One would think if we were successfully living our lives and truly
priestessing by the Wiccan Rede, the Golden Rule or the Laws of Maat
that the reminders or suggestions herein might not even warrant
repeating. However in our busy and stressful lives, is there any one of
us who can claim perfection or cannot strive to do better? So in that
spirit, as we embark on what many are calling the next millenium, this
discussion to raise our awareness certainly may lend some help should we
feel we can or want to personally perform our duties and responsibilities
on a higher level of service within our communities. Starting from the
premise we all have more in common than we are different, let’s examine
some ideas that might help how we share leadership or power with each
other within our circles, covens and study groups.
If you are an elder, heirophant, arch-priestess:
- Do you have a safe means for
those within your circle to mediate
problems? Can concerns be brought up without being filtered through a
select and possibly non-impartial few? What if the concern is about
you? All too often in the absence of such mediation
membership does walk away because there is no other recourse open to
them other than to sit idly by swallowing their concerns in order to
continue to belong.
- If you are dianic and your group has been choosing its
incoming HP by appointment from the outgoing HP rather from consensus
by the group, do you want to re-examine that process in order that a
non-hierarchical model might be considered or perhaps even rotate the
duties of High Priestess in order to grow others into the job and
thereby share the responsibility and power?
- If you have a large community, is every group (i.e., crones,
guardians, priestesses, general population, ritualists) represented on
your Board or governing body so that everyone feels they have a voice?
- When someone leaves your community or circle, do you assume
they are following
their own path and reflection ends there? Or do you think how you might
have consciously or unconsciously contributed to this person’s
defection from your ranks.
- Are you providing a nurturing and empowering environment where those
you have responsibility for can grow and stretch their wings without
feeling by doing so they might threaten their elders and possibly even thereby hurt themselves
- What perception do your circles project? Are they inclusive?
Warm and inviting? Feel closed and clique-ish? When new faces appear
are they warmly greeted and made to feel they can offer something of
value to the organization? One way to check this is to ask yourself if
your regular volunteers or facilitators are all burned out or do you
have ample help to draw on when you need it.
- Are you using your position of elder, heirophant,
archpriestess as a “bully-pulpit” to set an to set an example to those
in your group, circle or coven to keep their ego in check and not
confuse being in service with being in
- Can you admit you can be wrong and can learn from your students?
- Do you do everything in your power to get problems out in the open, not allowing gossip to flourish within the organization?
- Do you insure any member who participates in your events, rituals, classes all equally share in all the duties required
and do not permit a select
few to slide on “taking out the trash” or “mopping up the floor”?
- Should you institute a rule that if someone is not at a
planning meeting, they have no right to have a part in the ritual or
- Do you encourage your membership to feel equally valued amongst
themselves whether they’ve been participating 20 years or 2 months?
- Do you truly and sincerely strive not to have power over any members?
- Can you agree to disagree and still work together?
If you are a member of a coven, circle, community you have
- Do you offer constructive criticism when faced with problems and come
to the table with ideas for solutions rather than just venting your anger or pain?
- Do you speak up in a loving or considerate manner?
- Can you disagree in a loving or considerate manner?
- If you see a pattern of dysfunction or mean-spiritedness within a
group, do you speak up? If you see members continually coming and going
and not sticking around and the leader dismisses them with platitudes
like “well the Goddess is weeding Her garden” do you re-examine your
involvement and principals in association with this group and its manner
of dealing with people?
- How does being a member of the group make you feel? Does being a
member positively challenge your skills and encourage your growth? Do
you feel valued? Do you trust those you circle with or do you feel
unbalanced, never quite sure what to expect, whether you belong or where
- Do you have to compromise your principals to “fit in”?
- Are you given clear direction, encouragement and support?
- Do you have a voice and feel comfortable with the mediation process
used by the group?
- Are drugs or alcohol allowed at events?
- Do you feel comfortable asking most any question of your teachers or elders in the group?
- Do you understand the group cannot meet all of your needs and you
must ultimately navigate your ship?
- Do you put your elders on pedestals and become disappointed when they
naturally fall from the perch you have put them on?
- Are you giving back to the organization, group or coven?
- Can you agree to disagree and still work together?
This is just a short list of
ideas which I’ve seen used, or wish were
used in goddess communities I have worked in or moved through.
Belonging to the wrong group can be a painful and demoralizing
experience, yet being with the right one can encourage you to stretch
yourself and find new talents and strengths
you might not even have known you possessed. Involvement in one group
might help heal the wounds obtained within another, so choose wisely
and have your eyes and ears open to how business,
relationships and procedure is conducted.
We have a lot of work to do to raise awareness of Goddess, help heal
planet and become the best we can be. Can we waste time struggling with
each other or being involved in the wrong circles? Wouldn’t it be nice
not to have to educate the world at Samhain about what and who
witches really are? What if men and women did not have have to live in
losing their jobs or their children because our religion was understood
We might all benefit from looking
at the big picture and directing our energy appropriately so that we
are making a difference in the world, not reinventing the wheel within
our communities, clinging to power within our own groups, or tearing
each other apart.
Let us all strive to “walk our talk” — treat others as you would have
you, nurture and empower each other, say you don’t know, you’ve made a
mistake or you are sorry. sometimes the simplest acts can have the most
profound and far-reaching consequences and sometimes we just have to
remind each other. . . .
published in Of A Like Mind – Priestessing Issue – May Day 10000.
Republished here by permission of the author, Karen Tate.
Karen Tate, ordained as Emissary
Priestess of Isis and Sacred Geography, is dedicated to rebirthing the
Goddess in our time. She sees her work as a “bridge-builder” navigating
to the Goddess those who have yet to learn of the empowering aspects of
Her spirituality. Through the Isum of Isis Navigatum, a Fellowship of
Isis “Hearth of the Goddess,” Karen publishes articles internationally
and domestically on Goddess Spirituality, and organizes classes,
events, and trips to sacred sites around the world. Each March, the
re-creation of an actual ancient Festival of Isis, the Isidis Navigium,
the cornerstone ritual of the Iseum, is offered to the community.
Currently Karen is planning Goddess Tours to England, Malta, and Egypt.
Karen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.