Articles/Essays From Pagans
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
The Fear of Witchcraft
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
Magic in Sentences
The Evolution of Thought Forms
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
My Concept Of Grey
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
A Microcosmic View of Ma'at
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
September 20th. 2014 ...
GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
September 7th. 2014 ...
Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
A Strange Waking Dream
August 24th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
I'm Not Clergy and You Can't Make Me
Article ID: 14914
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,595
Times Read: 4,106
RSS Views: 22,824
Author: Deborah Castellano
Posted: April 15th. 2012
Times Viewed: 4,106
So, it's been super fun living with me lately as I am constantly on a verge of massive self-discovery and/or a nervous breakdown. I'm either going to really build my pagan empire (which is a different story!) or make everyone else stab me to death nineteen times trying.
I'm not good with uncertainty and everything has been fraught with it since my company closed. Sometimes I can't sleep well for any real reason besides a hormone dip maybe or just general flailing. Learning to navigate this new world order where I'm a nanny and getting my craft business off the ground has been challenge. Also challenging is attempting to give the appearance of not living like a feral animal and not looking like I was mauled by a tiger when leaving the house.
It's been difficult. Kelly Cutrone has an awesome book called If You Have to Cry, Go Outside where she talks about how in your twenties, Durga's tiger is riding you. In your thirties, it is your job to ride that nasty, nasty tiger and show him who is2 boss. And oh Lordess, am I trying. But the tiger is tricksy and clever and sometimes wins.
So, this leads us to today where my partner has the enviable job of attempting to talk me down from hyperventilating in a scrunched up ball about what a disaster I am, what a mess my life is and I'm not a good writer and I'm not a good anything and all those hysterics that make artistes such a joy to live with. He eventually gets me simmered down with the promise of helping me make a list to start my Pagan empire. Somehow, that got us talking about the lack of laypeople in Paganism and how everyone wants to be a grand high pagan priestess all Six Sigma crazylike.
See, I too wanted to be a special pony-princess-priestess at one time. Hell! Let's really get real here; I called myself a shaman for like half my twenties! But we're like suuuuuuper fixated on titles in the first world. Titles, as my panicky hamster brain reminds me, tell us who we are and what we do and what we can expect from life. I obviously like titles in much of my life, especially titles that assert prestige. I am too snotty to call myself a mere baby sitter; I'm a nanny thank you. Admin? Um, no. Executive Assistant. So obviously for like the first 3/4 of my Pagan life I wanted my six sigma priestess merit badge and then I would be respected and revered at 25 as is the natural course of things.
Yeah. Well. Around 28ish when I started transitioning from maiden to mother, a thought became crystal clear: You don't know anything about anything. Naturally, this was terrifying to a know-it-all like myself. But then I thought about my spiritual mentors - 1. who refuses to be a teacher to anyone but wound up in clergy despite her best efforts to dodge that dodgeball hurling at her and 2. who, despite founding our circle, has always been adamant about our circle being non hierarchical and that she is very much not in charge.
When I started to wake up to the reality of what clergy really means (death rites, marriages you know aren't going to work that you need to perform anyway, being political and keeping your mouth shut, lots of unpaid labor, being forced to mediate "she's on my side of the chair" fights) I started thinking heeeeeeeeeeeeey back away slowly, you need that aggro like you need a hole in your head; you have enough problems.
And I do. But I do wonder why in Paganism especially it seems that we all need to be experts, Priest/esses and basically the person who knows the most? I wonder what that says about us as a people? I mean, surely we can't all be awesome people-people with seemingly never ending amounts of patience and kindness. It's not like it pays anything or even carries much prestige at the end of the day outside of the Pagan/Occult community. But yet . . .most of us seem to want it like a wanting thing and I wonder why that is. It took me like ten out of fourteen years of my Pagan practice to stop that. Because . . .you know what? I don't want to be held up as an infallible expert, I don't need that pressure in my life. I don't need to be the realest of the real, the family trad-ist of the family trads, the most authentic non-indigenous person . . .I don't.
I know some stuff about some stuff. A bit of Hoodoo, a bit of Voodoo, a bit of Shamanism, a bit of Dianic Wicca, a bit of ADF Druidry but nothing that impressive in terms of degrees and accomplishments. And . . .that's okay. For better or worse, we're mostly a culture of dabblers as Pagans. That doesn't mean you should mash everything together whether it fits or not, but I think more of us need to be okay with who we are. I mean, the minute that someone expects me to put on a mask and tries to make me pretend to be perfect at what I do and that my life is a Stepford bed of perfection, that's when I'm out. I don't want to be clergy and I don't want to be an expert.
Maybe this is a little kumbaya but frankly I just want to write and talk about my experiences and how I do things. I like teaching people how to do the things I do but I like doing it as a peer. I like writing and getting ideas circulating and make sure we all (myself included) have our critical thinking brains on at all times, especially when it involves ourselves. When I teach, I want to teach without the expectation that it means my life is perfect and I'm unaware of my flaws. Personally, I'd rather be relatable. I'd rather you say, well if this chick can do it, surely there's hope for me. There's a certain Rachel Ray kind of charm to that. I'd rather learn together and I'd rather someone say hey, this thing you said didn't work for me and me saying, okay, let's try to figure out something that will.
It's scary on the answer side of the panel with all the expectant looks. Surely you must know all the answers because you are on the knowing side of the panel! But we don't. And I promise, when I don't, I'll tell you I don't have the answers and maybe, just maybe, we'll figure it out together.
Copyright: Copyright 2012 Deborah Castellano
Location: , New Jersey
Author's Profile: To learn more about Deborah Castellano - Click HERE
Bio: Deborah blogs regularly over at Charmed, I'm Sure: A Finishing School for Dropout Dilettantes Discussing Charms, Hexes, Housewifery, Hearth Witchery and Deportment
Other Articles: Deborah Castellano has posted 29 additional articles- View them?
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