First of all, you need to understand that there are many different types of groups. You’re not going to fit in with every one of them, and you’re not going to feel comfortable in every one of them. They’re not all going to feel comfortable with you. That’s part of life, and it’s part of the seeking process. Some groups may have a dynamic that just doesn’t work for you – if you’re a male Wiccan on a Celtic path, then an all-female Greek Reconstructionist group is not the place for you.
How do you find a coven in your area? We all have fantasies of being out and about, probably at the local Ren Faire or Ye Local Olde Witchy Shoppe, and we bump into a wise-looking soul with a giant pentacle around her neck, who promptly invites us to join her coven of the Ancient Ones.
It’s not going to happen.
However, what you can and should do is network with other Pagans. Get out to the places they congregate – bookstores, psychic fairs, SCA events, coffee shops, Yoga classes – and meet some people.
Eventually someone may mention to you that they are part of a coven, and if they feel you would be a good fit, they might eventually get around to asking their High Priestess (HPs) if they can invite you to an open meeting.
Because many Pagans and Wiccans are still "in the broom closet", most covens, temples or groves do not advertise their presence. Networking is the key here -- and you may have to spend some time making it known that you're looking for a group to join. This process is often referred to as "seeking," and after spreading the word that you're a Seeker, you may be approached by a local group.
You can also meet fellow Pagans and Wiccans through networking websites, such as Witchvox or Yahoo Groups – but be sure to read the Internet Safety Precautions article for information about meeting someone in person that you’ve gotten in touch with online.
Some covens are limited to males or females only, others are specifically for gay Pagans, and some are for families and married couples and exclude single members. A coven you’re interested in may already have what they consider their ideal number – sometimes thirteen but frequently less – and they may tell you to wait until someone leaves before you can join. Accept this, and move on. Don’t take it personally. Ideally, you’ll be able to find a coven in which you can get along with all the existing members, and you won’t have a clash of personalities or philosophies.
Also, realize that a coven is like a small family. Many Wiccans are closer to their coven-mates than they are to their own siblings. Just because you’ve found a coven doesn’t necessarily mean you are guaranteed acceptance. Coven membership is a two-way street. Wiccan covens do not actively recruit new members, and no matter how uber-witchy you think you may be, if one member of the coven has a problem with you – justified or not – it could keep you from becoming a member. Take the time to ask questions when appropriate, and you can make an informed decision in the event that membership is offered to you.