Priestess of my Clan had directed my attention to this clip, and personally I thought it might help some here.It is entitled ''Path of a Priest and Priestess'':
Initiation into an Ancient Tradition
What is a priest? What is a priestess? Images of stiff-robed men who show up in church on Sundays, or of exotically clad women making offerings to strange, bizarre looking gods would suggest that they inhabit a world other than our own and have little impact on our lives. In fact,nothing could be further from the truth. To understand the essence of priest and priestess, we must look beyond the clich?s to reconnect with the inner archetype-the vortex of power in the depths of our own psyche. Since the beginning of human history, this archetype found expression in countless religious traditions. However, since archetypes are ever evolving, never static, contemporary priests and priestesses will look nothing like their ancient Indian, or Sumerian, or Egyptian counterparts. As human society unfolds, so do archetypes, appearing in ever-new guises. In fact, priests and priestesses are everywhere in our midst-they just don't look the way we might expect. Rarely do they wear special robes, and many of them have no ties with organized religion. And yet, as we shall see, their contributions are crucial to our welfare and our very survival. As priests and priestesses have always done, they serve the spiritual life of their community and hold open the lines of communication between the human and the spirit worlds.
Over the years, I have worked with thousands of people in whom this archetype has awakened and have formed my own understanding of what it means to be a priest or a priestess. Here, I would like to share some of my thoughts with you and above all, invite you to explore the meaning of this archetype for you personally. Let me start by telling you the story of how the priestess awakened in my own life.
It began with my decision, one dreary night in Birmingham, England, to go see the performance of a young Indian dancer. Within no time, I had fallen in love. What affected me so powerfully were not just the brilliant silk brocade costumes, the exquisite grace of the dancer's movements and the raw power with which her bare feet stamped the ground as if playing a giant drum. It was something else, a compelling spiritual presence that radiated through the dance, endowing it with a luminosity that kindled a kindred light within my soul. By the time I stumbled out of the auditorium I was determined to learn this art, and learn it in India.
On the face of it, going to India to study dance seemed insane. I was not a dancer, nor had I ever studied dance in any formal way. How could I reconcile this strange desire with my identity as an intellectual, or think of any sensible way to justify the journey I was about to embark on? Still, there it was-some infinitely stubborn, determined force insisted I must quit my job and go to India-not sometime in the future, but now. I had received a calling I could not ignore.
And so, in June of 1981, I gave up my job at a British university and boarded a plane to India. I laugh to think that I saw it as a sabbatical of sorts. I certainly expected my life to be enriched, but I did not anticipate its total and irreversible transformation. In fact, I was about to be initiated into a tradition so old that its origins are shrouded in mystery, maintained throughout the centuries by priestesses who passed their knowledge from generation to generation. At the time, however, I understood none of this. All I knew was that I was being dragged off to India by some force I couldn't explain. After arriving in India, I happily immersed myself in the study of what today is called Bharatanatyam. I soon found that the gestures and poses catapulted me into states of consciousness that felt ancient, powerful, utterly natural, and strangely familiar, as if I was merely remembering a language I once knew but had since forgotten. As I pondered the amazing power of this dance within my own body I understood why temple dance is known as a fifth Veda, or sacred scripture. Unlike the other four Vedas, which form a sort of Hindu Bible, this fifth Veda is recorded not in words but in the universal language of movement. Yet, like all true scripture, it communicates an awareness of unseen dimensions beyond the visible, tangible world.
Indian temple dance, I learned, is a relic of a complex, highly sophisticated but extinct culture. In ancient India, every major temple supported a number of priestesses who worshipped the deities through their ritual dances. These women were known as Devadasis, a word meaning ''female servants of God.'' As in many other places, these priestesses were the most highly educated women. Besides dancing, they studied reading, writing, scripture, mythology, mantras, rituals, meditation, singing, music, and healing.
Indian temple dance is one of the most beautiful fruits of the Tantric tradition. According to Tantric mythology, this universe is the loveplay of a divine Being which split itself in two, a male and a female half, so that it might know the ecstasy of love. All menare splinters of this original god, all women of the goddess, and through their lovemaking, God experiences the rapture of reunion. Revered as embodiments of the goddess, the Devadasis were highly skilled in the erotic arts, and men vied to make love to them, for to makelove to a Devadasi was to reenact the sacred ritual of creation. In the ancient Indian temples, priests and priestesses lived and worked side by side, sometimes becoming lovers. However, in the rituals designed to celebrated God's lovemaking with the world, the priestess seems to have played a very different role than the priest. Joseph Campbell once said ''The male's job is to relate to life. The female's job is to become it.'' And also, ''The man's function is to act. The woman's function is to be.'' A similar view seems to have prevailed in ancient India. Priests were defined by their actions-maintaining the rituals, maintaining the temple compound, and so on. Priestesses were primarily defined by their female being, and by their knowledge of the triple mysteries of the physical body-birth, sex, anddeath. With the advent of patriarchy, the sexual customs of the priestesses contributed to their downfall. In a culture that valued female chastity and submissiveness, there was no
Priest & Priestess Path