Wicca termed Pagan Witchcraft, is a contemporary Pagan new religious movement. It was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and was introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant. Wicca draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan and 20th-century hermetic motifs for its theological structure and ritual practices. Wicca has no central authority figure, its traditional core beliefs and practices were outlined in the 1940s and 1950s by Gardner and Doreen Valiente, both in published books as well as in secret written and oral teachings passed along to their initiates. There are many variations on the core structure, the religion grows and evolves over time, it is divided into a number of diverse lineages and denominations, referred to as traditions, each with its own organisational structure and level of centralisation. Due to its decentralized nature, there is some disagreement over what constitutes Wicca; some traditions, collectively referred to as British Traditional Wicca follow the initiatory lineage of Gardner and consider the term Wicca to apply only to similar traditions, but not to newer, eclectic traditions.
Wicca is duotheistic, worshipping a Goddess and a God. These are traditionally viewed as the Horned God, respectively; these deities may be regarded in a henotheistic way, as having many different divine aspects which can in turn be identified with many diverse pagan deities from different historical pantheons. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as the "Great Goddess" and the "Great Horned God", with the adjective "great" connoting a deity that contains many other deities within their own nature; these two deities are sometimes viewed as facets of a greater pantheistic divinity, regarded as an impersonal force or process rather than a personal deity. While duotheism or bitheism is traditional in Wicca, broader Wiccan beliefs range from polytheism to pantheism or monism to Goddess monotheism. Wiccan celebrations encompass both the cycles of the Moon, known as Esbats and associated with the Goddess, the cycles of the Sun, seasonally based festivals known as Sabbats and associated with the Horned God.
An unattributed statement known as the Wiccan Rede is a popular expression of Wiccan morality, although it is not universally accepted by Wiccans. Wicca involves the ritual practice of magic, though it is not always necessary. Scholars of religious studies classify Wicca as a new religious movement, more as a form of modern Paganism. Cited as the largest, best known, most influential, most extensively academically studied form of Paganism, within the movement it has been identified as sitting on the former end of the eclectic to reconstructionist spectrum. Several academics have categorised Wicca as a form of nature religion, a term, embraced by many of its practitioners. However, given that Wicca incorporates the practice of magic, several scholars have referred to it as a "magico-religion". Wicca is a form of Western esotericism, more a part of the esoteric current known as occultism. Although recognised as a religion by academics, some evangelical Christians have attempted to deny it legal recognition as such, while some Wiccan practitioners themselves eschew the term "religion" – associating the latter purely with organised religion – instead favouring "spirituality" or "way of life".
Although Wicca as a religion is distinct from other forms of contemporary Paganism, there has been much "cross-fertilization" between these different Pagan faiths. The terms wizard and warlock are discouraged in the community. In Wicca, denominations are referred to as traditions, while non-Wiccans are termed cowans; when the religion first came to public attention, it was called "Witchcraft". For instance, Gerald Gardner—the man regarded as the "Father of Wicca"—referred to it as the "Craft of the Wise", "witchcraft", "the witch-cult" during the 1950s. There is no evidence that he called it "Wicca", although he did refer to the collective community of Pagan Witches as "the Wica"; as a name for the religion, "Wicca" developed in Britain during the 1960s. It is not known who invented the term "Wicca" in reference to the religion, although one possibility is that it might have been Gardner's rival Charles Cardell, referring to it as the "Craft of the Wiccens" by 1958; the first recorded use of the word "Wicca" appears in 1962, it had been popularised to the extent that several British practitioners founded a newsletter called The Wiccan in 1968.
Although pronounced differently, the Modern English term "Wicca" is derived from the Old English wicca and wicce, the masculine and feminine term for witch, used in Anglo-Saxon England. By adopting it for modern usage, Wiccans were both symbolically cementing their connection to the ancient, pre-Christian past, adopting a self-designation that would be less controversial than "Witchcraft". In early sources "Wicca" referred to the entirety of the religion rather than specific traditions. In ensuing decades, members of certain traditions – those known as British Traditional Wicca – began claiming that only they should be termed "Wiccan", that other forms of the religion must not use it. From the late 1980s onwards various books propagating Wicca were published that again used the former, broader definition of the word. Thus, by the 1980s, there were two competing de
Judika Illes is an American author of esoteric non-fiction books and tarot reader. She is of Hungarian background and attributes a childhood spent in the culturally diverse Queens borough of New York City as a significant influence on her writing career. Illes explains that her interest in divination began while playing with a Tarot deck at the age of six, her first Tarot deck was the Builders of the Adytum deck, which she described in a 2005 interview as "formidable and esoteric," an unusual starter for a child of her age. In an interview in 2016, Illes reported that she still had the BOTA deck, which her sister had purchased for her from the Samuel Weiser Bookstore in New York City. During her teen years, Illes frequented New York bookstores such as Magickal Childe and Samuel Weiser's, known for their metaphysical and occult collections, Latin botanicas Her love for esoteric books led to her interest in astrology, which began with Zolar's It's All in the Stars, she has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications from Rutgers College and earned a Graduate Certificate in Aromatherapy from the American College of Healthcare Sciences in 1999.
