Our inception was 21 FEB 2014 when Niles, our first High Priest raised me to 3d degree in both Gardnerian and Pagan Way traditions after he initiated me two weeks earlier into a Wiccan path and partnered with me to create this coven. He was initiated by Donna Cole into all of his Gardnerian three degrees and Herman Enderle initiated him into all 3 Pagan Way degrees in the 70s, when they were beginning a new magickal paradigm in Chicago. At the time, Niles was the Editor of the Occult Digest, but dropped the paper and left the midwest to travel and become what might be considered a magickal groupie, hanging with the magickal bigboys across the country.
This nomadic occultist joined Fetlife where he hoped to make some friends after returning to Chicago in 2013. He came across Kelly and TerraIncognita about the same time. I don’t know who came first, but let it suffice to say, he cozied up to Kelly and through her was introduced to the T/I community. What Niles said to me was that he’d never passed on his keys of initiation and thought it was time. The story Niles told me seemed farfetched and I challenged him for proof that he was authentic and he sputtered saying both Hermann Enderle and Donna Cole were dead — how was it possible. It was just by chance that a year before, I’d moved an old witch into some retirement apartments who sold us by saying Hermann Enderle lived there.
I gave Niles his address and said if he knew Hermann Enderle, and Hermann and Donna initiated him, it shouldn’t be hard to reunite and help to validate his claim.
Niles did contact Enderle who joined our community for lunch a number of times to get a coven together around Niles’ Priesthood. Anybody familiar with TerraIncognita knows we are NOT Wiccan and certainly NOT Gardnerian. Probably the most crucial difference being we had always contended serving real entities and Wiccans practices ritual around archetypes. But even if our beliefs were outlandish, we’d gathered a formidable community over the last 10 years and as we were aging, there was less use for community, yet those who’d been close to us through the magickal part were looking to stay relevant so a coven seemed logical…but Gardnerian?
I wasn’t completely unfamiliar with the Gards. The young lady that organized TerraIncognita at the beginning of the new Millennia was Lyris, a 3d degree Gardnerian looking to priestess a coven. She’d wandered into our midst through an event we hosted and turned out to be a graduate student at Northwestern earning her PhD in neuroscience. She started teaching our community and we loved her, but there were almost 25 people in her introductory class and the concept of getting us all initiated and pulled through our degrees was too much for her and her lifepath. She ended up finding a Gard HP close by and 3 or 4 students which was perfect for her. We were sad to lose her, but she circled with us while in Chiciago and that’s where we learned the fundamentals of the craft. One of the reasons she left though was because David and I had decided that we wanted to keep our channeling and directions streamline without a “dogma” that seems so prominent in Gardnerianism.
Wehn we were discussing whether or not T/I should become “official” Lyris told me once a Witch is initiated 3d degree, she can start her own coven and make it anything she wants. the HPS is supreme. OK, so there’s the key – right and what I took with me over the next 10 years. The other part of this is that Donna Cole wasn’t much into teaching. I’m not sure why she went through the trouble to become a witch, but its not as hard when going through the British Tradition as it is learning the craft in the U.S. She went through “Bones” for 2 degrees and finished her 3d with Buckland in NY. But there was no teachings or traditions, just heritage – which was weird.
Niles is an iconoclast. He didn’t give a fig about teachings or traditions. He wanted a coven so he came through T/I at a time we were looking for new directions and conferred 3 degrees of the Gardnerians with PaganWay in a matter of 3 weeks which was ok through the Britisn Tradition and built himself a coven.
It turns out Donna told Niles the reason she was giving him the 3d degree so fast was because she knew he was going and wanted him to start something in his new home. — When I told Hermann Enderle who we were, he’d naturally heard of T/I and was not happy. He liked the group, but felt us way to nefarious. He wanted to get involved, he really did. Even came out to Alchemy Arts once to show his support of Nile’s coven. But eventually he exploded on me at a restaurant about how horrible our magick was and Niles told me to NEVER talk to him again…which I didn’t. Hermann was his contact after all. Connections, connections, links and synchronicities. Niles left and here I sat with these amazing keys – that were empty.
And so Coven Babylon was born February 21, 1014. I had the flu as we passed our 3d birthday 3 days ago. My thoughts were that because of Lyris, I felt a great responsibility to fill the power of the keys I hold with substance AND the magick of the sacred marriage. Niles felt since I’d run a magickal community for a long time, it was safe to give me this responsibility.
But there is a punch line here as we bring the past to the present. We initiated 2 amazing Romanian women that Emi brought in on the 4th. As I think about Emi and how she got her 3d degree a few weeks after me. There is no doubt in my mind, or those that were part of her 3d degree initiation that Emi was hand picked by the gods – the entities that run our coven. Many within our gathering community could not see why it fell on Emi who didn’t seem to have any “priestessing” experience. But she was picked nonetheless. Emi cooperated, but even she didn’t get “coven,” ritual, why we need to come together for community — her experience was a black belt in Karate. She understood the Hermits way – this gathering together was beyond her. I could not release my authority as High Priestess even if she held the title. Just by chance, a couple of days ago it was clear her and my paths separated into two entirely different directions, she entered into a whole different space. The Way opened for her and for the first time she truly understood what her role as High Priestess meant. She struggled for 2 days and then BAM it hit. She and I were 2 horses drawing one Chariot.
What it all means will become more clear as this year unfolds. Yesterday our HPS became a true magickal authority! I am so impressed with her and the gods for their judgment. I am in awe as I look back over the course of the last 3 years. wow we are growing so strong.
Emi said, “It’s New Moon this Weekend. I’d like to get us together for a spell. I need Silvano Brugioni. Oh, do you want to come?” “No” I said, “I still might be sick” “Good!” she said. “I know what I’m doing! for the first time, I feel complete! I can do this on my own!” and I don’t know what else to say… I am just speechless.
Just plain speechless….