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If it only takes a witch to make a witch in some traditions, but not all, why do so many people accept that a High Priest/ess must make a High Priest/ess?

After all, the first HPs weren't made by other HPs. Shouldn't it be more about the individuals knowledge, experience, skill and connection with the deities?

(I've been reading some stuff and came across a question about forming a coven when you weren't initiated into an existing coven before.)


Asked by Mrs.BAT at 2:27 AM on Dec. 26, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 38 (105,028 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (8)
  • It depends on the tradition. In some Pagan traditions you aren't even considered to be a witch unless you are initiated by a HP. For those of us who are Solitary, we obviously don't buy in to that stuff. And I have honestly only run in to the thinking of "Only HPs make HPs" in similar traditions to those which seem to think you have to be initiated by another to be a "real witch." I see no difference between a HP who's been named HP by someone else and someone who has taken the name themselves. The title simply denotes experience, if one is experienced to the extent that they feel they qualify as an HP, I don't see why it matters if someone else sees them that way. On the other hand, if you're a Solitary, you really have no need for the extra title.

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 5:02 PM on Dec. 26, 2010

  • I feel that my path is far too personal to be directed by someone who doesn't know me. I am not adverse to joining a coven for the fellowship if any were available where I live, but, as a solitary, I have taken each step in my practice when I was ready for it, not when someone else DECIDED I was ready for it. I don't believe in HPs or "degrees". Our knowlege is all at different points, but I don't consider myself above--or below--any of my sister witches. And that's how I think it SHOULD be!

    Answer by witchqueen at 10:41 AM on Dec. 26, 2010

  • MK and I usually post this to be sarcastic, but there's a grain of truth to it.  In Wicca in general is a lot of misinformation.  I tend to write it off, except when it's intentionally misrepresenting part of my own faith. In the bigger picture, there are a lot of bits of history that have been twisted or completely rewritten to suit someone's purpose along the way.

    In one respect, I see the point of insisting on a HP before one can become a HP, since it's a position of counselor/educator on behalf of a larger group.  It puts in a type of framework where the Baptist church can denounce someone like Fred Phelps, claiming to be a Baptist.  On the other hand, if the HP in question is already acting from a state of severe misinformation, cutting off the ability to add to the chaos isn't terrible.


    Answer by NotPanicking at 11:17 AM on Dec. 26, 2010

  • #1 NP, you *are* my doughnut hole!

    #2 The way I see it, there are 2 different kinds of High Priest(esse)s: Ordained Clergy, and...the Other.

    Ordained Clergy is just that. They've studied for years and years, have gone through certain initiatory steps, and are registered with the state like (Catholic) Priests, Rabbis, Ministers, etc., for to sign marriage certificates. yadda yadda Ministry and community service...etc.

    The Other kind with my Circle, we take turns being "in charge" of our Rituals. So we, in other words, take turns being High Priestess (the guy who come to Circle aren't really they don't volunteer to be in charge of Rituals.) For Solstice, Kara and Jen were co-HPS's...for Imbolc, Meghan and I will be co-HPS's...

    Now, I don't go out into the community, claiming to be a High Priestess and whatnot. I am only "High Priestess" when I'm leading my Circle in Ritual.

    Answer by MamaK88 at 11:58 AM on Dec. 26, 2010

  • Most HP and HPS that are initiating have been studying for years and years..I have only met a few witches who were not initiated into a particular tradition who could match the skill, knowledge and experience of an initiated witch that has been practicing for several decades.. not trying to be biased or judgmental here, but it is just the truth of what I have seen from my years of being a part of the pagan community both face to face and on the net. The amounts of knowledge that are accumulated by some of these high priestesses and high priests can blow your mind. As for the rest of your question.. part of being initiated is being a member of a tradition.. lets compare to a sorority. You wouldn't want to be initiated into a sorority by someone who has never been in it before would you? or a member of a different one. Its the same with initiatory witchcraft.. the original person was the founder of the tradition.

    Answer by MamaJasmine at 7:35 AM on Dec. 26, 2010

  • This is strictly a Wiccan issue with the succession of HP's. It's still a classic question of who came first, the chicken or the egg. But Gardner avoided that question by claiming to have initiated by an older coven and established the tradition of HP's initiating the next HP's. A lot of folks didn't agree with established tradition so eclectic Wicca was created by virtue of not following tradition. But the tradition has validity, passing on knowledge in direct succession from HP to HP without the need of written record.

    As to the should it be's, yes and no. Ideal situation it should be but reality dictates passing on knowledge as the primary reason for the tradition, although poorly trained HP's still become successful coven leaders without a major loss of esoteric knowledge.

    Answer by isabellalecour at 9:52 AM on Dec. 26, 2010

  • The only grain of truth I see in that page link is the difference between someone who lives an examined faith versus someone who blindly believes what they are told which isn't exclusive of Neo-Pagans. You can find blind believers in every faith, even among Recons!!

    Answer by isabellalecour at 12:06 PM on Dec. 26, 2010

  • And that is why I don't follow any set religion ... I am not going to jump through someone else's hoops.

    NP ... OMG! That was just too funny! Saved it to share later! You wouldn't happen to know if there was one of those for Wicca vs Witch would you? I've looked and can't find one.

    Answer by SpiritedWitch at 12:16 PM on Dec. 26, 2010