Covenant of the Goddess One of the largest and oldest Wiccan religious organizations. The Covenant of the Goddess (COG) is an international nonprofit confederation of autonomous covens and solitary witches of various traditions and is based in Berkeley, California. COG states that its purpose is “to increase cooperation among Witches and to secure for witches and covens the legal protection enjoyed by members of other religions.”
COG was formed in 1975 by elders from diverse Wiccan traditions in response to the rise of interest in witchcraft, feminism and environmentalism. The elders drafted a covenant among them, and bylaws for the new organization. The bylaws were ratified by 13 member covens at the summer solstice in 1975. Incorporation as a nonprofit religious organization came on October 31 (Samhain) the same year.
COG has a national board of directors but no hierarchy and is governed by consensus. It has the power to confer credentials upon clergy. Membership is open to all covens and individual Witches who worship Goddess and “the Old Gods,” believe in a code of ethics compatible with COG, and have been meeting or practicing for at least six months. About two-thirds of its clergy are women. There are 13 local councils, regional conferences, a national newsletter and an annual national conference, “Merry- Meet,” that is open to all Pagans and Wiccans. In addition, COG participates in numerous interfaith, educational, environmental, charitable and community activities and provides educational resources for teen Wiccans.
COG recognizes the autonomy of each coven, and the variations in craft law among various traditions. The organization does not shape or direct policy. It does have a code of ethics, which states that:
• Witches must follow the WiccanRede, “An’ it harm none, do as ye will.”
• No fees can be charged for initiations or initiate training.
• “Reasonable fees” may be charged for services that earn a living.
• The autonomy and sovereignty of other Witches and covens must be respected.
• Witches should be mindful of both the unity and diversity of their religion.
- Covenant of the Goddess Web site. Available online. URL: https://www.cog.org. Downloaded August 17, 2007.