Spiritual Specialists vs. General Practitioners

The Lefthander's Path

Next in Approaching Paganism, let’s talk about spiritual specialists. Not clergy, not priests, though those are overlapping categories, but every tradition has a different concept of what that means, and every person who becomes Pagan brings their own baggage and assumptions about what they mean. As a result, conversations about the roles and duties of “Pagan clergy” in a broad community context are generally a mess. But priests, witches, shamans, seers, magicians- these are all various types of spiritual specialists. The concept of layperson, or a laity necessitates a clergy class, so instead, I’ll contrast the specialist with the general practitioner- yep like a doctor. A better analogy would be a homeowner who knows enough about plumbing, carpentry and electrics to fix most things him/her/theirself. But every once in a while, a major problem occurs and the homeowner has to call in a plumber/electrician/contractor to fix it. Also, sometimes the…

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An Anecdote

Have you ever played with a spirit board? You know, like one of those Ouija things that Parker Brothers sells. When I was a child, they were incredibly popular! Well, at least among my little circle of friends…

Now, I was probably the only child in our neighborhood who ever played with a Ouija board without ever trying to “cheat” on my friends to scare them. I swear this to you on Sarasvati, and on my vows as an Upashika. I never faked a Ouija reading. My friends were rarely so pure-hearted. I had a babysitter once produce a reading that said I would marry the neighbor boy I always hung out with. Of course, she also gave me the nickname “Anus,” so there is that…

Then there was the one time I actually managed to get something on the “other end,” so to speak.

My friend and I were alone upstairs in the aforementioned Anus-nicknaming Babysitter’s house. It was very, very quiet. We’d done a couple of “readings.” (My friend pushing the planchette, I’m sure). This time, there was something…different…about the way the planchette was moving.

My friend stared at me. Her eyes were wide. She was startled. Terrified. I smiled at her. Why not? I was still having lots of fun. Why was she looking at me like that?

Stop pushing it! she gasped.

I looked down at the planchette. It kept moving. I looked up and furrowed my brows. “You stop pushing it,” I said, certain she was trying to play a trick on me. But when I looked back up, she was still staring, wide eyed. Uh…no. She was scared.

Then she started screaming her head off.

What else was I to do? I began screaming as well, and we both ran out of the room and down the stairs looking for Anus Babysitter, convinced that some horrible evil spirit was chasing us.

And for what it’s worth, the spirit had actually been quite friendly.

Self-Definition

What am I?

I belong to Sarasvati. I am Buddhist. I am Shinto. I am Hindu. I am Pagan. I am a mystic. I am syncretic. I am an eclectic. I am an apostate. I am a heretic. I am Catholic, but I am not Catholic anymore. I am a Lokean. I am Nokean. I am a poet and a writer. I am a student and a teacher. I am a witch. I am not a witch. I am all and nothing. It’s complicated, you see, but it’s so very simple.

What do you want me to be? What do you need me to be? I am here to help you. That’s all there is to it.