The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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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
| 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...
| 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
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) well...to 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 word....ummm....how 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 weakest...so I can be assured that someone will help me gain strength. So...do I need a "Leader"?...I need someone to help teach me the ability to lead myself...in 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.
| I Think A Pagan Leader Needs To Be A Good Listener. They... ||Jan 10th. at 11:47:59 pm EST|
|Rev Andrew Siliar (Tucson, Arizona US) ||Age: 33 - Email |
I think a Pagan leader needs to be a good listener. They need to have wisdom, be willing to learn, and willing to listen to fellow pagans. There are far
too many "Third Degree" Wiccan Priests and Priestesses who get lost on the title
and begin, sadly, to exhibit all the egotism and the power-tripping that some
leaders of the mainstream religions do. A priest is a vessel of the gods, and a priestess is the same. The Goddess is the Mother of Life, and as a servant of the Goddess, a true High Priestess and Pagan leader is a good servant and
vessel of Spirit. We have various big name pagans in the community who need a good old fashioned dose of humbleness. Yes, some pagans are going to be famous, and attract followers. Some devote their life to spreading the Craft, such as the late, celebrated Doreen Valiente, who did much to promote and help create the modern Wiccan movement.
We need to look past titles, rank, and lineage and find the spiritual maturity of our leaders. If a person is going to be a true pagan leader, in my opinion, then they need to be humble, and treat other pagans as their equals. Those who look down on others and vaunt their titles and their rank over fellow Witches are immature at best. Why must we be plagued with such types? It's part of human nature, sad to say, that the insecure must use power as a means to have power over others. Power is about power within onself, not how many followers we have. It's about devotion to Spirit. Plain and simple. To me, it's not Lord or Lady this or that, it's about honest devotion to the Goddess and serving the pagan community, not for personal glory, but to honor the Goddess.
That's my answer to that question.
- Rev Andrew Siliar
Iseum of Sokar, Fellowship of Isis
| The Problem With Pagan Leaders Is That There Are Not Enough Of... ||Jan 11th. at 12:26:42 am EST|
|William Lawson aka Bradwell (Denniston, Kentucky US) ||Age: 40 - Email |
The problem with Pagan leaders is that there are not enough of them. If you go to gatherings, you know them when you see them. They are usually the ones who remain sober the entire weekend to make sure someone has their wits about them if an emergency occurs. They are usually the first ones up in the morning and the last ones to go to bed at night. They keep wood for the fire so people can stay warm if it happens to be cold outside. They have a ethical and moral code that they follow, and usually end up being talked about badly by other people who call themselves Pagans just because they will take a stand on some issue that the others don't or won't have the backbone to face. They base the worth of their life on what they can give to others, not what is given to them.
They are usually looked over by the others, except when someone wants something from them. When more Pagan leaders stand up and say, enough is enough, then the entire Pagan community will become stronger. The ones who cause so much trouble will get mad and leave...and really...who cares. They can go have their field party somewhere else. The rest who decide to grow up and be Pagan men and women will take note of their actions, change them, and begin to walk the walk that they only used to pay lip service to.
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