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MorningDove030202
October 27th, 2004, 08:24 PM
I'm a strong supporter of neopagan traditions having an educated clergy and I'd like to refute some of the claims against having a clergy...

1) I don't need an intercessor.
Your right you don't! That's a very Christian interpretation of clergy. Obviously a neopagan clergy would be different. I'd like to be clergy, but I'm not interested in being anyone's intercessor. I think neopagan clergy would do things like provide 101 level training, do prison ministries, perform handfastings, funerals, etc, hold open rituals, publicly stand up to discrimination, vist people in hospitals, and if trained to do so provide counceling.

2) NeoPagan faiths shouldn't have a laity.
Well, from my observation, it already does simply because there is a lack of teachers out there. Why would we be calling some people "fluff bunnies" if there wasn't a laity? Also, if clergy training was widely avaliable then anyone could become clergy, and I would envision that most of the members of a particular Tradition/Church would be clergy. I think the laity would be mainly minors, who would all be incouraged to begin clergy training at 18, or earlier with parent's permission.

3) I don't like heiarchy/we don't need heiarchy.
I know that heiarchy has it's issues, but if it's used to measure someone's skills, and not their position/power/amount of say in a Tradition/Church, then I don't have a problem with it. I think that at least within a tradtion there should be something to denote how much training/skill someone has.

4)Then last there is the issue of payment....and I agree it's a tough one. Right now I feel few traditions/churchs have need of full time clergy with full time wages, but if I belonged to a coven which has a clergy person who was in need of some additional funds, who was devoted to the temple, I would definatly be ok with asking members for yearly pledges, or the creation of a salary, living stipend, or health benifits for a clergy member. I'd expect that clergy person to fill out a time sheet like any other employee would, to document his or her work and set X number of hours to be used in the service of the coven.

The truth is there all ready are pagan clergy, and if you arn't in a tradition/church then feel free to ignore them. I don't see why it's such a threat to some people.

Dove

Mindflayer
October 27th, 2004, 08:59 PM
I think the problem is, that people feel it will lessen their opinion...

Right now if you talk to someone who is Pagan about their religion, you believe them, because they are the 'speaker' for it. With a clergy, the clergy becomes the "word of God" if you will, people will take their word on the subject over anyone elses, and if someone doesn't agree with what the clergy says, they are deemed "wrong", even when it's not the case.

Temptation
October 27th, 2004, 11:52 PM
I personally don't think ANY kind of organised religion is a good idea. It makes me
very uncomfortable. But I guess it will become inevitable as more and more people
are drawn to Pagan Paths.
The Earth is my church; the Moon and stars, the trees and rivers, the oceans and the sky are all the clergy I'll ever need.

For our handfasting my husband and I kept things very simple:
We went deep into the woods to be one with nature. Just the two
of us, the trees, the starlit sky and the Full Moon *sighs* *remembers* :smile:

But, hey, that's just me and if other people feel that they need a more organised
structure in their religion to help them along their path or to be there at important
events (like handfasting etc..), that's just fine by me. :smile:

arctic splash
October 28th, 2004, 12:39 AM
I personally don't think ANY kind of organised religion is a good idea. It makes me
very uncomfortable. But I guess it will become inevitable as more and more people
are drawn to Pagan Paths.

Even if it does become inevitable, it doesn't have to be for you or me.

ap Dafydd
October 28th, 2004, 07:59 AM
That's a very Christian interpretation of clergy. Obviously a neopagan clergy would be different. I'd like to be clergy, but I'm not interested in being anyone's intercessor. I think neopagan clergy would do things like provide 101 level training, do prison ministries, perform handfastings, funerals, etc, hold open rituals, publicly stand up to discrimination, vist people in hospitals, and if trained to do so provide counceling.

I can't help feeling that it stretches the definition of the word "clergy" if the job description includes so many non-religious duties. Are there any of these things that can't be done by a Pagan of standing and experience in the community without their needing to have a formal title that makes them seperate from the rest of us. It would be very easy for someone who wasn't designated as "clergy" to feel that they were a "second class Pagan".


NeoPagan faiths shouldn't have a laity.
Well, from my observation, it already does simply because there is a lack of teachers out there. Why would we be calling some people "fluff bunnies" if there wasn't a laity? Also, if clergy training was widely avaliable then anyone could become clergy, and I would envision that most of the members of a particular Tradition/Church would be clergy. I think the laity would be mainly minors, who would all be incouraged to begin clergy training at 18, or earlier with parent's permission.

I wouldn't call someone a fluffy unless I considered that they had serious misconceptions about what Paganism was really about - and that wouldn't change if they had a Pagan version of a dog collar...

If the "laity" would mostly be children then, once again, doesn't that seriously strain the definition of "laity"


3) I don't like heiarchy/we don't need heiarchy.
I know that heiarchy has it's issues, but if it's used to measure someone's skills, and not their position/power/amount of say in a Tradition/Church, then I don't have a problem with it. I think that at least within a tradtion there should be something to denote how much training/skill someone has

Are you saying, then, that we need to just learn to love hierarchy? If there's someone of standing. then isn't that sufficient?


4)Then last there is the issue of payment....and I agree it's a tough one. Right now I feel few traditions/churchs have need of full time clergy with full time wages, but if I belonged to a coven which has a clergy person who was in need of some additional funds, who was devoted to the temple, I would definatly be ok with asking members for yearly pledges, or the creation of a salary, living stipend, or health benifits for a clergy member. I'd expect that clergy person to fill out a time sheet like any other employee would, to document his or her work and set X number of hours to be used in the service of the coven.

