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.