Priesthood

Another one of my half term musings…

Following on from my last post I  think what I am looking for is to be a Priest. As a Pagan it is not that easy – there is no central body to employ me. As Pagans we have no churches, mosques, temples or synagogues. There is no central community to serve either (with the possible exception of Glastonbury).

In addition I would see preaching as a very small part of my role – my beliefs are so intrinsic to my life that it permeates everything that I do. It isn’t a separate part of my life, so that when I go with my Grove to celebrate I don’t put on my ‘Sunday best’.

I would want to be out in my community, talking and teaching – life skills, literacy, ICT skills and basic maths, living in a greener way and crafty skills. Working in the environment to make it more enjoyable for all, including wildlife. Along with counseling, listening and at times just providing a cup of tea and a helping hand to those in need.

Of course, providing handfasting rites working with the dying, burials and naming ceremonies would be part of all of this, but to me being a Priest is so much more than that.

Being Pagan and spiritual by my actions, rather than just words. And the reason that I say ‘spiritual’? I am coming to realise through the blogs I read that many of us on this green path are here because of our religion. Our beliefs give us eyes to see the beauty in the world and we want to protect that, as well as to try to solve the injustices. I am beginning to focus on the similarities between our religions rather than the differences and it is an awakening I am pleased to come to.

The one area I would struggle with as a Priest would be the aspect most people think of in relation to a Priest, preaching. For so long now my Paganism has been a very internal, private thing. I find it very hard to articulate my beliefs; rather strange as I am normally quite verbose!

So, this maybe one way to create the one great big work/life amazing amorphous mass I mentioned in my last post, unfortunately I just can’t see how I can make it happen at this point in time. Oh well, back to the drawing board!

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7 thoughts on “Priesthood

  1. EcoYogini says:

    wow- a Priest! Not a Priestess?

    what a fabulous career- goal. 🙂 I think it’s a perfect endeavour- but scary nonetheless.

    I support you in this choice 🙂

  2. DAmn it – do you know it never occurred to me!

    I think I say Priest because I see it as a title, rather than a gender specific. I also see Priestess as a Wiccan thing.

    Thanks for your support. I have no idea how to make it happen. Any ideas?

    Jen

  3. Ishtar says:

    Interesting post… Feel your way forward…the answer will come to you.

    I think it’s in the nature being a Pagan that it’s difficult to articulate your beliefs, we’re all following different paths and it’s hard to explain sometimes what we actually do believe.

    I wish you luck in finding your way through. It sounds like being a priest is worth exploring, but if it’s not for you in it’s entirety, then maybe you can take some elements and grow from there?

    D
    x

  4. Sorry for butting in – but you seem druidy, no? Have you thought about/done ADF’s training programmes? (http://www.adf.org/training/) They do have a clergy training programme. In the US, there’s the Covenant on Unitarian Universalist Pagans (http://www.cuups.org/content2/), linked with the Unitarian Universalist church, which in the UK looks somewhat different… After a quick glance online it seems that either a) people you want to officiate at the weddings of would need to get civilly married by a state official but could have the religious wedding with you, or b) you could get a special license to marry people outside a place of worship on a case by case basis?

    It seems like you can do this – especially given your feelings about/definition of priest. I personally like the idea of preaching (in the sense of sermons) – I think the idea of meeting weekly for fellowship and to hear someone of your faith/beliefs give a talk about life, philosophy, what it means to be good or fully human or whatever – it’s sort of like a good blog post, only live, and with other audience members there at the same time physically and able to have snacks/food/booze/coffee after and hang out…

    Be who you are, woman! It might not be something you can do fulltime as paid employment, but that’s irrelevant if it’s what you are. And especially as a teacher – srsly, you’ll be living it and sharing who you are and what you believe in every day – it’ll come through your pores, you’ll shine it.

  5. Sarah Head says:

    Jen, I wonder if it would be helpful to think of priest in terms of montheistic cultures – i.e. they are the shepherd, preacher, basically being the chanel between the people and the deity. This is totally different from the Pagan view of personal relationship with whichever energy form you wish to connect with.

    I actually think Pagans are prohibited from preaching because you can’t try to pursuade others to join your religion, you can only answer questions from those who have come to the point where they have questions to ask about any aspect of the Pagan path. Nor can you suggest to others that your experiences are “the one”, since everyone’s experience is the right one for them.

    I think a priest/ess’ role is one of servant. Caring for others, for the land and if you are called to the path of shaman, to travel into the spirit world to accompany those being born or dying. Wisdom comes from experience, ability to interpret it and apply it and a massive realisation of how little you know no matter how much you have studied/learned/experienced.

    Understanding the need and formulas for ritual and energy working is all about creating and recognising both sacred space and safe working practices – which all comes back to serving others…an it harm none.

    In all the work you do, you have opportunities to act as priestess – not exactly in the role of teacher….more as listener, picking up the bits and pieces which come to you as instinct and checking it back with the individual and then facilitating opportunity for them to move forward in the way they wish. This may involve imparting information or showing where information or experience can be gained and hopefully steering them on as safe a path as possible, but in the end, it is their path and only they can travel it and learn from it. It is theirs and you cannot carry it for them. This is one of the hardest lessons we learn.

    Sorry for the long post. This is only my view, but I would suggest you allow the role you feel called towards to emerge by looking at it from the corner of each eye rather than straight on until you understand it and are truly ready to grasp it.

    Good luck!

  6. […] you for all of your comments recently I have been thinking a lot about your responses to my post on Priesthood. I am sorry I haven’t responded before now, I have been mulling your comments […]

  7. juliab says:

    Hi! I must have missed this … Being a pagan preist is not about preaching .. it’s about inspiring … inspiration .. finding awen, finding the flow, and helping others to do the same..

    Ask Rob about how to go about training. He’ll be able to help you. And Druid camp will help too. There will be lots and lots of people there to help. You will need to do alot of networking. Good luck!

    xx

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