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
| 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.
| I Personally Would Define A 'pagan Leader' As One Who Pagans Can... ||Jan 11th. at 2:00:02 am EST|
|Palafyndra (Far Hills, New Jersey US) ||Age: 14 - Email |
I personally would define a 'Pagan Leader' as one who Pagans can look up to, not as the leader of a coven or anything. A Pagan role model of sorts. The great Eyovah (who is now either in Summerland or his next life) would get my vote for being a 'Pagan Leader'. He was a healer (and a damn good one), a teacher, and a friend. So great in all those fields that even those who never knew him in life can learn from and love him. He was not a High Priest, but was a great leader to many within the Pagan/Otherkin community simply by being a friend. Wind beneath thy wings, Eyovah.
| As A Small-time Wiccan "leader" (hp Of A Suburban Coven), I've Come... ||Jan 11th. at 3:37:29 am EST|
|joppa (Seaford, New York US) ||Age: 49 - Email |
As a small-time Wiccan "leader" (HP of a suburban coven), I've come to believe that our leadership comes from people who see a slot that needs to be filled, and fill it. I think that everyone who views this site will agree that, in some sense, Fritz & Wren are "Pagan Leaders." If we were to see them interviewed on David Letterman, the majority of us would believe that we are being well represented to the country. I think this acceptance by a large percentage of the community is the major, if not the only qualification for the job. There's no real selection process, we just know who they are. Mention Laurie Cabot's name at Pagan gatherings, and you're sure to get a response, positive or negative... we know that she's a leader. Margot Adler, Janet Farrar, Silver Ravenwolf... we just KNOW!
Do we need them on a national/international level? I've just experienced a big "Hooray" reaction from Starhawk's response to Charlotte Allen's article in the Atlantic magazine. Somebody needed to speak for the Goddess worshipping community. Thankfully, we had a "leader" to step up and handle the situation.
I don't think that there ever will be, nor should there be, a formal process to establish national leadership. We're all learning to trust our intuition, and this is obviously one place where that process is working just fine.
| A Leader, In General, Is Someone Who Feels The Need To Come... ||Jan 11th. at 7:55:50 am EST|
|MalenRuadhRhen (Bristol, , Connecticut US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
A leader, in general, is someone who feels the need to come forward and assume a role of responsiblity. Within the pagan religions that could be a coven leader, a teacher, a shop keeper, a herb grower, an author, etc, etc.
I seen no need for a formalized system of *leadership* We pagans, for the most part, are fiercely proud of our independence and lack of *structure* with the *clergy.* I see no need for that to change. Most of us have chosen this path, in part, because there is not some far-removed *elder* telling us what we should and shloud not think, how we should act, and in what way we should worship/practice.
Leaders naturally rise to the top, it's part of the nature of being a leader. But for anyone who is setting out to become one, they should keep in mind a few things:
-Degrees don't mean diddly, using you knowledge does!
-The best leaders lead by example, don't tell, show!
-You earn respect, it is not handed to you like a prize, and you must always work to keep it.
-Listen to those who don't agree with you, they may have some good points, simply because you are a *leader* does not mean you are always right.
-If you do become a leader, remember you will represent all of us to those you meet, let your public actions be governed accordingly.
All in all, I think our current *leaders* are, for the most part, recognized correctly. They are ones who have made long-term commitments and contributions to our faiths. These people should be leaders, they have earned our respect. Our leaders should not ever been chosen simple becuase they have completed a course, or look good on camera!
| Yes The Term "leader" Can Set Me On Edge. But When We... ||Jan 11th. at 10:01:38 am EST|
|Feral (Boulder Creek, California US) ||Age: 39 - Email |
Yes the term "leader" can set me on edge.
But when we consider how the political scene both national and international can affect our right to practice our beliefs in safety and freedom, leaders become necessary.
To me a Pagan Leader should be a servant of the Pagan Community, be it local or on national scale.
Pagan Leader also means facilitator, coordinator. Someone who helps get groups of Pagans together for various reasons that relate to our beliefs, be they ritual, environmental, social or civic action.
Pagan as well as other leaders should be driven by their beliefs and not by the temptation of power such a position can offer.
I liken the power offered by a leadership role to salt water. Yes it is water and we all need water to live but one cannot drink salt water or they become sick and eventually die. We all need power, our personal power to live but when we start sampling the power that leadership can offer we will sicken in our actions and eventually suffer a death of the spirit. True leaders do not sample the power that can be offered by the position they serve.
Not all of us have the ability, time or understanding it takes to arrange activities or the big one to follow political/civic issues, this is where I believe we need Pagan Leaders.
How do you become a Pagan Leader? We become leaders when we follow our hearts and serve many or the few.
What rewards are there for being a Pagan Leader?
The rewards I see are the love from your community, the satisfaction of putting your energy into something you believe in, seeing the Pagan community grow and thrive and the increase of "personal" power and a strengthened connection to the Lord and Lady.
May the perfume of the woods and the gold of the sun be always yours! -Feral
| I Believe That The Concept Of 'leader' As We Usually Accept It... ||Jan 11th. at 1:43:04 pm EST|
|Matthew Testa (Westminster, Maryland US) ||Age: 47 - Email |
I believe that the concept of 'leader' as we usually accept it in our society, is a position contrary to our pagan beliefs and the philosophies that make us feel at home in our beliefs. However, it is natural that thoughtful individuals look to others with more and different experiences in order to learn from that person. In that way someone may be called a leader (pagan, and otherwise) in that community. Someone may also have been dubbed a leader simply becasue they are more vocal regarding their personal beliefs, although they may not speak for others.
This reminds me a little of when agents of the U.S. were trying to negotiate treaties with Native Americans and could not bridge the cultural divide. European derived culture coudl not understand that there was not one man who could speak for all and make a treaty. Simply becasue a chief said he believed a course of action was good, did not bind others to follow.
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