Diary of a High Priestess

Diary of a High Priestess

Author:   Ehstemai 
 
MONDAY:
Morning: Homeschool my children.

Afternoon: Maintaining website, responding to e-mail inquiries and voicemails. Most of my inquiries are the normal stuff. “I need a teacher, ” and “Please help!” Luckily I have a few form replies I use. “Thank you so much for contacting me. I’d love to chat with you some more and answer any questions that you have. First off, what all books have you read about Wicca? How long have you been practicing or interested in Wicca? How old are you? What town do you live in?” It’s all just a way to get some more information. Most of the people who e-mail me at first never reply to my question letter.

4:00 PM: Time to call coven members who’ve volunteered to get stuff done for the upcoming Pagan Pride Day. As expected, half of them have done nothing. I have to spend some time getting them motivated.

5:00 PM: Dinner

6:00 PM: Willow comes over for her weekly counseling session. Willow’s been battling with depression for months now and can sometimes be moody and sullen at coven events. The coven elders have “sentenced” her to 3 months of weekly counseling with Yours Truly.

7:00 PM: Time to call coven mentors. I try to call them at least once a week to see how their students are doing and if they’re noticing any problems. I also want to make sure they’re doing okay. Managing students can sometimes be very stressful and difficult, so I try to give them lots of support and encouragement, and to help out wherever I can.

Sure enough, Oakthorn is still having problems with his student, Amber. I was really hoping he could manage her, but after two months he’s making no real progress. Amber has some childhood issues—lots of anger toward her father who she feels abandoned her. Oakthorn is a middle-aged father of three, and I really hoped that he could be a good influence on her. Amber is becoming openly defiant towards Oakthorn—refusing to do her assignments, being openly disrespectful to him, and so forth. I know that Amber would not treat a female mentor like this (and our coven has no hard and fast rules about gender pairings) , but I really think she needs a male mentor so she can overcome these issues.

8:00 PM: Put my kids to bed.

9:00 PM: I need to call Amber to get her take on things. She immediately accused Oakthorn of “spreading lies” about her. After I got her calmed down, she told me that she feels Oakthorn is too demanding and strict with her. I’m strongly suspecting that he bears a resemblance in her mind to her father. She sounds like she’s been crying. I squeeze her in for a counseling session the earliest I can find the time—1:00 tomorrow while my kids are doing their independent work.

When I hang up with Amber, I call Galadriel. She’s a fellow High Priestess in the community that I’m a close friend with—our covens work together on PPD and some other large events. Sometimes another High Priestess is the only one who can understand. I ask her what she would do with my situation. She agrees that Amber’s behavior is a problem. Her coven is much more strict and closed than ours—she says that her coven wouldn’t allow Amber to remain. I explain that we’ve accepted Amber for Dedication, and so Amber is like a child to us. She says she thinks drastic action is called for. I agree. I’ll see if I can get the Council on chat this evening.

10:00 PM: Red Horn can’t chat tonight—he’s working third shift. We’ll do a Council chat tomorrow night. I get to work on paperwork. We’ve got that big PPD celebration coming up and I have to send out some PR requests and finish polishing press releases.

I update Willow’s file, Amber’s file, and Oakthorn’s file. I draft up a proposed itinerary for PPD—we’ll vote on it at our next Council meeting. I re-read the coven by-laws to see if there’s any wisdom there for me on the Oakthorn/Amber issue. It’s open to interpretation. At around midnight, I go to bed.

TUESDAY:
Morning: Homeschool my children.

1:00 PM: Counseling session with Amber. I mostly let her talk. I learned a lot from what she had to say. I think again that a lot of her problems with men are related to her relationship from her father. I’m still trying to dig to find out what was so bad about him. He was around her entire childhood and even into adulthood. She says that she was a tomboy until she hit puberty and then he stopped being so friendly to her, and she always felt the sting of that. I understand, but I can’t help but wonder what else is here. There’s something she’s not telling me.

3:00 PM: I want to do a rune spread on Amber. I keep getting this feeling that something more is going on here than I’m getting. The runes are inconclusive. I keep getting the “father figure” theme and the abandonment, but I already knew that. The runes aren’t giving me any new information. Oh, well. I’ll write down the reading, put it in her file, and maybe it’ll become clearer in time.

