Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...

Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]

Views: 21,818,538

February 1st. 2019 ...

Paganism and Witchcraft in the Media

September 25th. 2018 ...

Understanding the Unseen

August 25th. 2018 ...

A Little Magickal History

Men and the Goddess

Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces

Kitchen Magic and Memories

Why the Faeries?

Magic in Daily Life

An Open Fire: Healing from Within

Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light

On Preconceived Pagan/Wiccan Political Affiliations

Gudrun of the Victory Gods

Ares and Athena

La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength

The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives

The Lady on the Stairs

July 26th. 2018 ...

The Importance of Unification: Bringing Together Community Members to Invoke Cohesivity

May 29th. 2018 ...

Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess

April 20th. 2018 ...

Nazis Made Us Change Our Name

January 25th. 2018 ...

Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion

November 15th. 2017 ...


September 30th. 2017 ...


August 31st. 2017 ...

The White Goddess: A Seminal Work in the Neo-Wiccan Movement.

July 31st. 2017 ...

Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers

July 2nd. 2017 ...

On Cursing: Politics and Ethos

A Distant Thunder: Should You Care?

June 1st. 2017 ...

Herbal Astrology

The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions

April 30th. 2017 ...

Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles

March 30th. 2017 ...

Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords

January 10th. 2017 ...

The Gray of 'Tween

Becoming a Sacred Dancer

Little Dog, Big Love

December 9th. 2016 ...

A Child's First Yule

November 10th. 2016 ...

A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities

What Exactly Is Witchcraft?

What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)

On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans

September 11th. 2016 ...

The Shadow of Disgust

September 3rd. 2016 ...

Nature’s Reward

August 12th. 2016 ...

Hungarian Belief in Fairies

When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch

Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament

Past Midnight

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 ...

Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia

My Father, My First God

Life is Awesome... and the Flu

May 15th. 2016 ...

Faery Guided Journey

Working with the Elements

Magical Household Cleaning

April 2nd. 2016 ...

The Fear of Witchcraft

Magic in Sentences

March 28th. 2016 ...

Revisiting The Spiral

Still Practicing

Spring Has Sprung!

January 22nd. 2016 ...

Coming Out of the Broom Closet

Community and Perception

December 20th. 2015 ...

Magia y Wicca

October 24th. 2015 ...

Feeling the Pulse of Autumn

October 16th. 2015 ...

Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts

September 30th. 2015 ...

The Other-Side

September 16th. 2015 ...

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?

May 6th. 2015 ...

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

February 1st. 2015 ...

Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader

January 1st. 2015 ...

Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft

Pagans All Around Us

Broomstick to the Emerald City

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Article Specs

Article ID: 8837

VoxAcct: 244629

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 5,427

Times Read: 8,570

Pagan Clergy - Who Qualifies?

Author: Jon "Athrawon" Edens
Posted: January 2nd. 2005
Times Viewed: 8,570

Exactly who is clergy? And what does it take to be a member of the Pagan clergy? These two questions have been raised over the years and heatedly debated since they first came to people's minds.

Let’s begin by first defining what clergy is, their duties, and then their qualifications.

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines clergy as "1: a group ordained to perform pastoral or sacerdotal functions in a Christian church, 2: the official or sacerdotal class of a non-Christian religion."1 It is obvious that we do not fall under the first definition, so let us look further into the second one.

Sacerdotal means "of, or relating to priests or a priesthood."2 So clergy is therefore defined as someone being a part of a priesthood. When we start talking about clergy, priesthood and ordination, we are talking about people, both men and women, who are thoroughly educated in their belief system, usually have a college degree, and are trained, either formally or informally, in the skills of being a member of clergy.

The duties of the clergy involve the spiritual, emotional and moral wellbeing of their "congregation." They must set aside personal matters to visit the sick, comfort the dying and their the families, provide counseling for spiritual and emotional matters, educate those wishing to learn, provide community support, represent their faith to the outside world, and lead religious worship as required. They may have a set schedule, but more often than not, they can be called off at a moment's notice to perform one of the functions listed above. It must also be noted that Pagan clergy generally perform these functions in addition to working a full-time job and caring for their family.

