Uncover hidden occult meanings
Priest & Priestess
The Priest and Priestess refers to the individuals who are mainly in charge of a ritual, coven or pagan event. These are the individuals who do the most work and have studied the most in their field or tradition and therefore have the ability to work magic with the group and lead as well as act as a compassionate surveyor for the rest of the coven or group. The Priest is said to handle all of the active energy within a circle while the Priestess is free to direct this energy in a passive and productive way. Together they work hand in hand to create fertile, flowing energy.
In a nutsheel a priest or priestess can be defined as the following:
1. Individuals responsible for a circle or magical gathering.
2. Trained individuals that take on the roles and responsibilities of priest and priestess within a circle for a prolonged period of time. A position of status and power.
3. A follower of a specific God, Goddess or pantheon for specific magical workings or religious beliefs.
Traditional leadership can vary but in some traditions the male is in the lead of the ritual, where the female is in others. In any case, both represent the leaders of the group and are the individuals that are in charge of the directional aspects of a circle.
To become a priest or priestess in a circle, most traditions require stringent training. For a typical Wiccan circle, it takes up to 3 years to become a priest. However, for some traditions, the priest and priestess are simply those that guide a ritual. Because of this, in some circles, the distinguishing factor is the amount of training and the responsibility that is placed on the individuals that are in charge. If someone is simply leading a ritual or event, they may be referred to as the priest and priestess, as they are the ones responsible for the working of the group. In this example, the term is a more lose phrase, an understanding of a required role, but not reflective on the individual themselves.
In a coven formation, the role of the priest and priestess is required to perform a number of functions.
The responsibilities of the priestess commonly include:
- Preparing the magickal space of the circle
- Watching over members or participants as they enter circle
- Calling down the goddess through invocation or evocation
- Handling the chalice and passive energies within circle
- Holding the energy and collecting it for magickal purposes
The responsibilities of the priest commonly include:
- Preparing practitioners for magick before the circle
- Guiding the energy and placing participants in circle
- Calling down the god through invocation or evocation
- Handling the athame and active energies within circle
- Guiding or directing the energies during magickal works
Many groups have established that the role of the priest or priestess do not actually have to be gender matched. Men can do the priestess role and women the priest. However, the energies of the two functions are entirely masculine and feminine.
When the term priest or priestess is used in a less formal setting, commonly by solitary practitioners, they are then referring to the act of following a certain doctrine. This is most often seen when an individual chooses or is chosen by a specific deity or pantheon. These individuals will usually try to adhere, as best they can in modern ages, to the traditional practices of the pantheon or specific god or goddess. This is the case when someone says that they are a “priest of Aries” or “priestess of Diana”. These individual’s will hold their magickal practices to a certain culture, incorporating common practices of traditional cult or coven teachings that are associated with a certain god or goddess’ practice.