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Author Topic: The Priesthood  (Read 1481 times)

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Kuerden D˙ghlas

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Re: The Priesthood
« Reply #45 on: December 04, 2015, 04:30:53 PM »

Many witches, especially Wiccans and people who follow Wicca inspired traditions, consider themselves priests or priestesses of the gods, often specific gods.  For some of us our priesthood is mandatory upon initiation and is part of what defines us.  With very few exceptions we do not function as an intermediary between the gods and the laity. Few traditions have a congregation. So what does the priesthood mean to you? If you consider yourself, or have been declared at initiation to be a priest or a priestess as well as a witch, how do you serve that function in your religious life?

Not everything on this topic can or should be shared.  But as your conscience allows I would love to hear your views.

I am reminded of something Starhawk says in The Spiral Dance: "Every initiate is considered a priestess or priest; Witchcraft is a religion of clergy."

To me, a priest/ess is one who teaches, who preserves and passes on the old ways and traditions of the coven or clan. This also helps explain why, except in rare instances, one cannot self-initiate. That's like ordaining yourself.

Starhawk explains:

Quote
Originally, coveners were the teachers and priestesses/priests of a large Pagan population of noninitiates. They were the councils of elders within each clan, the wise women and wise men who delved beneath the surface of their rites and sought the deeper meanings. At the large solar festivals, the Sabbats, they led the rituals, organized the gatherings, and expounded the meanings of the ceremonies. Each coven had its own territory, which by tradition extended for a league. Neighboring covens might join for the great Sabbats, in order to share knowledge, herbs, spells, and, of course, gossip. Federations of covens were sometimes linked together under a Witch "Queen," or Grandmaster. On full moons, covens met alone for Esbats, when they studied the inner teachings and practiced magic.

I also see the priest/ess as a conduit for the coven's or clan's tutelary deities. In that sense, I also personally think there's a fine line between priest/shaman.

I see being a priest/ess as a responsibility, because you're also representing the old gods and the clan as a whole. Just my 2 cents.
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Amberhawk

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Re: The Priesthood
« Reply #46 on: December 19, 2015, 06:19:51 AM »

I think there is confusion sometimes because to many witchcraft in and of itself is a skill set, a practice, not so much a religion. I can see that in Wicca it would definitely mean a priesthood, and in several other forms of paganism it could mean a priesthood as well, but not all who practice witchcraft specifically consider it a religion or a priesthood. It isn't necessary to be initiated or to tend to deity when practicing. It doesn't require teaching others, guiding others or keeping to the sabbats. There is no one way or rule to practicing it unless you do follow a specific religious set of rules and need to tailor it to those rules. One can incorporate it into any number of religions or none at all but in and of itself it doesn't seem to me to be a religion.
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marisol

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Re: The Priesthood
« Reply #47 on: December 19, 2015, 11:20:18 AM »

I have been reading this thread over and over for months. As a solitary I can claim no one else to be priestess except myself. But I am also a witch and a seeker. I incorporate Wiccan ideals in my practice, but I don't consider myself to be Wiccan.

Soulfire once told me that witchcraft was her religion. But not all believe this. What ever works for the individual is the most important thing.

Are there any here who honestly don't want the responsibility of the priesthood?  Do you think there should be more of a niche for pagan laity?

I do think there should be a niche for pagan laity? As Micheal said "the cost in sacrifice can be high". Many have huge responsibilities
to family (for example) and choices must be made. Group leadership is no more important,valid or devoted a path than the layperson. Laypeople serve different functions than the priesthood. They deserve respect, support, and validation of their individual experiences. Their experiences are deeply personal. It is sad to think these experiences are not used as powerful resources. It seems to me that the stronger the community is, the better the Gods are served. If I am looking at this wrong, please enlighten me.
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oldghost

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Re: The Priesthood
« Reply #48 on: December 20, 2015, 04:29:51 AM »

Well said Marisol , if one combines different aspect of various path and is the only one following that path then does that not make them both student and teacher , disciple and priest/ess at the same time . Some where it the long ago times it started with one and spread . Each new way must have a beginning .
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Firesong

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Re: The Priesthood
« Reply #49 on: January 26, 2016, 07:39:11 AM »

Why do I need a Priest or Priestess?  ...any more than I need a Christian clergyman? They're associated with religions, and If I don't follow a religion, why do I need them?  What possible use are they to me?  What can they do that I cannot? 

Many eclectics really follow no real "religion", but rather a spiritual path, which is quite a different thing.  I think many, if not most, look within themselves for enlightenment, which is, I have to believe, the only true source. 

Many, if not most, also have their own rules and ethical standards.

That being said, for those who practice a religion, a Priest and/or a Priestess is absolutely essential for continuity of a tradition...
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marisol

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Re: The Priesthood
« Reply #50 on: January 27, 2016, 09:17:24 AM »

Why do I need a Priest or Priestess?  ...any more than I need a Christian clergyman? They're associated with religions, and If I don't follow a religion, why do I need them?  What possible use are they to me?  What can they do that I cannot? 

Many eclectics really follow no real "religion", but rather a spiritual path, which is quite a different thing.  I think many, if not most, look within themselves for enlightenment, which is, I have to believe, the only true source. 

Many, if not most, also have their own rules and ethical standards.

That being said, for those who practice a religion, a Priest and/or a Priestess is absolutely essential for continuity of a tradition...

Firesong I agree with you, "What can they do that I cannot." When I was a young girl religion was extremely important to me.The loss of faith in christian religion was devastating to me. The fact that I was unable to find a religion that was fulfilling was frustrating.

Following a spiritual path is right for me and realizing only I can answer many questions I have always expected others to answer has
taken time. I do adopt certain ideals from others if I feel they fit into my path. But I no longer feel I have to fit into something that does not serve my path. To learn to walk this path has taken what seems like forever.

I believe humans have a deep yearning to connect to the divine and often do not know how. It's not what we learn from outside ourselves, but from the greatest source we have within ourselves.

BB
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Protect your 2nd amendment rights.

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