A Serving Life: Wisdom of a Wiccan High Priest
Back in 2001, when I was an Elected Equal Opps officer in the Home Office Union, we had a period of internal committee wrangles.. lots of frosty faces, and many internal e-mails flying about. Accusations, counter-accusations. Justifications. Rights and wrongs. And on one side the President, Vice President, Treasurer, and about 10 others…and on the other side was just me, and my mentor/ Branch Secretary Peter R.
Peter would say to me, `Mani, we are here to serve the members. So just do your duty to them’ And it took so much effort for me to park my ego aside, ignore the taunts by other officers, and keep working only on members’ cases!
Funnily enough, about the same time, as a newly made Wiccan High Priest, and a coven-free wiccan, I ended up as a Guest at the late Maureen’s coven.. and was eventually made the Coven High Priest.
And I can tell you …it’s not easy being part of an existing coven of super-transpersonally trained Witches, let along being their coven HP. Once there was an internal `trial by fire’ period that lasted 3 weeks (every Friday).. where I was throwing my `authority’ about, and Maureen and the whole coven spent hours and hours talking and debating and discussing with me.. (Ritual kept getting postponed 3 weeks in a row). Each Friday we’d gather at 7pm and the talks went on till early hours…Exhausted we’d either sleep over or go home.. at 2..3..4..5am and next Friday gather again..and it would carry on. None of us ran away.. None of us disrespected one another..but they all stayed…to help me understand some fundamentals.. of how to become a Good coven leader! And its never about exerting authority or teaching the highs and lows of magic. It’s about serving!!
In the end I learnt a valuable wisdom.. that a Coven leader does sit on the tip of a pyramid.. not at the top like a boss stepping on Initiates below. But the inverted pyramid tip at the bottom.. holding the weight of the entire coven and all the members.. and serving them!!
I once tried to offer my 1-2-1 ritual help to a wiccan and was told that am being possibly divisive and power-over. Another time a wiccan wanted my sword, and then wanted me to fight her. When I backed off, I was told by Maureen that I had dishonoured the member.. and as HP, I needed to heed her wish and battle her so she can work through her own issues ..
Coven running is never easy. Looking after initiates and trainees is never straight forward. Each person and indeed each event/ situation is unique.
And we struggle.. we struggle on and on .. to do what I often say.. `the right thing’ !!
I pick just these mere 2 situations to make a simple but profound point. That Since those days..I have worked really very hard… to serve!! Be it Pagans who contact me or wiccan initiates or trainees. Along the way, I have had to make sacrifices.. it has even once cost me a relationship.
And here I am again.. with a number of Wiccan initiations in the horizon, juxtaposed against the well-being of my personal life, the interest of family, partner, other initiates and more.
It’s painful at times.. times when the timing of crisis is never good.. Times when we have to put aside our breaking hearts and taunted minds, and reach for inner truths guided by our gods…and do the `right thing’. Yes we all agreed at our initiation that “we are willing to suffer to learn” but sometimes.. it’s just a near impossible situation. No one else will understand.. and everyone will try to criticise you or pull in different directions and loyalty-battles.
Do you know what… ? I’ve had this for over 20 years in my role as High Priest. This is not the first time… and this won’t be the last time. And I marvel at the Elders of The Craft who have been doing it for 30.. 40.. 50.. 60 years.
In Wicca, at initiation, we gain 2 titles.. Witch & Priest / Priestess. At first it may seem like some cool titles.. that we can flash about for added credibility on social media or some TV interview. BUT those titles come with heavy responsibilities.. The first part (Witch) is a magical one.. The other – `Priest / Priestess’ is one of service! Serving our Gods & Goddesses, serving people.. and serving the land.! In the 2 decades of my time as High Priest, since those Maureen coven days, I’ve never ever forgotten that.. !
Bright Stellar Blessings
Author, Teacher, Wiccan High Priest