I’m blown away by today’s book, “A Practical Guide to Pagan Priesthood: Community Leadership and Vocation” by Rev. Lora O’Brien. With O’Brien’s experience she could have written any number of “sexy” books about Celtic/Irish religious and magical traditions, however she took up the far less sensational, but far more noble, topic of what it takes to be a valuable spiritual leader.
I’m always curious how new religious groups form and organize. I highly doubt most Pagan groups come together with as much forethought as Rev. O’Brien advises for their leaders. However, they should. While being respectful of each practitioner’s individuality, O’Brien provides heaps of useful suggestions and guidance for those who would want to become leaders in their Pagan communities.
She begins with the duties of a priest, which is divided into the pastoral and sacerdotal. The pastoral covers things such as self-discipline, counseling, holding yourself to high standards, keeping tabs on the community, and how to learn from mistakes. The sacerdotal includes subjects like designing rituals, handling initiation and ordination, facilitating life rites, and more spiritually oriented topics.
This leads to developing pastoral skills, such as group dynamics, accountability and ethics, leadership development, mentoring, teaching classes, and crisis care. Then it’s on to developing sacerdotal skills like connecting to deities, magical skills and the ethics of magic, etc. O’Brien concludes with an interesting, informal survey of leaders of religious communities about their practices and a wonderful list of online resources.
“A Practical Guide to Pagan Priesthood” by Rev. Lora O’Brien is a must read for anyone who considers themselves a leader and for any who aspire to lead.
You can learn more here.
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