Actually this is the one bit that I don't feel is contentious. If I ask someone to do a rite of passage for me that I don't feel able to do for myself, then I would expect to pay them for it. If I go to a Pagan counsellor, I'd expect to pay them for services rendered. If the community engages someone to campaign for civil liberties, then we should remunerate them. If we have programmes for voluntary work (live hospital or prison visiting) then the volunteers shouldn't be left out of pocket.

The one that I wondered if you _would_ develop was the one about training, which you mentioned a number of times. Who would you consider qualified to give such training? How would it be validated, given that it would have to be acceptable to _all_ members of the Pagan community? Also, who would validate the performance of these clergy? Would we need to have higher levels of clergy to do that?

gwyn eich byd

Ffred

MorningDove030202
October 28th, 2004, 07:56 PM
To respond to ap Dafydd:

I'm confused, how is prison ministry (where clergy teach prisoners about Wicca), visiting the sick in the hospital (and proably doing some healing magick), and publicly standing up in the defence of NeoPaganism secular? I kinda can see that counceling would be secular, but I myself would prefer someone who I don't have to explaine my religion to. (Can I add runing Pagan Nursing Homes to the list of clergy activity?)

And how do I know who a "Pagan of Good standing and experience" is? I mean I could interview alot of people but that would take alot of time. I would rather be able to look at a resume and see where they were trained and with what group, and then look that group up and verify if they are a graduate, and generaly scope out the organization. It takes a certian amount of disapline to finish a class and I value that.

I think it's important for clergy not to make others feel like second class pagans. I also think there are plenty of people who arn't ordained clergy that try to sell themselves as "Queen of the Witches" who don't realy have any training or disipline. So, either way, there will be people reguardless of any formal education, running around with their nose in the air. I think we can all use the Goddess Ignora when this happens, weither they are clergy are not. At least if they ARE clergy, they can be reported to their tradition, and perhapse some athority can repremand them. Being clergy means that they should be held accountable for their actions by some organization, which I think is a good thing.

Laity vs Clergy... well these are the words we have, though I'm open to using different ones. I think trying to fit Wiccan or Pagan structure into Christian words is going to stretch them anyway. Like I said, I think any NeoPagan Tradition would have the clergy in the majority. In my tradition we have an Outer Court (non clergy) and an Inner Court (clergy), but when talking about NeoPaganism all togehter, I feel it's best to stick to Laity and Clergy. Also, have you considered that the path of Clergy isn't for everyone? Some people just want to be the Samhain and Beltain Wiccans/Pagans, and I don't think we should exclude them from being called Wiccan/Pagans. A laity might actualy officaly recognize these people, instead of having them wonder to themselves about if they can call themselves Wiccan or not. (Which is something I used to wonder.)

Training---A curriculm would be for each Tradition (Wiccan or Pagan) to develop. I do wish that some concensus would occur reguarding training at a Wiccan 101 level, but I doubt that will ever happen. As far as cross traditional acceptance, that's a much larger issue. Especialy with requards to the many corespondence type pagan educational systems, it comes down to student review. I'm thinking that eventualy someone will make a web site where you can rate your edcuational experience at "Coven XYZ" similar to Amazon.com's book rating system. I think a well designed webs site would provide feedback to the edcuational organization so that they could improve themselves when aspects are critisized (sp?). As far as "Coven XYZ" accpeting the first degree of "coven ABC" that's for them to decide if they are going to do that. I could see a group of Traditions forming an "alliance" and accepting each other's educational system, but that would be voluntary.

Ron
October 28th, 2004, 08:34 PM
Interesting thread... I want to post something but I can't find words to express myself at the moment -- I'm sure I will soon. I do however strongly agree with the main points Morning Dove originally presented. :)

Romani Vixen
October 28th, 2004, 09:10 PM
I have no issues with having clergy. Not everyone has to be part of a Coven with one!

MorningDove030202
October 28th, 2004, 09:23 PM
I have no issues with having clergy. Not everyone has to be part of a Coven with one!

Yes, there are many covens/traditions that don't use a degree system, or an inner and outer court system. I think they are totaly valid, as obvously there is a need for groups to exist without clergy.

Dove

ap Dafydd
October 29th, 2004, 10:14 AM
Some thoughts...


I'm confused, how is prison ministry (where clergy teach prisoners about Wicca), visiting the sick in the hospital (and proably doing some healing magick), and publicly standing up in the defence of NeoPaganism secular? I kinda can see that counceling would be secular, but I myself would prefer someone who I don't have to explaine my religion to. (Can I add runing Pagan Nursing Homes to the list of clergy activity?)

I'd probably respond by saying that doing something properly and in a professional manner isn't the same thing as having a "clergy badge of office". Why might someone have to have a DD before they can campaign for Pagan rights? There are people doing it very effectively at the moment. I would see there as being a difference between a situation where these activities are organised and a situation where someone can only do them if they're done by someone who's been to a Pagan seminary.


And how do I know who a "Pagan of Good standing and experience" is? I mean I could interview alot of people but that would take alot of time

Probably because they're the ones who are doing all these things at the moment without feeling the need to have the kind of qualifications that you are suggesting! You could always ask around in the community, even if you don't know one from your personal experience.


I think it's important for clergy not to make others feel like second class pagans.

