Here is an excerpt from Elsa's book-in-progress, To Be A Witch, which sums up her approach to Witchcraft.
"Witches are not interested in Christianity, whether reversed or not, except in context as a component of the dominant culture. We are not re-active to Christianity, but pro-active in our own traditions. We prefer not to dwell on negativity, but to dis-charge it and move on. We have better things to do with our time and energy. If you're into black nail polish that's dandy - but it's not relevant to Witchcraft. Witchcraft is a religion. Witches worship Mother Earth.
"Witches are also magicians. We use the energy we feel in the world, to make changes on multiple levels, both physical and non-physical. We work with nature, bending the flow of energy at need. We may do healings, protections, energy clearing, counseling, or weather magic, depending on the needs of the earth, those around us, and our own.
"Becoming a Witch is a gradual process wherein your world view shifts. You see the world with new eyes. You see the love, bounty and beauty of the Goddess, our Mother the Earth, shining from every tree, flying with every bird, flickering in every flame. You see creation not just as making, but as birth, and sexuality as beautiful and sacred.
"You come to respect all of life, from the planet Herself to the mosquito to whom you sacrifice your blood and whose life you take as a consequence. You discover that life and death are parts of the same wheel, both needed. Shame and guilt fade away as honest remorse motivates you to take up responsibility for making restitution for your mistakes.
You become freer, bound only by the Laws of Nature, your own heart and the Wiccan Rede: 'An it harm none, do as thou wilt'.
You change by becoming more totally yourself. "
I am uncomfortable with titles, hierarchy, or anything that implies that any person has more inherent value than any other person. There are people that I can get along with and people that I can't. There are people that I can teach and people from whom I can learn, and these are frequently the same people.
I don't think of High Priestess as my title, but as my job.
To me being an HPs doesn't mean sitting on a throne, wearing a garter, or running every ritual. It means giving aid at need, not just when it's convenient while being aware that sometimes the aid being asked for is inappropriate; freely teaching as much or as little as my students are ready and able to learn, figuring out what will provoke their growth and giving them space for that to happen; being ready to connect people in Arkansas with resources local to them because they have no idea where to start; and being honest with those that I can't help.
It means being able to do handfastings and being responsible enough to do pre-nuptial counseling as well; being prepared to give counseling to people faced with an unplanned pregnancy in a supportive, non-judgemental way; being ready to talk to hospital administrators about why a new mother should be allowed to keep her placenta.
It means being willing to get calls at 3 am from people who are on the verge of suicide and able to talk them down; being able to sit with people who are dying as they prepare to go to Summerland; being able to do memorial services to help others' grieving, even while feeling my own pain.
It means keeping a coven running smoothly, by making phone calls to co-ordinate times and rides and personal preferences and burning candles for healing and clarity for people almost every day.
It means accepting that I can sometimes be wrong, and making restitution rather than wallowing in guilt.
It means doing all these things while seeing and breathing the Goddess nearly all the time, because I have to, because She's always there, prodding me on through the rough spots and giving me occasional moments of peace between the floods of Her work.
We use the Seekers Questionnaire to discover what a prospective student needs to learn.
A Few Philosophical Questions is another good diagnostic tool, though not specifically Pagan.
When a couple approaches us to perform a handfasting ritual, we use the Pre-Nuptial Questionnaire to assess their compatibility and therefore our willingness to perform the rite. We have a page on our responsibilities as clergy, and several handfasting rituals to provide inspiration for ritual composition.
When a candidate is approaching ordination, we go over the Ordination Questionaire as part of the assessment of readiness.
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© 1999-2002 Elsa Die Löwin