Posts Tagged With: high priestess

LOOKING AT YOURSELF

LOOKING AT YOURSELF

Before you go a step further, take a good long look at your desires, motivation and skills. What role do you see yourself playing in this new group? “Ordinary” member?   Democratic facilitator? High Priestess?  And if the last — why do you want the job?

The title of High Priestess and Priestess are seductive, conjuring up exotic images of yourself in embroidered robes, a silver crescent (or horned helm) on your brow, adoring celebrants hanging on every word which drops from your lips…

Reality check. The robes will be stained with wine and candle wax soon enough, and  not every word you speak is worth remembering. A coven leader’s job is mostly hard work between rituals and behind the scene. It is not always a good place to act out your fantasies, because the lives and well-being of others are involved, and what is flattering or enjoyable to you man not be in their best
interest. So consider carefully.

If your prime motive is establishing a coven is to gain status and ego gratification, other people will quickly sense that. If they are intelligent, independent individuals, they will refuse to play Adoring Disciple to your Witch Queen impressions. They will disappear,  and  that vanishing act will be the last magick they do with you.

And if you do attract a group ready to be subservient Spear Carriers in your fantasy drama — well, do you really want to associate with that kind of personality?  What are you going to do when you want someone strong around to help you or teach you, and  next New Moon you look out upon a handful of Henry Milquetoasts and Frieda Handmaidens? If a person is willing to serve you, then
they will also become dependent on you, drain your energy, and become disillusioned if you ever let down the Infallible Witch Queen mask for even a moment.

Some other not-so-great reasons for starting a coven: a) because it seems glamorous,  exotic, and a little wicked;

b) because it will shock your mother,or

c) because you can endure your boring, flunky job more easily if you get to go home and play Witch at night.

Some better reasons for setting up a coven, and even nominating yourself as High Priest/ess, include: a) you feel that you will be performing a useful job for yourself and others; b) you have enjoyed leadership roles in the past, and proven yourself capable; or c) you look forward to learning and growing in the role.

Even with the best motives in the world, you will still need to have — or quickly develop — a whole range of skills in order to handle a leadership role. If you are to be a facilitator of a study group, group process insights and skills are important. These include:

1) Gatekeeping, or guiding discussion in such a way that everyone has an opportunity to express ideas and opinions;

2) Summarizing and clarifying;

3) Conflict resolution or helping participants understand points of disagreement and find potential solutions which respect everyone’s interests;

4) Moving the discussion toward consensus, or at any rate decision, by identifying diversions and refocusing attention on goals and priorities; and

5) Achieving closure smoothly when the essential work is completed, or an appropriate stopping place is reached.

In addition to group process skills, four other competencies necessary to the functioning of a coven are: ritual leadership, administration, teaching, and counseling.  In a study group the last one may not be considered a necessary function, and the other three may be shared among all participants. But in a coven the leaders are expected to be fairly capable in all these areas, even if responsibilities are frequently shared or delegated. Let us look briefly at each.

Ritual leadership involves much more that reading invocations by candlelight. Leaders must understand the powers they intend to manipulate: how they are raised, channeled and grounded. They must be adept at designing rituals which involve all the sensory modes. They should have a repertoire of songs and chants, dances and gestures or mudras, incense and oils, invocations and spells, visual effects and symbols, meditations and postures; and the skill to combine these in a powerful, focused pattern.  They must have clarity of purpose and firm ethics. And they must understand timing: both where a given ritual fits in the cycles of the Moon, the Wheel of the Year, and the dance of the spheres, and how to pace the ritual once started, so that energy peaks and is channeled at the perfect moment. And they must understand the Laws of Magick, and the
correspondences, and when ritual is appropriate and when it is not.

By administration, we refer to basic management practices necessary to any organization. These include apportioning work fairly, and following up on its progress; locating resources and obtaining them (information, money, supplies); fostering communications (by telephone, printed schedules, newsletters etc.); and keeping  records (minutes, accounts, Witch Book entries, or ritual logbook). Someone or several someone’s has to collect the dues if any, buy the candles, chill the wine, and so forth.

