3/15/2016 Dair – Oak ~ Strength – Responsibility

This is one of the few Ogham I am more familiar with than others. I have been signing my books with this ogham for years. I adopted it long ago when I read that this symbol was often the symbol of the chieftain of a clan because the qualities of the Oak were desirable in a great leader.

As I have been studying leadership, I could not agree more that strength and responsibility are the two key words of leadership. Without strength, lesser people will quit and without strength you cannot own the responsibility, the mantel of priesthood. All this translates into integrity. My favorite leader, Jerrie Hildebrand, told me not too long ago that integrity was what she lived and died by. Her family, each one, were ruled by integrity and interacted with each other and the greater world with integrity. They asked themselves if what their actions were stayed in integrity or not.

INTEGRITY

As I started writing my next book, I found that the first word I started to work with was integrity. I realize that I judge my own seekers based upon their relationship with integrity. Do they do what they say they are going to do? Do they commit to things they do not follow through on or only give a small percentage of their attention to? Do they offer excuses after excuses for lack of completion? Is there ownership of their actions and the result of their actions? When they speak can I rely upon what they say, or do I automatically make alternate plans to take up slack I know they are going to create?

FEELINGS

My integrity, strength and responsibility as a minister and pagan leader often centers around how people feel. You hurt people’s feelings in leadership and I firmly believe we all have the right to feel – whatever it is we feel. Many leaders treat feelings in a couple of ways.

They dismiss them. The person feeling doesn’t have the right to that feeling for whatever reason.

They analysis them. Sometimes a leader will try to figure out why someone has a feeling, often focusing on their own behavior or worse on what they believe the motivation for the feeling is within the Seeker.

They correct them. They set out to admonish the Seeker for having the feelings in the first place.

In integrity, I have found, good leaders validate all feelings. We all have a right to feel what we feel without judgement or analysis or condemnation. It takes a lot of strength to acknowledge pain someone is sure you have caused them and then own what part you have played in that pain.

I have learned as a leader that “yea but…” is a terrible apology. The strength and discipline it personally takes me to see a Seeker in anger or pain and then simply say, “I am sorry for any part I have in this.”

Defensiveness often demands we add, “yea but..” Yea but, you did xyz. Yea but, if only xyz had or had not happened. Yea but…… Integrity demands we wait it out. Acknowledging, validating and loving our Seekers through pain and anger is part of the job. You can always take up the “yea but(s)” later. And that job certainly takes integrity as well.

Because in integrity and dealing with feelings, you take ownership for what you have done. You judge whether or not the time is right for you to pull apart the issue? Is the person still in the heat of feeling their pain? If so apologize and then sit with them in that feeling, don’t attempt to change it. The heat of anger can be painful to bear and as a leader sometimes we sit and help Seekers bear it.

Part of the responsibility of pagan leadership is that you often can see the actions and feelings and behavior patterns of your Seekers better than they can. Although, I have found in this, all Seekers universally believe that they are inherently right, correct, and omniscient. So pagan leadership is often about leading a Seeker to see patterns of behavior in a way that empowers them to change. Empowers them to see destructive and defensive behaviors and take ownership.

Integrity demands we find ways to empower them, shed light upon behavior patterns and a reluctance to take personal ownership. Sometimes, however, sometimes, the oak wishes it were just a lowly Thistle. Just bloom and die and hibernate and be appreciated for being useful and treated with respect because all that useful beauty comes at the expense of barbs in your hands. Mostly because we never talk about the barbs leadership leaves and the scars on our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies. Leadership may require the qualities of the oak and often inside that same leader lies the heart of a thistle.

 

3/10/2016 Ura – Heather ~ Partnership – Passion

HeatherJudithHubbard

Art work by Judith Hubbard in Trees of the Goddess

YEA! Elen Sintier! I guess the book I need to get is Trees of the Goddess! Not only did I find her description helpful and scholarly, it really was more about what the ogham means spiritually which is far more closely related to what I want. AND Morgen and her agree!

So yesterday the co-high priestess of Dragonstone Family Coven and Willow Dragonstone Community dedicated. Lady Disa Freyjadottir has been my sword sister and friend for as long as I have been in the craft. I can still viscerally recall meeting her. To have had her agree to co-high priestess with me and work in this amazing community is more than I hoped for when I originally approached her.

I woke up today singing a song in my head that was written for Frozen and never made it in the final cut. From the DisneyWiki Site:

We Know Better” is a deleted song from the animated film Frozen. The first part of the song can be found in the in the deluxe edition soundtrack. The song is about Elsa and Anna as little girls complaining about all the things princesses are expected to do, claiming they “know better.”

Lyrics (first part)

ElsaHello little baby, you’re princess just like me
Bet you’re thinking maybe it’s a pretty cool thing to be
But soon you’ll see that everyone expects a lot from you
They’ll say that there are things a princess should and shouldn’t do
But you and me, we, we know better

Elsa and Anna:1, 2, 3 together, clap together, snap together
You and me together, knees together, freeze together
Up or down together, princess crown together
Always be together, you and me

1, 2, 3 together, clap together, snap together
You and me together, knees together, freeze together
Up or down together, princess crown together
Always be together, you and me

ElsaThey say a princess is full of charm and grace
They say she always knows her place
They say a princess wears pink and frilly clothes
They say she never laughs and snorts milk out her nose
They say she’s calm, they say she’s kind
They say she never speaks her mind or freezes nanny’s big behind

BothBut you and me, we, we know better

Nanny: You girls are in so much trouble! Wait until I tell your father…
Anna: How come you can do that and I can’t?
Elsa: I don’t know, I wish you could though…

ElsaThey say a princess is super duper sweet

AnnaShe doesn’t fight; she doesn’t sweat

BothAnd you never see her eat

AnnaThey say a princess doesn’t climb and scrape her knee

ElsaThey say a princess wouldn’t freeze her tutor’s tea

AnnaThey say she’s poised

ElsaThey say she’s fair

BothShe never mentions UNDERWEAR!

AnnaOr longs to see the world out there

BothBut you and me, we, have big ideas of our own
For the distant someday when we’re grown

ElsaWhen I’m queen

AnnaAnd I’m your right hand

ElsaYou’ll get to travel

BothThroughout the land

Anna: I’ll tell them of my sister and the magic things she can do

ElsaWe’ll take care of our people and they will love

BothMe and you
No one can tell us what a princess should be
As long as we’re together, you and me

As I have personally struggled with leadership and what leadership requires, I am learning that the adage “Many the hands, light the work” absolutely could not be truer. Since Lady Freya, as we affectionately call her, has joined DSFC and WDSC I have been able to get more accomplished and feel more balanced than ever. Sovereignty is always viewed as a choice to hold power singularly. What I have learned is that sovereignty is really about admitting that one person – even Queens – cannot rule alone. It is simply too great a task.

However, two Queens, well just imagine if a chest board allowed two queens on one side? The advantage would always go to that team. Can you say, “Check mate?!”

“And in this choice lies sovereignty.”

We have encouraged an idea around pagan leadership that it is singular – one High Priest or High Priestess or at best a High Priest and High Priestess – but what if we opened up that view to able bodied people who work together? As I explore the types of pagan leadership I am coming to realize that some singular or even partnered leaderships do not work because they are missing some vital aspect. When this is recognized and that aspect is added, venerated, empowered – this changes the energy and stress and exponentially raises the ability of the group.  Today WDSC and DSFC are more stable, grounded, and able to deal with anything than we were before. Because leadership is a choice as much as a calling. We can all chose how we lead and what our role as leaders are. We chose. Sovereignty demands a choice. How do you chose to lead?