How do I find pagans/Witches/covens/teachers in my area? How do I evaluate them?

Some of your best contacts may come from your local new age, pagan or occult bookstores. Check their bulletin boards for notices, or ask the staff. Also, many periodicals frequently allow people to advertise for contacts in their particular area. Circle Network, based in Wisconsin, has recently come out with an updated guide to pagan groups; it is available by mail-order or through certain new age bookstores.

Don't be in a hurry to find a teacher. "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear" is a popular saying in most pagan and Craft communities. Frustrating as that may sound, it's really a sensible way to think. Neopaganism, like any esoteric movement, attracts its share of unsavory characters. When you do meet people, use your intuition. If they seem somehow "off" to you, then they're probably not for you. If no one seems like someone you think you'd like to be with, then you're probably better off working solitary, at least for such time as you find no compatible people.

And by no means should you infer from this that all solitaries are "pagans-in-waiting". Many people are quite happy to work alone, and in fact prefer it. There is nothing wrong with working on your own as long as you like -- even if that turns out to be a lifetime.

In fact, there are several people who highly recommend that you study on your own for a while before looking for others to work with. This gives you the chance to get started figuring out what feels right for you without having pressure from others to conform to their beliefs and dogmas.

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