Teaching is crucial to both covens and study groups. If only one person has any formal training or experience in magick, s/he should transmit that knowledge in a way which respects the intuitions, re-emerging past life skills, and creativity of the others. If several participants have some knowledge in differing areas, they can all share the teaching role. If no one in the group has training and you are uncertain where to begin, they you may need to call on outside resources: informed and ethical priest/esses who can act as visiting faculty, or who are willing to offer guidance by telephone or correspondence. Much can be gleaned from books, or course — assuming you know which books are trustworthy and at the appropriate level — but there is no substitute for
personal instruction for some things.  Magick can be harmful if misused, and an experienced practitioner can help you avoid pitfalls as well as offering hints and techniques not found in the literature.

Counseling is a special role of the High Priest/ess. It is assumed that all members of a coven share concern for each other’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual welfare, and are willing to help each other out in practical ways.

However, coven leaders are expected to have a special ability to help coveners explore the roots of their personal problems and choose strategies and tactics to overcome them. This is not to suggest that one must be a trained psychoanalyst; but at the least, good listening skills, clear thinking and some insight into human nature are helpful. Often, magickal skills such as guided visualization, Tarot counseling and radiasthesia (pendulum work) are valuable tools as well.

Think carefully about your skills in these areas, as you have demonstrated them in other organizations. Ask acquaintances or co-workers, who can be trusted to give you a candid opinion, how they see you in some of these roles. Meditate, and decide what you really want for yourself in organizing the new group. Will you be content with being a catalyst and contact person — simply bringing people with a common interest together, then letting the group guide its destiny from that point on?  Would you rather be a facilitator, either for the first months or permanently: a low-key discussion leader who enables the group to move forward with a minimum of misunderstanding and wasted energy? Or do you really want to be High Priestess — whatever that means to you –      and serve as the guiding spirit and acknowledged leader of a coven? And if you do want that job, exactly how much authority and work do you envision as part of it? Some coven leaders want a great deal of power and control; others simply take an extra share of responsibility for setting up the rituals (whether or not they actually conduct the rites), and act as “magickal advisor” to less experienced members. Thus the High Priest/ess can be the center around which the life of the coven revolves, or primarily an honorary title, or anything in between. That is one area which you will need to have crystal-clear in your own mind before the first meeting (of if you are flexible, at least be very clear that you are). You must also be clear as to your personal needs on other points: program emphasis, size, meeting schedule, finances, degree of secrecy, and affiliation with a tradition or network. You owe it to prospective members and to yourself to make your minimum requirements known from the outset: it can be disastrous to a group to discover that members have major disagreements on these points after you have been meeting for six months.

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Today’s Tarot Card for March 24th is The High Priestess

The High Priestess

Monday, Mar 24th, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditionally called the High Priestess, this major arcana, or trump, card represents human wisdom. She can be viewed as a kind of female Pope, the ancient Egyptian Priestess of Isis, the even older snake and bird Goddesses, the Greek Goddess Persephone, or the Eve of Genesis before the Fall.

For the accused heretics who were burnt at the stake for revering her in the 14th and 15th century, she symbolized the prophecy of the return of the Holy Spirit, which was perceived as the female aspect of the Holy Trinity.

In the sequence of cards in the major arcana, the High Priestess appears as soon as the Fool decides he wants to develop his innate powers, making a move toward becoming a Magus. The High Priestess is his first teacher, representing the Inner Life and the method for contacting it, as well as the contemplative study of Nature and the Holy Mysteries.

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Your Tarot Card for March 4th is The High Priestess

The High Priestess

Tuesday, Mar 4th, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditionally called the High Priestess, this major arcana, or trump, card represents human wisdom. She can be viewed as a kind of female Pope, the ancient Egyptian Priestess of Isis, the even older snake and bird Goddesses, the Greek Goddess Persephone, or the Eve of Genesis before the Fall.

