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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Nov. 17, 2002   This Page Viewed: 12,946,247  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 61

Lurker/Post Ratio: 537 to 1

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 

A Good Example Of A Leader Is My Friend Molly... Of Hearthstone... Jan 8th. at 6:44:25 pm EST

blackthorne (Walnut Creek) Age: 35 - Email

A good example of a leader is my friend Molly... of Hearthstone Circle in San Jose. She is a good example of someone who plugs away even though it's exhausting. She puts alot of her time into the thankless tasks that are involved in getting other pagans together. I have heard it said that getting pagans together is like "herding cats" so I guess a good pagan leader is a good cat herder too. I would like to take this time to thank her in print and let her know she is doing a superb job. I don't get to attend her events because of the distance factor, but I have enjoyed the ones that I have been at.

This "pagan Leader" Term Has Become Much Abused, And Is Certainly Misused... Jan 8th. at 2:21:21 pm EST

Solar Indigo (Atlanta, Georgia US) Age: 40 - Email

This "Pagan Leader" term has become much abused, and is certainly misused. How can you have a "leader" in a faith structure which is is in large-part controlled and practised by the individual believer? It smacks of ego and controllism.

As for each of us, I can only speak for myself. Can I lay claim to the title "Pagan Leader"? Yes, if you go by I. Bonewits' standards (see the main Witchvox article). I have been practicing 20 plus years, I am over 40 years old, I have attained Elder rank in my tradition, and the tradition has many more than the 100 person limit specified by Mr. Bonewits. But, does that mean that I, or anyone else, should claim "Pagan Leader" as a title? No, I don't think so. My standing, in relation to the God and Goddess, is just the same as the "lowliest" of our novices. When I sign letters, newsletters, and other documents ... I can use probably a half dozen titles ... but I don't. I am neither Lord this, nor Lady that, I am only who I am. The highest title I ever recieved (in my estimation) is the one I received at my initiation.

I am simply, Solar Indigo, Wiccan Priest.
Blessed Be, and may the Goddess light your path.

I'm With Michael (below)--by Their Works We Know Them, Leaders That... Jan 8th. at 1:51:51 pm EST

Cat (Asheville, North Carolina US) Age: 34

I'm with Michael (below)--by their works we know them, leaders that is, and a leader isn't necessarily a HP or HPS (for which categories I, like most of us, have a series of quite different, but exacting and arbitrary, standards.) Leaders do what I personally lack the gumption, the organizational skills, and lots of other qualities to do: they organize and plan and get people together and speak being a prime example of leading without bossing. Thanks are indeed due here and elsewhere. Considering the trouble I have getting one little image onto my website, I admire the work that goes into this one more than I can adequately describe.

As Those Who Know Me Can Attest To, This Is One Of... Jan 8th. at 10:04:25 am EST

Lynn Salisbury (Brooklyn Park, Minnesota US) Age: 32 - Email

As those who know me can attest to, this is one of my hot buttons. I do believe there should be some sort of Pagan Leadership. I am not sure what role they should necessarily play. I don't want a "counsel of elders" that everyone should have to listen too, and I don't want someone not of my beliefs and tradition to set "rules" for me. I do believe that those who have shown themselves to be effective leaders should be able to be held as examples for the rest of the community (unfortunately "effective" becomes a relative term rather quickly since everyone has his/her own opinion what it takes to be a leader). In my own experience in AND out of the Pagan community I have found one general truth to be rather standard. Those that deserve the title and acknowledgement of being a leader rarely if ever want the title or claim the title. They do display the qualities of a leader and are more than wiling to help others and lead by example, they just usually don't play into the "I am the great leader here" hype. Then there are those who speak loudly that they are "Lord/Lady So-and-so" and the "look at me I am High Priest/ess of the Such-and-such coven". They are the ones who are more than willing to tell you WHY they are a leader and WHY everyone should listen to them and WHY they have ALL THOSE TITLES. Unfortunately in my experience there are more of the latter in the world (and that does include the Pagan community too) then the former. There are great leaders in the community. People like Wren and Fritz who have proven time and again how to lead by example. They and people like them are greatly needed in the community. Unfortunately there are few like them in my opinion. What can be done to change that? I honestly don't know. With so many different paths that we walk it would be very difficult to set standards for everyone. Someone somewhere would challenge them. Personally I think each person should work his/her hardest to be an example to those around him/her. That would be ideal. Each person has it within him/herself to be a great leader.

A Leader Is Someone Who Doesn't Have To Say So (their Lives... Jan 8th. at 8:49:45 am EST

Trish Telesco (Western, New York US) Age: 40 - Email

A leader is someone who doesn't have to say so (their lives and actions speak for them)!

Leadership is like a mantle that drapes gently over the aura and speaks of wisdom, authority, kindness, dilligence, tenacity, hard work... and so much more. Leaders are both born and made, but in a spiritual setting they have a very real calling from the universe that requires a resonsible answer and accountability for all actions or lack thereof.

Our community has, for too long (IMHO), misused terms like Adept, Elder, Priest and Priestess. Forgive me, but reading one book, going to a few festivals, and even running a study group does not qualify one to be a COMMUNITY leader. And I have grown way past weary of Lady and Lord so-in-so setting themselves up at the head of a coven for ego's sake rather than for love of the Path and the People on it.

Leaders are pathfinders. They are the guardians of our history and truths. They are the walkers between the worlds. They are reclaimers of the past, and visionaries for the future. A leader is one who treats life as an act of worship, who encourages balance, who teaches/heals/inspires/consults/guides and laughs often (laughter is good soul food). Leaders know that one never truly arrives in this position, but is always learning more (mastery is truly a life long process).

Leaders must know when to speak and remain silent; they must know and honor their gifts and their limitations. These people have long ago realized that magick isn't in the tools or processes, it's in the living and BE-ing. They must move through this world and people's lives with both power and humility.

This is not an easy task, nor is it one suited to all people, but it is a calling that our community should begin to respect far more than we have. Many of our leaders are burning out because they do not receive service -- their inner wells dry up because so many are so needy. So as you find these gentle souls who have dedicated their hands and hearts on the altar of service to our community, remember to say thank you to the god/dess for them, and then thank them too!


I Think It Means Mature Experienced People Who Tend To Excell At... Jan 8th. at 7:23:45 am EST

Michael (Dublin, Ireland) Age: 23 - Email

I think it means mature experienced people who tend to excell at organisational and social skills withing paganism, not some kind of mystical guru.
Pagan leaders are the people that make the effort to organise the websites, the moots and the celebrations and day trips etc for no other reason than that they like helping people and working with fellow pagans.
They are the ones that write the newsletters and go the extra mile to do the work that we all benefit from.
They are the people that share their experience... not confer or sell it.

To these people I would like to extend my thanks,

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