Group work then, where do you start?
Firstly by quantifying what is meant by "group work".
What I am not talking about is ritual prancing around someones house stark naked, spanking each other and having or simulating a sexual act in the name of any deity.
What I am referring to is an act of magick ,using a group of people to raise power and energy where it is difficult or better than working alone.The goal here is not worship but to achieve a means of change, of actual usable energy that is used to perform a task, Shock horror this is even possible to do if you have a group created from different faiths, there is nothing in the rule book that states a Christian cant practice witchcraft as we have no rulebook, their own Good book might disagree but if you look hard enough.Our previous village vicar had more wild magic about her than a lot of "pagans"I have met, always felt she was kind of batting for the other side on that one, my sister in law is much the same, each to their own though.
As a witch working alone there are times when it is near impossible to achieve the greater works, it should be a prerequisite of the craft to work Magick with others, as only when you do this can you really feel the powers and possibilities flowing, alone you get used to your own power and occasionally fail to feel it , when working with a partner or larger group there are energies not under your personal control, spinning and flowing, being a part of this is more powerful than any mind altering substance (I talk from experience here).
In some ways, the magick we raise as individuals is amplified by the group, we also give more of ourselves than we would otherwise in the hedonistic sense of wanting to be a bigger part of this act.
When working as a partnership (ideally male and female), the ultimate goals of balance are achieved, I personally have never obtained the levels working alone that I have achieved working with T, the old adage that two do the work of three is also true in the occult world.
I am not putting down the solitary workers of this world , as I myself work this way most of the time, I am also not degrading the sexual magicks as this does create power, although perhaps between two loving partners more so, even the use of pharmaceuticals can facilitate great acts of Magickal prowess, I am only suggesting that working pure magick within a group is an enjoyable and enlightening experience, not to mention balance, male and female together, fire and water.
We are not Baphomet yet we are, together in cohesive group we can at least start to attain the sacred balance and unite the duality of man and woman
Creating a group, there is a sore point, where do you begin, advertise and you are inundated by the most unsuitable people, hide the word and the word becomes lost.Seeking to join another is difficult and usurping another is inadvisable, friendships can stretch and relationships ruined.
It must never be a prerequisite that all in the group are friends, as with all working situations, this is desirable but ultimately not necessary, it is possible to achieve esoteric workings together and only that, friendship often springs from this however.
Absolute trust is the key, often obtained through oath, you must be sure that as you fall there will be someone to catch you, or at least break your fall, you will be bearing your soul as will the others and the oath must stand ,all for one and one for all as the musketeers would say, not every man for himself.
should you be clothed or "skyclad", there is no inherent sacredness in either, none is above the other, I only know that as a pagan I prefer to witch it up out of doors and rarely is naked an option in this land, besides if clothing hampers your magickal abilities you are laking something much greater.
As to robes, well I can see the point of this, the cuveen or coven is united by the fact that those members wear the same (communism through ritual), there is anonymity in the group and adhesion achieved, any hierarchy in the group can be easily symbolised with a mask or simple adornment where needed, but again this might be something a new working group can do once it has achieved cohesion and harmony, it would be a shame if everyone made black robes then found out later red would have been more appropriate.
On that note there are many I have met in the past who might do well to wear beige cloaks and robes instead of the embroidered black and purple numbers they wear currently if you know what I mean.
I guess my penultimate point is a hard one(although not in the gardnarian sense), where do you work?
Alone it is always possible to find somewhere, but in a group this is an undertaking, real Magick requires concentration and should not be disturbed or interfered with by the uninitiated, not to mention the fact that this might disturb the disturber as it were, this all but cuts out the more popular ancient sites these days, to be disturbed by roving troop of velvet clad Daleks, head torches a blaze mid a sea of plastic flowers in the middle of a rite, well, lets not go there today.
We are lucky here, the moors are full of depressions in the ground due to the old mine workings, you can be near the ancient sites and have some privacy, private land is and will always be another issue.
The final sermon of the day is this, organise.
Meet regularly before your cuveen work and discuss what is needed, it may be that nothing is required but always discuss beforehand, nothing worse than a case of "what do we do now" and let us be honest here, as a people we are not the best at organising our selves,organising a group of witches was once described to me as being like trying to herd cats, I like to feel that is because of our Independence.