Millikin’s Up and Coming Coven Club


Photo courtesy of Flickr

When you hear the words witchcraft or Wicca, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Harry Potter? Salem Witch Trials? Taboo? Forbidden? For Millikin students Jovana VanTeylingen, Joshua Ludens, and Cecilia Antonelle, it means something more than all of that.

All three students met last year and became fast friends. Together, they had a common bond of practicing witchcraft and wanting to make Millikin’s community better.

They call themselves the Coven Club, a new student organization where everyone is welcome to experiment, learn, and practice the art of witchcraft and Wicca exercises and rituals.

Wicca is a polytheistic religion that centers around the celebration of changing seasons and living in harmony with nature. It is also based on the belief that people can practice whatever they want as long as their magic doesn’t hurt anyone. Contrary to popular belief, Wicca and witchcraft are not the same thing.

“Magic is incorporated, but not all Wiccans practice it,” VanTeylingen said.  

People who practice Wicca as well as witchcraft are often persecuted because it goes against what Christian religions teach. With the Coven Club, the founders hope that their presence will help fight that negative connotation. They also hope to create a community at Millikin, a sort of family like what Cecilia Antonelle found.   

For Antonelle, witchcraft is a family affair. She has identified as a witch since she was ten. Her mother and aunt also practice witchcraft, and she has even visited Salem with her family for Halloween. She came to Millikin from New York and wondered if she would find her people, and then she met VanTeylingen.

VanTeylingen had been studying Wicca for seven years, but unlike Antonelle, she never experienced a community of like-minded individuals. She hopes that this organization will help clear some misconceptions and keep people more well-informed about what Wicca is and how it can benefit people’s lives, people such as Joshua Ludens.   

Ludens grew up in a Christian household, and he was told that Wicca and witchcraft were taboo and that he shouldn’t mess around with it. Then he met VanTeylingen and Antoelle, and he was introduced to Wicca and its practices. That opened up a whole new world for him. He practices meditation because it helps keep him at peace and he feels he can better himself through it.    

“I learned you don’t necessarily have to believe the Pagan aspect of it to participate in the witchcraft,” Ludens said. “You get to learn more about your psyche, make people more welcoming toward each other.”  

The organization plans to meet from five to six o’clock every Wednesday evening in one of the UC collaboration rooms next semester.

For each meeting, the Coven Club plans to center on a daily theme that involves witchcraft to some capacity. For instance, one meeting could focus on meditation, but the next meeting could involve building a Book of Shadows, a place to keep track of spells.  

They also hope to do community outreach projects, such as visiting an animal shelter, cleaning litter from the streets, or hosting a celebration for the spring solstice by planting flowers to make an area more beautiful.

All activities that Coven Club has planned are geared to inform and create an example for other witches to follow.       

“[Witchcraft] is a lot more accessible than people think it is, and it really is for everybody,” Antonelle said.

Next year, they would like to have a place at the Student Organization Fair as well as a place at Boo @ MU. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled and stay tuned for more from the Coven Club.