Guardian Priestesses

December 28, 2007

I first heard about this concept from Ruthee
when she called me about her then unpublished manuscript which she
wanted me to look over and review. She said she and her partner Falcon
had discovered it as the two of them found themselves working together
in this way quite naturally… she as the ritual priestess and Falcon
as the guardian. I think it’s a lovely way to have a partnership as
sister priestesses, to support each other in the circle, and share out
the responsibilities more…

I think this idea started in the
RCG group (Reformed Congregation of the Goddess) because years ago I
remember reading some materials they put out about Amazons (sometimes
our more "butch" or perhaps we could call them "firey" women) needing a
Goddess path appropriate to them. Every circle needs protection,
practical assistance, and guarding one way or another, and it sure does
help to have various priestesses take on various aspects of ritual
work. I identified with Ruthee’s experience, having also been the
priestess who tried to wear all the hats at once.It’s necessary in
times when thereis no one else available or who knows what was needed.
But it’s difficult for one person to do it all, and what a delight when
tasks are delegated and the ritual priestess can just concentrate on
the ritual!
 

I didn’t know there had been debates about it, but I
can see that perhaps being cast in just that one protect-and-serve role
might feel limiting to some sisters… or it might feel like a
heirarchy with the "high" priestess set above as ritual leader, and the
"serving" or "guarding" priestess set beneath… or some women might
object to the "butch/femme" role setup, as I know this topic holds
controversy too among some lesbians…

In my own priestess work
these days I still find that all the hats are on my head. If I ever had
a group of priestess sisters to work with more directly here in my area,
who wanted to try sharing out the responsibilities more, I would be
happy to be part of this, but who knows if that will happen in this
lifetime.

Meanwhile one must be practical. I have often seen
myself in the guardian role, both on and offline. And for many years I
have recognized that the Goddess gave me the reponsibility to preside
at the Womanspirit Gate… sometimes there were years when I was the
only one in sight. Someone has to do this, of course. I feel very
protective of Womanspirit… of Womanspirit circles and groups… of
the all-female pathways and woman-loving spiritual practises. They are
constantly endangered and there are so many forces attempting to erode
them out of existence. Someone has to be a guardian of them and do what
they can to make sure they survive and are safe…

Rituals,
when they are happening, also need protection. I think a priestess who
specializes in this can be a wonderful enhancement. There have been
times over the years when strong Amazon women have come into my
circles. I love it and am always honored when they appear. It’s true,
in my experience, that in many cases these sisters just naturally take
on those protective and supportive roles. It’s very reassuring and a
big relief to this priestess when carrying responsibility for an entire
event, to have such sisters in the circle. There were times when a
crisis occurred, and they were there to handle it, so thatI could carry
on with the ritual energy uninterrupted, undistracted. This allows the
power of the ritual to continue to build and flow; a great benefit to
everyone.

But of course one doesn’t want to put anyone into a
slot or make them feel limited or categorized. It’s important to methat
everyone feel comfortable and fulfilled by the role she takes in the
circle.

This is one of the reasons I haven’t pursued the
Guardian Priestess topic much since I learned about it… another is
that I have not been presiding much at in-person circles in the past
few years… and since my cancer haveled less of them online as
well…another is that I haven’t heard much from sisters about it and
don’t know enough about how they feel… another is that it’s a whole
new subject that requires more investigation and study. I think Ruth
and Falcon have an idea that it is really an ancient women’s tradition,
but I don’t know if there is any material available to back this up…

Maybe
the ideal way to go about all this is to have a group of priestesses
who share out responsibilities for each ritual they do together… plan
on who will facilitate the ritual parts… who will guard… who will
help with setup and cleanup… etc. etc. Perhaps various roles can
circulate so that everyone has a turn.

Co-priestessingcan be a great way to go, but it does take practise and learning how to coordinate everything…

I’ll be interested to see if there are any rattlings about all this here in the Grove… :0)

Passing the Grove rattle…

Sisterlove,

Shekhinah

From Moonspell Library

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