4:00 PM: I got an unexpected phone call from Sierra and her husband, Alex. Sierra’s doubled over in pain and feeling faint. I advise Alex to take her to the ER and call me as soon as they know what’s wrong. I go light a candle for Sierra.

5:00 PM: Dinner

6:00 PM: Another unexpected phone call, this time from Blue Stag. He tells me that his girlfriend (a non-practicing Christian) has been complaining to him about ghosts in her new apartment. I tell Blue Stag to let his girlfriend come over to his house and call me—I want to talk to her first.

6:30 PM: Blue Stag’s girlfriend, Susan, calls me from Blue Stag’s house. She tells me about doors opening and closing unexpectedly, cold spots, etc.–all the usual signs of a haunting. It doesn’t sound immediately dangerous, though. She indicates that she’s okay with spending the night with Blue Stag tonight, and I promise to go out and take a gander at it tomorrow afternoon. (I do wonder, however, how much of this apparent fear might be a subconscious desire to spend the night with Blue Stag? She may be a non-practicing Christian, but according to Blue Stag, she’s been using her religion as an excuse to not get too close to him. Maybe he’ll be smiling at class tomorrow!)

8:00 PM: Put my kids to bed.

9:00 PM: Council chat. It’s always nice to touch base with my Council Elders throughout the week. We go over the upcoming schedule and then I ask for input on the Amber/Oakthorn issue. After much debate and discussion (and frequent off-topic ramblings) , it is decided that she will be temporarily placed under my personal mentorship and be ordered to attend weekly counseling for one full quarter, at which time we’ll attempt to re-evaluate her progress. I get to bed early tonight, at about 11.

WEDNESDAY:
2 AM: The whole getting to bed early thing didn’t help me that much. Alex called with news from Sierra. She’s been admitted to the hospital with an inflamed gall bladder. Alex is frantic. I try to calm him down. They’ll be doing emergency surgery on Sierra tonight. I ask if Alex needs me down at the hospital tonight or if he’ll be able to manage. Thankfully, he says he’ll manage. He promises to call me if there are any other complications, and I promise to come check in on Sierra Wednesday afternoon. I fire off an e-mail to my Maiden who has no morning classes tomorrow and ask her to go out early in the morning for me. Then I drop back into bed.

Morning (when the sun is up) : Homeschool my kids.

1:00 PM: Go visit Sierra. She’s doing just fine. Alex is a bit sheepish about his freak-out last night. Sierra’s managing it like a trooper. My Maiden did stop by this morning.

3:00 PM: Call Amber to let her know what the Council has decided. She seems relieved to have me as her mentor. We’ll see how she feels about that in a month or so. There’s a reason my coven doesn’t usually let me be a direct mentor to younger candidates: I tend to be a slave driver. I go ahead and set up a counseling session for Amber on Tuesdays at 1:00 PM, indefinitely. I also call Oakthorn to tell him the news. He seems relieved.

4:00 PM: Galadriel calls me. She’s on a break from work and wanted to see how the Amber thing was going. I fill her in. She also wanted to tell me about a person they’ve had to kick out of their coven. Apparently an older woman named Phoebe has been causing problems in their coven. She’s been disrespectful to the elders, difficult to teach, a know-it-all, and a general pain in their butt. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when she brought marijuana to an open event—a clear violation of their coven by-laws.

I thank Galadriel for the heads-up. We don’t allow marijuana at ANY of our events, nor do we allow any of our coven members to use illicit drugs, so Phoebe wouldn’t be a good fit in our group.

5:00 PM: I went to see Susan’s new apartment. Sure enough, she’s got some very minor ghost activity. I do a sage smudging (although I hardly think it necessary—these ghosts are harmless) and then advise her to hand some religious artwork on her walls in the dining room. Blue Stag is smiling.

6:00 PM: Tonight’s class is one of my favorites. Every Wednesday night we teach a class. Dedicants (training for First-Degree Initiate) are on the first Wednesday of the month. Initiates (training for Second-Degree Witch) are on the second Wednesday of the month, and Witches (training for Third-Degree Priest/ess) are on the third Wednesday of the month. On the fourth Wednesday of the month, we hold our Coven Council meetings.