My fear is that the _existence_ of clergy would make non-clergy feel second class. No matter how sensitively they behave, there will always be that barrier (and the authorities will enhance it because they will automatically turn to the clergy for any dealings with the movement)


At least if they ARE clergy, they can be reported to their tradition, and perhapse some athority can repremand them. Being clergy means that they should be held accountable for their actions by some organization, which I think is a good thing.[QUOTE]

Surely if someone is a member of an organisation, then they can be accountable to it, whether they are clergy or not?

[QUOTE=MorningDove030202]Laity vs Clergy... well these are the words we have, though I'm open to using different ones.

It may indeed clarify whether we're talking at cross purposes here. To take an example: if someone's a Pagan and a trained counsellor, why would I look for any further qualifications before going to them for counselling? If I'm running a Pagan hospital visiting network, why can't I use properly trained volunteers even if they're not qualified clergy?


Some people just want to be the Samhain and Beltain Wiccans/Pagans, and I don't think we should exclude them from being called Wiccan/Pagans. A laity might actualy officaly recognize these people, instead of having them wonder to themselves about if they can call themselves Wiccan or not.

If it's something that they have to wonder about, then clearly they are open to the option of going the whole hog as Pagans rather than treating it as an optional add-on.


Training---A curriculm would be for each Tradition (Wiccan or Pagan) to develop. I do wish that some concensus would occur reguarding training at a Wiccan 101 level, but I doubt that will ever happen. As far as cross traditional acceptance, that's a much larger issue.

But really, it's _the_ issue. If I'm in hospital or prison, I'm unlikely to have the luxury of being able to choose the tradition of my visitor, so I've got to have confidence that _anyone_ who has the "badge of office" is going to be acceptable. Otherwise, why have them, and so we go round again....

gwyn eich byd

Ffred

MorningDove030202
October 29th, 2004, 10:48 AM
Just because I think clergy should be publicly standing up for our rights, doesn't mean that others can't! I'm just saying that clergy should be doing so, because the rest of the world values a quantifyable education and general officalness.

In my area, no body is doing anything! People hardly even come to the pagan and witch meetups. I would suggest that I am the pagan of good standing in my county at least, as I have organized an in person witchschool based study group, and I volunteer to run the children's activities for the nearest PPD for the past 3 years. I'm also a member of the local UUFS and I do a service on Wicca once a year to keep people educated. I think asking around the community leads to gossip, and is an opinon based way to judge someone. I'd rather use something less opinon oriented and quantifyable, like grades and a curriculum, or at least something tangable. If someone has a mentor I could ask them what they thought of someone. I would expect a less opnionated more accurate responce from an profestional mentor than compared to just taking a survey of the general pagan community.

Perhapse you have a point about "making people feel second class". But wouldn't that be their own issue of insecurity? I'm not interested in being clergy because I want to make people feel inferior! I just want to have a quantifyable education that shows that I have disapline. If someone asks me what did you do to become clergy, I can show them my lessons, my tests, my grades, and my spell journal. They don't have to look for biased opinons from others. They can judge my profestionalism by their own impression of myself and know my skills are real because of my class work.

Again, I'm saying that I would expect clergy to also at a minimum be able to do some grief counceling. Clergy do funerals, and it makes sence for them to know something aboug it. I'm not saying that a councler who is pagan has to also become clergy.

If you are in a hospital or prison and you are already a member of a neopagan clergy shouldn't you be able to request from your tradition that they send someone to you for some guidance, help with rituals, doing some healing magick? Or at least a clergy person should be able to corespond with you from prison.

As far as discovering Paganism from within Prison, you do kinda have to accpet what you find, but that's the price of going to jail. At least if you find a "pagan of good standing" with or without clergy training, they can help you find what tradition is right for you, even if theirs isn't.

You can always request to see someone's credentials, I think anyone doing the work of clergy, weither they are or not should have a "Pagan Resume" available that describes their self-education, self-training, and any work they have done for the community. I myself have a Pagan Resume on my home page..... because I don't expect people to just "trust me" or my title of "Reverend" when I get it.

Dove

Ben Trismegistus
October 29th, 2004, 10:59 AM
I've never heard of any neo-pagan clergy being described as intercessors. In fact, all the pagan religions of which I'm aware are based around your PERSONAL communion with deity. Rather, clergy in the neo-pagan religions is meant to function as mentors or guides, simply easing you in the right direction towards your own personal gnosis. There's a lot of information out there, and a lot of misinformation, and it's been tremendously helpful for me personally to have two wonderfully intelligent and informed mentors to help me sort out the good from the bad.

Note: I think that in ancient Greece, it WAS the function of the clergy to serve as the intercessors between the laity and deity. I'm not sure if that's the case in modern Hellenic Reconstructionism or not.

MorningDove030202
October 29th, 2004, 11:09 AM
I There's a lot of information out there, and a lot of misinformation, and it's been tremendously helpful for me personally to have two wonderfully intelligent and informed mentors to help me sort out the good from the bad.

Note: I think that in ancient Greece, it WAS the function of the clergy to serve as the intercessors between the laity and deity. I'm not sure if that's the case in modern Hellenic Reconstructionism or not.


Just out of couriosity, were your mentors Clergy members of a particular tradition?

