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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.
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| Personally I Feel There Are Allready Folks Out There Doing The Work... ||Jan 14th. at 3:23:48 pm EST|
|Eric (columbus) ||Age: 31 - Email |
Personally i feel there are allready folks out there doing the work. do they need the title? Most of the good ones i've run into don't, in fact some of the people i've run into who i feel better qualify for the term leader desperately don't want the responsiblity for being public figure. As far as my personal definition of leader.. it doesn't mean some one telling us how to live our spirituality! I really feel that it is more a matter of someone being a public figure doing good work towards building more harmony and cooperation amongst the community at large. A leader may influence folks by guiding them in directions to help them find thier own spirituality. Or work on public projects for the community as a whole or wherever thier area of expertise may lay. I do feel we have had a number of craft elders pass away over the past few years. how does this leader thing work on a larger level well IMHO we will never nor should we have a single leader but i would like to see more of the craft elders and leaders working together to help smooth some of the ego conflicts that can arise and to help us present a somewhat unified fron't when the political situation requires it. Do i think that the responsibility for those things should fall in the hands of a few folks who happen to be well known ( or even proven wise leaders) NO all of us have a responsibility to work towards goals of improveing our community but it does help smooth the way if we have the help of those folks who have the name recognition to fall into that "leader" catagory
| I Think, Reading Back On The Responses So Far, That There Is... ||Jan 17th. at 3:22:37 pm EST|
|Charlayne Elizabeth Denney (Houston, Texas US) ||Age: 43 - Email |
I think, reading back on the responses so far, that there is a misunderstanding about what a leader "is". What I got from the responses, most people are thinking that leader equates to "ruler" or head.
I think that's far from the case.
Leadership is working "in front" of a group, leading the way, learning things and passing them on to others. Leadership is stepping out, doing the work and sometimes never getting the glory for it. True leaders work to better those who are coming up behind them, not for self-agrandisement.
I teach leadership workshops at pagan events. What I usually tell the people that attend is that they need to take on leadership as a task from the Goddesses. This is service work in sacrifice to the diety and it needs to be done with the spirit that you're doing it for the Gods you follow. Leaders don't tell others what to do--they show them by doing it themselves. Walking your talk is only half of the committment, the other half is anticipating what needs doing and doing it without pointing to what it is and seeing "see what I'm doing, I'm special".
The pagan community DOES need leaders, those who will step up, do the work, further the causes and anticipate the changes and needs of the future. Leaders show the rest of us (and I have people I look up to as well) how it can be done, where the resources are, and how working to improve one corner of the universe will act to improve the entire universe.
Leadership is not dictatorial. It's actually empathetic. You have to feel what you are putting out and be receptive to how it's being recieved by those you are working with. You cannot be closed off, you have to be open and willing to take the criticisms, rumors, and other "downsides" when you step up to take the lead.
One last thing: leadership can hurt. There are always those who seek to further their own ends who will do most anything to stop a leader. From rumors to outright attacks, most leaders endure the ire of those who want the position, not the job. Leaders have to develop thick skins to be able to be effective.
Yes, the pagan community needs those who will step up and take the world on, learning lessons to pass along to those who come after. We don't need "rulers" but having a leader means not having to grope in the dark for wisdom.
| Pagan Leaders? This Is A Very Hot Topic, And Something I Would... ||Jan 21st. at 2:55:31 am EST|
|Magus Silverwolf (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 33 - Email |
Pagan Leaders? This is a very hot topic, and something I would like to see further discussion on. Personally I feel it is time that all the various forms of Paganism come together to end the discrimination, and to educate the general public and government bodies as to our rights, beliefs, and practices. I think the term "leader" will cause many of us to balk, so how about spokesperson or representative? I feel that groups of individuals should take up a role as a spokesperson or representative, and that there should be local, regional, national, and international persons. This way if a government body needs information on Paganism they can refer to a contact person. I do not want a "leader" meaning a person who sets dogma, rules, or guidelines, but rather a representative with whom to turn to with concerns or issues.
