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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 20,631,478  

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Question of the Week: 23 - 1/8/2001

Who or What is a "Pagan Leader"?

We hear this term bounced back and forth around the Pagan communities and some either claim to hold such a position themselves or others have labeled them as such. What qualities/qualifications do YOU think a 'Pagan leader' should possess? Do we even need Pagan leaders in the national/international sense? Does the very term 'leader' set your Pagan teeth on edge? What do Pagan leaders really DO anyway?

 Reponses:   There are 61 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

I Would Have To Say That I Agree With The Opinions Posted... Jan 9th. at 4:16:11 pm EST

Rhiannon Daughtermoon (Seattle, Washington US) Age: 34

I would have to say that I agree with the opinions posted thus far, which have been worded better than I can say myself. The title leader, is that...a title, I personally do not like titles! However, I do believe there are leaders, but as has already been said quite well here, those people generally do not claim that title, they are the ones who give of themselves, often quietly an unobtrusively, they do not claim to be absolute authorities. They would instead, offer support, caring, and wisdom when wanted and needed, rather than forcing upon anyone. They organize things like the wonderful gatherings, and these webpages, and that is needed, otherwise the group might all runk amock, but the input of hte group is important as well...Wren and Fritz are wonderful leaders, yet they do not claim this title. That is a leader, to me. And I believe we all have it in us to be this way, maybe we can lead in some things, and not others...maybe we each have a special "area" that we can share. (and I think we all do). It is leading by example, not simply because you say you are "the leader". And as always, is up to the individual if they chose to "follow" or what I LEAD your OWN path. Then, share your experiences with those who want to share it, that is the greatest help, again, IMO. It should never be forced, or "preached". I do however, greatly admire and am thankful, for those souls who are not afraid to be so "out in the open" working for the rights and freedoms of us all. As long we all remember, somtimes the "leaders" don't always hold the same opinons, or paths as we do, and they know that as well, that's a good leader, they acknowledge and accept that.

Love and Laughter,

If - And I Understand It's A Big If, One Wants To Be... Jan 9th. at 7:07:00 pm EST

Bal (ferguson, Missouri US) Age: 40 - Email

If - and I understand it's a big if, one wants to be called a leader, or even just thought of as one, one must lead. Brilliant deduction I know. Lead by example, by mandate of the people, by a divine inner voice - just lead. And how does one go about "just leading"? First, one must be approachable. There are a lot of sincere interested folk you, ll come across in this life(and others)so when they mob you with their wide-eyed wet-behind-the-ears eagerness don't let them down. It does not always qualify as a glam job with perks and involves patience and yes self-sacrifice, but in my opinion, only being called a leader doesn't automatically cut it. Instead of being oooh sooo annoyed with "newbies" or "wannabes" or babies or whatever, why not be flattered? This applies to any so-called leader in any religious, political, or business organization. So the next time someone comes to you for help remember - You too can be a leader!

Love and laughter and many happy responses

Hi!; Thank The Gods I Don't Have To Be A "pagan Leader... Jan 9th. at 10:21:38 pm EST

Tarostar (Toronto, Ontario CA) Age: 58 - Email


Thank the Gods I don't have to be a "Pagan Leader". I'm a Craft Elder, so I leave all the leading BS to younger people.

Media types who interview various "celebrities" at Pagan meets call them "leaders" in Wicca or whatever. Also, the celebrities do not disabuse the media of such a notion.

Groups like to refere to themselves or their members as "leaders" in Paganism or Wicca.

Committees doing PR for Wicca like to claim they are composed of members seen as "leaders" in the Wiccan communities.

In most instances these "leaders" are self-appointed, as I do not recall ever being asked if I want so-and-so to lead/represent me as a Witch/Wiccan?Pagan.

I have wondered who makes these "leaders"? How did they get a mandate to parade before the media and claim to represent Paganism/Witchcraft/Wicca?

I see such as personal ego-stroking, not as Witches Work.

People have even claimed Old Tarostar as a Wiccan "leader" simply because he voices his opinion prolifically.( I am usually quick to beg off on that.)

I see Pagan High Priesthoods, but they are usually humble and quiet about their activities. They don't claim to speak for the entire group; Wicca/Witchcraft/Paganism as a whole.

So, I tend to shy away from community "leaders" as they, more often than not, turn out to be budding politicians. If they were not into Witchcraft/Wicca/Paganism, they would be on some County Commission somewhere, or school board. BB Tarostar

I Am A Solitary Eclectic Kitchen Witch By Inclination And By Choice... Jan 10th. at 3:45:27 am EST

Raindancer (Christchurch, New Zealand) Age: 52 - Email

I am a Solitary Eclectic kitchen witch by inclination and by choice. If someone starts talking about being a "Leader" I walk the other way. If they talk about making me the "Leader" I run. We, as pagans are way too individualistic and varied for "Leaders".

