One of the great freedoms available to pagans is that they don’t really know what their forebears did. Generations on generations of Christians have seen off pagan practises in such a repressive way that apart from dancing round the maypole and attaching a few ribbons to their clothes by way of celebration the processes and ways of worship remain something of a mystery, long lost in the sands of time. For this reason pagans are able to express their love of the planet and nature in a myriad of fresh, imaginative and poetic ways, which makes their method of worship both personal and passionate.
The same may be said of women as spiritual leaders. It is so long since women have held any kind of position as the mouthpieces of the Divine that they don’t know where to begin… but of course they have begun, by infiltrating various Christian groups, with some success. Women as spiritual leaders work in a growing number of churches, and also progressive groups in the Jewish Community.
There have been Anglican women bishops outside the UK for a good while, for example in 1989 Barbara Harris was the first woman ordained as a bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, and a year later, in New Zealand, Penny Jamieson became bishop for the Diocese of Dunedin. Today female bishops are to be found in Canada, Cuba, Australia and South Africa.
Where does that leave us, the UK, the country that began Anglicanism and the Church of England that has since given birth to all those other churches that seem so much more progressive than ourselves? Don’t ask. We have lost the plot. We are not only archaic, we are prejudiced.
All this takes me back to where I began. Pagans can do what they like to express their faith, and women as faith leaders are also in that position in the 21st Century. The role of women as spiritual leaders dates back thousands of years … so now, as we move into the Aquarian Age women we are poised to rediscover the heart of spiritual ideas and practises, remove politics and aggression from religion, and bring life, love and the planet back to the centre of our sacred celebrations. It’s a clean page in time and history, waiting to be filled with beautiful and inspirational ideas.