Am I a “Real Priest”?

I’m going to get this question one day or another from a student. So I like to think that I’m one step ahead of the game by preparing my argument before hand.

Let me take a minute to explain a little bit of the bitterness that may seep into this post. I’ve already been told that others in my entourage are a ‘real’ priestess, insinuating that I was not. I’ve already had said ‘real’ priestess declare to her students that not all who claim to be priests are, and that some just take on the title. Was it a jab at me? Probably. I’m a real threatening person, you know, what with giving hugs and leaving smudges of glitter on people. Seriously?

I’m very threatening, I know. Had I been there I would have told her students not to buy those pricey athames, and  would have argued with her that a silver pentacle will not automatically protect a person/solve all energetic problems and NO, one does not haphazardly include blood and angel names into a Wiccan ritual (WHAT THE FUCK BUT I’M NOT EVEN JOKING PEOPLES). Oh, but I don’t know anything, I’m not initiated.

Really? From a crazy person’s perspective, let me argue you this. Who initiated the first crazy person? Huh? No one did. That’s right, insanity is a gods-given gift/burden. What about priesthood? It’s a gods-given gift/burden. What’s similar in these two situations?

Let’s take a diagnostic test. A mentally ill person is not mentally ill because they get a certificate or were born into a certain lineage. We know they’re ill because they exhibit and experience symptoms of mental illness, often to the point of it crippling their life.

What about a priest/ess? Do they get it from an initiation? Well I guess they could certainly get a fancy piece of paper saying that they are, just like one can get a paper saying they’re ill even if they’re not. Will they necessarily exhibit the symptoms of being a leader, an organizer, and a ritual facilitator because of this paper? I don’t think so.

I am going to argue that a priest/ess will be demarcated by exhibiting the symptoms of being chosen by the gods. Just like a mental illness, it can be developed, or it can just happen in a wham-bam. And just like a mental illness, if people get to know you-they know if you got it or not, no matter what the little papers say.

What are the symptoms? I’m going to argue that it will be summed up in integrity, passion for the cause, and good character. This of course will vary from place to place and what-have-you’s, as every situation will need a different kind of voice. But certainly, an initiation doesnot a priest/ess make. A training does not a priest/ess make. Being chosen by the gods is what makes you, in my humble opinion, and that certainly doesn’t mean that one is better or holier. It simply means they’re the priest/ess. It’s a calling, and that’s that in my opinion.

10 Comments

  1. Many people are chosen by many gods for many different types of work, but a priest is trained at least in part by other people. Priests have a congregation, which implicitly includes other humans. Gods do call people to become priests but it’s like two-factor authentication; human training completes the process. Remove either the god or the human and all that’s left is an empty title.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, insofar as human congregants are. I’m sure there are communities wherein “training” might not apply, but something to achieve buy-in by members of that community doubtless does.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. IMHO a priest or priestess is a person who can facilitate contact between the other-than-human and the human, and/or who can create meaning, community, and a sense of connectedness for others.

    Note that my definition includes atheists and animists.

    One of my tests of who is a priest or priestess is, can you produce an atmosphere of calm and safety in a roomful of distraught people. If yes, you’re a priest/ess.

    Initiation may or may not produce a priest/ess.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That reminds me of my other test. Can you motivate yourself to facilitate a ritual in the midst of a general feeling of not wanting to. (I’m referring to minor psychological blocks rather than major symptoms.)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve struggled a lot with mental illness. I became a pagan in ’13–I started by worshipping Lords Odin and Loki. I then struggled with debilitating mental illness from ’14-’17. Now that I am healthy again, Lord Odin has made it clear that he wants me as his priest. Your recent posts on priesthood and leadership make me hopeful that my difficult experiences will be of use one day and will make me a better priest. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ❤ i'm going through a really hard patch today, and your comment makes me smile. I wish you the absolute best on your path o f priesthood. It's very special and blessed, and really, it's worth it. What I find is that being mentally ill/disabled really helps me help the worst people in the worst places. The insights I've learned through my struggle makes me a powerful and aware and humble leader. Experienced practitioners re very supportive of me and are glad to have me leading because i've learned to listen to others nd that i'm not perfect. I'm sure you will be similar but not exactly the same. You will be a strong and competent leader if you put your insights to use 🙂 wishing you the absolute best ❤ What do you plan on doing as a priest? any projects? also the pagan and polytheist monastic groups on fb are a great place to talk to other serious leaders and practitioners for advice on leadership and priesthood. Please keep me posted on your progress and projects, I really do care.

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