I’m a bit late with this post (over two months late), as my year-and-a-day of priestesshood was back in the beginning of January, but I still wanted to write something to commemorate the occasion. I can’t believe it has been over a year since I took my oath to Aphrodite. It’s been a wild and wonderful ride, and I’ve learned some important lessons along the way. Here are some of my reflections on my first year as a priestess:
Lesson #1: Compassion and Non-Judgement
As a priestess of Aphrodite, people come to me for a wide range of reasons, both personal and spiritual. People reach out to me about how to form a spiritual relationship with Aphrodite, how to spice up their sex life, how to practice self-compassion and self-care, how to navigate relationship troubles, how to learn about pleasure and their own bodies, how to tackle their insecurities, and how to deepen their spiritual practice. I have seen and heard A LOT of different stories from many different people.
The two most important skills that I have used in my year as a priestess have been compassion and non-judgement. Practicing compassion is embodying the virtues of Aphrodite. Love and compassion are extremely important to Her, with no exceptions. Everyone deserves compassion, and I believe the world would be a much better place if everyone remembered this.
Non-judgement flows from compassion. You will never know the full details of someone else’s situation. You can never really know what it is like to be someone else. Everyone has psychological scars from past hurts. Every person, every relationship, and every situation is different. There is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to advice. It is not my place to judge. I am here to listen, and provide guidance if requested.
None of this is to excuse bad behavior. We are still all responsible for our choices. However, practicing compassion and non-judgement can lead to better understanding, even if someone has made a mistake.
Lesson #2: Be Ready to Talk About Anything
As I mentioned above, people seek me out for a wide variety of reasons. This means I have to be ready to talk about pretty much anything – with no embarrassment and no reservations. It also means I need to have a wide knowledge base of any topic even vaguely related to Aphrodite and Her spheres of influence. I’ve done a lot of independent study – reading books, listening to podcasts, and taking classes – but nothing can replace the real-world experience of talking with people.
When I say I have to be ready for anything, I mean ANYTHING. Particularly taboo topics. I’ve talked to people about sex, kinks, masturbation, self-love, orgasm, sex toys, fidelity, polyamory, spiritual sexuality, abuse, shame, empathy, empowerment, vulnerability, energy cleansing, relationship troubles, trance, journeying, channeling energy, and priestesshood. Many of these topics are very charged in our socially conservative society.
My goal is to create a safe and welcome space for people to share their stories. By practicing compassion and non-judgement, I encourage people to be fully themselves, to face their fears, and shatter their shame. If I am able to knowledgeably talk about these topics with complete openness and acceptance, others see that it is possible for them to accept themselves as well. I try my best to meet people where they are at and support them in getting to where they want to be.
Lesson #3: Have Resources At The Ready
I don’t know everything, and I am always very forthright about that. There is so much to know about love, sex, compassion, and spirituality. There’s no way to know it all. That is why it is so important to have good resources at the ready.
While a little knowledge may be a dangerous thing (thank you, Alexander Pope), as long as we avoid the pitfalls of ego, it can help you to know where to look to dig deeper. Over the years, I have amassed a good collection of resources on a variety of topics, from love and sex to spirituality and religion. Check out my Resources section for some of the books, podcasts, and websites I recommend!
Lesson #4: Connection to Deity Will Fluctuate
Becoming a priestess doesn’t mean your God-Dial is now turned on to 100% forever. While you will always maintain some connection with your Deity, sometimes there will be quiet periods. The way I relate to Aphrodite is constantly evolving. There are some methods that are tried and true, but some change with the seasons, or unpredictably.
Sometimes what has worked in the past will suddenly stop working. In my experience, this is usually a kick in the pants that it’s time to explore some other part of my spirituality, develop another skill, and train in different ways to commune with the Divine. Maybe I needed to try something new. Maybe I needed to grow something that was currently a small part of my Pagan practice into something larger. And, just like there is weather here on Earth that can mess with cell reception, there is also cosmic weather that seems to mess with the ability to communicate with Otherworldly beings. Sometimes there is static for no discernable reason. And that is okay!
