Pagan Clergy Panel

Pagan Clergy Panel

FireHeart 7 Cover for EarthSpirit

FireHeart 6 Cover for EarthSpirit [The following is a panel discussion in four rounds on the topic of “Pagan Clergy,” which was published in our magazine, FireHeart, between 1988 and 1993. More than twenty years later, many people throughout the U.S. pagan movement continue to refer to it as a source of stimulating, provocative, and even prescient ideas which remain relevant for our community today. Since we still get requests asking for reprints of the panel, we are making it available here; please keep in mind that this piece — as is true of all the reprints from our publications — remains under copyright protection, and that all pertinent limitations still apply. The panelists’ bios have not been updated, and as a result some of them may no longer be accurate; we chose to retain their original texts because they are germane to the contents of the discussions.]

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An Historical Overview of the Whereabounts

FireHeart 6 Cover for EarthSpiritAn Historical Overview of the Whereabounts of Gnomes and Elves, Fauns and Faeries, Goblins, Ogres, Trolls and Bogies, Nymphs, Sprites and Dryads, Past and Present
by Buck Young ©1991

A long, long time ago, the Earth belonged to the creatures of the wood. By creatures of the wood I mean gnomes, elves, faeries, etc. They tended it and took care of it, played in it, danced and sang in it, cared for wounded animals, worked out disputes between species, sat on mushrooms discussing matters of importance and drinking Labrador tea, rode down streams on leaves and bark, parachuted from trees on dandelion seeds. This was the world into which mankind was born. These early days, when man was but a newly arrived dinner guest who hadn’t yet taken over the house, are fairly well documented in the literature and folklore of the world, so there’s no need to go into it here. What I am interested in, and what I am asking you to be interested in, is the question, “Where did all the gnomes, elves, faeries, etc. go?”

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The Boy Who Longed to Fly

FireHeart 6 Cover for EarthSpiritThe Boy Who Longed to Fly
For Jody, who flies between the worlds.
by Andras Corban Arthen ©1991

THIS TALE CAME TO ME one night as I sat in a rocking chair cradling my son in my arms, vainly trying to help him fall asleep. I thought to tell him a story, but could think of none that might be interesting to one so very young. A sudden gust of wind intruded itself upon my musings. The wind had a voice, and the voice said, “Listen … I shall tell you the story of the Boy Who Longed to Fly.”

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THE EIGHTFOLD PATH Part Five: ISOLATION

FireHeart 6 Cover for EarthSpiritTHE EIGHTFOLD PATH
Part Five: ISOLATION
by Inanna Arthen ©1991

A shaman walks for days through the forest, emerging at last to greet the sunrise from a craggy mountainside. A ceremonial magician works by candlelight in his library, spending day after day without speaking to another being. A priestess secludes herself in silence during the dark of the moon to await a vision from the Goddess. A Witch lives, in a smile hut on the edge of the woods, tending her garden and weaving her Earth magick in the sole company of her animals.

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Paganism and Myths of Creation

FireHeart 6 Cover for EarthSpiritPaganism and Myths of Creation
A Ritual of Transformation
by Walter Wright Arthen ©1991

“In the beginning……”

These words open the book of Genesis, but they also find their echo in every great system of myth. Traditionally, myth has told us about origins, about how things began, and in doing so, it orients us. It tells us where we are from, and, therefore, who and what we are and how we should live. What happens in principio is creation: of the world itself, its physical features, and the realms of beings within it. For the traditional myth teller, to know how a thing came to be is to know something of what it is, and not to know the origin of a thing is not to understand it truly.1 So, in the first place, creation myths have always been myths of origin.

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FireHeart Interviews Doreen Valiente Part Two

FireHeart 6 Cover for EarthSpiritDoreen Valiente Jan. 4, 1922 – Sept. 1, 1999

Doreen Valiente is considered by many to be the “mother” of the contemporary pagan movement. She was an early initiate of Gerald Gardner’s in the 1950’s, and made many significant contributions as a writer and ritualist. Her books include “Natural Magic”, “An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present”, “Witchcraft for Tomorrow”, and “The Rebirth of Witchcraft”. This Fireheart interview was conducted by Michael Thorn in 1991.

FireHeart Interviews Doreen Valiente Part Two ©1991

FH: Some people say that the New Age is the old stuff repackaged.

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FireHeart Interviews Doreen Valiente Part One

FireHeart 6 Cover for EarthSpiritDoreen Valiente Jan. 4, 1922 – Sept. 1, 1999

Doreen Valiente is considered by many to be the “mother” of the contemporary pagan movement. She was an early initiate of Gerald Gardner’s in the 1950’s, and made many significant contributions as a writer and ritualist. Her books include “Natural Magic”, “An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present”, “Witchcraft for Tomorrow”, and “The Rebirth of Witchcraft”. This Fireheart interview was conducted by Michael Thorn in 1991.

FireHeart Interviews Doreen Valiente Part One ©1991

Elegy for a Dead Witch
by Doreen Valiente

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THE EIGHTFOLD PATH Part Four: BREATH

FireHeart 5 Cover for EarthSpiritTHE EIGHTFOLD PATH
Part Four: BREATH
by Walter Wright Arthen ©1990

Breath is everywhere a synonym for “self,” a vehicle for the elan vital. T. H. Gaster

We live at the bottom of an ocean of air. Children’s Song

Breath … so natural, so easy. Yet breath is the most frequently over-looked of the steps on the Eightfold Path. Perhaps it is because breath is included in chanting and in many forms of meditation, or perhaps it is because breath is so ubiquitous. But while whole chapters in the major books about the Craft are devoted to each of the seven other steps on the path, breath rarely even gets mentioned, except as part of something else. Why is this? What, after all, is breath?

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Rites of Passage Celebration of Birth

FireHeart 5 Cover for EarthSpiritRites of Passage
Celebration of Birth
by Sue Curewitz Arthen ©1990

Once, there was born a baby who brought such joy to her parents that they could hardly contain themselves. In celebration of her birth, they prepared a great feast, and invited all their friends, relatives, and the wise folk of the area to attend. At the end of the feasting and merriment, each of the wise folk made a wish for the baby. The first wished her kindness, the second wisdom, the third beauty. Another wished her virtue, another tenderness, and so on – everything a child could possibly wish for.

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