I realize Paganism is a very diverse religion consisting of many different belief systems, but isn't it about time we all worked together to right the many wrongs pagans experience? I have heard the term Pagan Community used often, but have yet to see a true community in existence. And part of any community is a spokesperson or representative, or a leader, just like a village has an elder, who speaks on behalf of the village whenever neccessary.
So yes I feel we need "leaders" for lack of a better term. As for qualifications well knowledge is key, anyone selected to this position must know his/her pagan community its wants, needs, concerns and issues. Also very important is the person must be willing and able to be publicly recognized as a Pagan. Good communication, organizational and people skills are a must as well. Obviously further discussion is needed to determine what duties a Pagan Leader may have, and those duties will also add to the needed qualifications.
This is just my humble opinion.
Peace and Blessings!
| It Certainly Seems To Me, From Reading Over Several Of These Other... ||Jan 21st. at 6:42:38 pm EST|
|Gregory Nacu (Kingston, Ontario CA) ||Age: 19 - Email |
It certainly seems to me, from Reading over several of these other responses, that most people agree. What a nice surprise. Most people here all want the same thing, They just have different Names for that same thing. Some people have called it, "Defender of the faith", or "park ranger of the Gods", or "representative." And the desired role of each of these different titles is the same. I have to agree, We could as a community, use a representative. One who takes the commonalities of us all and lets them just be. In other words harmonizes us, and Also gives us a person to point to during national or international Political and legal situations. In fact to me, I don't see any problem with having such a representative at all. The Problem is How one, or many representatives would ever be selected. Or how they would be replaced over time, or how we could ever get the masses of Pagans to agree on the methods used to appoint people these roles. These are all challenges that lie ahead. But I am confident that like all things that are good, This will eventually come to be. And Succeed.
| I Like The Idea Of Having A Group Of People To Represent... ||Jan 28th. at 2:50:37 am EST|
|Raven Wind (Shakopee, Minnesota US) ||Age: 20 - Email |
I like the idea of having a group of people to represent the pagan population in government and in legal issues. Not all of us are in a position to be making legal demands and many of us still fall victim to slander and accusations. We have all hade atleest one experiance where we needed some one to turn to for help but the help we got didn't understand the situation because this person has never experianced some of the problems that you have to deal with when you are openly pagan. We could all use at some pointin time a leader with true political power. The problem with this is that many of us are afraid that if you give some one that kind of power it will eventualy be abused. Many feel that if we elect leaders of this type we are giving up some of our freedoms. I believe that both aspects are true. there is always an up and a down side. I think that alittle moreorganization will bring more good than harm and some political representation will be a large step in the right direction. We can't hide in the woods forever.
| The Answer Is Yes We Do Need Leaders If We Want To... ||Mar 26th. at 1:03:49 pm EST|
|Levanah (Davie, Florida US) ||Age: 52 - Email |
The answer is yes we do need leaders if we want to take our place back in the world.We have seen other groups gain acceptance even tho grudgingly given by the world. We must come out of our closet. gays and Lesbians have done this with much pain but I believe if you asked them they would say it was worth it. Thier "Leaders" pointed the way of gaining acceptence and acknowledgement by organizing protests and the like not telling them how to be gay or lesbians. It is time we stopped crying about the burning times and remember our heritage which predates the 4 main monotheistic religions. We had the temples then and we should be allowed to have them again if we choose. There is no Pagan Community as I see it if all we do about prejudice against us is cry and do nothing. I remember a time in not so distance past that people brought about the close of a war, a man had a dream , and Ghandi stopped a nation. Yes there is danger in this for there is always the opportunity for corruption, but we are aware of this and we must keep vigilant. So I say lets go and unite for our individual spitituality. THE GODDESS IS ALIVE!!!!
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