For the accused heretics who were burnt at the stake for revering her in the 14th and 15th century, she symbolized the prophecy of the return of the Holy Spirit, which was perceived as the female aspect of the Holy Trinity.

In the sequence of cards in the major arcana, the High Priestess appears as soon as the Fool decides he wants to develop his innate powers, making a move toward becoming a Magus. The High Priestess is his first teacher, representing the Inner Life and the method for contacting it, as well as the contemplative study of Nature and the Holy Mysteries.

 

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Solitary Spirituality

Solitary Spirituality

Author:   Jessica Marie Baumgartner   

Being a solitary Witch does not mean that you have to do everything alone. I myself have been a member of a coven and practiced on my own as well, finding that not everyone is meant to perform rituals and works of magic with others. Sure, sometimes it is nice to be joined with others of your own faith. But being a part of a coven is not for everyone.

I found my path about ten years ago. A friend in high school introduced paganism to me. Mind you, this was also during a time when the movie “The Craft” had already gained cult status and being a witch became somewhat of a trend. My sister and a friend of ours also became interested and we dedicated ourselves as a coven before I knew it. For a few weeks the four of us were so close that we enjoyed practicing meditations, working with our energies, and celebrating midsummer nearly every day. Things seemed so great; I had finally found my calling and felt that the world was at peace with itself. Unfortunately that would not last long.

Our high priestess, my friend who introduced this faith to me, had her own agenda. That’s not to say that she meant any harm, and I will always be connected to her through the bonds of friendship. But the power this young high priestess felt over the rest of my coven mates and me seemed to overcome her better judgment. She began playing us against each other, praising me for my strength with the elements, only to use that as a way to make one of the other coven mates feel powerless. Then this same high priestess would turn around and favor my sister in a way that brought me down. It wasn’t long before the three of us realized what was happening. So instead of turning against each other, we started distancing ourselves from our leader.

The coven was eventually disbanded; we were young and had much to learn. It was a true experience, but since then I have not felt the need to join another coven. Nor do I think that I will ever want to again. Our high priestess has, to my knowledge, stopped practicing altogether, along with our other friend who has completely withdrawn from her beliefs. My sister and I witnessed quite a few people go through the fad of enjoying the ‘benefits’ of becoming a Witch, and when they realized that there is so much more to Paganism than just doing spell work and wearing the color black, they moved on. But Wicca was so much more to me, as it has been for many others. I became enamored with its teachings, and immersed myself in as many books, articles, and shops that I could find.

My sister has always been very encouraging and still holds her beliefs, but she is not as active in her faith as she used to be. We have sometimes celebrated the Sabbaths together, but I was often on my own. Luckily, the years have been kind to me. My connection to the Gods has only grown stronger as I have worked very hard to maintain a balance between living a healthy natural life and finding my place in society. A challenging task at times, but I always say that this is the best time to be a witch.

I am now married with a daughter of my own, and though I still consider myself a solitary witch, the wheel of the year is quite a beacon of light in our home. Celebrating the holidays reminds me that love is the main ingredient in any faith. And the Gods sure have graced my family with plenty of love. We highly enjoy our festivities with our shy lion head rabbit Penny, our scaly fish Einstein, our two fluffy cats, Smokey and Tortoro, as well as our sweet dog Willow. I feel more at ease performing ritual with my family, including these beautiful creatures, than I ever did in a coven.

Some days I enjoy my meditations and rituals alone, whereas there are others where my husband and daughter join in. We are linked through our beliefs like many people, but my husband is a Taoist so his participation is based more on ideals than ritual. Not being a part of a coven has had a very positive effect on me. I have the freedom to focus on my own journey, while not feeling too self-centered. I take my faith very seriously while trying to know how to loosen up and enjoy my beliefs. Finding many solitary guides has made this possible. There is a multitude of books, magazines, and online sources that give me the information I need as well as offering a sense a community.

