"Ther vold meit bot sometymes a Coven .... Ther is threttein persones in ilk Coeven." [Crim. Trials Scot. III 606, 1662]
basic group in which witches are said to gather. One of the chief proponents of the theory of a coven was the English Egyptologist Margaret Murray in her work The Witch Cult in Western Europe (1921). According to her a coven consists of 12 witches and a devil as leader. The number is generally taken as a parody of Christ and his 12 disciples. (An alternate theory, stressing the Murray view of a pre-Christian tradition of witches, explains 13 as the maximum number of dancers that can be accommodated in a nine-foot circle.
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