That’s a fine question.
What is a priestess?
And even though I begin my writing to you today asking it, I may surprise you by saying that I am truly not certain of the answer. It’s a question I have asked myself and been asked by many others as well on my Priestess Path but I don’t believe there is a singular answer. Priestesses don’t belong in a defined box. And I need to advise too that there are many women a great deal more versed than I in the context and role of the priestess. I am but learning. This is but my understanding.
To understand what a modern day priestess is and does, one needs to firstly dive deep into historical realms, stories, myths and legends. Hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of years ago. To times when the divine feminine and divine masculine were a great deal more equal and aligned than they are today. When women were honoured for their roles as healers, teachers, guides, mothers. And their qualities of nurturing, caring, sensuality, grace and intuition were seen as strong, desirable, wanted and even revered. Women held circle and temple and rituals together that were seen to be of vital importance to the connection and community between them, and all those around them, as well as the Gods and Goddesses they honoured and were guided by. And these healers and teachers and guides and mothers were ancient priestesses. Women who were devoted to living as an expression of the divine feminine in spirit and service for themselves and all.
And while it is a leap and sweeping generalisation to express it this way – the onset of patriarchy and later dominant religious dogma that began to treat women as second class, with suspicion and hatred – resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of lives via accusations of witchcraft and heresy – saw not only the shattering of equality but the systematic social, economical, physical and psychological beating down of women across all cultures. The divine feminine spirit and qualities of women once so upheld were now, (and remain so in many instances today), seen as weaknesses, less than, to be tolerated, with suspicion and ridicule. Women were no longer strong, spirited beings in tune with their own bodies, cyclical nature, sisterhood and reverence. Their Priestess qualities, rituals and practices were burned, buried, forcibly stripped, denied.
And so it remained for hundreds and thousands of years.
Until now, when the modern day priestess has begun to re-emerge at a time when the consciousness of the world is rising. When collectively as human beings we are crying out for greater union between the divine feminine and divine masculine. Our tripped out crazily technologically based lives are seeing more of us want to commune with nature, learn ancient practices such as yoga and meditation, and live more in harmony with lunar and astrological cycles. We are feeling the call to once again honour our intuition, connect deeply (and often) with spirit – including the sacred rituals and practices that may involve whether it be in a church, on the shores of the ocean, at the base of a tree or an altar of our own creation. Crystals, alchemical oils, singing bowls, tarot and guidance cards – all once tools of the ancient priestess – have found their way back into our hands.
And the result is that we are awakening. Women are remembering their once beautiful and sacred roles as goddess, leader, healer and sacred being and what it means to live guided by their souls calling, their innate sensuality and embodied power, and be divinely guided by their intuition and inner wisdom.
The priestess lives.
She always has but has been sleeping and hidden until she knew it was time and also safe for her to return. To return at a time when so many women have endured enough of the disconnection they have felt for generations from their bodies, their inner wisdom, their spiritual selves and each other. To return at a time when her sacred leadership is needed more than ever to help heal the wounds of being silenced and shut down individually, and for the world collectively, which for so long now has been missing the vital leadership of alive, vibrant, glorious, powerful, rich, diverse and unapologetic women.
Her role now is the same as it always was. It just looks different in a modern world. And in part two of ‘What Is a Priestess?’ I will explain further what I feel that role is for me.
And maybe for you too.
Oh, Julie, this touched me deeply. You have explained what a priestess is perfectly. Of all the changes I have made in the last 6 months there is one that has been so important & you have worded it with the weight it deserves- ‘help heal the wounds of being silenced and shut down individually’. Thank you for helping women like me find their voice. Blessings to you always
Thank you so much Tracey. One of the things that I have not been expecting in my own Priestess Path is the role that self-healing plays for every woman in this remembrance. If we are true to ourselves then every one of us knows we have things to heal and love more in our inner and outer world and in doing so not only do we heal ourselves but encourage others around us to be vulnerable enough to do so as well.
i love eveything about this article and you hit every thing i went through on the head to get me to the level of Priestess. I can write novels explaining how how i got here in my life but I am just embracing it.
I love that you’re writing about this topic Julie! I identify with this archetype but for years was in denial about my path as a mystic/priestess. I’d like to think that society doesn’t influence me and how I view myself, but apparently it does influence us even more than we think! There is such disharmony with male and female, and a sort of distance placed on all-things feminine. I’m happy to say though that with people like you ( and Andrew Harvey) writing about the value of being in tune with our Divine Feminine it’s been much easier for me to embrace who I really am and what I can offer the world.
Thank you for sharing that with me Elizabeth and it’s very common that modern day Priestesses, even those who are strong in nature, can find it hard to ‘come out’ about their gifts in this area. And given that this world of powerful women and their practices were driven underground by the patriarchy so long ago and in such vicious ways – it’s not hard to imagine such thoughts and feelings now.
So glad to hear you are embracing this side of yourself more. We need more amazing women, Goddesses and Priestesses in the world right now who do!
Ah Julie i’m absolutely soaking up all of this wonderful information. I’m feeling this pull greatly and loving learning what I can through these posts, making notes and finding further wonderful women to research and learn from. Thankyou so much. xx
There are some truly wonderful and gifted women and Priestesses in the mix here Emily and so I have no doubt you will find lots of inspiration on their sites.
Excellent work Julie! Healing the soul wound many women have around past lives of being persecuted for their feminine power is essential for modern day Priestesses to emerge more fully. You sharing your heart and wisdom in such an accessible way is a beautiful blessing you bring to the consciousness. Thank you!
Yes Kim! It absolutely is for sure. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
Perfectly stated. Thank you for so much confirmation.
You’re so welcome Dhylles. Thanks for reading and feeling into what a priestess is for you.
Thank you Julie for writing this article on what is a priestess. It touched my heart, and tears swelled in my eyes. I have been on this journey for some years now; finding it very lonesome path, healing, joyful, and painful, and more so lately as I become even more in tuned and engulfed with the pain of the mother, the feminine energy and the still ignorant, and lack of knowledge, and lack of feeling from the masculine who are also awakening and yet operating in the energy of today, the patriarchy rule.
I recently planted a healing water Retreat that was initially meant for both men and women, but on the day of my Spirit guides only allowed me to have all females attend my retreat. They told me that it is the feminine now that needs the most healing; as it is the feminine that has been trampled for hundreds of years. Now I’m wondering if my services should be strictly for the feminine at this time.
I thank you very much. Peace, Love,and may Great Light continue guide you, and shine in your life and your services.
Thank you for sharing with me Marlene and I am so glad you found it helpful. I wish for you some divine sisterhood to connect with soon on your Priestess path. It can truly make all the difference to how you move forward.
Part Two link please! The above one doesnt open. Keen to read more!! <3
All fixed for you Sheralee! Working now.