This morning I have started gathering my notes and putting together a basic agenda for a planning meeting for a Handfasting for which I have been asked to officiate. I am deeply honored; and it has me reflecting upon my decision so many years ago to pursue ordination. It was made so as to be able to better serve the community.
Now, it has been a while since my Priestly role has put on the ministerial robes. A good bit of my service the past couple of years has been wearing other mantles of the Priest; Devotee, Initiate, Coordinator, Mediator, Counselor, Friend, Father, Husband, Witch, Planner, Ritualist, and much more. Therein I have taught classes and workshops, Wiccanings, Dedications, Initiations, countless Esbats and Sabbats, been the Priest at Festival Rituals, held Ancestor Rites, Daily and Weekly Work, and even Last Rites; and a whole host more both public and private. I have done all of this and yet having done these things is not what makes me a Priest.
I know this confuses some people, especially when so much of our Western rhetoric for what constitutes clergy is wrapped up in this. Nope, what makes me a Priest is a devotion unto the divine whereby I have undergone extensive preparation so as to approach the altar of our Lady and our Lord to undergo transformation, take the oath, and accept anointment before the Gods, their Priesthood, the Mighty Dead, and my own heart, through which the facilitation of the work of the Gods was taken up as the path underfoot. For me that work is largely mediated through the community. For others the manifestation of the task of the Priest or Priestess is otherwise conducted. They, like me, are a tool that our Lady and our Lord wield just as we use tools in our Craft and life. As there are many different tools upon the altar, each different with different functions and purposes in the rite of creation, so too are the Priests and Priestesses akin to differing tools with differing functions and purposes in the manifestation of life.
It is hard work to do all of this and to try and remember not to take one’s self too seriously, to keep the focus upon the work, and to remind the ego that it is a mere tool and not that which is. As far as the Handfasting goes, it is good to remember that it would go on with or without me. I am simply someone that can help two people express their love, and if I let ego get involved then I will be of no service to the Gods, the couple, greater community, or myself. In their union I see the divine love of all existences; and just the fact that I have been asked to play such a vital role in the myth of these two people’s lives has humbled me.
"Lost in a thicket bare-footed upon a thorned path."