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Monday, July 29, 2013

Priestess here, priestess there, pagan priestesses everywhere.

Years ago I met two ladies who gave a presentation about 'sacred' sites in the Netherlands. They made the most outrages claims about dolmen, without any scientific, historical or archeological ground. I went up to them and asked, as politely as I could, where they had found this information I had never heard of before. One of them straightened her back, looked down on me and said in a low, presumably magical, voice: "We are priestesses!" And that was the end of the conversation as she turned her back on me.

These girls had been 'initiated' after a one year training consisting of about 8 weekend workshops. I've met other women who did similar 'priestess trainings', many of them hardly knew anything about the Goddess before they started. Apparently it takes only one cycle of the sun to learn all about Her, Her mysteries and Her rituals.

I do realize I'm stepping on some toes here. But I really have to get this of my chest. I don't intent to demean the spiritual path of others. I'm sure a training like this will be very meaningful for your personal spiritual development.
But I do want to discuss the inflation of titles, that makes them meaningless.

What to think about an initiated high priestess, who leads large public ceremonies, but is not able to simply hold the energy of a circle? And in the ceremony I attended there were no Deities  invited to be present.

I once asked a lady, who is offering a 'priestess training' and who also calls herself high priestess, to What or Who she was a priestess. She told me to look on her website, but I couldn't find anything about it. It was all about self development and awaking the priestess in yourself.
Just like the countless workshops about awakening 'the Goddess in yourself'. What does that make you? A priestess of yourself?

Yesterday someone told me about another lady who offered a 'goddess workshop' where they all sang "Yemaja Asesu". When asked if she knew who this Goddess is, she had to admit she had no idea. She didn't even know Yemaja is an Orisha, let alone what path of Yemaja is actually invoked with this song.
This kind of workshops are feel good gatherings for women who want to have a good time and have little or nothing to do with actual Goddesses. And thank the Goddess for that, because you really don't want the energies they sing about, to manifest Themselves in circumstances like that. No, you don't!

And yet, I too call myself priestess of the Goddess. It took me a long time before I dared to. I felt no one would take me seriously, while so many others had already diminished the word. But I decided to reclaim it, because no other word expresses so well my relationship to the Goddess.

But every time I feel compelled to explain what it means to me to be a priestess. That I dedicated myself completely to a Divine Being, Who does not need me to exist. That it took me about 25 years to get to know Her. That I allowed Her to take over my life and to turn my house into Her temple. That I, lovingly and out of free will, serve Her with daily ritual, offerings and prayer, with public rituals and a yearly procession.

That is the basics of being a priestess in my book. And there are more responsibilities, like teaching and counseling, serving a community. This is not a weekend hobby, not something you just do when you feel like it, this is not something you can become in a few years and it is not something you can buy with paying for a training and/or an initiation. Maybe it isn't even a choice, but a calling....

There are no rules in paganism, anyone can do what they want (as long as it's within the law) and anyone can call themselves whatever they like. I have no say over it and I want no say over it. But I do have an opinion and I do want to express it.

4 comments:

  1. So long as you believe that you need to serve some goddess, you are fooling yourself as much as they do. IMO, you are not entitled to say this about other fluffy bunnies because you are as far from the truth as all the other "priestesses". Become a goddess yourself instead of serving one.

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    1. This blog is about devotional paganism. Now you are entiteled to a have your own completely different wordlview. But to come here just to tell me I'm a Fluffie Bunnie and fooling myself is hateful.

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  2. I agree completely! but not everybody wants to devote their intire life to a God(des). I am Always doubting weather I am a priest or not: I was never initiated, I am devoted but because of study and my own dreams, I cannot be a priest of 24u. I do pray, do rituals, try to take my philosophies out of my own head and put them on the audience. I am lucky that I am studying arts, in dance I can find ways to connect with the divine and create communication between it.

    But I know a lot of people that believe, but they don't want to invest time and effort and so they also choose not to be a priest(ess), but sometimes these believers do need a prayer, a ritual, a workshop to help them. Mysteries can be shared with those who want to hear them, learn them, etc. but at wich point do you become a priest(ess) ?? and when are you a believer?
    A very good question!...

    In Ancient times most people believed in the Gods but just a few devoted themselves to these Gods. What do we do with the believers in Neo-Paganism. In Wicca there is actually no way to just be a believer: if you want to be in a coven you devote yourself to the group, to the Gods as a witch and priest(ess). But what if you just believe? You just want to celebrate the festivals, pray to the Gods, etc. thank the Gods we have open rituals for these people nowadays!

    But people do ask me, how can I take my religion further into my life? I can never seem to help them... I give plenty tips, try to show them how I try to do it but for a lot of people it seems to be an obstacle: How to be a devoted priest/witch but still keep a normal life standard?

    Is the blacksmith a priest of Hephaistos? Or the person that leads his rituals in the temple? Both in another way?
    A blacksmith that is also Hephaistos priest, that does what the God gave to us and leads his cermonies, isn't that the perfect view?

    Sorry just some thoughts that had to come out x

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