High Priestess

“High Priestess is an office held by a woman who, in most Witchcraft/Wiccan traditions, has reached the third degree level. The concept of a female Witch being also a priestess appears in the ancient greek tale of the witch Medea (written in the eighth century B.C) where she is a priestess of the goddess Hecate. In this story we find perhaps the earliest reference to Witches in a religious context.

The initiation ritual that bestows the rank of the high priestess is called the great rite. Most Witchcraft/Wiccan traditions are matriarchal in structure and the role of high priestess is the highest ‘authority’ with these Craft systems. In many Witchcraft/Wiccan traditions, the high priestess has ultimate rule within the ritual circle, where it is said her word is law.

The customary role of the high priestess is to train other Witches/Wiccans snf to serve as a counsellor and mediator. In ritual settings the high priestess represents the Great Goddess. In the rite known as ‘Drawing Down the Moon’ her body becomes a vessel for the Goddess to manifest her consciousness within.”

R. Grimassi, ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WICCA AND WITCHCRAFT, 2nd Ed, 2003, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, Minnesota

The high priestess is an initiate who tends to be the head of a coven. She also initiates others into the coven. The high priestess is the director of the path of a tradition. She is also expected to have a continual relationship with the divine (a connection to the divine that she honours at all times). She’s considered the handmaiden of the divine.

In our coven we’re a little more open than that. None of us were ‘initiated’ into Wicca, however we started our coven of five with a binding ritual. None of us need to initiate because we are the first who have formed our circle, only people joining from now on really need to be initiated. Also, our coven is not strictly Wiccan. We are a mixed bunch of different kind of spiritualists.

Splitting the role of the High Priestess

The high priestess has a mentoring role as well. She takes others under her wing in order to teach, guide and initiate them into the coven. Traditionally, this was very easy with people living rather close to each other but nowadays we can live much further apart and still be close enough to form a coven. This means that sometimes responsibilities as a teacher will devolve to someone else in the coven in some cases. In many covens the structure is more informal and the high priestess changes from ritual to ritual.

 Becoming a High Priestess

In most cases the High Priestess is voted on and agreed on. There are training courses that offer guidance as to being a High Priestess but the most valid qualification is being able to prove you have the right knowledge and qualities to be a High Priestess. You must have good leadership skills and charisma, be prepared to resolve disputes (and some of these disputes might overlap into out of coven issues as these may interfere in the cohesion of the coven) and have experience in the craft.



Heya, comments are very very very welcome on this as I wasn’t sure quite how to write this. 🙂 Anything you think I should have said, please say because I can always edit. 🙂



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