What would fictional priestess training look like?

Of all the stories I’ve written and the ones I’m working on, there’s one that’s taken up the lion’s share of my time, creative energies and attention. And still, for all the effort and years worth of work I’ve put into it, Zoe is still very much incomplete. This partially comes from the fact that Zoe is a reflection of what’s going on in my own life, and as long as I draw breath, my story–and therefore hers–won’t end. In a way, it makes her impossible to write.


But I’ve been pushing myself, pushing out bits and pieces here and there, sometimes fitting one of those pieces into the giant puzzle and other times just filing them away to be organized later. The last couple of days, I’ve tried to direct my attention to parts of the story that up until now I’ve paid little attention to. Zoe’s early days is one of those areas.


Let me explain. As an infant, Zoe is subject to the religious punishment of the community she’s born into because she is “different.” The religion is a strict, god-based one that doesn’t tolerate anything outside of itself, and the young infant is determined to be possessed by demons. While the priests’ notions are flawed, they are correct in that Zoe is powerful. Even as a child, she displays uncanny abilities, a connection with the natural world around her, and just a powerful drawing presence. By the time she’s about four, though, her mother (whose own story is heart-wrenching) is ready to escape the abusive culture with Zoe and Zoe’s twin, Xenes. Their flight is successful, and they make a new home in a Priestess House, where Zoe is immediately initiated into the apprenticeship. Her whole childhood is structured around her studies as a priestess-in-training, and I’ve never devoted any time to laying out what she would learn and how. It’s such a huge oversight that I wonder how I’ve come to develop Zoe as a fully grown woman when she has such a hole in her past.


I’m fixing that now. Thus far, I’ve posted things to this blog that I’ve come across in my own studies of Wicca. Now I plan to use both the blog and Zoe’s story to support each other. I’ve also bought some books (:D any bookworms out there?!) Here’s my starter list:


Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Priestess: Woman as Sacred Celebrat by Pamela Eakins

Maiden, Mother, Crone by D.J. Conway

Herbal Medicine by Dian Dincin Buchman

Wicca by Scott Cunningham

Living Wicca: A Further Guide by Scott Cunningham

Solitary Witch by Silver Ravenwolf


I’ve also got several books that deal more with matriarch culture, including a number of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s books. Judith Tarr also has a couple of books on my list. And, in addition to all of that, I still want books on tarot, crystals, runes, candles and others that look at women’s ancient history.


Now, I donno about you, but my head is spinning. All of this reading is to help me write my book, but it strikes me that I have to go to the extra effort to find out about women’s history. Women’s history linked with witchcraft, the occult, shamanism, and women’s connection to the earth. All of these things and other related concepts are buried, hidden away and never revealed to us in school or in society. We have to go and see them out.


About Ayslyn'sCorner

I am an eclectic Pagan bordering on atheist who has made her way through a number of different spiritual spaces. You might wonder what a person self-identifying as an atheist has to discuss in a religion/spiritual context – and, well, so do I. That’s one of the things I aim to explore on Ayslyn's Corner. Check out Ayslyn's Corner at http://www.ayslynscorner.wordpress.com Check out Invisible Ink Blog at http://www.whitneycarter.wordpress.com Check out wombs in rebellion at http://wombsinrebellion.wordpress.com/
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