Also you have a good question about Hellenic Reconstructionism! I might know someone to ask....
Dove

Athena-Nadine
October 29th, 2004, 12:09 PM
Note: I think that in ancient Greece, it WAS the function of the clergy to serve as the intercessors between the laity and deity. I'm not sure if that's the case in modern Hellenic Reconstructionism or not.Clergy in Ancient Greece didn't serve as intecessors the way that people are familiar with the term. They performed the large rituals and sacrifices, but those people were often chosen for each rite as needed. No one was required to go to church and pray to a clergy-person in order to have their prayers heard. Nor was anyone required to go to clergy to have their offerings and sacrifices performed. Most clergy who resided in the temples were there to care for the temples and the things in them. They were brought gifts by the community for doing so. Most clergy didn't serve their entire lives. Many would serve for a specific period and then step down to allow someone else to serve.

These days, the people who serve as clergy serve to teach, to perform the community rites the gods required of them, to retain and protect our heritage and history, and help bring the community closer together, among other things. We have the utmost respect for those who are so dedicated to their religion and their gods that they choose to give their lives to service--above all else.

Yet again, I need to say this for those of you who seem to forget there are some very traditional religions which fall under the Pagan umbrella:

Stop lumping all of us together. There is no "Pagan" religion. We all only call ourselves that because we have nothing better. It's disrespectful in its disregard. I've read through both of the threads on this sunbject now, and I keep seeing it said that "Paganism" teaches that "we" don't need clergy, that we're all priests and priestesses. This is not true. Wicca may teach that in some traditions, and the more eclectic practices may believe that, but the majority of the Recon religions (actually, almost every single Recon I've come across) wish we had more real, trained clergy. Our religions (I am only speaking of the Reconstructionists) weren't meant to be solitary religions. They are community religions, they revolve around the community, and a very important part of them is one that is all too often sorely lacking. That is community practice, and it doesn't just include ritual. Recons practice in solitary because many of us have little choice in the matter. Teaching and outreach is a much more important function of clergy in Recon religions. Bringing the various Recon communities together is much more important than intercession, especially since intercession is neither necessary nor desired by our gods. There are far too many services we cannot provide to our gods without clergy, not the least being the preservation of our spiritual heritage and history.

I don't know where this assumption that clergy is to be looked up to comes from. Maybe it's due to my lack of Christian upbringing. *...shrugs...* I don't know. All I know is, those who become clergy, in every Pagan religion I've seen, do so because they want to dedicate themselves to their gods and their religion in ways they cannot accomplish without becoming clergy. They do so only because they want to serve. That's it. They want to serve their gods and their community to the best of their ability. They dedicate their lives to doing so. Becoming clergy, for them, is the most profound statement of comittment they can make. It is more than just living their religion day in and day out. Clergy do not become clergy to serve their own needs. They do so to serve their gods, their religion, and their community. They become clergy because reaching within is no longer enough for them. They become clergy because the desire to reach outside themselves is too strong for them to not do so. They are clergy because they are way more humble and selfless than most of us. They are clergy because their own love and reverence for the Divine and everything It entails is too powerful for them not to. They deserve nothing but respect for their dedication and commitment, but no true priest or priestess of any religion desires to be revered, held in awe, or looked up to in any way. And really, what on earth is so horrible with holding someone who works so hard in high regard?

Ben Trismegistus
October 29th, 2004, 12:14 PM
Just out of couriosity, were your mentors Clergy members of a particular tradition?
Yes, they are a High Priest and High Priestess in the Minoan/NorthStar Tradition, an eclectic Gardnerian tradition.


Clergy in Ancient Greece didn't serve as intecessors the way that people are familiar with the term. They performed the large rituals and sacrifices, but those people were often chosen for each rite as needed. No one was required to go to church and pray to a clergy-person in order to have their prayers heard. Nor was anyone required to go to clergy to have their offerings and sacrifices performed. Most clergy who resided in the temples were there to care for the temples and the things in them. They were brought gifts by the community for doing so. Most clergy didn't serve their entire lives. Many would serve for a specific period and then step down to allow someone else to serve.
Ah, thanks for clearing that up. I must've misinterpreted some information. How about the Egyptians?

Athena-Nadine
October 29th, 2004, 12:28 PM
Yes, they are a High Priest and High Priestess in the Minoan/NorthStar Tradition, an eclectic Gardnerian tradition.


Ah, thanks for clearing that up. I must've misinterpreted some information. How about the Egyptians?
It's easy to do. :) I think part of that comes from the experiences of so many today with some septs of the Abrahamic religions and their clergy, that a good amount of information, until fairly recently, was written from a decidedly Abrahamic point of view.

Alas, I know very little about the Egyptians. *...looks around...* Where's NeferSesemet when you need her? :lol:

DebLipp
October 29th, 2004, 12:32 PM
This is an excellent, clear post. I'd like to point out a few things:

No one would have to use clergy. Your own solitary or group practice could continue to carry on as before. If you don't like clergy, you don't have to have any. The existence of clergy (and it's already here, folks) is just one option. The existence of Pagan "churches" is just one way of doing Paganism. Diversity is Good.
The supposedly "non-clergy" things that you suggest are things that are considered the normal duties of clergy in other religions. Rabbis and ministers routinely counsel, interface with the larger community, visit hospitals and prisons, teach, and support.
Clergy provides credentialing. Handfasting alone in the woods is beautiful, but doesn't get your paperwork filed. Sometimes the purpose of clergy is to do the scutwork.

DebLipp
October 29th, 2004, 12:41 PM
needing to have a formal title that makes them seperate from the rest of us. It would be very easy for someone who wasn't designated as "clergy" to feel that they were a "second class Pagan".