Being lonely is not part of being a solitary witch because true Pagans are very personable. There is nothing more I love to do than speak with others about faith, as long as I am speaking with someone who is respectful. I live to enjoy life, knowing that the gods are always around me. If I do feel the need for a little Witchy interaction from time to time, there is always the “Pagan Picnic”, classes I can take at my New Age Shop and “the Witches Ball”. Our annual Renaissance Festival has quite a few Pagan elements included as well. Having the opportunity to attend these events allows me to be social enough with other people of my own faith without having to worry about the demands of being part of a coven.

Some Wiccans prefer those coven/group bonds, and that is understandable. Words cannot express the kind of link that one has to the other members of their coven. But many of us are perfectly happy to have the freedom of practicing our beliefs on our own. After all, everyone has their own path to take and being a solitary Witch is full of freedom, happiness, and adventure.

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Today’s Tarot Card for Feb. 13th is The Empress

The Empress

Thursday, Feb 13th, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditionally entitled “Empress,” this major arcana or “trump” card portrays the energy of the Great Mother. She is Nature, around us but also within us, the ever-unfolding Source of life-giving power. She is often pictured as a pre-Christian Goddess, as the one whom the High Priestess is channeling down to earth for the rest of us.

In medieval Europe, the Empress card was painted to represent whatever Queen currently ruled the land, probably to satisfy the Inquisitors. But the scholars of the Renaissance and beyond had no doubt of her true identity, although she could not be fully revealed on Tarot cards as the “woman clothed with the sun” until after the French Revolution.

This supreme archetype of femininity also symbolizes fertility. It is She who provides us nourishment and security. She is also sometimes seen as delighting us with flowers and fruit. A potentially terrifying aspect of this archetype manifests itself whenever karmic mood swings wipe out our plans, like a storm that has come upon us. Whatever happens, the Empress is the Source of our Embodiment and of Natural Law. She might even be called “the Great Recycler.”

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Today’s Tarot Card for Feb. 12th is The High Priestess

The High Priestess

Wednesday, Feb 12th, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditionally called the High Priestess, this major arcana, or trump, card represents human wisdom. She can be viewed as a kind of female Pope, the ancient Egyptian Priestess of Isis, the even older snake and bird Goddesses, the Greek Goddess Persephone, or the Eve of Genesis before the Fall.

For the accused heretics who were burnt at the stake for revering her in the 14th and 15th century, she symbolized the prophecy of the return of the Holy Spirit, which was perceived as the female aspect of the Holy Trinity.

In the sequence of cards in the major arcana, the High Priestess appears as soon as the Fool decides he wants to develop his innate powers, making a move toward becoming a Magus. The High Priestess is his first teacher, representing the Inner Life and the method for contacting it, as well as the contemplative study of Nature and the Holy Mysteries.

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Today’s Tarot Card for Friday, Jan. 24th is The Empress

The Empress

Friday, Jan 24th, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditionally entitled “Empress,” this major arcana or “trump” card portrays the energy of the Great Mother. She is Nature, around us but also within us, the ever-unfolding Source of life-giving power. She is often pictured as a pre-Christian Goddess, as the one whom the High Priestess is channeling down to earth for the rest of us.

In medieval Europe, the Empress card was painted to represent whatever Queen currently ruled the land, probably to satisfy the Inquisitors. But the scholars of the Renaissance and beyond had no doubt of her true identity, although she could not be fully revealed on Tarot cards as the “woman clothed with the sun” until after the French Revolution.

This supreme archetype of femininity also symbolizes fertility. It is She who provides us nourishment and security. She is also sometimes seen as delighting us with flowers and fruit. A potentially terrifying aspect of this archetype manifests itself whenever karmic mood swings wipe out our plans, like a storm that has come upon us. Whatever happens, the Empress is the Source of our Embodiment and of Natural Law. She might even be called “the Great Recycler.”

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Solitary Spirituality

Solitary Spirituality

Author: Jessica Baumgartner   

Being a solitary Witch does not mean that you have to do everything alone. I myself have been a member of a coven and practiced on my own as well, finding that not everyone is meant to perform rituals and works of magic with others. Sure, sometimes it is nice to be joined with others of your own faith. But being a part of a coven is not for everyone.

