So You Wanna Be A Priest

Here’s the thing:

I’ve felt for some time that Brighid’s been calling me to priest/esshood. It’s been an inkling at the back of my mind for many, many years and only grew when I helped found Clann Bhride. Earlier this summer after the Orlando Pulse massacre, the necessity and enormity of priest/esshood felt like it could suffocate me. How could I respond most authentically in the face of tragedy and injustice? Submit, seemed to be the answer, submit to your Lady, submit to your community.

I’ve had two tarot readings in the past month – one done by myself, and one from my fiancé – oh by the way blog I have a fiancé and I also moved to New York City and a million other things I have to catch y’all up on – and both of these readings seemed to be whacking me upside the head with a clue-by-four. This is the path and you know it! Stop hesitating and get your life right!

I don’t know… a lot of things, to be honest. I always thought about priest/esshood, both in the sense of dedicating myself to the worship of Brighid in a particular way, and in the sense of taking care of and ministering to others in my community, as something that would happen when I was ready. And one of the biggest indicators of being ready would be feeling ready.

I don’t feel ready.

For starters, I don’t even know exactly what I mean when I say “I want to be a priest and/or priestess of Brighid.”

I don’t know what makes Brigidine priesthood different than just being really really devoted to Brighid. I haven’t done an initiation or dedication or anything similar on my walk with Her. I forget my Flamekeeping shift more often than not and don’t have a regular prayer life at all.

I don’t have peer counseling or conflict resolution skills, or good executive functioning, or a body and brain that work right most days. I get overwhelmed easily and don’t know how to handle my emotions sometimes. I’m not as kind or patient as I think I should be, and I don’t have a clear map ahead of me.

Here’s what I do have.

I have a very, very, very big heart. It is (figuratively) misshapen, bleeds quite often, and doesn’t often know how to hold all the hurt in the world, but good Lord it’s gonna do its best.

I know who I need in my life right now, priestwise, as I struggle with issues of faith and justice and the sticky reality that is being human. I frequently mourn this individual as not currently existing in my life and thinking of all the advice and counsel I’m missing out on. I needed a priest after Orlando. I needed a priest when my Mom went in for cancer screening this week. So I have a clear idea of the person I want to become – at least, part of this person – which is maybe the first step to begin with.

I have an amazing community of fellow devotees in Clann Bhride, and other Pagan and polytheist friends on the internet who support and uplift me. I have a far-flung family who understands this kind of thing and can help me not reinvent the wheel.

I have a beautiful, strong, compassionate fiancé who loves me dearly and has shown me more grace and understanding when it comes to our religious differences (which aren’t really that great, in the long run) than I ever experienced with my Pagan ex. Etienne is the person who, when they walked into the room, caught my eye and made my soul exclaim softly, “That’s who I’ve been waiting for.”

I have a strong sense of justice and equality. And even though it doesn’t feel like it, the fact that I am disabled, and mentally ill, and neurodivergent, is itself a great boon and not a detraction. My priesthood will joyfully reflect all these parts of myself (and not-so-joyfully sometimes, I’m sure) rather than trying to refract light around the places I feel lacking.

And, finally, I have Brighid. If She hasn’t gotten tired of me now then I’m not sure I’m ever going to shake Her – and sometimes I feel like that feeling’s mutual. 🙂

So, here we are, and here I am, publicly confessing these thoughts and questions that have flown through my mind. What happens next? I guess I’ll have to stay tuned to find out.

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