So what does it take to do all of this? Well, a calling to the clergy is good for starters. Most clergy members have taken on this role because they felt a need to help others spiritually. This calling can occur early in life or after life has beaten them down to a point where they want to help others because of their experiences. Whatever the reason for the calling, clergy must also be mature, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. Formal education can blend knowledge with experience, adding to the maturity level of the clergy member.

The most important training a member of the Pagan clergy can have is training in their own beliefs. Too often, in our community, someone will read a book or two and declare themselves a priest or priestess without any thought to what that may truly mean. It is one thing to be a priest or priestess if you are solitary, but declaring oneself such to the public automatically brings on expectations which cannot, and will probably not, be met by this individual. While it is honorable to want to help others, more harm than not can occur if this individual is not well versed in how to perform the functions of a member of clergy.

Does ordination make a priest or priestess? Not really. It is simply recognition of the training and skills of the person, but that recognition does support the claim by that person that they are a member of clergy.

Are all ordained persons good clergy? Look at the news for this answer.

Do you have to be ordained to be clergy? No. In most faiths they have people who are considered clergy and have never been officially ordained. These may be deacons or elders who have studied their faith and have learned through experience and tutelage the functions and requirements of clergy. This is probably where the majority of Pagan clergy are at this time. Many will simply get their ordination through some online, factory ordination church just so they can officially perform their duties in their state. Others will use these same factory ordinations to attempt to show they are official, even without any training or desire to minister.

Can 14-year-old Marianne be considered a priestess? Even if she has had the training through her family or other source, it is highly doubtful that she has either the experience or the maturity level required to perform these duties. Would you like a 14-year-old telling you how to deal with your wife's infidelity or counsel you on the spiritual chasm you may be facing?

While age does not equate to maturity, most would not give a teenager the respect that is required to be a member of the clergy. Likewise, I know of many adults who demand respect and claim they are 8th degree high muckity-mucks of Clan Wasername. I usually tremble in their presence; not from respect, but from restraining my laughter.

One trait I have seen among all good clergy, no matter their tradition or religion, is a spiritual presence. These people exude spirituality. They are able to listen with their hearts, give good sound advice, and are not judgmental. They do not have a desire to be "powerful" or a leader, they simply are who they are and expect nothing else.

Not everyone who calls themselves clergy can actually fulfill the roles expected by the Pagan community and the public at large. Anyone who calls themselves a priest or priestess should look at what they would expect of someone with such a title, examine their life, and then decide if they should continue doing so.

Within the Pagan community there is a lack of clergy who have been officially ordained by a Pagan organization. This is due to the very few "organizations" that are able to provide the training and mentorship required of such a program, or are able to sufficiently test a candidate for ordination who has been informally trained. Since most Pagan clergy are required to hold a full-time job it is difficult for them to travel to the few Pagan seminaries for any formal training.

So, in order to wrap this up, the qualifications required of clergy, and specifically Pagan clergy are:
  1. A calling to the priesthood or priestesshood.
  2. A very thorough knowledge of their beliefs.
  3. Life experiences.
  4. Education, whether formal or informal.
  5. Maturity.
  6. A desire to help others, and
  7. A sense of self, or "knowing" themselves.
Probably the best way of knowing if someone is truly a member of the Pagan clergy is if the Pagan community at large recognizes them to be so.

1 Merriam-Webster Online. Merriam-Webster, Inc. 18 Dec. 2004
2 Merriam-Webster Online. Merriam-Webster, Inc. 18 Dec. 2004

Jon (Athrawon) Edens


Jon "Athrawon" Edens

Location: Conroe, Texas

Author's Profile: To learn more about Jon "Athrawon" Edens - Click HERE

Bio: Jon (Athrawon) Edens has been practicing Witchcraft for over twenty years and is one of the founders of The Pagan Online Campus. He has supported the Pagan community in various ways as an activist, teacher, and clergy. He lives in Texas with his beautiful wife and their three fur children.

Other Articles: Jon "Athrawon" Edens has posted 6 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE

Email Jon "Athrawon" Edens... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)

To send a private message to Jon "Athrawon" Edens ...

Pagan Essays

Pagan Web
8,000 Links

Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.

80,000 Profiles

Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops

Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2019 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections
(including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.)
are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc.
TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World

Search Articles

 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide

NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).