elcome to the "Coven of the Illuminated Shadow" website. We are an eclectic coven based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Founded on August 15th, 200o with the full moon in Aquarius. We are not accepting new members at this time. This website was created to educate those within and without our community about our coven.
We explore most pagan paths of spirituality. As with any group members may choose to leave anytime they wish, if they feel that this is not the path for them. In the training stages there are rules, homework, group participation, and ritual practice. Being structured keeps us focused and on track for training initiates in the degrees. We also have festivals, parties and other social events. At this time all those in the coven are competent to run their own groups.

Our Name: Coven of the Illuminated Shadow is meant to invoke thoughts or feelings of journeying through the darkness (unknown) to reach the light (knowledge). Through hard work, self-discipline and connection with deity we strive to enlighten ourselves by understanding and if necessary dispelling darkness. This is not to say that darkness as it is represented in the sigil is bad (see sigil description). We acknowledge that our shadow self is a powerful teacher, and we strive to make a connection with it. We believe that humans are both dark and light, neither outweighing the other.

The Sigil: The idea for the sigil was one of contrast and growth, as the name suggests. The Tao (yin and yang) is superimposed on the Pentacle. The Tao represents positive and negative, male and female, night and day, known and mysterious, etc. Without male there is no female, without day no night etc. We do not believe the dark to be evil. It is our philosophy that each human and deity contain both positive and negative, thus we are do not believe in ultimate "good" and "bad". One can have a bad day, but was it all bad? This is also represented by the white and black dots in the middle of the yin and yang symbols. Therefore the darkness does contain light, and the light does contain darkness. All of it contains lessons for growth.

The Pentacle represents the 5 elements of human kind, earth, air, fire, water, and akasha (spirit). The pentacle is a large part of our workings in this coven as a protection symbol, energy conductor, and tool. By marring these two symbols we have created what to us perfectly represents our teachings and aspirations.

Our Degree System

Degrees: involve dedicant initiation and three degrees each of which can last up to a year and a day.

Dedicant (the first initiation received): dedication is given within the first six months of joining the coven. This initiation is to show that you wish to learn more about spirituality, and are dedicated to the path you choose. At this stage you will become familiar with many religions, and spiritual practices. We touch on divination, healing, herbalism, crafts, spell work, energy, and much more. The book that we work through is "The Complete Book of Witchcraft" by Raymond Buckland. After the book is completed with satisfaction the Coven will then begin practical application of that which you have learned. At the end of this process, you will receive the Traditional First Degree Initiation.
Traditional First Degree: First degree is given up to a year and a day after joining the coven. At this stage one is dedicated to learning more about the history of ones chosen path, the Gods, and the practice's philosophical meaning. We will revisit some of the dedicant knowledge and expand on those subjects. Also we will reach further in psychology, philosophy, ethics and "walking the walk" so to speak.
Traditional Second Degree: Second Degree is for those who wish to train for the priesthood and/or to be the teacher of a coven, grove or other kind of group. Those who choose to move forward will be given training necessary to take on these roles. The connection to deity is heavily stressed, as well as philosophy and psychology. Once second degree is completed and third degree received they may move on to form their own group, known in the old school as "hiving off". They may at this time take the name of the coven and the coven sigil with them. A book of shadows, which they made during the learning process, will help guide them in their new role. Coven of the Illuminated Shadow has adopted one doctrine the "Wiccan Rede". As we understand the Rede to say "Harm none, not even yourself".
Traditional Third Degree: Third degree recognizes and affirms that you have completed your training toward priesthood. You are thoroughly familiar with theology, philosophy, psychology and magic in theory and practice. You are capable liturgists, leaders, and teachers.