This is the part I just don't understand. Why is a role, a job title, a mark of separation that makes others second class? Does the fact that I am a published author make all non-authors second class? Does the fact that my sister is a singer, whereas I cannot carry a tune in a bucket, make ME second class? Are these differences erased if we avoid calling ourselves by labels designating these things, or if we avoid making these things full time work, or what?

Ahautenites
October 29th, 2004, 12:43 PM
How about the Egyptians?

**flexes fingers** Give me a minute to collect my thoughts....

Ben Trismegistus
October 29th, 2004, 12:49 PM
This is the part I just don't understand. Why is a role, a job title, a mark of separation that makes others second class? Does the fact that I am a published author make all non-authors second class? Does the fact that my sister is a singer, whereas I cannot carry a tune in a bucket, make ME second class? Are these differences erased if we avoid calling ourselves by labels designating these things, or if we avoid making these things full time work, or what?
Bingo - it's just a job.

DebLipp
October 29th, 2004, 12:49 PM
Training---A curriculm would be for each Tradition (Wiccan or Pagan) to develop. I do wish that some concensus would occur reguarding training at a Wiccan 101 level, but I doubt that will ever happen. As far as cross traditional acceptance, that's a much larger issue. Especialy with requards to the many corespondence type pagan educational systems, it comes down to student review. I'm thinking that eventualy someone will make a web site where you can rate your edcuational experience at "Coven XYZ" similar to Amazon.com's book rating system. I think a well designed webs site would provide feedback to the edcuational organization so that they could improve themselves when aspects are critisized (sp?). As far as "Coven XYZ" accpeting the first degree of "coven ABC" that's for them to decide if they are going to do that. I could see a group of Traditions forming an "alliance" and accepting each other's educational system, but that would be voluntary.

Several larger Pagan organizations have published training programs. ADF was the first, as far as I know. Part of the purpose of this is to allow smaller groups to use their programs as templates. You can join the organization and get credentialed that way, or develop an "ADF-style" program

This problem, of standards and standardization, exists in other religions as well. Some fundamentalist Christian clergy are self-declared (self-initiated :D ). Most have educational criteria that include things like pastoral counseling and interfaith awareness as well as theology and liturgy. One would then become a clergyperson with credentials specified. When you see a nurse, you find out if that nurse is an RN, an LPN, or a BSN, or if she or he is a non-credentialed healer. You can choose to use any of these people. Nothing prevents you, the consumer, from working with a non-credentialed healer. You are simply more informed.

Athena-Nadine
October 29th, 2004, 12:52 PM
This is the part I just don't understand. Why is a role, a job title, a mark of separation that makes others second class? Does the fact that I am a published author make all non-authors second class? Does the fact that my sister is a singer, whereas I cannot carry a tune in a bucket, make ME second class? Are these differences erased if we avoid calling ourselves by labels designating these things, or if we avoid making these things full time work, or what?
I don't get it either. Becoming clergy of any religion is no small decision and brings with it a HUGE responsibility to one's community. It's a responsibility most people have no desire to take on. In that respect, it's no different than someone deciding that their calling is to become a doctor--something that I will never be and have no desire to become. Just because I can't treat a serious wound or illness and a doctor can it doesn't mean that I am somehow a second-class citizen. Medicine is not my calling. It is becoming more and more apparent that becoming clergy, however, is.

No one can make anyone feel second-class. Anyone who allows him/herself to feel that way is doing it to him/herself and needs to look within for the answers as to why. I am not going to choose against serving my gods and religious community to the best of my abilities just because someone else may feel badly about him/herself because of it.

DebLipp
October 29th, 2004, 12:53 PM
But really, it's _the_ issue. If I'm in hospital or prison, I'm unlikely to have the luxury of being able to choose the tradition of my visitor, so I've got to have confidence that _anyone_ who has the "badge of office" is going to be acceptable. Otherwise, why have them, and so we go round again....

gwyn eich byd

Ffred

Once again, this happens with other issues as well. You don't honestly think that every hospital has clergy who represent every denomination of Christianity? Or a Reformed AND Conservative AND Orthodox AND Chasidic AND Reconstructionist rabbi?

DebLipp
October 29th, 2004, 12:56 PM
In my area, no body is doing anything! People hardly even come to the pagan and witch meetups.

Dove
You're kidding, right? Maryland has a huge, active Pagan community. Two large organizations run festivals. There are extensive traditionalist Wiccan groups, ADF groves, and more. The place is a hotbed. I personally know a hundred or more Pagans in your area.

Ahautenites
October 29th, 2004, 01:10 PM
How about the Egyptians?

Okay, here's me taking a stab at this. And please be patient because this isn't my area of expertise.

The ancient Egyptian practices were different than the current Kemetic Orthodox way of doing things.

Ancient Egyptians had their Nisut-Bityt who was king, chief priest, and partly-divine link to Netjer (the divine force that included all of the gods they'd ever heard of). The Nisut was considered a kind of intercessor from Netjer to the people, in that he or she was vested with the Kingly Ka which allowed him or her access to divine wisdom to help him or her rule more wisely than then ancient Egyptians thought the ruler could without any divine help. They wouldn't have been able to unite their group of very diverse people if they didn't have a ruler with this trait.

There were clergy whose entire lives and livelihood was devoted to working in the temple and performing daily rites and rites on holy days.

There were also common people who would serve short terms away from their regular work in the temple in the capacity of clergy. It was a common thing to do back then.

