what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

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what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by Lokakisa on Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:58 am

I'd been wondering about this lately. Priesthood vs clergy.

I noticed that in Wiccan circles there seems to be a trend for going through training/initiation and you get the priest-title.
In Kemetic Orthodoxy, priesthood is synonymous with clergy;
there's a lot of work involved with the community. So I decided not to pursue being a priestess. I also noted a lot of members who went through the training and then dropped out, some disappeared completely, some merely stepped down but remained active members. But there were some members or general Kemetics I have met who came in from wicca/witchcraft and had titles from that.
It's hard to tell on the internet whether someone is just declaring themselves "
priestess of Isis"
and how they got to that point. In Kemeticism at least, there are many individuals who call themselves priest or priestess and they start their own group or write books or whatever, separate from other organizations. I doubt they would be considered clergy.

Then of course there's been recent talks in the blogosphere about clergy vs spirit-workers/diviners and how customers get confused about what people like Seb and Beth can do for them.

I'd been thinking a lot about my devotional relationship with Loki and the spirits - what does it mean to be a godspouse, does that already make me a priestess of sorts? Can I just declare myself a "
priestess of Loki,"
which is obviously not the same as trained clergy who can provide counseling, if I want to serve Him in that capacity?
And then there's the spirits, the landwights, the alfar, the ancestors, I've been wondering how to structure my devotions to them. Do I call myself a priestess of the Vanir, is that something that can be achieved?
I mean where the hell is the training for any of this? There is no Lokean or Vanic temple. An Asatru organization called The Troth seems to have a clergy program, but there's no detail on their site about what it involves.

I'm not sure why I'm looking for titles, maybe I'm just looking for structure, maybe I'm looking for legitimacy, I dunno. I shouldn't be in such a hurry, as spiritual paths should be a lifelong process. I'm just trying to flesh out my path more, figure out where my faith and strengths lie, or something like that.

In KO there is a daily ritual called Senut, which gives you structure and daily contact and shrine time with your gods, in effect it makes all members who do it regularly priests of a sort. So much has changed and evolved, we are all more educated with more information at our fingertips, we don't HAVE to rely on a priesthood so much but there is still a place for spirit-workers as we don't all have that gift, and maybe we don't all need it, maybe there is a plan for all of us and what the gods get from each of us.

I was just thinking, for myself, being so headblind, I need to decide how to keep up my faith on a regular basis and actively work on that connection. The divinations I purchased indicated a path of spirit work and service for Loki, but somehow I am supposed to learn things without getting formal training, and I'm like pulling my hair out to figure out how to do that. ;
p My thoughts frequently flit to priesthood, to promoting the cultus of Loki and the Vanic elves, even if I can't fill my blog with tales of astral parties and earthly visits. Seb seemed encouraging and enthusiastic about me being another voice for Them (I haven't asked his opinion bout priesthood specifically);
I'm sure he'd love to spread the workload around and not be the only source. But damn if I can't find ANYTHING about Vanic elves anywhere else, even other Heathens ignore Vanaheim completely and only talk of light and dark elves and landwights. I am so freakin' confused.
I'm really trying hard to do research and my own divinations before going back to Seb for another reading.

But anyway though, I was wondering what y'all felt about priesthood and your devotional relationships. Does Loki even NEED priests might be another question to look at ....

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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by Just.Christine on Thu Aug 13, 2015 3:58 pm

That sure was a weighty mouthful!
Very serious questions.
It's really hard to define things like that because paganism itself lacks a definite structure and organization.
It's going to vary from person to person.
Raymond Buckland says in his book, The Complete Book of Witchcraft, that every person who dedicates themselves to the Gods/desses is a priest or priestess. My personal definition of priest is someone who goes to the deities on behalf of a group. This should be aresponsible person with a lot of experience or at least someone in a group with the most experience.
A priest could also be the Head of Household, the person or persons who take the lead in approaching the gods in rituals and celebrations.
For a solitary, they are their own priest. Or simply a devotee. I consider myself a devotee rather than solitary priestess. I would never call myself a priestess unless I also felt up tom the task of serving on behalf of others.
I see clergy as a little more flexible in terms of duties. I see clergy as persons who may or may not choosemto specialize. Some may serve the physical needs of theie group, others may serve as counselors others may teach. I see clergy as specialists serving a larger group.

