These witches and Wiccans say their coven is a 'family'

Uncommon Ground is a deep dive into society's fringe groups, both well-known and unknown.

Collette spent years in what she calls the "broom closet." But in the past year, she's finally started telling others the truth — she's a witch. 

"At this point, I feel a huge amount of freedom to actually be who I am in every area of my life," Collette told In The Know.

There are an estimated 1.5 million witches and Wiccans — who share beliefs with witches but adhere to different practices – in America today. And that number has been rising in recent years, leading more people like Collette to find comfortable sharing their beliefs publicly. 

In this week's episode of Uncommon Ground, we spoke with witches and Wiccans about how their beliefs shape their everyday lives, and how they've managed to form a sense of community out of practices that were once widely stigmatized — and even feared — in the U.S. 

Practices and beliefs among witches and Wiccans can differ widely, but many believe in a duotheistic system, with both a goddess and god. There are also numerous rituals related to the lunar cycle and the five elements of nature — earth, wind, fire, water and spirit. 

"I find a lot of comfort in Wicca, because it sort of reminds you that you're part of the world," Rob, who practices Wicca, told In The Know. "Through ritual and through, I guess, the declaration that something's sacred.

Rob and Collette are both part of the coven of the Witches of Aradia. For many members, it's a group that goes beyond regular religious ceremonies. 

"The coven is very much almost like a family," Collette said. "We do a lot of things together — we've had barbecues with our families and we even gather once a year for what we call our 'coven camping.'"

Watch the full episode of In The Know: Uncommon Ground above. 

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