Articles/Essays From Pagans
December 1st. 2013 ...
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
The Celtic Tree Calendar
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 1 (The Center)
September 15th. 2013 ...
Some Pagan Prayers
The Holocaust Survivor (Part II)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Bramble and Cerridwen
September 8th. 2013 ...
Introduction to the Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage
The Druidic Concept of Nwyfre
The Holocaust Survivor (Part 1)
Giving and Helping
September 1st. 2013 ...
Use a Flyswatter for a Fly: More on the Dark Arts
How Spells Work
Is It Really 'Energy'?
August 25th. 2013 ...
Mother Nature’s Way: Forging a Distinctly American Path
Healing Moon Ritual
Unconditional Love: The Paradox of Perfect Love
Earth to Soul/Sole
August 18th. 2013 ...
How Not to Fall in the Bunny Trap
Why Are You Like That? Thoughts on Hoodoo and Appropriation
Finding the Right Coven
The Knowledge Found in Silence
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances, Hazelnuts and Magick Wands
August 11th. 2013 ...
“I Survived a Weekend with Galina Krasskova”
The Charges of the Goddess and God with Commentary
August 4th. 2013 ...
Fair Weather Witches
Pagan Studies II: Modern Paganism in the Americas
Pagan Abbeys - A Practical Heritage for Spiritual Lay and Professional Cloistered Communities
July 28th. 2013 ...
Crystals 101: A Helpful Guide For Beginners
The More the Merrier? It’s not Only an Inaccuracy; it’s an All Out Farce!
My Pagan Manifesto
July 21st. 2013 ...
I'm a Witch, Not a Wiccan: A Brief Summary of Broad Pagan Designations
Rethinking Community for Solitaries
13 Keys: The Beauty of Tiphareth
July 14th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés We Use (Part II)
Pagan Humanism: A Tradition of Rational Religion
Moon/Planetary Musings: The Holly King and John Barleycorn
July 7th. 2013 ...
Coping With Depression: Learning to Dance with the Sacred Twins
Shamanic Healing of Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Humility and Community Service
H is for Hubris
June 30th. 2013 ...
How To Feel The Energy Around You
Planning A Ritual
Why Pagans Might Benefit from Counseling Techniques
The Weight of Contemplation: When the Silent Self Grows Louder
June 23rd. 2013 ...
Magick and Play
Tarot Spell for Protection
Moon Musings and Planetary Preponderances: RE-fuse, RE-duce, RE-use, RE-pair and RE-cycle
June 16th. 2013 ...
How To Stay Spiritual Amidst This Chaos?
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
What Makes a Pagan Leader?
Article ID: 13280
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,607
Times Read: 2,303
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Author: Gaia Ivorywitch [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: July 12th. 2009
Times Viewed: 2,303
Being one of several ordained Pagan Ministers at a Pagan Church, we get lots of questions from folks just starting out on their paths. The most frequent question is "How do I get to do what YOU do? I want to help!" Well, that's a very loaded question and it doesn't have an easy answer.
Most people have sense enough to know that you can't just walk up and assume a leadership position without several years of hard work and earning the communities' respect. For our church, we have a training system for those who wish to pursue the Ministerial path, but even if one passes through it, the last word on whether someone becomes a Minister is up to the current Ministers and Elders of the Church. By association, these people also serve the greater community at large and must be good representatives of the Church as well.
So how do the ministers judge whether someone is ready or not to be a leader in the community? I can only answer this for myself. I guess that's what makes the 'group mind' of the Clergy Council so important when it comes to decisions like this - because we all look for different things. And it also depends if you mean leadership within the church or in the general neo-pagan community.
That said, this is what I came up with off the top of my head.
1. Minister's training is NOT therapy. If you need therapy, get it before you start the training - it's not fair to the teachers or the other students to wait while you figure out if this is where you're supposed to be or not. If you exhibit behavior, habits, addictions, etc. that might one day hinder you in being of service to others, take a cue. Knowing and working within our limitations is just as important as being a 'leader'.
