by Ivy Moon
We, as pagans, have a unique position to show the world that we are all a part of this earth and we are all one; to unite the world no matter the path. However, first we must be united in our own area to work on the present, know our past, and plan for the future! The clergy are the leaders of this colorful new wave.
The clergy of today are the bridge, “to uniting a community: the past, the present, and the future.” The past are those who have come before us to open the doorway for our way of life to be free. The present are those who fight the struggle on this very day to make a better future. The future is those we teach, the ones who are coming up under us. They will pick up the struggle and carry it on. It takes us all; no matter the generation; to come together, to get on the same page, the same wave length. Understanding that we have the same goals for our communities and that is to be the best we can be as teachers, clergy, and leaders. Helping the community heal, understand, and grow together; as well as being there for each person as they grow on their own paths. Understanding that if it were not for the congregation we would not have the churches we have today. It should be humbling and an honor to be clergy for the pagan community at large. Being an elder of our community is the highest honor the community can give. By working together each day we will build a future our children can be proud to call theirs.
Becoming clergy of the pagan community is full of sacrifices and rewards. Clergy means “one who has a religious mission, a task which is destined in life, that is regarded as divinely inspired. One is “called” to be clergy: it generally is not a conscious choice.” The path is a calling that, once heard, cannot be ignored. The clergy are always in the spot light whether they want to be or not. As the up and coming clergy, what are we truly willing to sacrifice for our community our time, our family, or our jobs? What is this path worth to us? Each one of us will have a different sacrifice that is asked of us by our Gods. Do we want to be clergy to serve our community or just for the title and glory? Clergy is not glorious. It is stressful, tiring, thankless, misunderstood, wonderful, and rewarding at the same time. Clergy are up all night counseling, being there for those in the hospital, and helping in the community. Then the next day see the light bulb come on in their student’s eye that makes everything they went through worthwhile.
The maidens and squires of each church have big shoes to fill. Our elders have started a great journey that we have the honor and duty to carry on. If we so choose to walk this path it will not be easy, the path is hard but rewarding. By watching and listening to our elders we can learn what to do and what not to do. The elders, the clergy, and other leaders are all human and they make mistakes; however, what makes them different is they admit their mistakes and do not repeat them. Don’t repeat their mistakes, they tell us their stores so we can grow from them and move this community forward.
Elders, clergy, leaders, maidens, and squires are servants not slaves to the community. A slave is ‘one that is completely subservient to a dominating influence’; but a servant is ‘a person who is devoted to or guided by something’. We are not slaves to our community rather we serve them with honor, love, and respect. The elders are here to guide us along this long lonely hard road that we have chosen to take up as our own. Just like the elders we are always watched whether it is in person or on the internet. Never for a second, think that there is not someone out there that will be listening to our every word just waiting to learn or waiting to twist it into a negative issue. Always be mindful of what we do and say to everyone, even the most positive statement can be taken wrong given the persons mood.
The issues we face cannot be fixed in a day; we can only work on the struggle till it is time to pass it on to the next generation. It is up to us as the next generation to pick up that struggle and continue working on. However, we cannot do this without working together towards a common goal. The struggle is one that is beyond us beyond our own churches. It is about the world community, not just the USA but pagans around the world. Our community is much larger than most see or want to admit. Our community reaches to England and Australia, we have to be able to communicate with them as well; to show, not just say that we understand.
Being leaders or upcoming leaders we need to support and encourage each other as a family. That is what we are trying to build here in the South; community like a family which will grow, learn, laugh, cry, hope, and support each other. As the up and coming priest and priestesses we watch everything that goes on in the community, we see how each church quarrels or supports the others. We see the ability to compromise, to overcome egos, and to truly listen to each other and to say “I’m sorry” when necessary. These are things that the younger priests and priestesses still have to learn. As our elders and teachers we look up to you to show us our options, to be compassionate, understanding, and patient with us though our ups and downs of growth. As the up and coming priests and priestesses we have to learn patience, to learn to let go of the ego, and to truly listen to our Elders. They do not speak just to here themselves talk. Over the years of their growth on their spiritual path they have gained wisdom we do not yet have. However, we still have to remember that the elders are human, they do make mistakes, and they are not perfect.
Wiccan churches are generally hierarchies not democracies. The high priest and high priestess have the last word of anything that goes on at their church, because the church is a legal entity and the clergy are legally responsible. Pagan churches have such a diverse group of people with in their communities. We as their leaders and elders have to show them their options for the paths they have set in front of themselves. Churches do not have the luxury of a coven, because the church structure is geared towards facilitating masses amount of people. Churches are eclectic by necessity. There are many different traditions out there and each church has a basic tradition that they follow; however, the church also shows its members other traditions out there. We are here to help each other find our own paths in life not push ours on to them. If we see that one of the other churches may suite that person better, it is our duty to let them know. Our churches are honor bond to help those coming up to be the best leaders, clergy, and people they can be!
When the community sees its leaders not behaving in a respectable manner, they think, well if they can do it then it is ok for us. This is not the message we wish to convey. Watching how we say things not just what we say helps others understand what we are trying to communicate. Remembering always to take the negative up line and positive down line, this rule will keep the gossip down to a dull roar. The community needs to see a united set of leaders which we have never had before. Yes this will be hard. Everything in life that is worth even an ounce of energy is going to be hard. We are not given our paths on a silver platter; we have to fight peacefully for them. By keeping the lines of communication open between us, we can accomplish this task.
In the end we are all one community no matter how far away from each other we are. We all want the world to be a more positive place of understanding and communication. It will take all of us working together to make this work, not just a few, but the whole community. The pagan community is thriving faster and faster we as the elders, clergy, and leaders do our best to provide a vision of hope, love, and balance to the world. The maidens and squires are our future. We can be the next great leaders by starting today and working together as a cohesive unit. Let this be the beginning of a wonderful new journey!