Pagan Priests, Pagan Ministers

Pompeii Basilica

Sam Webster had an interesting essay on Saturday’s Wild Hunt titled Ministry and Duty to Report. In it, he used the legal mandate for clergy to report suspected abuse to call for Pagan educational and accreditation institutions. Sam said: A minster … has a legally-mandated duty to report sexual abuse of minors, abuse of elders, as well as reporting responsibilities with respect to harm to self (suicide) and harm to others (assault, murder). This is founded on the presumption that the minister is … [Read more...]

The Limits of Hospitality

the bird neither knows nor cares that one side of the river is Mexico and the other side is the United States

Good religions do more than provide us with inspirational experiences.  Good religions also provide a framework for identifying our core principles and values and for putting them into practice in our daily lives.Some religions do this with rules that specify what practitioners can’t do or what they must do.  We Pagans aren’t big on rules – I wasn’t big on rules before I became Pagan and I’m certainly not big on them now.  Rules are supposed to make things simple and predictable and to a cert … [Read more...]

Pagan Leadership

04 24b Din Lligwy

If you think leadership means telling people what to do you’ve missed the point in a very bad way.There’s been a lot of talk lately around the idea of Pagan leadership.  I wrote on my definition of priesthood and on the idea of paying Pagan clergy.  Yeshe Rabbit has this very good essay on her work as a priestess, and Thorn Coyle detailed her work as a full-time Pagan leader and how much money she makes through it.  Perhaps the closest to my own thoughts is this piece by Yvonne Aburro … [Read more...]

Paying Pagan Clergy – An Organic Approach

06 41 Temple of Hephaestus

Over on Pagan Square, David Oliver Kling has a long essay advocating for full-time paid Pagan clergy.  Though as I write this the essay itself has no comments, it’s generated quite a bit of discussion on social media.  Most of it falls into two camps:  those who say Pagan priests perform valuable services for which they should be compensated, and those whose sense of egalitarianism is threatened by anything resembling ecclesial hierarchy.  Both camps have valid points, but I think both are missi … [Read more...]

Religious Freedom, Religious Bullying

01 01 Plymouth Rock

From the Pilgrims of 1620 to today, the issue of religious freedom has never been far from the front of American society.  Yet it seems that what is called religious freedom all too often is closer to religious bullying.  The Puritans escaped persecution in England and promptly started hanging Quakers in Massachusetts.  Mormons were run out of Illinois in the 19th century – in the 21st century they helped finance the campaign against marriage equality and just last week made headlines exco … [Read more...]

Showing Up

The Council of Nicaea – photo via Wikimedia Commons

Decisions are made by those who show up.Every time I compare the running debates on the Pagan internet to the Council of Nicaea I get pushback.  Some of this is understandable.  The Council of Nicaea was one of the most important events in the establishment of Christianity as the dominant religion of Europe and its output has helped define Christian orthodoxy for over 1600 years.  It is no surprise that Pagans – many of whom left Christianity under unpleasant circumstances – have no desire to … [Read more...]

Ancestor Communion Ritual

Ancestors service 06.15.14 1

I rarely post ritual scripts, but this is a short ritual we did as part of this morning’s Sunday service at Denton UU.  It’s suitable for Pagan groups, UU services, religiously mixed groups, or individuals.  We split it up into five parts, but it could have been done by one person.Feel free to use it – just credit the source.strike gong one time loud“Let us now invite our ancestors to join our service.”light first candle“Fathers, Mothers, Grandfathers, Grandmothers, ancest … [Read more...]

Expanding Circles

expanding circles

Pagan groups are notoriously volatile, in the chemical sense of the word:  they evaporate quickly.  Sometimes they’re volatile in the commonly used sense of the word:  they change rapidly, unpredictably, and for the worse.  Much of this volatility comes from a lack of understanding of what is required to form and maintain a functional and healthy religious group.Good religious groups may evolve organically without any structural planning (or even structural awareness) but like biological evol … [Read more...]


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