The priests went about their work inside the temples where the regular people never got to visit. The deeper into the temple you went, the more "clearance" you had to have.

The ways of worshipping were divided into two categories: state and private. State rituals were performed by clergy only and were performed exactly the same way every time. Private rituals were where everyone had their own little family altar set up in or near their home in order to pray to the gods and their beloved dead in their own ways, without much formality.

Current practice of Kemetic Orthodoxy is similar in some regards. We do have state and private rituals that are performed in much the same way as I described above. We do have a Nisut, but the duties of the title are mostly spiritual leadership/guidance.

Athena-Nadine
October 29th, 2004, 01:17 PM
Ancient Egyptians had their Nisut-Bityt who was king, chief priest, and partly-divine link to Netjer (the divine force that included all of the gods they'd ever heard of). The Nisut was considered a kind of intercessor from Netjer to the people, in that he or she was vested with the Kingly Ka which allowed him or her access to divine wisdom to help him or her rule more wisely than then ancient Egyptians thought the ruler could without any divine help. They wouldn't have been able to unite their group of very diverse people if they didn't have a ruler with this trait.
Except for this, above...


There were clergy whose entire lives and livelihood was devoted to working in the temple and performing daily rites and rites on holy days.

There were also common people who would serve short terms away from their regular work in the temple in the capacity of clergy. It was a common thing to do back then.

The priests went about their work inside the temples where the regular people never got to visit. The deeper into the temple you went, the more "clearance" you had to have.

The ways of worshipping were divided into two categories: state and private. State rituals were performed by clergy only and were performed exactly the same way every time. Private rituals were where everyone had their own little family altar set up in or near their home in order to pray to the gods and their beloved dead in their own ways, without much formality.
This is identical to the way the Ancient Greeks did things. This isn't surprising considering that Egypt and Greece had a great influence on each other.


Current practice of Kemetic Orthodoxy is similar in some regards. We do have state and private rituals that are performed in much the same way as I described above. We do have a Nisut, but the duties of the title are mostly spiritual leadership/guidance.
We also have state and private rituals. However, the physical distance between us and the lack of trained clergy makes state rituals (and other things) difficult.

MorningDove030202
October 29th, 2004, 01:30 PM
Since having a title seams to be the main point of contention, I'd like to point out that there are solitary Pagans/Wiccans who adopt titles without training from a Church/Tradition/Coven.

There is nothing wrong with earning a title. There is something wrong with using one without earning it. I'm proud of the work I have done towards my First Degree, but being proud of myself doesn't diminish the works of others.

I suggest to people who want nothing to do with clergy or formal education, that they keep a record of the books they read, their thougths on the book, any workshops they attend, and to develop a "Pagan Resume". So if someone wants to see their crudentials, they can. Self-Study still counts, you just have to document it.

And when it comes down to it, it's up to the person judging you to determine if you are qualified for what ever Clergy-Type task they are in need of.

Dove

MorningDove030202
October 29th, 2004, 01:35 PM
As far as the Pagan umbrella goes... if that was directed at me, I was realy meaning NeoPagan, and I thought Recons didn't consider themselves to be NeoPagans. Either way, I wasn't lumping in recons in that umbrella. I just forget to put the Neo on Pagan sometimes.
Dove

MorningDove030202
October 29th, 2004, 01:47 PM
You're kidding, right? Maryland has a huge, active Pagan community. Two large organizations run festivals. There are extensive traditionalist Wiccan groups, ADF groves, and more. The place is a hotbed. I personally know a hundred or more Pagans in your area.

Uh, I'm on the Eastern Shore, south of DE, aka Wicomico County? All that cool stuff going on in Baltimore doesn't realy cross the chesapeake much at all. The UU here doesn't even have enough members to suport having a minister!

Dove

Ben Trismegistus
October 29th, 2004, 02:18 PM
Uh, I'm on the Eastern Shore, south of DE, aka Wicomico County? All that cool stuff going on in Baltimore doesn't realy cross the chesapeake much at all. The UU here doesn't even have enough members to suport having a minister!
How about Eastern Shore Wiccans in Salisbury?

http://www.witchvox.com/vn/vn_detail/dt_gr.html?a=usmd&id=21627

The link to their site doesn't work, but you can send a private message to the contact.

There's also the Eastern Shore Pagan Alliance in Pocomoke, same deal:

http://www.witchvox.com/vn/vn_detail/dt_gr.html?a=usmd&id=13808

And there's 10 pagans listed in Salisbury on Witchvox. There's probably many more than that.

MorningDove030202
October 29th, 2004, 02:36 PM
How about Eastern Shore Wiccans in Salisbury?

http://www.witchvox.com/vn/vn_detail/dt_gr.html?a=usmd&id=21627

The link to their site doesn't work, but you can send a private message to the contact.

There's also the Eastern Shore Pagan Alliance in Pocomoke, same deal:

http://www.witchvox.com/vn/vn_detail/dt_gr.html?a=usmd&id=13808

And there's 10 pagans listed in Salisbury on Witchvox. There's probably many more than that.

The Eastern Shore Wiccans is an elist and I'm on it, and they arn't having meetings, unlike the blurb at witchvox says. The elist founder was interested in my witchschool classes, but declined when she realized it would cost a little to join www.witchschool.com.

I was a part of the Eastern Shore Pagan Alliance many years go, but I had a falling out with the leader of it (over lack of family friendly events that I could bring my child to), and since then she has joined a coven and is too busy to do anything with it ESPA. From what friends say there is an inactive web site and perhapse some elists, but I am having nothing to do with this individual or this group. She seams to have found her nitch with this coven, and I have found mine, and I'm happy for her.

