22 January 2007
Pagan Clergy at Large

I was going back through some of my notes from Keepers Crossing, mentally pre-prepping for visiting Cauldron Farm and gettingr eady for PantheaCon. I came across a list of concepts for different roles that individuals can serve in the community. I felt it needed shared.

Priest/ess (running group/admin/rituals, community accessable)
Pastor (outreach to community outside)
Clergy (outrach to fellow pagans, teaching, home visits)
Shaman (god spoken/ridden)
Lore Masters
Will workers (Thaumaturgy)
Spirit Workers (Umbrella Term)

Why is this important? It seems like, in the pagan community espeicially, and the sacred sex community even more, there are SO many of us trying to fill all of these hats. The main reason for a lot of this is because there are just not enough folks willing and able to be anything other than layfolk in the community, and so the Priestess who should be focussing on making amazing group rituals and keeping the admin of a coven running finds herself also serving as clergy to other pagans outside her coven, speaking to gods, keeping the community and mythic lore, training apprentices, and also being the coven craftsperson for props. Its draining, on top of a day job and family roles, plus *gasp* having a life.

I think this applys to the kink community as well. I think too many of us feel like we have to wear too many hats, but the reality is that most folks are just not good at everything. For example, though I can schmooze and network like a madman, I am just not good at juggling community politics, and should not be in charge of running events over 50 people where I have to worry about that stuff too much. To paraphrase my friend Shay- “Why the fuck do I have to be a Bondage Master, I’m an amazing Single Tail top, that is what I have a great friend named Joe for”

So its something to consider. Iff you are a pagan layperson, what skills do you have that could lead to a better community at large? Lorekeeper? Craftsperson? Outreach? Mystical Reading work? Finding a venue?

The terms above are not cast in stone, but they are a place to start for me to consider my own terms, and perhaps for you to do so as well.

I am also considering these things as for the second time in my life I have been asked to Priest/ess for someone’s handfasting, and I am contemplating my role in the public pagan community at large. In the past 6 years I’ve led a number of large public rituals at events like GoddesSMack and Dark Odyssey, but seem to have stepped away from doing so in non-sexualy open contexts. I find this interesting given my initial involvement 13+ years ago with CUUPS (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans), and as I debate presenting my Invocations/Evocations class at Goddess Gallery in Portland (talked with the owner about using the venue, and he is game, thanks Coral). Where do I fit in the public pagan community? Outsider, or insider bringing the voice of a thosuand voices to those who might not hear them otherwise? Just considering…