I came across an interview with Janet Farrar in which something she said in an interview caught my eye:
I would call myself a priestess above all else, even before calling myself a witch. My life is about service to the divine, dedicated to the gods, to serving spirit and to healing others – I trained with quite an eminent psychologist apart from my witchcraft training.
A lot of people come to Gavin and myself for healings and readings, and, within our group we do healing circles. It’s not ‘spellcraft’ as such, but more a form of controlled distance healing that any spiritualist would recognise.
I know that I’ve hinted at it before, but I’m not sure if I’ve discussed it outright, but I am a firm believer that there is a difference between being a priest and being a minister. A priest serves the gods, and a minister serves the people. The conflation of the two is an artifact from Christianity, and for some reason we have kept it up on the assumption that this is what religious leaders do. (Why else are so any Pagan religious leaders ordained ministers with the title of “Reverend” — myself included?)
Priests are tasked with performing religious rites properly to appease the gods. Ministers are tasked with counseling and offering advice to the people. And while it is certainly possible to hold both roles, I still think we should not conflate the two too readily. Especially since there is an expectation that a priest act as a minister when he or she may not be so equipped, and vice versa. And that expectation can cause problems for our religious leaders as well as for the Pagans seeking religious services.