I have strong jaws to clench down when it comes to this.
I don't get why the hell people believe that you have to join a coven to eventually be welcomed to the Pagan faith by a High Priestess. I don't get it. Faith is a matter of devotion and the heart, not by coven member class. For any beginners, let me inform you on what a coven is, how it works, and the process of initation.
A coven is a like-minded Pagan group that actively worships nature together. These groups seem to be in secrecy within their community while other groups may be open and announce it. When a coven takes on a new member, the higher members generally have the new person study for a year and a day (in Wiccan covens) until they determine if it's time for initation.
Initation is the ceremony where the High Priestess gives the new member her blessing and performs a ceremony ritual to welcome him to their group and tradition. To gain the ceremony, one must gain enough wisdom and self reflection on their path. I can't inform you how the basic ceremony works because I've never been involved in a coven.
For those on Solitary Lane, please don't fret. I am there as well, but I couldn't let that stop me from welcoming myself into this lifestyle. I wrote and performed my own initation ritual. My boyfriend assisted me out of his own atheistic curiosity. I felt that I should commit myself before starting the normal Wiccan studying time frame because I felt it would give me a fresh start on a spiritual level. To me, an initation is dedicating yourself to the ways of the Earth from a heart driven decision and with some magick experience on hand. The ceremony is also a warm celebration of spirit. I believe it is completely okay to bless yourself. I can only read and take notes right now, but if I can keep the Lady in my thoughts, then I feel satisfied enough.
I may write about my self initation and what occurred that night. Drink some herbal tea and don't forget to add the honey! :)