in community rituals. They gather for rituals in the same fashion as ancient rural villages and tribes did. CAYA welcomes everyone as members of their pagan community.

The group’s high priestess is Rabbit Matthews, a New York transplant who attended Berkeley University. Rabbit’s eclectic style has been influenced by the likes of Z Budapest and Starhawk, and many others. Rabbit is also part owner of The Sacred Well, a metaphysical-occult shop in the Lake Merritt area of Oakland, where she hosts events and classes.

CAYA does have a membership, but no event or practice is ever mandatory. Their members are offered opportunities to participate so that everyone’s talents and skills are honored. The idea is that each person is welcomed to participate “just as they are.”

The CAYA website ( outlines the three sacred tenants of this unique coven.

We honor one another’s unique spiritual practices, and seek to enrich our sense of community with diversity.

We accept one another’s divinity as inherent and non-negotiable.

We believe that we are each qualified to determine our own personal path, and share our experiences and thoughts in a spirit of generosity, without presumption.

And, interestingly the CAYA coven is governed by a matriarchal council, although the group as a whole accepts both women and men. CAYA also operates a training collective they call the Wildflower tradition for men and women. At Imbolc (February 2nd) each year, a new group of Initiates enter into their year-and-a-day training program.

So what makes CAYA so unique?

Well, first of they are matrilineal which is rare within the pagan traditions. Plus, CAYA serves as a type of umbrella organization overseeing the inclusion of any tradition to “come as you are,” no matter what Wiccan tradition you practice. There’s a place for you with them. It’s very progressive.

CAYA has announced their first ever Harvest Home Camping Festival, Sept. 18-20, 2009. They sent out a call for … “Witches and Wizards, Priests and Priestesses, Pagan Parties and Magical Minions of every stripe, Come As You Are Coven proudly invites you to attend our first-ever camping extravaganza!”

They have announced an outstanding line up of talented pagan musical performances for their Harvest Home Camping Festival:

Fontain’s M.U.S.E.

This unique duo has enraptured audiences throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego with their mix of Improvisation, Alternative and Eastern styles since 2000. Fontain’s M.U.S.E. has performed for the popular Sonoma County Harmony Festival as well as Techno-Tribal Groove Temple. They are a regular feature at annual events like Pagan Pride in Berkeley and Pantheacon in San Jose.

Irina Rivkin

Outmusic Awards Recipient for OutSong of the Year 2003 & Nominee for Outstanding Debut Recording 2005, Rose Street House of Music founder and singer-songwriter Irina Rivkin has performed for 25 years.


Meer is a fiddler who often brings the gift of her music to the CAYA rituals. Meer has recently returned from a trip to the Shetland Islands, where she has learned even more fiddle tunes to share.

Dick Bagwell

A many-talented musician/storyteller/author/dancer who has performed at Renaissance Faires, Celtic Fairs, the California Christmas Revels, music festivals, theatre festivals, and, of course, pubs, in the Bay Area and around the world. He is the Squire of the Deer Creek Morris Men of Palo Alto and the author of “The Pipe and Tabor Tutor”

Mad Molly Morris Dancers

Molly dancing comes from East Anglia in England. They dance with a bouncy, high-kneed step. In performance, they might burst into song at any moment.

The Harvest Home Camping Festival promises three days of workshops, rituals, and musical performances by CAYA clergy and Bay Area performers. The venue is outdoors at a beautiful pagan sanctuary where magic and wonder abound. You can visit the CAYA Coven website for more information on their festival and other upcoming events.


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Cerridwen Sidhewolf

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