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Pagan Leadership Revisited: New Visions for a New Age

By Crystal Blanton

Changing times in society cause shifts in the needs of the average person. While each community has distinctly different aspects, there are commonalities that exist within every community. The needs of those within any dynamic will dictate the needs of the leadership; Some say a leader should be a reflection of the people they serve. The Pagan community has walked through several different situations recently, forcing introspection on the ideals of what it means to be an effective leader, and challenging perceptions of accountability within the community. Pagans continue to question what types of leadership are truly needed within the community. What is the role of a Pagan leader? Who is accountable for Pagan leaders, and who is responsible to keep these leaders in-line with ethical standards? And what are those ethical standards?

As a community fragmented in our ability to come together under one set of common expectations and beliefs, these questions become more complex than they might in other communities. Answering a simple question like a standard definition of ethics becomes a hodgepodge of confusion around traditions, concepts, ideology, and practice. The Pagan community has finally appeared to reach the plateau where our needs for leadership cannot be filled by one type of leader, and the plethora of leaders we have are being challenged by the size of our growing community and what comes with that. We are no longer confined by the boundaries of initiation, or the systems of hierarchical structures, which has opened us up to a faster pace of community expansion. A quick-growing community — with a lack of definition around who our leaders are, and what makes a leader a leader — can lead to confusion.

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