I'm surprized you didn't post this one: http://www.witchvox.com/vn/vn_detail/dt_gr.html?a=usmd&id=23570

This is the group that I'm involved in! >>doing happy dance<<< :hearthear

Dove

Ben Trismegistus
October 29th, 2004, 02:44 PM
I'm surprized you didn't post this one: http://www.witchvox.com/vn/vn_detail/dt_gr.html?a=usmd&id=23570

This is the group that I'm involved in! >>doing happy dance<<< :hearthear
Oh great! I didn't see that one because I didn't realize Delmar was in Wicomico County. :)

ap Dafydd
October 29th, 2004, 02:53 PM
This is the part I just don't understand. Why is a role, a job title, a mark of separation that makes others second class? Does the fact that I am a published author make all non-authors second class? Does the fact that my sister is a singer, whereas I cannot carry a tune in a bucket, make ME second class? Are these differences erased if we avoid calling ourselves by labels designating these things, or if we avoid making these things full time work, or what?

Isn't it just because that's the world we live in?

If you're a newspaper looking for an "authority", you're going to pick the Pagan who's the "Rev" so and so every time over the one who isn't.

If you're a civil servant making up a working party on religious diversity, the same applies.

If you're a head teacher wanting someone to speak to the children... and so on and so on.

And so we slide gently into a world where Paganism has become hierarchical whether we want it or not.

If they _haven't_ got that luxury, then the non-reverends get a chance as well.

(and in the world of the arts, isn't there a difference in status between a _published_ author and a non-published one, a _recorded_ singer and a non-recorded one? Not the same thing, I'll grant you, but even so...)

gwyn eich byd

Rev Ffred

(yes, I'm a genuine Rev, downloaded from the ULC website many years ago!)

MorningDove030202
October 29th, 2004, 03:03 PM
ULC ordianment holds little value to me becuse it doesn't denote that you have had any particular training or education..... It gives me no information to judge weither or not you qualifty to do what ever clergy-tasks I might ask of you (beyond holding a handfasting for me and my husband).

If NeoPagns want to be asked to be speakers, or consulted on relgious diversity, then they should go join a Church/Tradition/Coven, take the training, do the work, and earn it. I had to go to college to get a BS in biology so that employers would know that I'm disaplined enough to finsh, and educated in the realms of biology. Why shouldn't we hold pagans to the same standars for Clergy Type Tasks?

Is your problem with formal education that you think not all neopagans have access to it? (I agree access to formal NeoPagan education can be problematic.) Or is it that society values the formal education over self study? There isn't a whole lot we can do about society's preferences....

Dove

ap Dafydd
October 29th, 2004, 03:05 PM
This is an excellent, clear post. I'd like to point out a few things:

No one would have to use clergy. Your own solitary or group practice could continue to carry on as before. If you don't like clergy, you don't have to have any. The existence of clergy (and it's already here, folks) is just one option. The existence of Pagan "churches" is just one way of doing Paganism. Diversity is Good.
The supposedly "non-clergy" things that you suggest are things that are considered the normal duties of clergy in other religions. Rabbis and ministers routinely counsel, interface with the larger community, visit hospitals and prisons, teach, and support.
Clergy provides credentialing. Handfasting alone in the woods is beautiful, but doesn't get your paperwork filed. Sometimes the purpose of clergy is to do the scutwork.


All very true. But that still says to me "why have them in the first place".

I wouldn't have to use them. So why have them.
They do as part of their duties what others could do. So why have them.
They interface on your behalf with officials. Not true in all countries, of course. And there's a strong current of support for the idea that there should be a complete seperation between the requirements of the state and the requirements of religion: that _everyone_ who wants to register a marriage has to do so civilly but if they want a ceremony, they go and do it where and how they wish. As it's sometimes expressed over here, shouldn't we end the privileges of the Christian church rather than trying to emulate it?

gwyn eich byd

Ffred

Athena-Nadine
October 29th, 2004, 03:07 PM
As far as the Pagan umbrella goes... if that was directed at me, I was realy meaning NeoPagan, and I thought Recons didn't consider themselves to be NeoPagans. Either way, I wasn't lumping in recons in that umbrella. I just forget to put the Neo on Pagan sometimes.
Dove
No, Hon, that wasn't directed at you.

Ben Trismegistus
October 29th, 2004, 03:10 PM
I wouldn't have to use them. So why have them.
So don't use them. Other people do.

MorningDove030202
October 29th, 2004, 03:15 PM
No, Hon, that wasn't directed at you.

Oh good! :hehehehe:

DebLipp
October 29th, 2004, 03:20 PM
All very true. But that still says to me "why have them in the first place".

I wouldn't have to use them. So why have them.
gwyn eich byd

Ffred

Because this community, in its diversity, doesn't cater only to the needs of one; it serves diverse needs. You wouldn't use them but others would. The Pagan community embraces pluralism, and there is room for needs other than yours.

ap Dafydd
October 29th, 2004, 03:23 PM
ULC ordianment holds little value to me becuse it doesn't denote that you have had any particular training or education..... It gives me no information to judge weither or not you qualifty to do what ever clergy-tasks I might ask of you (beyond holding a handfasting for me and my husband).

