The profile contained in this section was compiled at the request of area study groups for more information on the Sphinx Clan. In an effort to make basic information about the clan and our covens available to seekers, we are making this document accessible here on our website.
Black Forest Clan Tradition of Witchcraft
The tradition practiced by all Black Forest Clan groups was developed from the training of our founder, Silver RavenWolf, and the practices of the original coven – Coven of the Omega Wolf. Covens under the Black Forest Clan umbrella do not hive, but maintain a continuous magical heritage back to the Pennsylvania Hearthstone.
Our practices are derived from a number of Craft traditions as well as the folk healing system known as “pow-wow”. The primary deity forms are Celtic and Germanic in origin. Our rituals are shamanic in form. As tradition head, Lady Silver is the final arbiter of what is “Black Forest” and what is not.
Black Forest Covens have a traditional three degree system, prefaced by a one-year oath of dedication. All students are expected to strive to complete studies for all three degrees. Sphinx Clan requires that all applicants complete an 8-week basics course (First Directions) prior to consideration for dedication, regardless of prior experience. Overall, the training program at Sphinx Clan requires a minimum 5-year commitment.
- To develop the knowledge, skills and confidence of highly dedicated pagan men and women, producing quality clergy of the Black Forest Clan tradition.
- To celebrate seasonal change, personal developments, and the tradition’s patron deities in ritual settings.
- To work together for growth, change and healing, both magically and through mundane methods.
- To provide information and guidance to solitary Craft practitioners through courses, articles and workshops.
Common Areas of Concern
- Sphinx does not work “sky clad”. While we understand and respect the reasons for the practice, our standard ritual dress is a simple black robe.
- Sphinx encourages members and students to invite family members and interested guests to select functions. Most of our rituals serve as celebrations and training scenarios, and therefore we ask that small children not attend unless invited.
- Sphinx is a drug-free environment.
- We are a diverse clan. Therefore, those harboring racist, homophobic, transphobic, or polyphobic attitudes cannot be a part of our circle.
- Coven work requires time commitment. In addition to approximately 26 meetings per year (2-4 hours each), Sphinx members attend an annual camping weekend together and complete many “homework” lessons and assignments.
- Sphinx does not require complete magical exclusivity, but we do ask that during training students give priority to Sphinx work. Our traditional information shall be kept oath-bound and our family business will remain our business. For this reason, some members choose to keep their status within the coven private at public pagan functions.
- Sphinx Clan includes three active covens in the Greater Cincinnati Area (two in the west central and one east of the city), and a study circle in the northern Los Angeles, CA suburbs. Location, as well as personality fit, prior relationships and goals determine which coven(s) prospective members are offered dedication to.
Some Recommended Reading
- To Ride a Silver Broomstick, To Stir a Magic Cauldron & To Light a Sacred Flame by Silver RavenWolf These are very basic manuals and subject to some controversy, but they do give a basic idea of the background flavor of our Tradition. If you can’t stand Silver RavenWolf, you probably won’t find a good fit in our clan. If you are her biggest fan, keep in mind that the books are not our Tradition — they are written for solitary practice — and you may not find a fit either.
- Wicca: A Year and a Day by Timothy Roderick Most Black Forest Clan initiates had a couple of years of practice as a solitary under their cingulum before beginning traditional training. Working through this marvelous book can help with that practice. While there are some questionable informational areas (the runes, some of the god/goddess correspondences), the exercises are sound and practical.
- Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad & Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett They are fun. They are philosophically sound. And they are always checked out of the coven library.
- Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler Yeah, it’s thick. Read the first half-dozen chapters with the updates, then flip through the table of contents and see what appeals to you.