Priestess or Priest, these words invoke in Pagans many images. From the patriarchal constructs of major religions to the loving caring guides that lead our circles, conduct rituals and open their homes as a covensted.
Within Pagondom, these roles carry a heavy burden. Priestesses and Priests are expected to be teacher, guide, organizer, financial planner, minister, ritual leader and numerous other roles. Without the construct of patriarchal top down organizational structure, tremendous responsibility and pressure falls upon those that we loudly proclaim as “not our leaders”.
For most, this path is one of love and compassion in the face of overwhelming work loads that there is scant opportunity to be trained for in the community. Each of us does the best we can in our efforts to live a divine life. Each also, from time to time, stumble upon our path as we attempt to apply divine principle to logistics, public information, finance, event planning or mental health issues within our community.
Possibly it is time to abandon our resistance to the word leadership, remove it from the expectations we have of our Priestesses and Priests and allow a group of well-trained individuals to take the task of leadership in specific areas of subject matter expertise.
Over the years it has become very apparent that our organizational structure within Paganism has caused many an active Priestess/Priest to burn out. In their role of religious guides they excel, yet we expect so much more from them. These expectations are overwhelming.
It is time to stop placing the burden of “leadership” on these individuals and allow them to do what they do best. Such an approach means developing a core group of leaders in specific disciplines. From Cherry Hill to Ardentain courses are offered to develop these skills, its time to take advantage of these opportunities, grow skills and each of us take part as a collective of leaders in building our tribe.
Community is built upon collective leadership; while none of us want “a leader” all of us have an obligation to contribute to weaving the web that can transform our tribe into a well-managed, effective and meaningful community.
Today I call on you, to become a leader, engage your special skills in building community, learn a new skill that can be of service to the community, contribute and allow our Priestess and Priests to return their focus to spiritual matters and guidance.