Completed the Great Rite
|“||Did you never wonder what happened to the witches of the other old lands? The Scythians, the Magyars, the Roma? Only a handful of the old breeds survive, hidden in burrows or scattered like dust on the wind.||”|
— Tituba about extinguished hives
A Hive is a name used to describe a coven of witches. A coven is generally a group of twelve or more witches who occasionally meet to practice magic, celebrate sacred holidays and discuss topics on witchcraft. While a Witch known as the "Samhain" is the chief of the coven, the Elders are the secondary leaders of the Hive and must still answer to governing Samhain.
One of the most widespread and certainly the one that have received the most attention in modern studies about witchcraft, wherther scholarly or popular, is the notion of witches gathering for orgiastic rites, named Sabbath by the Christian Church. It is only in the late Middle Ages that the presentation of witchcraft activities begins to change from accusation of relatively folk magic to a much more complex organization, diabolical activities by witches. Although the Romans recognized and banned practices considered immoral, as the festivities in honor of wilderness deities that included blood sacrifices and other atrocities, it is in the Medieval Christian mythology that this crucible of perversions finds its form in the so-called procession of Satan, or the witches coven. Fragmentary are the depositions of the accused and a lot of the material comes from sources reworked during translations, but traditionally the coven is made up of thirteen members guided by a Master, known as "the Devil", or in the case of a woman "Queen of the Night" or "Devil's bride". The purpose of these assemblies of witches was to make revelry, perform curses and blasphemies against the Christian religion. In recent times, the majority of the academics have reassessed these concepts, bringing forward the theory that the covens was what remained of pagan cults and the rituals that they performed had a pre-Christian heritage, which had merged with the new official religion.
Main Article: Essex Hive
The Essex Witches are a hive of endangered witches who are the first hive in history to complete the Grand Rite. Not much is known about the Essex Witches except for the fact that many of them died in Europe during the brutal witch-hunts of Britain and are commonly considered unclean and uncivilized by more sophisticated covens. Since the Essex Witches fled Europe to the New World, they have made Salem, Massachusetts their new home and haven.
A tribe of Germanic witches that according to Cotton Mather worshiped an ancient pagan siren - clearly an earlier incarnation of the Countess Von Marburg - and were on the verge of completing the Ritum Magni before being interrupted by Increase Mather, who by killing the hive leader made vain the sacrifices. Taking account of the words and pride of the Countess is possible that this tribe was formed by a higher lineage of witches than that of the Essex hive.
The Hive of Mercy Lewis
The Hive of Mercy Lewis is a coven of rebellious Witches who have joined the insubordinate Witch, Mercy Lewis, to fight the Puritans who have oppressed them, as well as the Salem coven, who stand in their way. While most of the coven is made up of teenagers, it appears that some of the Witches are older men and women who were considered deviants of society and thus shunned by the Puritans.
- Mary Sibley (to Anne Hale): If there is one thing you should take away from this conversation, child, it's this: you are in my hive. I'm your Samhain, and you are an Essex witch. You cannot hide anything from me.
- --in The Wine Dark Sea
- Countess Von Marburg (to Mary Sibley): I will admit you're impressive for a common Essex witch.
- Mary Sibley: Has our hive not survived when so many others have perished?
- Countess Von Marburg: Yes. But your strength is also your weakness. You are, as you said, a hive filled with lovely, little bees, but no true queen. You are in reality mere sister drones, little, meek equals whose power is shared. Why? You're like the foot of a pyramid. But you will make a fine and mighty base for one more naturally designed to rule.
- --in The Wine Dark Sea
- Cotton Mather: My father was the very scourge of witches in the old country not only in Old Essex, but also in Germany. There, he stopped this tribe of germanic witches, led by this ancient pagan siren that he sent back to Hell. He often told me that was his proudest moment.
- --in III Met By Moonlight
- The word "Coven" was originally a late medieval Scots word (circa 1500) meaning a gathering of any kin according to the Oxford English Dictionary. It derives from the Latin root word convenire meaning to come together or to gather, which also gave rise to the English word convene. The first recorded use of it being applied to witches comes much later, from 1662 in the witch-trial of Isobel Gowdie, which describes a coven of thirteen members. The word coven remained largely unused in English until 1921 when Margaret Murray promoted the idea, now much disputed, that all witches across Europe met in groups of thirteen which they called "covens."
- The authors of the show decided to customize even more its mythology substituting the common name "coven" to "hive".
- Traditionally, there are thirteen witches in a coven, one leader, and twelve members.
- The term "Coven" was originally created to give a name to a group of witches, but at present, the term is also used for a group of vampires, as well as "clan" and "den."
- The title "Samhain" is taken from the homonymous neopagan festival of Celtic origin that falls the night between October 31 and November 1, the basis of modern celebration of Halow'en. The correct pronunciation of Samhain is [ˈsɑːwɪn] (approximately "Sow-in" or "SAH-win").