Tonight I get to do the “Experiencing the Goddess” class for my Dedicants. It’s one of my favorite classes to teach, although it is quite possibly the most challenging and exhausting class that I do. We begin with a review of their homework assignments and answering questions (as in every class) , but then we set up a mini-ritual and do a Goddess invocation in me. I’ll do the Charge of the Goddess and then spend as much time as they need answering their questions and talking with them as the Goddess.

It’s so much fun to see how their attitudes change with this class (and the Experiencing the God class that’s next month) ! They finally start to see the Goddess as a woman! But maintaining an invocation for 2-3 hours is kind of exhausting.

10:00 PM: The last student has finally left. I’m exhausted. I’m going straight to bed.

THURSDAY:
Today is a ritual day. We’re doing the Full Moon Esbat this evening, so I’m purposely taking it very easy today. Sierra’s out of the hospital and should recover nicely, although she (obviously) won’t be able to make ritual tonight. I get the coven phone calls starting at around 1:00 PM, and they don’t end until about 5:00 PM. The baby-sitter had a schedule conflict, so I have to spend the afternoon calling our alternate sitters to see if I can find someone to watch the little ones while we do ritual.

I field a few calls from Congregation members asking if they can come. “Sorry, but most Esbats are coven only. We look forward to seeing you at PPD, though!”

I do have one set of phone calls to make, and that’s the Congregational calls about tomorrow night’s social event. We’re doing a coven movie night, so I have to make sure everything is still set up and ready to go for the event.

Finally, everyone starts to arrive for the Esbat at about 6:00. It’s a good thing I spent the afternoon cooking. All our Esbats are potluck and yet only Blue Stag and Willow brought a dish. I’m surprised Willow brought a dish. She seems to be doing better tonight. Where the other coveners are able to enjoy this before-ritual time, I’m constantly answering questions. Finally, we get down to business. After we go over the purposes of the ritual and get everything set up, we have a nice, normal Full Moon Esbat.

Then everyone starts to eat. I have to watch everything to make sure everyone is playing nice. As soon as the food is gone and it’s obviously time to clean up our mess, everyone in the coven suddenly remembers how late it is and has to head home in a hurry. They all left at 10, but I’ll be down here until at least 11 cleaning everything up again.

FRIDAY:
Morning: Homeschool my kids.

Afternoon: Task the kids on cleaning the house to get ready for the Congregation social event. We have a lot more people at the Congregation events than the coven events, so the house has to be picked up and re-arranged a bit. Go pick up the movies from the video rental place. We’re doing a pagan movie night with “The Craft” (bad) and “Practical Magic” (not so bad) . I start getting the kitchen set up buffet-style. At least I don’t have to cook for Congregation events. Since our Congregation is more of an informal thing, they tend to help out a lot more than the coven does.

Evening: Movie night. A couple of the Congregation members stayed to help clean up, even though it was already midnight. Cool!

SATURDAY:
9:00 AM: Arrive at the library and begin setup for Wicca 101 class. We hold these once a month and everyone who is interested in Dedicating has to attend them. They’re also a good source for friends and family members of pagans. About once or twice a year, we also do the Wicca 101 for the local police department and Child Protective Services workers—that class is a little bit different and geared more towards law enforcement and CPS stuff, though. The room at the library is mostly set up. We get the PowerPoint slides up and set up the back table. Our back table has several 20-page booklets that go along with the class—we’re expecting 10 guests today, so the 20 booklets I had printed cost me about $20.00. We also have some “Recommended Reading” lists and some of our favorite Wiccan books that our students can look at during breaks.

10:00: We begin our first session of the Wicca 101 class. Although 10 RSVP’ed, only 5 showed up. Typical.

12:00 PM: We break for lunch. I always think it’s really cool that the students want to follow you to whatever fast food restaurant you’re having lunch at, but I must confess that sometimes I really would love the opportunity to get away from my students for an hour. Still, I can’t really turn them down.