Lesson # 5: Expect the Unexpected
While I had a pretty good idea of what being a priestess would be like before I made my oath to Aphrodite, there were some things I never would have predicted. I developed new skills, encountered new situations, and had new experiences that I could not have imagined a year ago. I have grown in incredible ways. Some of it has been difficult, some of it has been confusing, and some of it I am still trying to make sense of.
The first unexpected experience happened a few short weeks after my initiation, when I began to discover (or rediscover) my empathic nature. I started feeling energy in new ways. I was more in-tune with everything around me. With this sensitivity, I learned how to raise, move, project, influence, direct, and share energy in ways that were previously inaccessible to me. It was a huge jump in magickal skill.
I also started to have some new psychic experiences. I haven’t quite known how to write about them, so right now there’s not a post about it. I started having precognitive moments, where I knew what was going to happen before it happened. Some of the moments were after the event had happened, but before I found out about it (like my grandmother’s death), while others I predicted before the actual event occurred (like my coworker randomly cutting her hand in a situation where that should not have been possible). It really freaked me out at first – partially because I don’t believe the future is set, and partially because what was happening seemed like the stuff of fiction. The event would just calmly drop into my mind with no warning or inspiration.
How did I know what was going to happen? I have no idea. I’m still figuring that part out. Can I do this reliably? No. Not at all. It appears to be random, though I will have some periods of time where this ability seems more active than others. Do I know why this happened? Nope. I’m still waiting to see how this fits into the bigger picture of my spirituality.
So, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected – and to embrace whatever weirdness comes my way!
Lesson #6: Service Can Have Many Forms
A lot of what I’ve talked about in this post and on my blog in general relates to the more pastoral side of priestesshood. I talk with people and help guide them on their journey through life. I lead rituals. I help people connect to the Goddess. I do a lot in service to my spiritual community. However, service comes in many forms, and pastoral is not the only kind of work I do.
Some things I do just for Aphrodite. Whether it is prayers, offerings, magick, or something else, these things don’t necessarily involve other people. They are things done purely for the Goddess of Love. Sometimes they are specifically requested, sometimes they are not.
Aphrodite is a relational Goddess, and thus the majority of my service to Her does include other people – but some of it is just for Her.
Lesson #7: It Will Be Difficult
This whole spiritual journey (and I am including events before I officially became a priestess) has been the most difficult thing I have ever done. I also include my mundane life stuff that happened in this period, because it is all connected in the development of my spiritual self.
The sheer horror of grad school propelled me to finally seek out a spiritual community because my life was completely falling apart. At the height of my experience with my Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, I couldn’t trust my own brain. Finally learning to fight that fear with love and faith was revelatory. My boyfriend moving out ripped my soul to pieces, and Aphrodite dragged me through the mud before I could put myself back together again. I’ve learned to be open-hearted, raw, and vulnerable to myself and others.
What I do is heart-wrenching work. Some people have the impression that working with Aphrodite is all sunshine and rainbows – and sometimes it is. But a lot of the time, it’s not.
It’s sitting next to someone crying on my couch and just being there for them. It is holding space for other people’s pain. It is inviting people to confront their deepest fears. Sometimes it is (metaphorically) lighting someone else on fire so they can be reborn. It is tenderly holding their most heartfelt desires. It is feeling everything, both with and for others. And it is doing all of these things for myself as well.
There’s a reason the tagline for my blog is “Serving the Goddess of Love with Ferocity and Compassion.” Aphrodite will surround you with love, but She will also make you deal with your shit.
Lesson #8: But It Will Be Worth It
Through all of the blood, sweat, and tears, it is so worth it. I wouldn’t change a thing about my journey with Aphrodite and my path to priestesshood. Sure, there are some lessons that I could have learned sooner, and maybe such drastic measures were not required to get me to learn those particular life lessons, but I love all of it. Even the difficult parts.
My relationship with Aphrodite has allowed me to fully embrace myself in ways I couldn’t even imagine. I’ve been able to become the fullest version of myself. It hasn’t so much felt like a transformation into something new as a removal of all the barriers that prevented me from shining brightly.
I am so grateful to Her for it.