That's my view. Smile
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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by Lokakisa on Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:09 pm

Haha that was a long one and I always fail to do a tl;
dr snippet. ;
p
I find it difficult to consolidate all these thoughts I'm having, they just sort of run together and then I end up rambling in an effort to get out what I'm trying to say.

*nod nod* I tend to agree with those definitions, which continues to make me hesitant to use the word "
priestess"
for myself.
Some people (most likely newbie solitaries or teenagers) just up and call themselves priest/ess to sound cool, without knowing what it really means. Some people go through training in a formal organization. And then you can't tell who's who unless they specify how/where they got their training from.

In some ways I feel like I've found my calling, but in others I feel like I'm generally not applying myself on a regular basis and frequently having bouts of doubt. (the shiny newness has worn off, I find myself thinking "
so what do I do now?"
) After reading the blogroll from last week, it just got me thinking about how to make my practice more serious and regular, and too we've talked here on the blog about priest/esses of the past who may have also been considered godspouses. I was kind of told to spread Loki's message and do spirit-work, so I took it to mean there is something for me to contribute to the greater community as opposed to simply doing private devotional worship. Each person's blog offers a facet of divine relationships and work, so there has to be something I can do through crafting or blogging or oracles or something.
And Seb told me that the Vanic elves could use some PR also. It really has me wondering why they don't make themselves known to more people, or else I am just starting to find those who work with elves and fae and the like. But every search for Vanaheim elves leads back to Seb, so ... I dunno.

I'm just trying to figure out what Loki wants me to do, ya know? Nobody can afford constant readings to get answers. I'm really trying to think a lot about what my most pressing questions are right now and doing some studying up on magic, alfar, Heathenism, etc. It's like I'm trying to compress all this stuff into a short period of time and it's a big change from studying Kemeticism, especially KO, as there was no focus on the occult side really. I feel like I'm missing a big chunk of basic occult knowledge at the same time as trying to learn about the Norse pantheon. (as an aside, the recent posts on "
Magick from Scratch"
about godspousery and stuff have been really interesting, even if it has a Hellenic slant)
It just would've been nice to have walked into this (Heathenism or whatever you want to call it) already knowing how to do divination and candle spells and whatever, as it is it's like I'm trying to learn two things at once. ;
p I'm being really impatient, and ultimately, it comes to down to feeling like I'm not doing enough for Loki.
I have a big hang-up about titles, but at the same time I recognize that we need descriptive words to designate what people do;
also those titles must be earned, and they come with responsibility. It's not about seeking glory, it's about needing motivation. The title of "
godspouse"
doesn't immediately spring to mind the kinds of work that comes with it, in fact it seems to be a very personal and varied thing. So I guess in my mind I am conflating godspouse with priest/ess as I continue to learn about it.

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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by erinlale on Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:10 pm

What a priest or godhi/gythia is has been a confusing topic in heathenry, so I wrote this article about it:
http://www.bubblews.com/news/9864781-wh ... -gythia-is

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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by Just.Christine on Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:38 pm

erinlale wrote:What a priest or godhi/gythia is has been a confusing topic in heathenry, so I wrote this article about it:
http://www.bubblews.com/news/9864781-wh ... -gythia-is

Do you have a WordPress blog? Just wondering because the ad layout of bubblenews is making your article virtually unreadable. Sad
Ad boxes that follow your ass all over the page, ads blocking your actual content. It's awful!
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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by erinlale on Sat Aug 29, 2015 3:14 pm

Hi,

I have my pagansquare blog, but that's more about my personal experiences, the bubblews articles are short informative pieces, usually things that began as the reply to a forum question on American Asatru Association or wherever that were too long for a forum comment. I'll probably expand the more important and/ or popular ones, like what-is-a-godhi one, into essays for Eternal Haunted Summer eventually, or perhaps an article for some other magazine or anthology.

