The limits of ministry: Pagan clergy and serious situations

TWH — Paganism, together with the polytheistic and other religions with which it is often lumped, might be characterized as standing apart from conventional cultural and legal institutions. A not-entirely-undeserved stereotype is that of fierce independence from the over-culture, if not outright contrarianism, which can be witnessed in everything from an early acceptance of same-sex marriage to a rejection of the building of infrastructure that might result in hierarchy and rules. Even within Pagan and polytheist traditions wherein opposing cultural norms is not in vogue, it can be challenging to establish institutions and best practices for the sacred work of priest-craft and ministry simply because the faith traditions involved often don’t have enough in common for practitioners to overcome their small numbers by working together. We spoke with several Pagans and polytheists who have professional training related to the work often undertaken by members of the clergy, in order to better understand the challenges faced by those who are called to this service, particularly when it comes to providing any type of spiritual or emotional support which might be thought of as “counseling.” For the sake of simplicity, throughout this article the word “priest” refers as well to priestesses; this is not to suggest that one gender is preferred or superior over any other, but instead follows the deprecation of such words as “authoress” in acknowledgement that such roles can be filled by persons of any gender.

Pagan Community Notes: Our Freedom, Occult, Adocentyn Research Library, and More!

Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started! Our Freedom: A Pagan Civil Rights Coalition, has released an anti-abuse statement, signed by eight members of the coalition, including Ellen Evert Hopman and Patrick McCollum.

Pagan Community Notes: Ancestors of the Craft, Grey School’s Virtual Campus, Stonehenge Visitor Center, and More!

Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started! The Temple of Witchcraft and Copper Cauldron Publishing have announced the publication of a new anthology title: Ancestors of the Craft: The Lives and Lessons of Our Magickal Elders. First copies of the book were made available at the Temple’s annual Yule ritual, and will soon be made available at Amazon.com.

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. A new documentary produced in Germany, “The United States of Hoodoo,” looks like a must-see for anyone interested in Afro-diasporic religion and traditions. Quote: “[Darius James] immerses himself in the fabric of urban creativity where he encounters artists, musicians, writers, spiritual leaders and scholars. He finds out that the African gods have taken on new forms since their arrival on North America’s shores.

Quick Note: Anne Hill Explores Dark Green Religion

Back at the beginning of this year I mentioned a new book by Bron Taylor, a specialist in environmental and social ethics at the University of Florida, called “Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future”. The book posits that the future of religion may be nature religion, as he pointed out in an interview with Religion Dispatches. “…traditional religions with their beliefs in non-material divine beings are in decline. The desire for a spiritually meaningful understanding of the cosmos, however, did not wither away, and new forms of spirituality have been filling the cultural niches previously occupied by conventional religions. I argue that the forms I document in Dark Green Religion are much more likely to survive than longstanding religions, which involved beliefs in invisible, non-material beings. This is because most contemporary nature spiritualities are sensory (based on what we perceive with our senses, sometimes enhanced by clever gadgets), and thus sensible.