I see so many these days who style themselves High Priest or High Priestess, but who have no understanding of the role that they assume. They are drawn to the position by dreams of glamour and power, they are chosen because of their looks or their politics. This is wrong!

To be High Priest or High Priestess is to place oneself in the hands of the Gods to use as they see fit. A High Priest of High Priestess should be clergy in every sense of the word. The position carries with it the responsibility for seeing to the spiritual needs of the other members of the group, and in assisting them through the mundane crisises of their lives.

Being a High Priest of Priestess is more than just leading a Sabbat ritual. It is the phone call at 1AM from a covener stranded on the side of the road. It is sitting at the bedside of a 21-year-old girl who has just been diagnosed with leukemia. It is helping a covener get through the funeral of her 18 year old brother who was killed in a car crash. It is helping a suicidal person deal with the grief of having their wife abandon them.

As a High Priest or Priestess, we are responsible for marking important passages in our covener's lives. We preside over handfastings and over life partings. As clergy we should be providing the same marriage counseling and grief work as any Christian pastor or Jewish rabbi.

The High Priest and High Priestess also stand as image of the God and Goddess. Their lives are no longer private, and they are held to a higher standard by those around them. When they have troubles, who is there to counsel them? Often there is no one to whom they can turn lest someone abuse their moment of weakness.

The High Priest or Priestess who embodies these traits deserves and has earned the respect given to them. It is not a position to be taken lightly. Anyone thinking of assuming it should think long and hard about what it demands and what they are able to give.

Remember, that when you give your vows to the Gods, the Gods expect those vows to be honored. If you are not ready to be and do all of these things, then think long and hard before you assume the title but not the responsibilities.

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Last updated July 17, 1998