I found my path about ten years ago. A friend in high school introduced paganism to me. Mind you, this was also during a time when the movie “The Craft” had already gained cult status and being a witch became somewhat of a trend. My sister and a friend of ours also became interested and we dedicated ourselves as a coven before I knew it. For a few weeks the four of us were so close that we enjoyed practicing meditations, working with our energies, and celebrating midsummer nearly every day. Things seemed so great; I had finally found my calling and felt that the world was at peace with itself. Unfortunately that would not last long.

Our high priestess, my friend who introduced this faith to me, had her own agenda. That’s not to say that she meant any harm, and I will always be connected to her through the bonds of friendship. But the power this young high priestess felt over the rest of my coven mates and me seemed to overcome her better judgment. She began playing us against each other, praising me for my strength with the elements, only to use that as a way to make one of the other coven mates feel powerless. Then this same high priestess would turn around and favor my sister in a way that brought me down. It wasn’t long before the three of us realized what was happening. So instead of turning against each other, we started distancing ourselves from our leader.

The coven was eventually disbanded; we were young and had much to learn. It was a true experience, but since then I have not felt the need to join another coven. Nor do I think that I will ever want to again. Our high priestess has, to my knowledge, stopped practicing altogether, along with our other friend who has completely withdrawn from her beliefs. My sister and I witnessed quite a few people go through the fad of enjoying the ‘benefits’ of becoming a Witch, and when they realized that there is so much more to Paganism than just doing spell work and wearing the color black, they moved on. But Wicca was so much more to me, as it has been for many others. I became enamored with its teachings, and immersed myself in as many books, articles, and shops that I could find.

My sister has always been very encouraging and still holds her beliefs, but she is not as active in her faith as she used to be. We have sometimes celebrated the Sabbaths together, but I was often on my own. Luckily, the years have been kind to me. My connection to the Gods has only grown stronger as I have worked very hard to maintain a balance between living a healthy natural life and finding my place in society. A challenging task at times, but I always say that this is the best time to be a witch.

I am now married with a daughter of my own, and though I still consider myself a solitary witch, the wheel of the year is quite a beacon of light in our home. Celebrating the holidays reminds me that love is the main ingredient in any faith. And the Gods sure have graced my family with plenty of love. We highly enjoy our festivities with our shy lion head rabbit Penny, our scaly fish Einstein, our two fluffy cats, Smokey and Tortoro, as well as our sweet dog Willow. I feel more at ease performing ritual with my family, including these beautiful creatures, than I ever did in a coven.

Some days I enjoy my meditations and rituals alone, whereas there are others where my husband and daughter join in. We are linked through our beliefs like many people, but my husband is a Taoist so his participation is based more on ideals than ritual. Not being a part of a coven has had a very positive effect on me. I have the freedom to focus on my own journey, while not feeling too self-centered. I take my faith very seriously while trying to know how to loosen up and enjoy my beliefs. Finding many solitary guides has made this possible. There is a multitude of books, magazines, and online sources that give me the information I need as well as offering a sense a community.

Being lonely is not part of being a solitary witch because true Pagans are very personable. There is nothing more I love to do than speak with others about faith, as long as I am speaking with someone who is respectful. I live to enjoy life, knowing that the gods are always around me. If I do feel the need for a little Witchy interaction from time to time, there is always the “Pagan Picnic”, classes I can take at my New Age Shop and “the Witches Ball”. Our annual Renaissance Festival has quite a few Pagan elements included as well. Having the opportunity to attend these events allows me to be social enough with other people of my own faith without having to worry about the demands of being part of a coven.

Some Wiccans prefer those coven/group bonds, and that is understandable. Words cannot express the kind of link that one has to the other members of their coven. But many of us are perfectly happy to have the freedom of practicing our beliefs on our own. After all, everyone has their own path to take and being a solitary Witch is full of freedom, happiness, and adventure.

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