There is a place for "Spokespeople" at the times when someone must speak out on behalf of pagans, but that should never be construed to mean that they also determine what pagans believe or don't believe. We are far too diverse to be contained like that. This diversity is where our strength lies. It certainly is one of the most attractive aspects of paganism for me.

The Lord and Lady made us to be free, to stand tall and strong on our own, beautiful and true, all our brothers and sisters, all od life. No one has the ability or the right to decide what we should or should not believe. We are all family with life, but our hearts and minds are each unique. Our uniqueness compells us, if we have the courage, to walk away from the beliefs of others that we do not share. Those beliefs that they would impell, or compell us to follow. We are each, I believe, our own Priest(ess) we must be the one who finds the path we follow.

But at the same time, we are a community of belief. We are a people. As such, we have activities, nnd other needs, as others have said, someone must take charge and see that the site is found, the word gets out so that we can all enjoy the circle, the being together and the joy we find in being a people. That requires "leaders" note thats with a small "l". If there's ever going to be anything done, somebody has to get it done. But this is not the same as being the "Shepherd of the flock" Thats an image that comes from the Patriarchal belief systems, that suppose that we must all be as a flock of sheep that must follow the "True Way"TM

My first witch teacher, Ishabelle, told me something that had me puzzled at the time, but now makes sense. "Be prepared to lead, be prepared to follow." There are times when others will look to us to share our way, not so that they might slavishly follow it, but so that they may use it as a step toward finding their own way. She told me: "I can't teach you how to be a witch, I can only tell you what I do. You have to find what's right for you, where your path lies" She encouraged me to learn from as many places and people as I felt comfortable with.

Sometimes I find those who have knowledge that I want to have, and sometimes someone pops out of the blue, seeking and wanting to know about Wicca and Witchcraft. I tell them what Ish told me, I can tell you what I do, you must find what path is yours to follow. We are all leaders at times and we are all followers at others.

The key to what I am saying, to those patient enough to get this far in my rambling discourse, is that what makes us different is that we have no fixed "Party Line" believe it and you are a pagan, disbelieve and you aren't. Every major religion talks about Free Will, what makes us different is that we live it. If we ever give that up, we are no different than anyone else. The God and Goddess made us free, we should never surrender that to any Leader, but we should not be afraid to lead when by doing so, we can help another find their own way.

Be prepared to lead, be prepared to follow.

May the Lord and Lady
bring Blessings and Light
and may your feet always
find your path.

I Believe That Pagan " Leaders" Are Needed, But Not In The Sense... Jan 10th. at 9:23:14 am EST

Argonis (Conroe, Texas US) Age: 36

I believe that pagan " leaders" are needed, but not in the sense, of putting the feeling that if you aren't a leader you are a follower. I believe that leaders, and this is basically to those of us who are out as we say, leaders are the ones that newbies, and those struggling with issues no matter how long they have been in the carft, would be able to turn to. A leader, as I think, is more along the lines of an Elder, one who could give guidance if it were requested, one who could help one deal with personal, and magickal issues, who who may be the only other person you may have contact with that is of like mind, so that you do not feel all alone. I also feel the instead of the term " leader" maybe we could use the word representative ( rep ), these would be the voice of a community, or area, that if able would be at public functions, to speak for those who are not able to be there. I feel leaders, should be the hand reaching out to help those caught in the swamp of misinformation, to guide them to the side, and help dispel any doubts, that may be in their minds, and to help guide them or assist them in their workings and on their path.

Greetings All And Merry Meet... I Believe It Would Be Next To... Jan 10th. at 12:35:06 pm EST

BlueRainLady (Gerrardstown, West Virginia US) Age: 37 - Email

Greetings all and Merry Meet... I believe it would be next to impossible for one individual to be able to speak for Paganism. Perhaps a council of elders with a membership that sits on a rotational basis and speaks as a whole. It would be nice to be represented in a fair manner on an international basis, but I suppose we're just gonna have to do it as individuals.

Blessings and peace...
Teresa Dawn

Now, More Than Ever, We Need Pagan "leaders" To Step Up And... Jan 10th. at 1:46:47 pm EST

Mars (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida US) Age: 30 - Email

Now, more than ever, we need Pagan "leaders" to step up and take the challenge of leading this huge Neo-Pagan movement that is beginning. I'm a newbie who would still be struggling to comprehend everything as a solitaire if it were not for the elders that I have connected with in my area. Our elders are invaluable and their guidance is needed to bring this new age of the Goddess to fruition.

Personally I Would Think That If Some Guy Acting Like Some Kindapagan... Jan 10th. at 3:40:59 pm EST

PJ HART (the third and final beast) (Belfast, England UK) Age: 14 - Email

personally i would think that if some guy acting like some kindapagan pope trying to tell me about birth control and such like (no wait thats the REAL pope...but i digress...)
anyway i wouldnt like that, its one of the fundamental reasonswhy i disagree with organised religion outside mty own coven (which has recently been reduced to just me so thats irrelevant) so in conclusion:
birth control good
pope bad

sorry everyone...that was all bullshit, but i think i got my message accross....or, uh, not...

