A true musing of my mind for you today folks. If you get “scared” grab a Plushie to hold, squeeze and cuddle (or a pet). If you get confused, which may or may not happen because I’m going to try my best to be pretty clear and not jump around too much, please ask me to clarify my meaning in comments. Thank you.
This is dedicated to all the Priests, Priestesses and others of that nature of all paths, orders, traditions, faiths or whatever and wherever you may be.
As primarily a Solitary Priestess on her path it has not always been easy, as I am sure it has been much the same for others like myself. People don’t often understand the trials, struggles and tribulations we experiences. The hardships and ridicule we endure. We’ve done nothing wrong except be ourselves and pursue a path that “fits”, “makes sense”, a part of who we are we cannot fight that brings us great joy and happiness in following that path. Conversely, there is also much sadness, sorrow, worries, doubts and fears too.
In modern society most people expect that anything you can/could do in the world can be proven with a single piece of paper that supposedly “claims” you’ve done some kind of official study with someone, somewhere to achieve this new level of understanding or learning. This too goes the same for Priests and Priestesses. I can’t tell you how many times, because honestly I don’t remember, I’ve told someone, “I’m self-studied” or “I’m self-taught/trained” and immediately they’ve ceased all contact with me or they’ve completely mocked, berated, belittled and ridiculed me.
It hurts, it sucks but there isn’t much you can do about it, except have faith in yourself and that you are following the right path for YOU.
Too many people, as I hear, get discouraged by these sorts of things, but again – it’s like what I’ve heard many a good Christian say, “It’s a test of your Faith. A test of your Dedication. A test of your Endurance, perseverance and personal strength.” I actually and honestly believe that, to a fair degree. See, when you follow a path that is considered, “Reconstructionist” to me, in a way, anything goes or your Path, can be whatever it needs to be or wants to be so long as it runs in the same vein of what your initially trying to pursue as your actual path.
That whole, “Listen to the voice within. Follow your heart, the voice of your ancestors,” that’s what I’m talking about here, because to me that’s what matters most is those factors plus, the Gods CHOOSE their Priests and Priestess, not us. We only acknowledge what is already true. Granted, it might be nice and I’d say wise to study under another Tradition, Order, or whatever to learn how they do things, nothing wrong with that. Would also let you know how close you are on some things or how far, some of the learning might even be easy because you already know the information, which is nice.
However, I would caution not to commit to just any old Order, Tradition, Collective or Group that you find first. Be sure to look around. I say this because I’ve often heard about some Traditions becoming too involved in the “Politics” of their Tradition (I’ll be using this as my all-encompassing term from here on out) or becoming too “Elitist” for their own good claiming, “Our Path is the only TRUE Path!“. So it would also be very advantageous for you to shop around. I don’t know about you but I do know I’d rather learn in an environment that promotes tolerance, acceptance of my gender, respect for my gender, compassion, respect (in general) and understanding.
No Tradition is going to be perfect and all will have their fair share of problems, but so long as they have enough people trying to promote these core values at their heart, I’d be willing to learn from them.
Getting back to the Solitary Priest/ess though. There may be several Traditions that all feel they are following the correct path and because of that – who is to say a Solitary cannot start their own group? No one. Absolutely no one. Why can’t their way be another “path to the same source” as well? Our ancestors didn’t need anyone’s permission to form their Priest/esshoods. Our Ancestors (the earliest, earliest recorded I’m more referring to who started it all) didn’t need a piece of silly paper to confirm their knowledge, practice much less anything else. Yet we in a modern society put so much emphasis and importance on a silly paper and formal educations these days. It’s funny, isn’t it?
While you may find people who belittle and berate you for what you are, they too, cannot say if your convictions are false. Why?
1) It’s not their path. Even if it might be – I think they should consider another if this is how they intend to treat others interested in their same path.
2) Do they know anything about your path? If no, that doesn’t make them a very credible source for information or to judge now does it?
3) No one has the right to judge you anyway. What matters, again, is how you feel about yourself and the path you follow.
4) Did they ask you any questions regarding your knowledge on the subject to see how knowledgeable you might be.
5) Do they claim your Tradition can’t exist? Who says? Have they done the research to validate their point? Have you? If you have this individual suddenly has a very moot argument, but you may have to agree to disagree eventually if they are too stubborn to see your point of view. Arguing with “Stone Walls” is hardly worth your time, energy or efforts and better used elsewhere.
Not every Priest/ess is going to know everything anyway, but they’ll know enough for the level of function required within their Tradition or at least to function in general.
Whether we like it or not there are always going to be various branches of a Tradition or another. The important thing is to remember this. My S.O. (Significant Other) once had the pleasure of meeting a very famous High Priestess named, Janet Farrar, perhaps you’ve heard of her? Well she once had a very similar discussion about this and from what my S.O. told me, he said she was saying the same thing I’m saying to you today in my blog. She also said there are, “No Secrets,” because just about anything and everything – you can learn from books. Yes; that’s right – books, less so the internet but it can help.
