Something happened this morning that put all of my issues with these titles at the forefront. The way some people just claim these titles without the work or responsibilities – and for what purpose? Ego? How does that work?
Am I being judgy? Yes, I am. I am being judgy based on my own perspectives, experiences, connections, and what I feel that title actually represents. It is why I struggle with it and choose to use the word Seneschal more often, because unlike the word Priestess, which seems to me to have a very watered down definition now, Seneschal still dictates the actual service and work.
Am I going to ruffle some feathers with this post? I am sure I will. So grab the popcorn and lets get this going!
A Priestess by definition is a title of work. It describes a role and work that is to be done in that role. The criteria that defines that in my view and experience: A person who has built a solid and strong bond to a Deity. They have spent a lot of time learning about that Deity, from that Deity, and other available sources. They have built a working partnership with that Deity. Then the person may be called to take on the role of a Priestess/ Priest. That role itself is one of responsibilities and of service to both the Deity and the community. Those responsibilities and work can vary from person to person depending on their skills and path they are walking, but some core aspects of the work are across the board : To keep the Deity sacred and honor Them and those things They hold sacred. To tell/ share the stories of the Deity, and your personal experiences with Them, in order to inspire and connect others in the community to Them. To share with the community the Deities messages that They share with you. To help others in the community to connect with the Deity, Their lessons, and be a guide for them through their own journey. To support community members as they walk their own path and make their own discoveries. To be that in-between person for those who may need it as they are developing their own connection and learning to listen to the Deity. Lastly the person has taken oaths to do this work and bound themselves as a vessel of service to that Deity. Some may be called to do other specific service but these things seem to be core aspects across the board.
If you are not doing the work of a Priestess – the responsibilities that come with that, I would say you are just are just a devotee or follower of that Deity. That is ok. I don’t know why people seem to think that is lesser. Your connection and the connection of a Priestess to a Deity can be on the same level power wise – what differentiates you is the service and responsibilities aspect. You don’t need a Priestess (a middle person) to have direct connection, communication, and Faith – this isn’t christianity.
I spent two years learning, connecting, building bonds, and training another for Kari – but I am not His Priestess. I love Him dearly – we have a very deep connection, but I do not serve Him in the same ways as I feel a Priestess should – that was meant for another.
I have seen some people I know over the years claim the title of Priestess for a particular Deity, and I know they haven’t done the up front work and they are not doing the service work. I’ve seen others claim to be a Priestess of a particular Deity, yet they don’t seem to be doing the work of a Priestess – upholding Their sacred, building up Their community, or the other core responsibilities (yes this is a perspective and I do not know everything that goes on behind closed doors– just what I am seeing publicly and so that is what I am speaking of).
My question becomes Why? Why are they taking the title if they are not doing the work of that title? Some people have tried and explain it to me as those people are using it for an ego boost – a prestige thing. I will be honest, I don’t get that! I don’t even get how that gives them that – because if you claim that title, don’t people start coming to you for all these work aspects?? I know for me – I get a lot of people coming to me and wanting help/ guidance (community work) and I rarely talk about being a Seneschal (priestess). So I would imagine if you are calling yourself a Priestess/ Priest you would get a whole lot more. Then my next question becomes – If you are just claiming the title without all the upfront work and deep connection to that Deity – How are you able to guide and help those who are coming to you?
Am I being too harsh and strict in my definitions? Am I expecting too much of people who claim the title Priestess/ Priest? Perhaps, but if you think about that role in old pagan societies, no matter what their name for it was, those core aspects I spoke about above – the responsibilities and work required – was their job. It was the role they played for their communities.
I just do not understand why people think this title gives them anything but a set of work and responsibilities to be done. I don’t get why people feel the need to take the title with out taking on those responsibilities and work required. I do not understand why people see moving into Priestess/ Priest work is a progression of that relationship with your Deity – like at some point you have reach a certain level and now this is your role with Them. I just do not understand this type of mentality. What am I missing? What am I not seeing with all of this?
So I will close all these questions with a few simple thoughts.
You can have a deep connection, strong working relationship, deep love and growth with a Deity and never ever become Their Priestess/ Priest. Your connection may even be deeper then the Priestess/ Priest but that doesn’t mean you have to serve Them in that way – It is not everyone’s path and definitely not just a natural progression of the relationship.
That title is not one of prestige or puts you above anyone else. It is a commitment of work and responsibilities to that Deity and Their community. If you take that title, you should serve and act accordingly.
Titles are not for us – Labels are not for us – These things are to help the community understand aspects of you, your work, the responsibilities that you willingly take on, and help us to connect to each other. They do not put us above another – They do not give us special privilege.
As always these are my perspectives, opinions, and thoughts – based in my own work, experiences, and lessons I have learned over many years.
I’d love to know your thoughts.