Articles/Essays From Pagans
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
Banishments, Conjurings, and Hexes for a Modern World
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
My Father, My First God
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
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
The Evolution of Thought Forms
Magic in Sentences
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
Native American Spirituality Myopia
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
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 ...
Sex, Lies, and Witches: Love in a Time of Wiccans and Atheists
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
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Pagan Clergy - Who Qualifies?
Article ID: 8837
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,221
Times Read: 7,395
Author: Jon "Athrawon" Edens
Posted: January 2nd. 2005
Times Viewed: 7,395
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:
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.
- A calling to the priesthood or priestesshood.
- A very thorough knowledge of their beliefs.
- Life experiences.
- Education, whether formal or informal.
- A desire to help others, and
- A sense of self, or "knowing" themselves.
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.)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2016 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 G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
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.
of The World
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).