My First Pagan Bloggers Post!

It hasn’t reached the front page yet, but my first post at is up today!

What Does It Mean To Be Clergy?

Here’s a snippet for you:

I’m well aware that other people consider me an authority figure, and in certain contexts, I have to accept and work with that. I wield authority, whether I ever wanted to or not, especially when interpersonal and ethical conflicts arise within the groups I organize. Still, I mostly consider myself an expert, not an authority.

What’s the difference?

  • An Authority tells you what to do, and can inflict consequences if you don’t obey.
  • An Expert gives you informed advice so you can make your own choices, and while it might be foolish to ignore their experience, it’s not their place to inflict consequences.

I believe that clergy serve best when we serve mostly as experts, rather than authorities. Some traditions argue that clergy aren’t needed at all, because everyone can connect directly with the Divine without an intercessor. Even so, they have those who step up to serve the rest of the group, or those outside their immediate group, when the need arises. Even Wicca, which designates all practitioners priests, has individuals who step up to serve as chaplains and hospice ministers where needed.

While I agree that intercessors are not absolutely necessary, I don’t agree that this means we shouldn’t have any. Every community needs a variety of experts and specialists. Clergy are simply one category of service people, whose job is to provide spiritual aid to those who need it. Everyone needs to eat and use lights and follow the law, but few are moved to become a chef, or an electrician, or a lawyer. Similarly, everyone needs their own spiritual relationships, but not everyone will feel called to ordination.

Read the whole post at!


About EmberVoices

Ember Cooke has been a member of Hrafnar and Seidhjallr for more than a decade, where she trained to be a Seidhkona, Galdrakona, and Gythia. She founded the Vanic Conspiracy and made ordination vows to the Vanir and her congregation in the summer of 2013. She has contributed to several publications on Heathen and Northern Pagan subjects and regularly presents rituals and workshops at festivals. Her personal practice is more diverse, as the Vanir have lead her into cross-training and service for the wider Pagan community. This has including medium and servitor training in American Umbanda, clergy training with the Fellowship of the Spiral Path, and jail ministry for local counties. She holds a BA with honors in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University. Ember has lived all her life in the south San Francisco Bay Area, and is intimately bound to the valley of her birth.
This entry was posted in Community, Ministry, Pagan Bloggers, Praxis, RedWood Vanatru, ST4R and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to My First Pagan Bloggers Post!

  1. Widdershins says:

    Nice distinction. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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