(yeh well thats what u get for going "grey" a god damn sense of humour!)

Yes, I Think We Need Pagan Leaders. Or At Least, I Would... Jan 10th. at 3:41:24 pm EST

Maggie Ricker (Richmond, Virginia US) Age: 52 - Email

Yes, I think we need Pagan leaders. Or at least, I would enjoy it. There are leaders and there are managers. A leader does not have to control. A very very good leader, is an educator; has a vision of a desired outcome; and helps people to find their own way of achieving their own goals within the context of a commonly agreed upon environment.

What qualities should a Pagan leader possess? The same as any other good leader. -A clear vision of the common goal.

-Honest concern for the welfare of others.
-The ability to see the difference between their own needs and the needs of others
-The strength and commitment to "walk his or her talk."

Leader Of What? A Small, Long-running Coven? An Open Teaching Coven? A... Jan 10th. at 4:03:38 pm EST

Faintly Macabre (Western Mass) Age: 38

Leader of what? A small, long-running coven? An open teaching coven? A shop/community center (They all turn out to be that anyway!) A public sabbat organizer? A Gathering sponsor? A _________ (insert description here)-er? Ask any of the cats in the herd and you'll get a different answer. Everyone has
her/his strengths and weaknesses...An absolutely astounding small coven
High Priestess could have stage fright...thereby making her not a great choice to lead a public gathering...Someone may be an electrified public priestess,
but couldn't explain her way out of a paperbag, thereby making for a lousy
teacher...On and on and on, you get my point. There are MANY places and ways to be a "Leader."

I believe very few people have the magical "renaissance" ability to
do EVERYthing well...There are a few (as there are in any venue of life),
and they are to be treasured and supported. (We all know at least one, most likely...I've got two in mind at the moment (grin)) But, we all have the ability to do something(s) have some sort of leadership potential(s)...If we all work LOVINGLY towards our full potential (progress, not perfection--this ain't a footrace for the laurels) the Great Coin-Sorter in the Sky will, in all likelihood, see to it all...(bumpy rides notwithstanding).

As long as people are not getting hurt, the people making inflated (or
just plain false) claims of "leadership"--They got your attention didn't they?
They made you think (or maybe even act), no? Something to be said for that.

Personally (not that any of the previous observations weren't...), I confer
"leadership" on the people who a) work for it and b) don't expect it as their due. Doesn't mean that people who do "expect it" shouldn't get it, I just tend
to choose them less often. I'm Pagan; I don't like people telling me what I
should do, ya know?

It Is So Interesting That One Word, "leader", Can Invoke So Many... Jan 10th. at 8:53:32 pm EST

WaterHawk (Ft. Myers) Age: 50 - Email

It is so interesting that one word, "Leader", can invoke so many responses of fear. Surely just a word cannot have such awesome power....or is it the literal definition of the word....or is it the past History of our kind that makes us shudder with caution and paranoia when we think about the term "Leader". We tend to hear the word "Leader" and automaticly assume that our "freedoms" our on the line. (With the current trend of goverment in our society, its partially true). Its funny how we fear someone we have elected to "Leader". Its just a word to discribe someone who has to make a decision thus creating an action. The buck has to stop somewhere. We may not want or need a leader all the time, but when we need one, we need one bad. Someone who can be responsible, when responsiblity is needed....Someone who will offer accountablility when it is needed. Someone who can facilitate the first step or maybe the last step of an action or reaction. Maybe we need a new about "Responsibilitator", after all, thats what we expect..right? Or how about "Accountabilitator", or "FaciLeader". I don't think in terms of "Leader"..I use the word "Hero". My spirit requires someone to look up to, it keeps my ego in check. I need to find people that are ahead of me....that I can respect...thus being taught respect, that I can Honor...thus teaching me how to Honor, that I can Trust...thus teaching me Trust, that I can Thank...thus teaching me Gratitiude. I need someone to look up to, when I am the I can be assured that someone will help me gain strength. I need a "Leader"?...I need someone to help teach me the ability to lead that aspect...yes I do need a leader...

Being That I Am A Solitary Wiccan And Only A Teen, My... Jan 10th. at 10:25:41 pm EST

Angelo (Wilbraham, Massachusetts US) Age: 16 - Email

Being that I am a Solitary Wiccan and only a teen, my only other contact with other practicing Witches, has been with my peers. To use the word "LEADER" is to give a name to an individual who is an admirable and presents him or herself as a leader. This person isnt someone who follows the crowd. He or she is a free thinker and an individual. To lable someone a "PAGAN LEADER" is to say that this person has successfully accepted their faith and isnt afraid to defend it. This person has also incorperated the Rede into their life and lives by it. They are knowledgeable about their path, and are open to helping those that have questions about the religion or helping those with questions in general. I think that ANYONE(Adults, TEENS, Elders, etc.) can be a Pagan Leader, but has to work at it to attain the title.

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