A Map by Any Other Name

As a young boy my parents would always jokingly call me ‘The Apprentice Priest’. I’d occasionally be embarrassed but never ashamed of this nickname. In my mind, it made sense; there were all manner of things which helped it to make sense. I never really gave it, the idea of it, all the much thought because what teenage boy can see how to have a life as a priest? Then, the idea of priesthood was extremely limited and limiting, being an idea formed entirely from a child’s understanding of a single way of being a priest. Whether I disagreed or felt it unnecessary; the thought of deliberately denying yourself so many things – including the World – felt off. Wrong. Approaching ten years later there are parts of that which I understand better.

The nickname has never left me though, never left my thoughts and the more I think about it the more it burrows away ever deeper into me. A person changes on so many levels in so many ways but is there some essential quality which never changes? There must be for, though long un thought about, I feel a renewed yearning towards that task. The trappings, the paths, and more are different but my secret desire to be a priest is still strangely strong. Presents itself in in different ways, is drawn to different things and is a reflection of who I am today; but the desire is still there and fanned by the inspiration of Others. Others who reminded me that there could be worth in such a way.

I’ve lately been considering the manner in which people and books can be alike. Both are sources of experience that you can draw upon, both also have the advantage of having done some of the work for you; sounds lazy but its what allows us to learn. One person goes through something one way, helps the next person go through it with comparative ease. This second person then is able to start their learning upon a foundation, which they can in then in turn do for the next person and so forth. Without this we’d all be to start totally from scratch, every single time and there be no true learning experience. Books do much the same thing in that they impart some measure of experience or knowledge which allows to begin the process of learning from a greater vantage point. Each generation or ’round’ or cycle of learning builds on the previous and is built upon by the next.

In this respect, a blog can be (not always though) something of a fusion between human and book. Unpolished, unprocessed and yet an almost flawless record of what that person has chosen to share. It’s not perfect, and I’d personally still prefer the real and fleshy human and a book, and no matter what it isn’t going to do all the work for you – though nothing can do that.

In the past I’ve not really read many blogs in tandem with writing my own; though there are a number of people I ‘follow’ there was always a mixture of feeling like there was not enough to read them and feeling that I didn’t need to read them. Obviously, I am not all knowing but some subjects are more stimulating or areas that I am less informed on than others. That has changed recently, in that both Rhyd Wildermuth’s ‘Paganarch‘ and Bremos’ ‘Strixian Woods‘ have been visited regularly by me over the last few weeks. At first I wondered what those two so special, so different to everyone else. My initial thought was that I was just being the many things I touched on here however I was lucky enough to receive some words of wisdom from this person here which is what really made me consider why I’ve been reading those two peoples’ blogs so regularly and really the answer is quite simple; parallel, intersecting or the same lines their waypoints are shedding considerable light on my own way and helping me to find my own waypoints. Sometimes, they are even the same which makes them all the more valuable.

One of Bremos’ most recent posts is this one about why he doesn’t proselytise for The Morrigan as a priest of Coru Cathubodua.  While he sticks predominantly to that theme there are a number places where he talks about his being a priest and the doing of priestly things and it is these parts which are of particular relevance because they express quite well nature of the priest that I’ve secretly desired to be far better than anything I could come up with currently – though obviously some of details might vary should I actually be ‘tapped’ or called etc to be a deity’s priest.

“Being a public priest of the Morrigan has been an interesting journey. One of the benefits of it has been that I have been able to connect with a surprisingly large number of people with very similar experiences.”

” If we want to show the world that our path is a viable one we must do that with our actions, not our arguments. ”

” To us the gods are not interchangeable and of no consequence. All goddesses are not just aspects of “the Goddess’ and all gods are not just aspects of “the God” but real individual entities that have agency, agendas and the power to affect the world and our lives.”

” My duty as her priest is not to tell people of the “good news” of the Morrigan, it’s not to convert people into starting a devotional relationship with her, and it’s not to make the Morrigan more palatable to the general public by emphasizing her safer aspects and downplaying the more dangerous ones.”

“As her priest it is my duty to assist people in navigating the chaos and challenges that almost always come with contact with her.  She demands strength and truth from her own along with determination and valor. It is a path I chose for myself and in choosing it, altered the direction of my life drastically.”

That right there is what being a priest is like, or supposed to be like. Again, the exact details and nature will change from deity to deity but the overall effect is the same. Its the living embodiment of actions speaking louder than words. Bremos’ words more thoroughly express what I always imagined being a priest would be like, certainly far more so than the possibilities that I had to work with as a teenage boy.

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