Touchstone Local Council (TLC) is one of several smaller regional councils of the Covenant of the Goddess (CoG) organization. As such we follow the policies, bylaws and membership requirements of the Covenant.
Covenant of the Goddess (CoG) membership is open to all established Goddess-worshipping Witchcraft or Wiccan Covens and Solitaries of all traditions of our religion whose ethics are compatible with the Wiccan Rede. The founding members of COG recognized there are many different approaches to Witchcraft, and framed the organization's structure in a context that would support diversity. To define the above terms:
"ESTABLISHED" means the Coven has met at least once a month for the purpose of worship for at least six months.
"GODDESS-WORSHIPPING" means that the Goddess is a focus of the Coven's theology and liturgy, although male gods may be worshipped as well.
"WITCHCRAFT" means formal commitment on the part of the coveners to the Wiccan or Witchcraft community as their primary identification (i.e., not Druids, Egyptians, or other Neo-Pagans who may also practice a bit of Witchcraft on the side.) You must state to the Covenant that you are Wiccan or a Witch.
"COVEN" means a group of at least three people, who have been formally accepted into training for the Clergy, who have commitment to each other, and have been actively working together for at least six months. At least one member of the group must have been actively involved in our religion for at least three years, and be qualified to function as a High Priestess or High Priest (Elder) of our religion. For such a person to be considered an Elder, he or she must be capable and/or authorized, depending upon the tradition in question, to pass on the tradition to others, and to determine which coveners are qualified for credentials.
"COMPATIBLE WITH THE WICCAN REDE" means an ethical stance compatible with "An ye harm none, do as ye will." COG also has specific criteria in the Bylaws (Article 9) regarding ethical behavior expected of members.
All applicants for membership, whether coven or solitary, must join at the Local Council level if a Local Council exists in their area. For the majority of San Bernardino & Riverside Counties this is Touchstone Local Council.
A "SOLITARY" is an individual who either works without a coven, or chooses to apply to COG as an individual despite regular coven membership.
High Priest/ess (aka Elder) Solitaries may join the National Assembly of Solitaries, if no Local Council exists in their area. (The membership of the National Assembly of Solitaries is limited to persons eligible for Elder credentials.) Touchstone Local Council allows experienced solitaries to join even if they are not yet eligible for Elder status. The criteria for “Elder” and “Priest/ess” credentials are listed in the COG Bylaws.
A "STATEMENT OF PRACTICE" describes in general terms Who you worship, how you celebrate, how often you meet, what Sabbats you celebrate, how long you have been active in the Craft, how and from whom you received your training, what tradition, (if any) you follow, your relationship to the Wiccan Rede, and other information that lets other members of the Covenant understand your practice of our religion.. You must pledge to abide by COG's Ethics, Charter, Bylaws and policies, and you must state that you are Wiccan or a Witch.
1. Touchstone Local Council requires prospective applicants to attend a minimum of three council meetings in a nine month period prior to the submission of their application. The purpose of this requirement is to provide the prospective applicant an opportunity to become familiar with the Council and vice versa.
2. To apply, you must submit the following items:
- A completed membership application form.
- A Statement of Practice addressing the criteria listed above.
- Two letters of recommendation from two different covens or individual Witches known to the Covenant. (In practice, this usually means current COG members). Touchstone Local Council requires that one of these recommendations come from a member of our local council.
- A check or money order made out to Covenant of the Goddess for the current tithe.
3. The Council shall come to consensus concerning the acceptance of the completed application prior to submitting the application to the National Membership Officer. You will be asked to absent yourself briefly during the admissions discussion.
4. All Statements of Practice and letters of recommendation are published in the COG Newsletter, to give all members the opportunity to comment within a period after publication, not to exceed ninety days. The local council must wait until after publication to officially accept or deny the admission of the applicant.
5. The receipt of adverse comments may cause the application to be denied or postponed until issues are resolved. If no adverse comments on an applicant are received by the end of the ninety-day period, and applicants are approved by the Local Council membership, the applicant is accepted for membership at the end of the ninety-day period. Full membership benefits, such as credentialing and access to member listserves, are not awarded until the ninety-day period has elapsed and the National Membership Officer has entered the new member on the COG Membership rolls.
6. If your application is denied you may reapply in one year and one day.