1:00: We finish the class with our second session. Although we finish our presentation by about 3:00, we always reserve the room until 4. The question-and-answer period can be long sometimes. I always advise them to pick up a copy of the Recommended Reading list on their way out, and if they’re interested in joining the coven, to fill out an interest form (also on the back table) . I always beg them to fill out a survey and drop it into the collection basket, and I point out that while we do the class for free, we do spend a lot of our time and money making it happen and if they could possibly donate a few dollars to help us defray our cost, that would be great.

3:45: Now it’s time to rush through cleaning up our room. As expected, the collection basket contains 4 interest forms, 2 surveys, and only one dollar in donations. Why am I not surprised?

4:00: My High Priest and I go out for coffee and take along the interest forms and survey. We spend some time talking about how it went and what our impressions were of the students. I express my frustration with the fact that it seems like we work our butts off and nobody seems to care.

It’s not that I expect to get rich off of holding Wicca 101 classes, but when we spend almost six hours with five people and we do a good enough job that four of them want to join our coven, what does it say when only ONE of those people thought our time and presentation was worth a whole dollar?

He commiserates, but it’s not like we haven’t done this class a hundred times before, and this ALWAYS happens. One time we had a woman put a $20 into the collection basket—it was rare enough that we still remember that day.

6:00: I’m really down now. It’s not that I mind putting in the time and the money. I’ve spent probably 40 hours putting together just the Power Point for the Wicca 101 class. The booklets took me another 40 hours. Then I put out the advertising, arrange for the meeting place, field questions, and everything else.

When the day finally comes, my High Priest and I are doing setup and cleanup, PLUS teaching a 6-hour class. We do this every month, and every month it’s the same old thing. We have a lot of people that want to join the coven. We always get lots of positive surveys (only two negative surveys in three years of teaching these) . And yet nobody thinks that our time and energy is worth anything. I just feel like I’m getting taken advantage of.

GRRRRR! I’m going home to get into a hot bath. I’m way too flustered and upset now to do much else.

SUNDAY:
Today I’m feeling a lot better after my bath. Most weeks I might have Sunday off, but this is the week our coven does our volunteering with Galadriel’s coven to Adopt-A-Highway. It’s going to be a long, hot day. I dress warmly, comfortably, and practically, and then I stop by Sam’s to fill up my cooler with bottled water, juice, and trash bags. I’m even taking the kiddos out to help pick up the litter today.

Galadriel and I are the first ones there. She had the same idea I did and brought a cooler! We go ahead and get started while we wait on our covens.

Out of the twelve active coven members that I have and the fifty-something Congregation members, only 4 of my coveners showed up and 5 of my Congregation members. Galadriel has a full thirteen members, but only 5 of hers showed up.

My coveners are in BIG trouble. They knew this service project was mandatory. They are required to complete community service as a requirement of their degree training. I’m going to have to think up something nice and creative for them, but they WILL be making this up to me.

We finished up at about 3:00, and Galadriel and I went to get ice cream. I couldn’t believe what Galadriel told me—she’s stepping down from her coven! She hasn’t notified her coven yet but she plans to tell them next week. She told me that she’s just tired of running the coven and getting no appreciation. She’s going to move to her coven’s “Outer Circle”–their version of a Congregation.

I can’t believe it. Galadriel’s one of my dearest friends. She’s been leading her coven for six years, and she’s been a priestess for about fifteen! But as shocking as it is, I can most certainly see her point.

It’s hard to keep going on when nobody seems to care.

{Note: This is not an actual page from my datebook, but it’s pretty close! Names and identifying info have been changed.}

4 thoughts on “Diary of a High Priestess

  1. Thank you for sharing! I have this calling inside and have reached out here before. The leaders or writers of this site are some of the most educational people I’ve met! Simply sharing and such have helped this solitary find a sense something I can’t explain! That said this “something” and reading this makes see the purpose of coven which tickles this “something” or makes this calling I feel a little louder. Thank you for sharing this has helped me so so much!

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  2. It’s nice to have a peak into your day. I also homeschool my children. I have four, it takes so much time. I am amazed at all you do and still run this blog.
    I’m sending you virtual hugs, I know it won’t help much, but I’m awed by you and have learned a lot here. Thank you.

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