The Priesthood is a topic often debated. I wanted to write something about it. It is fascinating on one hand and it seems overwhelming and incomprehensible on the other. I realized I once written something about it. I think it was three years ago. So I read the article, rewrote it, shortened it. Hopefully corrected any major grammar mistakes there. I think the following text does not give many answers. It opens many questions instead. In that sense it pretty much reflects my own extent of understanding the term. You may also notice I somewhat imply being a Priest myself. That is because I am, but do I really know what it actually is? That is a completely different question. Another specific thing about this article is the way it is written. It is a pure speculation based on my own thoughts and experiences and the language is probably not very attractive. There also won't be any references. I won't bother with backing up my thoughts with evidence and reasoning. I would like to use the article as a starting point for some future blog posts about the topic, but I don't want to promise anything. Because the topic is so big, I don't want to blog often about it and I am not sure I am really ready to write another article on that.
Well, enough for the introduction, now to the topic.
Priesthood for me is the way the Gods choose their vessels to carry their power to inspire other beings and to manifest in a particular way. That is my simple definition. Now, the Priesthood that always returns in many forms, throughout the ages and that always is loyal to the mystery, to the love and to the knowledge of the Gods, I call the Eternal Priesthood. As such it is an open group of people that got into this territory through their actions and stay there not just in one life, but in future lives as well. They also that don’t know each other on a personal level, so it's not a group in the usual meaning of that word. This Eternal Priesthood to me is the essence of Priesthood as such, and if any debate on the topic should be meaningful, I prefer to start there. At the roots – with the Eternal Priests and Priestesses.
I believe that the path leading towards Eternal Priesthood is the love for the Gods and their creation and manifesting this love. On the opposite I believe it is the Gods who love people that understand them to a certain extent; exactly the same way human beings prefer to communicate and be present with people with whom they can share a certain level of mutual understanding.
I believe this is the way they ensure that they are not forgotten and lonely and it is through this special group they connect with the humanity. I am convinced this phenomenon has been here for thousands of years, it’s just the outer religious forms that are changed. It is the service and mysteries that stay. And I am not talking specifically about Wicca here. I am talking about all those more or less hidden aspects and schools within various religions. I have a strong feeling that Wicca in the form I have been initiated into is definitely not the only one.
To me, the service to the Gods means to manifest them in those actions and that way the Gods ensure their apparent presence in the human world. Enacting the mysteries is the way. The mysteries are the main way of communication and sharing, as far as I understand it. All those symbolic acts that are essentially the way we partake of the world of the Gods and becoming its part. It is the mysteries that make the Eternal Priesthood different from others. There is a vast difference in the level of communication (compared to prayer for example) and therefore a vast difference in understanding as well.
When it comes to the idea of reincarnation and having many lifes, I believe that there is a certain layer of the soul from which there is much deeper content and this content is preserved when we die and return to be reborn. The knowledge and experience of partaking of the world of the Gods and their presence is something that is below that particular layer and therefore it survives death and rebirth as a part of our souls.
When we are born in a new life and get older, it is this part that suddenly starts to communicate with us the way it is used to. We might have weird dreams or tendencies we can’t really understand. This part of us simply wants to join the Eternal Priesthood again and to continue its task. I believe that in certain cases the outer conditions may be stronger and may send us into a direction where we inspire others and where this part of us manifest in a beneficial or at least powerful and direct way. Maybe we must simply wait couple of lives before we find better conditions or do better decisions that would lead us into the family of the Eternal Priesthood again. But in most cases I believe the longing for this destiny is so big that it makes us search for it wherever possible. We would do all sorts of crazy things and deal with the strangest coincidences, just to make sure we answer the call the way it should be answered.
So far I haven’t actually learnt much of what the Eternal Priest must be. I believe that doing rituals and enacting the mysteries is the essential part of it. That is the deep level of sharing understanding and communication and presence. The Eternal Priest must also be the person of truth in the sense of being what the Gods require him/her to be. The actions of Eternal Priesthood that manifest the Gods are not only in rituals, but in the subsequent real lives too. That is the eternal challenge of it. In each life there are different aspects of reality in which one needs to learn to be true to the service to the Gods and in manifesting them. There is no end of it as the reality constantly changes and evolves and so must we.
To me, the Eternal Priesthood is also the link between the Gods and the broad community. The service to the community is the service to the Gods in that sense. And it does not end there. There is also a service to the world itself. It is through the Eternal Priesthood how the Gods make this world better and it is one of many ways how they made it move and evolve. There are many ways of this service and the Priests/Priestesses die and are reborn again to learn new and new ways of service that particular time and place requires.
In the smaller scope, we provide opportunities and crossroads, things like festivals, gatherings, workshops, public rituals, all sorts of these things tec. Why? Because we want to inspire people and support their own links between each other and the divine. That is one of our ways of external service. We are asked for advice or we listen to other people’s problems. We help people magically, sometimes. In what we do we try to manifest the Gods. Finding a way to manifest the Eternal Priesthood in the outer world is a very important task we all have. I myself haven’t yet fully figured it out. It is a multi-layered, multi-faceted thing that takes lifetimes to comprehend.
From my point of view, the concept of Eternal Priesthood and what lies behind it is a combination of two distinct, but intertwined things. Being a Priest is one thing and it means being the link and the vessel for divine power and doing the divine service, both internal (rituals) and external (service). Then there is the concept of eternity in it that comes with being a part of the mystery of the Gods. It is the experience and flesh of spirituality which is mystery – that is what makes Priest(ess) and eternal one. Although one does not become Eternal Priest through understanding only. There must be a conscious choice to take that path. However I believe that the choice comes naturally with the understanding. The understanding brings openness to the will of the Gods and the deeper the understanding is and the deeper is that link between us and them the closer we get to a threshold that means dedicating our future lives to the Gods.
Now speaking in terms of western Qabbalah, I believe that the layer beyond which we become Eternal Priests is the one between Tiphareth, Chesed and Geburah. Tiphareth for me is the sephira of individuality and of inner self. Everything of us that is below Tiphareth dies with our mortal bodies. All that is beyond Tiphareth stays and therefore the Eternal Priesthood must be part of that layer as well. In that sense it is a part of us that has nothing to do with ego or our physical body. In that sense, our Eternal Priesthood is the extended arm of the Gods that descends from the upper realms close to Tiphareth, but... different.
That leads me to a conclusion that it is actually not something we can consider as belonging to us and be owned by us. It is not. Eternal Priesthood transcends our being and is beyond it. It is bigger than us and our lives and is above them. Eternal Priesthood in its broader sense is a single entity for itself, a collective consciousness of all Eternal Priests and Priestesses on the entire universe. And is it us who choose the path of Eternal Priesthood or is it the Eternal Priesthood that chooses us? That is a question we can never answer just as we never know and understand Eternal Priesthood fully. It seems to me to be that kind of “Chicken and the Egg” thing. On some level I don’t believe thing this question really exists. Time works strangely there and the effect is the cause and vice versa.