This question has been occupying my thoughts as of late. I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps it is because my most connected time of year, the Autumnal Equinox, is right around the corner. Or it could be my guilty conscience reminding me of how my greatest intention to be more introspective, more communal with the Divine have fallen embarrassingly short this year. Or maybe, just maybe, after all this time I’m still trying to figure out what kind of Priestess I want to be.
I am a Priestess. A legal, card-carrying priestess who rightfully earned her 3rd degree in the Wiccan tradition she was taught in. Back then I was so focused, so intent on becoming a legitimate Priestess, it was all I could think and work towards for three years. When I received my degree, when I received my Certificate of Ordination, and when I hand-fasted a fellow priestess to her love, I cried. I was so undilutedly happy. I had found my calling.
But what kind of calling? Hence my question, what is a Priestess?
Does she attend to the needs of her community by healing and teaching the traditions of the past? Or does she bring blessings and guidance upon those who seek her? Does she dispel fear and worry by bringing words of comfort and love? Is she the keeper of knowledge, sworn to secrecy? Or does she heal old wounds with the unbridled power of Divine sex?
The answer to that is, YES. A Priestess is a person who can rise to the occasion and perform all those roles, and more.
So, if that is what a Priestess is, what kind of person is a Priestess?
Anyone she damn well wants to be. She can be compassionate, stern, knowledgeable, a flake, tolerant, inspiring, melodramatic, worrisome, strict, loving, generous, witty, playful, selfish, geeky, arrogant, sensual, nurturing, cranky, crazy, and wise. She can be some or all of those things. What makes a person a Priestess is their true intent and calling to the Divine.
What makes a promising sign of a Priestess is how her life reflects her teachings. If she has her shit together, you know she walks her talk.
In any community there are women who have earned the right / rite to be Priestess and many who have not. There are megalomaniacs and charlatans. There are very compassionate priestesses who probably have more tolerance for drama and woe than I. There are some, with the best of intentions, who unwillingly enable people with co-dependency issues or passive-aggressive tendencies. People who are looking for a leader, someone to take away their pain, or do the work for them. There are those that follow a Priestess and there are those that destructively cling. Finally, there are those that simply want to sit back and appreciate and enjoy the beauty of what she shares.
“Priestess” is not a word many in my community would associate me with. I only have myself to blame. Even though I love to help where I can, I have no desire to be deeply immersed in the clockwork of my community. Does this make me a bad priestess? No. Simply a solitary one.
Solitary does not mean I do not wish to help or that I’m incapable of leading. When the situation calls for it, I can step up and give commands in a calm, matter-of-fact way. I leave my emotions at the door. While other Priestesses shine in creating sabbats, rituals, esbats, and festivals, I’d prefer to lend support where I can without burning myself out. I’ve learned to set boundaries. Boundaries are very important, young Skywalker, because without them people will start taking advantage of your time and generosity and soon you will have nothing left to be beneficial for anyone, let alone yourself.
A Priestess who does not run a coven or circle does not automatically mean she’s socially or magickally inept. She can be just as inspiring and powerful in her own right, whether by tending to a temple of her chosen diety or making a daily offering to the Sun. She can assist in dream interpretation or simply listen when a person needs to be listened to. She can open the creative doors to the amazing dimensions of tarot or she can raise her family in love and honor. There is no limit to walking the path of the Priestess.
So, I suppose I answered my own question, eh? I am a Priestess.
I have drawn down the Goddess and I have severed the rains. When I have parted the clouds and brought out the Sun, I did not command it, I asked. I bring messages and guidance and blessings to those who inquire. I create my own thermals and soar.