What is a priest/ess? An Isian replies

                     What is a First Degree?

Many  persons feel that the first degree initiation is  something 
that  a person receives simply because this group or that  wishes 
to accept a person into their circle (Gardenarian, Alexandarian, 
etc.).

In the my tradition, as a first degree, you ARE a priest/ess, and 
as  such  you carry responsibilities.  In  some  traditions,  the 
knowledge  you have gained during your first degree studies  will 
qualify you for a third degree in that tradition.  But let's look 
at it a minute.

As I have stated, as a first degree, you ARE a priest/ess.   What 
does this mean?  In other faiths, you must go to seminary or  its 
equivalent for a period of at least 5 years to obtain this  goal. 
When  you  leave  there, you are knowledgeable in  not  only  the 
beliefs  of  your  faith,  but  also  it's  history,  sects,  and 
doctrines.  You have been trained to be a counselor, helper,  and 
friend  to your parishioners.  You have had training  in  dealing 
with  problems  within  your church,  your  community,  and  "the 
enemy".  Basically, you have been given the trust of your  church 
to be knowledgeable, loving, caring, and trustworthy.  

Should a Priest/ess in the craft be expected to be any less?   As 
an Isian, the answer is a resounding NO!  

During  your first degree studies, you are the equivalent  of  an 
Associate  Pastor/Minister/Whatever.  You are now in training  to 
eventually  have your own coven, or if you wish to  be  solitary, 
you  are  in training to be able to defend your religion  to  the 
outside world if the need arises.

What are the responsibilities of a First Degree in my tradition?

As always, in the this tradition, you are required to  constantly 
be learning and growing.  This does not mean that you have to  be 
constantly be learning about the craft, but about yourself,  your 
community, Mother Earth, etc.  This responsibility does not cease 
even   when   you  receive  your  third  degree.    This   is   a 
responsibility to yourself.

Some of your responsibilities to the coven are listed below:
1.) To grow within the craft. 
2.)  Observe  and  participate in all circle  functions  of  your 
degree or lower.
3.)  To  assist in preparation for all circle functions  of  your 
degree or lower.
4.)  To assist any student of a lessor grade in  his/her  studies 
when asked by this student for assistance.
5.)  To contribute at least one research paper of 10 pages (5  if 
single spaced) or more on the craft subject of your choice.
6.) Contribute in some manner to each sabbat or public  gathering 
either  by  time, monies for supplies, or bringing  something  to 
share  either during or after event.  Time could be  by  arriving 
early to help set up, staying a little later and helping to clean 
up  after, preparing and sharing a workshop (if open workshop  is 
scheduled),  making  phone calls to remind people of  the  event, 
etc.
7.)  Contribute  to ideas for coven gatherings and  help  arrange 
same. (Remember, all things do not happen at Covenstead!) 
8.)  Be aware of any conflicts within Circle, and bring  this  to 
the  attention of the HP/HPS (even if that's where  the  conflict 
is!)  
9.)  Be  prepared  to accept the responsibility of  a  circle  or 
ritual should something happen to your HP/S.

To  some  people, this may seem like a lot of  expectations,  but 
keep  in mind.  We are not are not training  "week-end  witches." 
You are in training to be a Priest/ess of Wicca.  

Your  first degree is something to be proud of.  You have  worked 
hard  and long to receive it, and your HP/S has found you  worthy 
of same.  

May the Lord and Lady smile on your efforts.