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Can I Join a Coven I Found Online?

Basic Internet Safety Rules for Wiccans, Pagans, and Everyone Else

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Can I Join a Coven I Found Online?

Just because a group is listed online doesn't mean it's safe. Be careful!

Image © Jonathan Ross/Getty Images

A quick note on Internet safety is appropriate here. Many people have met new friends, coven mates and even spouses online and never had any problems at all. However, you need to remember at all times that the person on the other end of that email may not always be who or what they claim to be. The Internet is a big place, and sadly, it includes people who are Just Not Nice.

One of the great things about the Internet is that it allows people who otherwise might not have been able to network the opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals. There are thousands of Pagan groups that list themselves online - we even have listings here at About Pagan/Wiccan - but that doesn't mean they're all full of people you're safe with.

If you are getting together with someone for the first time that you have “met” on the Internet, be sure to meet in a public place such as a restaurant, coffee house or bookstore. Leave information with your family and friends about who you are meeting, where you will be, and what time the meeting is. Make arrangements to call someone you trust when you arrive at the meeting place, and to call them again when you leave.

It’s also not a bad idea to have a friend or family members call you at a specific time DURING the meeting, so that if things are going badly you can gracefully extricate yourself from the situation. Simply saying something like, “I’m so sorry, my friend is having a car emergency and I have to go pick her up,” is perfectly acceptable. Another option is to have a secret code phrase that means "I think I might be in trouble." Choose something innocuous, like Can you please clean the cat box?

As disturbing as it is to acknowledge this, there are occasionally people who will take advantage of the Pagan community - and the eagerness of new Seekers to find a group = and do some pretty awful things. Does this mean you need to be afraid of anyone who says, "Yeah, I do run a coven and I'd be happy to meet you"? Not at all - but it means you need to use some common sense. Be a Seeker, but don't be a victim.

Don’t ever give your home address or phone number to someone you’ve met online. When you do meet them in person for the first time, if you have a “bad vibe” about them, leave. Trust your instincts. Never get in a car with someone you’ve met online – if you find yourself with a mysterious flat tire or dead battery at the end of the meeting, call a friend or family member to come get you. And finally, if you are under the age of eighteen, do not ever arrange to meet someone you’ve met online.

Finally, if someone you met online is harassing you, either in person or via computer (e-mails, offensive Instant Messages, etc.) document everything. Report it to your Internet Service Provider, and to the local authorities as well. No one has the right to harass you, and you don't know when someone's behavior may escalate from offensive emails to physical confrontation.

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