If NeoPagns want to be asked to be speakers, or consulted on relgious diversity, then they should go join a Church/Tradition/Coven, take the training, do the work, and earn it. I had to go to college to get a BS in biology so that employers would know that I'm disaplined enough to finsh, and educated in the realms of biology. Why shouldn't we hold pagans to the same standars for Clergy Type Tasks?

Is your problem with formal education that you think not all neopagans have access to it? (I agree access to formal NeoPagan education can be problematic.) Or is it that society values the formal education over self study? There isn't a whole lot we can do about society's preferences....

Dove

No, it's not a title that I'd ever arrogate seriously to myself. If you were to ask me to perform a rite for you, then I'd hope it was because you knew me, felt we had similar views on the GBWII, and that I'd do a tidy job in accordance with your wishes.

It's not, either, that I think that formal education is the problem. If I wanted someone for something like counselling, nursing, or any other medical thingy, I'd expect them to have the appropriate qualifications, otherwise they could do me serious damage. Likewise, if I took on the role of organising Pagans to do some of the other functions we've talked about like visiting, campaigning, befriending, and so on, I'd want to be sure that the volunteers had the appropriate training to do it properly. That could also involve some formal stuff (there's a group called LifeRites, for example, who aren't explicitly Pagan in their orientation, but who do run training programmes for people to conduct rites of passage. Very good ones, too. http://www.liferites.org if you're interested.)

It's more that I have a feeling that respect for someone shouldn't come from the title they have rather than the person they are.

Practically, it's easier for the already hierarchical religions to train priests because they already have hierarchies. Them at the top decide the shape of rites, the interpretation of teachings, and so on, and they can organise the "approved" teaching of the "approved" students. For me, one of the joys of Paganism is that we are so actively anti-hierarchical (the herd of cats metaphor that people come out with so often). If someone tries to set themselves up as saying "all Pagans believe..." then there's sure to be a chorus of voices saying "I'm a Pagan and I don't believe...", "Pagans don't "believe"..." and numerous other demolitions of the attempted Great I Am.

I do understand where you're coming from in feeling that having a professional to do some of these things is tempting, it's a debate that's gone on on many elists I've participated in over the years. But on balance, I've found the arguments of the non-hierarchs to be more convincing.

gwyn eich byd

Ffred

Ben Trismegistus
October 29th, 2004, 03:26 PM
Practically, it's easier for the already hierarchical religions to train priests because they already have hierarchies. Them at the top decide the shape of rites, the interpretation of teachings, and so on, and they can organise the "approved" teaching of the "approved" students. For me, one of the joys of Paganism is that we are so actively anti-hierarchical (the herd of cats metaphor that people come out with so often). If someone tries to set themselves up as saying "all Pagans believe..." then there's sure to be a chorus of voices saying "I'm a Pagan and I don't believe...", "Pagans don't "believe"..." and numerous other demolitions of the attempted Great I Am.
Some are, some aren't. For me, one of the joys of Paganism is that you can choose a path that works best for you, whether that's an organized tradition with a hierarchical system or clergy training, or a "herding cats" eclectic path with no strictures whatsoever. Ain't choice grand?

MorningDove030202
October 29th, 2004, 03:56 PM
Some are, some aren't. For me, one of the joys of Paganism is that you can choose a path that works best for you, whether that's an organized tradition with a hierarchical system or clergy training, or a "herding cats" eclectic path with no strictures whatsoever. Ain't choice grand?


LOL, I almost named my study circle "Our Lady of Herding Cats" LOL but I didn't want our name to become a curse. I've had enough of "herding cats" I want structure and support!!

Dove

Ben Trismegistus
October 29th, 2004, 03:58 PM
LOL, I almost named my study circle "Our Lady of Herding Cats" LOL but I didn't want our name to become a curse. I've had enough of "herding cats" I want structure and support!!
Yes, you should always be careful of what you name your circle. We named ours after an obscure Greek fertility goddess, and in 2 years there's been 5 babies born, and there's 2 more on the way!

MorningDove030202
October 29th, 2004, 04:20 PM
Yes, you should always be careful of what you name your circle. We named ours after an obscure Greek fertility goddess, and in 2 years there's been 5 babies born, and there's 2 more on the way!

Eeek! That's alot of babies! We ended up naming our group "Witches of the Fool's Grove Study Circle" Fool as in the tarot card....

Dove

MorningDove030202
October 29th, 2004, 06:39 PM
It's more that I have a feeling that respect for someone shouldn't come from the title they have rather than the person they are.


What if becoming Clergy is an expression of Who Someone Is? I should hope that when I become Clergy that people won't take my training for granted, that if not already familer with the Correllian Tradition of Wicca, they will ask to see what work I have done. However if people are going to respect me more for having a title, that's their issue and there isn't much I can do about it. I'd realy want to be respected for the work I have done, not because I have Rev next to my name. Perhapse you should be asking everyone to be looking at "the work" and not just accepting a title for granted. I think this is good advice.

As you define hierarch my tradition doesn't have one. We are an eclectic form of Wicca, and we can form our own rites as we wish, though I think they have some set standards for initation and for the Fall and Spring Lustration rites. But what make a ritual "correct" isn't set in stone, each Temple can do their own thing, ritual wise. Since most Correllians study the lesson on their own, their is no one interpreting anything for them. They welcome all students and have not turned any away. The Correllian Tradition only defines Wicca for them, they don't try to define it for others. No group I have ever worked with is making statements like "all pagans belive xyz". Structure and Dogma are two different things.
Dove