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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by Darkamber on Mon Aug 31, 2015 8:16 am

When I hear "
priest/priestess"
I automatically think of someone dedicated to a god/goddess or gods, who does community work.
The work can be holding rituals or counselling or contacting the gods on behalf of a devotee.
It would've been much easier if that was what a priest/priestess was! LOL

It seems many Pagans just call themselves priest/priestess of X deity and that they just use it as a title.
Like, anyone who is a devotee of a deity might call themselves a priest/priestess.

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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by Lokakisa on Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:31 am

Thanks for the article!

I guess I need to be content with the "
title"
of devotee, up until if or when I can provide some kind of community service in Loki's name. It would seem unfair to just up and call myself "
gythia of Loki"
when I don't have anything to show for it nor have obtained ordination from anywhere. *shrugs*

The plain and simple reasons I get hung up on titles is jealousy. And I got real tired of all the title-slinging in The House of Netjer. It pissed me off that I could not "
advance"
for lack of a better word, without traveling to meet the head priest in person.
So I can understand why teenagers or solitaries or those who don't have good health or finances or whatever would be tempted to take the title for themselves anyway, when otherwise training seems unreachable.

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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by Just.Christine on Mon Aug 31, 2015 3:21 pm

Lokakisa wrote:Thanks for the article!

I guess I need to be content with the "
title"
of devotee, up until if or when I can provide some kind of community service in Loki's name. It would seem unfair to just up and call myself "
gythia of Loki"
when I don't have anything to show for it nor have obtained ordination from anywhere. *shrugs*

The plain and simple reasons I get hung up on titles is jealousy. And I got real tired of all the title-slinging in The House of Netjer. It pissed me off that I could not "
advance"
for lack of a better word, without traveling to meet the head priest in person.
So I can understand why teenagers or solitaries or those who don't have good health or finances or whatever would be tempted to take the title for themselves anyway, when otherwise training seems unreachable.

Jealousy has reared its ugly head in viciously huge quantities since I started my path. I guess you could go one better and call it envy, which is far worse imo. I had no idea I was capable of being so petty and resentful.

Like you say about people in communities though;
they can be petty themselves and incite envy in others. Some people don't feel adequately important if they can't feel the hate emanating off others over silly ass titles. A person doesn't need a title to serve others and if they take up priesthood for the right reasons they won't care about the titles.
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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by journeyintoinsanity on Mon Aug 31, 2015 5:22 pm

Yeah, I don't know why we need titles and labels. Labels are limitations. I know they can be helpful, but I still don't like them.
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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by Lokakisa on Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:06 am

It's tied up into a lot of things related to our languages, the limitations, the need for descriptions, how litigation-happy our culture is ... and I even read something today which described our culture very well - "
reputation and worth."

Humans have always felt some need for their own reputation and worth within their cultural framework, witness all the royalty and politics over and over throughout history, and how many claimed to be descended from gods for legitimacy.
Nowadays we've got social media, but this crap started way before the internet, it was the same kind of popularity contest shit we all grew up with. It's all about the cool kids' club, sheeple, yes-men, bandwagoning ... ugh.
But titles do make things convenient, rather than some long-winded sentence about what you do, you can wrap it up in one recognizable word. When the gythia came to your community you knew who that was and what she did. To be called say a college graduate or an ordained minister speaks to the training and experience you've had, the hard work and time you put into it. Organizations may feel the need to label different members and statuses, sometimes I think it goes overboard.
What I hate is that there are too many internet religions;
it's great that the world wide web brings us all together and gives us info at our fingertips, then places limits by needing money and travel to "
advance."
By advance I don't mean lording over people, I mean advancing in studies. So those who can't do those things, and those who are trying to find themselves and where they belong, may read a book or a website and just up and call themselves a priest/ess, screw it all 'cause hey it's the internet and you can say anything you want to look cool. Too much fluffy neopagan stuff has given the impression that everybody can be a priest/ess. Unfortunately what the word means today is just too loosely defined. And too many of us have experienced criticism, causing us to feel a need for validation.
Now the buzzy trend word is "
maker."
Pfft.

