Further reading

Adler, Margot. Drawing Down the Moon. Revised ed. New York: Viking, 1986.

coven The formal organization and working unit of witches and Wiccans. The origin of the word coven is not clear. Most likely, it derives from the verb convene, which includes in its variant convent, which once referred both to a religious meeting and the place of a religious meeting. Chaucer used the term covent in Canterbury Tales to refer to the meeting of 13 people. The term covine was used in 1662 in the trials of the Auldearne, Scotland, witches to describe the witches' organizations. One of the witches, IsOBEL Gowdie, likened the covines to squads. The witches were divided into these subdivisions because there were so many of them, Gowdie said.

Sir Walter Scott, in Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft (1830), notes that the term Covine tree was the common name for the tree that usually stood in front of a castle, probably so named because the lord of the castle met his guests there:

He is the lord of the hunting horn And king of the Covine tree; He's well loo'd in the western waters But best of his ain minnie.

MONTAGuE summers referred to covens as conventicles, from the Latin coventus, (assembly or coming together) and also includes covey, coeven and curving as variations of the word.

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