2. Dependability. Showing up ON TIME, and that does NOT mean Pagan Standard Time. Being ready to do whatever needs to be done without quibble or complaint. You don't get to choose what you like to do, you do what needs to be done and grow to like that...not the other way around.
3. Responsibility. If you cannot create a mundane life that provides for all your needs without burdening other people, you're not ready to be a leader. If you cannot get and hold a job, provide or arrange for regular transport to where you need to go (like figuring out a bus schedule) or are chronically unemployed, or just generally don't do what you say you will do, you cannot expect to be taken seriously as a role model for leadership.
In this one thing, the pagan community and the outside world are the same. If you are unemployable in the outside world - what could you possibly have to offer in a leadership role? That said, there is NO SHAME in occupying a support role - in fact, there are far more of those needed than there are people to go around! People emulate leaders. Look in the mirror and decide if you would be embarrassed if the whole world decided to be just like you.
4. Know what you believe and be able to converse intelligently with others about it. Live what you believe. Be above reproach - no drama, no run ins with law enforcement, conduct yourself with dignity and abide as much as possible to the laws of man (c'mon, we ALL speed once in a while!) .
Respect the rights of others and their choice of belief system, even if you disagree with them. Never speak disparagingly of another's path. If you follow a path that promotes standards of excellence, that's one thing. If you follow a path that denigrates or represses others, that's another. Repression of ANYONE based on religion, sex, race, sexual orientation, or choice of non-harmful lifestyle is not a characteristic of leadership.
5. Tell the truth. Always. When you lie to people, you lose your trustworthiness.
6. Never assume you are entitled to a leadership role based on YOUR idea of what you've done to prove yourself. When people start coming to you for advice, trusting you with their problems, and looking to you for opinions, you are only at the threshold of leadership. It takes BEING AND DOING - for years and even then, there has to be a vacancy for your type of leadership. Always give credit where it's due.
7. Be dedicated. Once you give your word, keep it to the best of your ability. If you don't know for certain you can do something or be somewhere for something specific, don't offer your word. Show up and offer a hand when you can. Keep asking. An opportunity will arrive shortly - count on it! Always do for the betterment of the church, whether it results in you being a leader or not. It's not a reward system, not an ego trip - it's effing hard WORK!
8. Have the ability to say "No." This is probably the most important of the characteristics of a leader. Without this ability, no leader will lead for long. You will wind up burnt out, discouraged, frustrated and bitter and unable to find the joy in your spiritual path.
9. Accept that sometimes the answer is, and may always be, 'No'. This can mean different things to different people and sometimes, if you wait long enough, are patient enough, or even just give up, what you wish for becomes possible. Kinda like love....
10. NEVER offer spells for money. You are entitled to whatever exchange of energy, including money that can be agreed upon for materials, ingredients, your time, and your expenses. But never offer or consent to work for another in exchange for money. Help out of love or need, not out of pity or greed as both of these bind you to the situation.
11. NEVER threaten another with magic. NEVER accuse another of negative magic. NEVER gossip about another's working. Things may not always be as they appear and you can never afford to guess at another's intent. Always conduct your activities with a care about how it might appear to others. Regardless of your intent, others may interpret your actions differently.
12. NEVER break another's trust in confidentiality. You will lose respect, trust, and friends.
13. Once you have made a vow, even if your life changes, the vow comes first. Make decisions that enable you to keep your vows while navigating through life's changes and living life fully.
There's probably more, in fact I am sure of it, because each Pagan Leader or Minister will have their own version of this list. I guess the main thing to remember is that leadership is usually a life path, with a lifetime commitment. Sure, you can retire, you can retreat, but the community will come after you, and they will always find you. Running away is not an option.
What I would love to see is a solidifying of the pagan community. People who others are proud to know and emulate. So much of the pagan reputation is built on the rumors of orgies and drug use and frequent partying. I'd like to see the tide turn some day, and pagans become known as ethical, law-abiding people of integrity. I don't want to get too negative, but there is a LOT of room for improvement.
I guess that goes back to what Gandhi said, 'Be the change you want to see'. Do that...and your life will never be the same. That much, I can guarantee you.
Copyright: Gaia IvoryWitch 2009
Location: Danvers, Massachusetts
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