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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by Just.Christine on Tue Sep 01, 2015 4:12 pm

Well I'm just a crusty old thing behind the times because I have no idea what's meant by maker, lol
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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by journeyintoinsanity on Tue Sep 01, 2015 6:55 pm

Yeah, "
maker"
and "
healer."
Those two terms are thrown around like dough at a pizzeria. (A maker is someone who makes stuff, Christine. I make stuff, but I don't call myself a "
maker."
Nope.)
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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by erinlale on Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:22 pm

For what it's worth, if you go to a maker convention, you will be at a place where everyone there designs for 3D printing.

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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by journeyintoinsanity on Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:34 pm

erinlale wrote:For what it's worth, if you go to a maker convention, you will be at a place where everyone there designs for 3D printing.
Laughing
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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by Lokakisa on Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:55 am

Lol. I don't know what's wrong with calling yourself a crafter. Somehow "
I make pagan crafts"
isn't special enough. I'm starting to get really annoyed with the descriptions of some pagan Etsy stores. They're quite laughable.

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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by journeyintoinsanity on Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:56 pm

Some of them are, yes. I feel like even my own "
About"
section and jewelry descriptions are kind of cheesy. I may have to edit them. I sometimes think that may be contributing to my lack of success. I look like a dang cornball.
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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by Lokakisa on Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:11 am

It's really sad that you have to come off as some kind of trendy witch and sell yourself to compete, with a lot of buzzwords and look how speshul I am kind of nonsense.
I'd say be yourself and try to describe your store - "
handcrafted pagan and pop culture-inspired items"
or something.

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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by journeyintoinsanity on Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:39 pm

That's pretty much what I was thinking of doing. If I look like a cheeseball, I'll look like a cheeseball because I AM a cheeseball! XD
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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by Just.Christine on Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:22 am

journeyintoinsanity wrote:Yeah, "
maker"
and "
healer."
Those two terms are thrown around like dough at a pizzeria. (A maker is someone who makes stuff, Christine. I make stuff, but I don't call myself a "
maker."
Nope.)

Wow! Language being used to describe the thing it accurately represents! When the world becomes full of buzzwords and political terms like "
clean water act"
that actually means polite rivers, well... you can never be sure what words mean these days. :/
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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by Just.Christine on Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:26 am

journeyintoinsanity wrote:Some of them are, yes. I feel like even my own "
About"
section and jewelry descriptions are kind of cheesy. I may have to edit them. I sometimes think that may be contributing to my lack of success. I look like a dang cornball.

I don't think your Etsy store and about section sound cheesy. No more than any other store. Yours sounds better than lots of others, tbh. And your photography is great. It might seem slow now but it's a new store. And your stuff is great!
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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by journeyintoinsanity on Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:40 am

Thank you! <
3
Yeah, it's pretty slow, but I'm working on a few things that nobody else seems to have. Hopefully that'll help. Smile
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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by DayhawK68 on Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:30 pm

I get what you mean. The Goddess E'kate (Hecate) has asked me to be her priestess. Mostly because I was once one waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day in my second past life. She searched for a long time for me and once I opened the Pagan Pandora's Box we reunited. I haven't officially said yes, but I am doing shadow work with her now and stuff.

She showed me what She wants me to eventually become, but with that it doesn't exactly mean I'll have to go through human initiation. Which for me is weird. But at the same time there could be years of training with her. What that training is? I don't know yet because I haven't committed to anything yet.

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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by journeyintoinsanity on Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:14 pm

So, is it a matter of "
sign up to find out"
? Or is She wanting a closer relationship first?
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Re: what does it mean to be a priest/ess?

Post by DayhawK68 on Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:53 pm

journeyintoinsanity wrote:So, is it a matter of "
sign up to find out"
? Or is She wanting a closer relationship first?

She wants me to trust Her, so yes, getting closer is important. But when it comes to what the training is and what to expect it's kinda a take the red pill or take the blue pill.

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