“Lifelong priesthoods were typically held by married women leading ‘normal’ lives, complete with husbands and children. Greek religious offices were enormously practical, enabling women to serve at each stage of life without sacrificing the full experience of marriage and motherhood.”
–Joan Connelly, Portrait of a Priestess, p. 18
“When words are inadequate, ceremony and ritual help us express our profound thoughts and feelings….rituals are symbolic activities that help us, together with our families and friends, express our deepest thoughts and feelings about life’s most important events.”
–Dr. Alan Wolfelt (quoted in The Art of Ritual)
When I became ordained as a priestess with Global Goddess in July of 2012, one of the commitments I made as part of ordination was to be of service in some way to the organization and to document my service to my community through the year. So, in keeping with that commitment, I made a year-end summary post at the end of 2012 and another at the end of 2013. It was helpful to me personally to see everything grouped together in one post and see that I’m truly doing this work. I enjoying sharing my post with the rest of the GG community in hopes of encouraging others to keep a record of their own. In 2014, this was my service in the capacity as ritualist/ceremonialist:
January: winter women’s retreat, spontaneous family morning ritual, family full moon ritual.
Nature mandala at summer ritual.
February: family Brigid ceremony and Imbolc ritual, seventh Rise Up class, birthday blessing, help planning house cleansing, mini family full moon ritual.
March: invocation to the north during opening ritual at Goddess Weekend in St. Louis, Spring family ritual.
April: spontaneous family gratitude ritual, spring women’s retreat.
June: helped with sister-in-law’s blessingway, Rise Up class.
July: summer ritual for the members of my women’s circle and their families.
August: Red Tent event, tenth Rise Up class.
September: temple priestess at GGG, Womanrunes presentation.
October: Gave birth to new baby!
November: family full moon ritual for baby, Sealing ceremony for self.
December: full moon ritual, Rise Up finish and ceremony, family solstice ritual, mother blessing ceremony.
I took an online training program in circle leadership from Chrysalis Woman and I wrote this post about why Gathering the Women matters to me: Gathering the Women | WoodsPriestess. (I also finally finished reading Women Who Run with the Wolves!) I wrote 47 posts for this blog in 2014, which was a dramatic reduction from previous years, primarily because I diverted a lot of my attention to finishing my M.Div, writing a book, and working on art, sculpture, and jewelry for our co-creative business, Brigid’s Grove (and we had booths selling goddess sculptures and jewelry at five events sprinkled through the year).
We published a book about Womanrunes! This was an incredibly huge project. We also published a digital Ritual Recipe Kit and a book of earth-based poetry. I sculpted more than 27 new designs for pewter pendants and 7 for resin goddess sculptures (and we fulfilled more than 540 orders for these items!)
I completed 7 more classes at OSC, finished my thesis project, and completed my M.Div degree! I only have two classes remaining for my D.Min. In the last days of 2014, a new idea for my dissertation was born and I completed and submitted my prospectus for my dissertation project (and it was approved).
I continued to host a (not very active) Priestess Path group on Facebook and started one for women interested in a Red Tent in our community as well. I also maintain my Woodspriestess Facebook page and one for Brigid’s Grove.
In keeping with the commitment I made upon my ordination, I contributed articles to 5 issues of The Oracle, the online journal of Global Goddess: Winter Solstice, Samhaim, Beltane, Spring Equinox, Imbolc
I wrote 6 posts for Feminism and Religion:
I also wrote 23 posts for my blog at SageWoman magazine.
And, finally, I wrote 15 posts for Pagan Families earlier in the year before decided I was spread too thin with blogging commitments and needed to let something go.
(I also wrote 100 posts at my birth/motherhood blog, but that doesn’t directly connect to my priestess year in review theme!)
I have several relevant goals for 2015:
- Finish last two D.Min classes!
- Finish dissertation (and therefore finish D.Min degree)
- Begin facilitating regular New Moon Red Tent Circles in the local community
- Continue holding monthly full moon rituals with my own family and broaden that to include a couple of friends as well
- Present at Goddess Weekend and Gaea Goddess Gathering
- Expand our Ritual Recipe Kit into a longer printed book
- Promote and distribute Womanrunes more widely, especially to the Red Tent community, since it is a perfect oracle for use in Red Tent events.
- Work on several new book and online class ideas!
As also occurred last year when I wrote my year-in-review post, when I read this over, it comes up for me to wonder if writing a post like this looks “smug” and self-congratulatory in some way. Am I too focused on numbers and hours and quantifying something instead of presence? Too much do-ing and not enough be-ing? But, in truth, the intention with which each year’s list is created is simply as an accountability thing—both in terms of the vows I made to my community as well as to myself. It is so I can see, collected in one place, what I’ve offered as a priestess this year. It is to allow me a moment of pause, reflection, review, and a sensation of a job well done, rather than immediately rushing off to the next thing, as I tend to do. I continue to struggle with issues of “who does she think she IS?” with regard to priestess work (this forms an element of my dissertation project, actually!) and in reviewing my year, I am able to see that yes, I am doing this work. I am not just talking about it or imagining it, I am walking the path.
Happy New Year!