Purpose and Ethics: Judy's personal statement
I am a Witch, a priestess, a coven leader and a counselor.
All these titles are aspects of one whole, one work, which is helping people
grow into their own fullness. I intend to do this work with knowledge,
wisdom, skill, creativity and honor, in service to the Gods, the People
and the Earth. At the heart of my work, and of my life, is a triple relationship,
between myself, the Old Gods of Nature, and the Pagan community. Community,
an abstract and shorthand term, becomes real person by person. These guidelines
concern my interactions with persons and groups who seek guidance, teaching
or counsel from me as priestess, coven leader and counselor.
1. The only part of this relationship I own is me.
I will do what I can to sustain, clarify and deepen my own conscious contact
with the Gods of Nature, and to live from the understandings that arise
from this contact. I will also stay in contact with others, elders and
peers, who support, challenge, nurture and instruct me as together we re-discover
this long-neglected sacred Path.
I will stay aware of my own motivations and the inner needs that drive
me to this work. Some of these are healthy and appropriate, others are
displaced, and can become disordered. I will not try to fulfill through
this work those needs that are better served in other ways.
I will be mindful of my own levels of energy and enthusiasm. I will take
time to rest and play, nurture myself and accept nurturance from others.
When I feel depleted, I will actively seek replenishment, so that I may
serve well for years to come.
I will seek the guidance of my elders and the support of my peers, especially
in times of perplexity. I will learn from the experiences of others, and
share my own experiences with others so that we may learn together.
I will explore all the relevant worlds of knowledge: Classical religion,
indigenous religion, ethics, ritual arts, consciousness studies, and more.
I will read and I will experiment. I will stay aware of the new discoveries
and creative contributions of my colleagues, as I share my own discoveries
As a professionally trained counselor, I will make it my special task to
follow new developments in the fields of counseling and psychology, always
looking for insights and techniques useful for Pagan clergy. To the best
of my ability, I will adapt these insights and techniques to our values,
our vocabulary and our felt needs, and share them with other priest/esses.
2. I will treat all people as fairly as I can.
I will be honest with all those who merit my trust. I feel no obligation
to, by my honesty, make myself vulnerable to coercion or oppression. Within
the community of trust and respect, if people seek my guidance, teaching
or counsel, I will be honest about my competence and its limits, and also
about the amount of time and energy I can feasibly devote to their requests.
I will respect the privacy of those who seek my aid or instruction. I will
keep their confidences except where there is overriding reason to reveal
information. I will inform people of what such circumstances might be before
receiving their confidences, so that they may choose what they will reveal
I will respect the right of all people to make and implement decisions
about their own lives. As I do not wish to be manipulated or coerced, so
I will not manipulate or coerce others.
3. As priestess and coven leader, I conduct rituals, instruct coveners
in the values, symbols and ways of our religion, nurture and guide their
spiritual and magical growth.
It is my abiding responsibility to keep our coven a safe and nurturing
place, under all circumstances. When another covener is conducting a ritual
or teaching a class, I still bear final responsibility for ethics and safety
in the coven.
It is my abiding responsibility to ensure that the teaching of ethics and
the fostering of wisdom precede any instruction in magical skills within
my coven and lineage, and that magical empowerment is always secondary
to spiritual growth.
I will work with my coven and its daughter covens for love and joy, not
for any ulterior purpose or extrinsic reward.
As a coven leader I facilitate primary religious experiences and exploration
of altered states of consciousness.
As a coven leader within a lineage and a degree system, I bear a responsibility
to the community as a whole for training and vouching for future coven
leaders. I am mindful of the inevitable role conflict between the functions
of mentor/counselor and evaluator/gatekeeper.
I will always remember that my proper role is to help each person make
their own direct and conscious connection with the Ancient Gods, and never
to mediate between Deity and other humans.
I will seek knowledge and skill concerning spiritual practices and altered
states of consciousness, and continue to follow new discoveries and developments,
integrating them into our work as appropriate.
I will do my utmost to protect each participant's health and safety during
magical and spiritual practices and in the vulnerable periods that may
I will not manipulate people who are in altered states of consciousness,
nor use their openness to suggestion for any ulterior or exploitive purpose.
I will warn people who are exploring within through altered states of consciousness
that these experiences can be difficult and dramatically transformative,
sometimes resulting in "spiritual emergencies." I will be aware of the
issues around spiritual emergency and make sure that those I train are
Unless I am willing to assist people in working through any changes wrought
by their magical and spiritual explorations, I will not encourage such
exploration or facilitate such practices with them.
I will strive to give my students access to the cumulative heritage of
our Tradition while empowering them to adapt this heritage to their own
best understandings and values and to make their own creative contributions
to the Tradition's ongoing development.
I will seek the guidance of the Ancient Gods in all decisions about Initiation
and Elevation. I will also consult with, at minimum, the elders of my coven.
If there is any ambiguity, I will seek independent evaluation of the candidate
from the elders of other related covens. I recognize that outside consultation
is always of value, even when there is no apparent ambiguity.
If I need to delay or deny an Initiation or Elevation, I will inform the
candidate as gently and objectively as possible. I will do what I can to
help them either do what still needs to be done, or find another group
As gatekeeper, I will only Elevate to Third Degree persons whom I believe
to be knowledgeable, skilled, wise and ethical enough to be trusted with
the guidance of vulnerable beginners.
When someone I have trained and/or for whom I have vouched becomes a coven
leader, I recognize a lifelong responsibility to be available to them as
an elder consultant.
I will be as accessible and responsive as possible to those who lead "daughter
groups." I will help them explore perplexing issues, sharing any relevant
experience I may have. I will be honest about the limits of my knowledge
or my energy.
I will share any new discoveries I make with them, and expect them to share
their discoveries with me and with each other.
I acknowledge the difficult responsibility of sharing any problems that
I perceive concerning their teaching or practice within their group.
In rare and extreme cases, when a "daughter group" has become seriously
dysfunctional or corrupt, I acknowledge that, after due warning, I may
face the painful obligation to publicly withdraw my vouch.
4. I also offer my skills as a professionally trained counselor to the
Counselors assist people in understanding various situations in their lives
and in making and implementing their own decisions about those situations.
People who seek counsel with their clergy expect to work within a shared
context of guiding values, thealogical understandings, symbolic vocabulary
and techniques for inner exploration and the implementation of willed change.
Our religion, as I understand it, does not include detailed rules for behavior.
So, as a Pagan counselor, my role is to assist clients to develop their
own understanding of the values and teachings of our religion, and of the
implications of those values and teachings for their own current life situations,
religious and secular.
I understand that the impetus and direction for clients' healing and growth
comes from them, and perhaps from the Ancient Gods, but never from me.
I am simply a skilled facilitator.
I will always remember that I am not a lawgiver or decision maker over
the lives of others, even those in my own coven. They will find what they
seek within themselves, or not at all.
However, I am under no obligation to continue a relationship with any person
whose values are in severe conflict with my own.
I will strive to develop the skills of active listening and empathy, for
these empower the inner exploration of the client. I will support and challenge
coveners and clients in their own unique process of personal growth.
I may share with clients specific techniques for exploring their issues
or implementing their decisions. If I do, I am obligated to assist these
clients in any way I can to integrate the insights and changes that these
techniques bring about.
I am not trained or qualified to treat actual mental illness. I will learn
to recognize the probable symptoms of mental illness and develop resources
for Pagan-friendly referrals within my local area.
I will make myself available as a resource for non-Pagan counselors and
therapists who feel the need to know more about our religion in order to
be of better service to Pagan clients.