On Pagan Clergy, Layfolk, and the Struggle for Selfhood

Reblogging this, mostly as a reminder to come back and reread when I have the mental wherewithal to do so properly, and also because of the thinky-thoughts the post is inspiring even without the mental wherewithal.


A few ideas on why there is an undercurrent of mistrust or hostility toward pagan clergy, given the above:

  • Culture clash if you’ve come from a background of solitary work with an “everyone’s a priest/ess” implication

  • Lingering mistrust of religious hierarchy from previous experiences with Christianity, etc.

  • Building up cults of personality, elevating individuals to celebrity status

  • The felt sense of threat from encountering someone who has a “closer” relationship than you do with your God/s

  • The behavior or volume of a clergy member’s online or in-person following

  • The attention received by clergy member’s “more interesting” or “photogenic” practice

The bold-faced option ties in, in my mind, with the idea of scarcity (which is a very effective and clever marketing gimmick that we are bombarded with in our culture), and how it’s applied to religion/interactions with the Powers, without maybe our realizing it, and it breaks my heart. Edited to add: and if I’d kept reading, I’d see the author brings that up. *sigh* Mental wherewithal, I tell you..



Gabriele Negri on FlickrGabriele Negri on Flickr

A few weekends ago I remotely attended a class hosted by River Devora. Mostly just to see what it was about, but also to get used to interacting with other polytheists outside blogs and forums, because while I’ve been pagan in some way or another for almost 15 years, and animist ever since I could remember, all the other practitioners I’ve ever met were some variety of pantheist, subscribing to the “all gods are one god” thing or the Jungian archetype thing. I just don’t have an interest in working to make inroads with those kinds of groups anymore because they do nothing for me, but at the same time, I have no idea what I’m doing around other polytheists.

It was about 3 hours long, and while most of what was talked about was 101 material to me, it was still a good experience to sit and…

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Nerthuschild says:

    Thanks for sharing this – damn good read and an important one.

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