Again, in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter. Everyone is going to find their way to connect to their Path/Tradition, whether they have to “branch off” or something else. They will do what it takes to blaze their trail. Again, at the end of the day, no one can tell you, “You are wrong!” because they’d be wrong for telling you that (is this sinking in yet?). That’s like saying to someone, “You don’t deserve to be happy, EVER! I hope you die in a ditch somewhere“. Okay, maybe not that extreme but point remains – it’s a very nasty thing to say in general and not very “Brotherly/Sisterly” of you if you are of the same Path. Nor does it set a good example if you are suppose to be representing a Tradition.
Now things have changed and some Traditions are now offering Correspondence Courses. Which certainly makes learning a little easier, but still there is that tension and apprehension regarding the negative things I mentioned earlier. Remember, life is about risks too. For those who are familiar with the phrasing, “To Dare, to Know, to know when to remain Silent“. Just be sure you are ready and open for the opportunities when they present themselves, otherwise you can miss them.
As they say, “When the student is ready – the teacher/master will appear“. One did appear for me. I only had a day with him. He gave me as much information as he could before departing from my life. I always knew I was meant for the Path that he ultimately helped me to finally concede within myself was, in fact, the path I have and always wanted to follow in my heart of hearts. I was just afraid because people kept telling me, “Your Path doesn’t exist. Hate to break it to you“. I had another teacher along the way – but he was not of the same path as I. Still, I learned a great deal about Magickal practice from him and that was important.
While I feel my Gods, Ancestors, whatever you may call it, put me on a Solitary path for a reason, I have always preferred to learn from another. Perhaps because I love the social interaction and contact, maybe because I feel I learn even better that way. Honestly, I learn just as well in the privacy of my home. While I may be participating now in a Correspondence course of my own (not one I made mind you), I have a feeling that I will one day start a branch of my Tradition based on the culmination of my beliefs. After all, we all have our own way of doing things and there are somethings I’m learning about that I’d like to change.
I’m under no false impression this task would be easy. I know it will take a great deal of time, dedication, work energy and effort on my part and that of others who become part of my Tradition. If that is what is to be done then let it be done and I will gladly do the task for mine would be a labor of love and there is no greater “work” to be done, at least in my eyes. This blog is a bit of a testament and example of just that.
Lastly, there will be some who call themselves Lady, High Priest/ess, Arch-Druid, Grand-Wizard, Jedi-Master (yes there is a church of Jedi; look it up if you don’t believe me) or whatever. These are titles, yes. Does everyone who uses these titles always know what they are talking about or deserve your respect? No. Does that mean you should be disrespectful to everyone who says what their title is? No. I say no for the same reasons I spoke of earlier. If you are going to judge a person based on anything at all – judge them not by their title they claim, but by their knowledge-ability and content of their character. Above all else, just try to be respectful and hear these people out. It can’t hurt.
If they come in demanding immediate respect from a room though – well then – I’d be skeptical too. Hey! At least I’m being honest. I hope this has helped those of you who have struggled with this either today, weeks, months or even years. I hope this shines as a beacon of truth for you and encourages you to go forth in forging that path you (or the Gods) have made for you and possibly others like you. As a Priest/ess our job/task is not an easy one, but we do so out of unconditional love, respect and brother/sisterhood to humanity. You play an important role in this world whether other people put you down or raise you up about it in some way. Believe me, you do.
To quote one of my favorite songs by Cruxshadows – Sophia:
“When life is left behind this isolation
Cruelty and hatred have become
The cause of those whose eyes are full of wanting
The truth will still abandon none
So you must carry this light into the darkness
You shall be a star unto the night
You will find hope alive among the hopeless
That is your purpose to this life…
…And through these doubts and through your confusion
Know that you are chosen to this fight
Look to find a soul filled with compassion
Look to see a living source of light…”
Remember this post the next time someone tries to tell you who you are and what you are not and may it prove to be, “A living source of light“.
~Waves of Unconditional Love, light, Gratitude, blessings and more wash over and upon you – Namaste~
The person who submitted this video did mess up on a line of the lyrics so if you see something that doesn’t make sense, that’s why. Overall it’s pretty accurate for lyrics.
- Ducking Pigeonholing (witchofforestgrove.com)
- Priestess: Handmaids of Gods (hedgeconfessions.com)
- Give Me That Old Time Religion – Reconstructionist Religions (gwendolynndedanaan.wordpress.com)
- A Word About Covens Who Scare (witchchic.wordpress.com)
- Vow of the Priestess (jadeserpent.wordpress.com)
- Diary of a High Priestess (witchesofthecraft.com)
- What Pagans Means to Me (gwendolynndedanaan.wordpress.com)
- Pagan – Just Pagan (gwendolynndedanaan.wordpress.com)
- Daily Prompt Response to “Faith” (gwendolynndedanaan.wordpress.com)