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Ruminations on Pagan ‘Clergy’

As a Pagan, I feel it’s paramount that we define ourselves rather than leaving that to sociologists, journalists and others. I admit to a mistrust of what I call the ‘overculture’ – the mainstream, linear-thinking, rational, American consumer culture. We can take from the overculture that which suits our religions, but we don’t have to parrot it in everything we do. So even though I’m helping to establish a public ministry program at a Pagan seminary, the goal of which is to offer ordination to Pagan ‘clergy,’ I don’t feel comfortable with the terms ministry, seminary, and most especially, clergy.

What most Pagans do in our spiritual practices is (to make a verb of a noun) ‘priest/ess.’ In my tradition, the term “to priestess” describes what a priest/ess is doing when performing or conducting ritual. Priest/ess is a role one assumes in that context.

But the world changes, and Paganism, as a living religion, changes with it. Today we see more Pagans offering rituals and other religious practices to the public, although many of us traditionally have practiced in private and continue to do so. Moving from working with a close, intimate bonded group of friends to working with people we may not know at all changes what we do and how we do it. So we need to rethink how we present ritual to others — to the public and to non-initiates of initiatory traditions. Performing these public celebrations is the work of clergy.

Read the original article at: Broomstick Chronicles

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