Illes worked as a "telephone psychic" for Psychic Friends Network from 1991 to 1993. She went on to become a prolific author of reference books and contributed magazine articles in the ancient non-traditional arts, her writing interests include folklore, mythology, spellcasting, spirit-working and traditional healing. She covers the subjects of the occult, divination, fairies and the paranormal. A certified aromatherapy consultant, she has taught introductory courses on the subject at the Australasian College, practices taromancy. Although she practices and teaches other forms of divination, she considers Tarot to be her "main practice" and has been reading Tarot cards professionally since the age of 26, she sometimes holds workshops relating to other specialized subjects. In 2012, she gave a workshop on the use of symbols as part of the SIgils & Signs Art Show at Observatory in Brooklyn, she gives similar presentations intermittently throughout the year. The first complete book Illes wrote, it contained a chapter about magic spells, which a publisher asked her to expand into a book of its own published as Pure Magic: A Complete Course in Spellcasting.
The manuscript about fertility was set aside, but in a 2011 interview by The Witches' Almanac, Illes mentioned that she may publish it under the title and Pomegranates. After the release of The Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells, her publisher suggested an encyclopedia about witchcraft. A note of encouragement from the Non-Wiccan Witches Yahoo group persuaded her to accept the challenge, which led to The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft. According to Illes, most encyclopedias about witchcraft were written by outsiders and "not about witches or their craft."Illes has been an occasional guest on George Noory's nightly radio broadcast, Coast to Coast AM, where she has discussed spellcasting and other occult subjects. She has been featured as a guest on Ripley's Radio Oddcast, Fangoria Radio, the Hilly Rose Show, Rob McConnell's "X" Zone radio show, her last name, Illes, is pronounced as you would with the "Ph" omitted from "Phyllis." Judith Illes was used as the byline for some of her Tour Egypt articles, rather than her Hungarian name, Judika.
In an interview with The Witches' Almanac, Illes disclosed that she used "Judith Joyce" as her byline when she wrote The Weiser Field Guide to the Paranormal due to the short period between her other Weiser field guides. The Big Book of Practical Spells: Everyday Magic That Works. Weiser Books. ISBN 978-1578635979. Published by Weiser as Pure Magic: A Complete Course in Spellcasting and Fair Winds Press as Earth Mother Magic: Ancient Spells for Modern Belles. A foreword was added to the 2016 version; the Weiser Book of the Fantastic and Forgotten: Tales of the Supernatural and Bizarre. This collection of stories by other authors was edited with her introduction. Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC. ISBN 978-1-57863-606-8; the Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints & Sages: A Guide to Asking for Protection, Wealth and Everything Else!. Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN 978-0-06-200957-9; the Weiser Field Guide to the Paranormal. Red Wheel/Weiser LLC. ISBN 978-1-57863-488-0; the Weiser Field Guide to Witches: from Hexes to Hermione Granger, From Salem to the Land of Oz.
Weiser Books. ISBN 978-1-57863-479-8; the Encyclopedia of Spirits: the ultimate guide to the magic of fairies, demons, ghosts and goddesses. Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN 978-0-06-135024-5; the Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells. HarperOne. ISBN 978-0-06-171123-7. Published as The Element encyclopedia of 5000 spells: the ultimate reference book for the magical arts. HarperElement. ISBN 0-00-716465-3. Magic When You Need It: 150 Spells You Can't Live Without. Weiser Books. ISBN 1-57863-419-9. Published as Emergency Magic! 150 Spells for Surviving the Worst Case Scenario. Weiser Books; the Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: a complete A-Z of the entire magical world. Harper Element. ISBN 0-00-719293-2; the following articles by Judika Illes were part of her monthly column, Beauty Secrets of the Ancient Egyptians, published during 2000 and 2001 by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism in its on-line magazine, Tour Egypt. Ancient Beauty Secrets: Ancient Facial Secrets (Introducti
Witchcraft or witchery broadly means the practice of and belief in magical skills and abilities exercised by solitary practitioners and groups. Witchcraft is a broad term that varies culturally and societally, thus can be difficult to define with precision, cross-cultural assumptions about the meaning or significance of the term should be applied with caution. Witchcraft occupies a religious divinatory or medicinal role, is present within societies and groups whose cultural framework includes a magical world view; the concept of witchcraft and the belief in its existence have persisted throughout recorded history. They have been present or central at various times and in many diverse forms among cultures and religions worldwide, including both "primitive" and "highly advanced" cultures, continue to have an important role in many cultures today; the predominant concept of witchcraft in the Western world derives from Old Testament laws against witchcraft, entered the mainstream when belief in witchcraft gained Church approval in the Early Modern Period.
It posits a theosophical conflict between good and evil, where witchcraft was evil and associated with the Devil and Devil worship. This culminated in deaths and scapegoating, many years of large scale witch-trials and witch hunts in Protestant Europe, before ceasing during the European Age of Enlightenment. Christian views in the modern day are diverse and cover the gamut of views from intense belief and opposition to non-belief, in some churches approval. From the mid-20th century, witchcraft – sometimes called contemporary witchcraft to distinguish it from older beliefs – became the name of a branch of modern paganism, it is most notably practiced in the Wiccan and modern witchcraft traditions, no longer practices in secrecy. The Western mainstream Christian view is far from the only societal perspective about witchcraft. Many cultures worldwide continue to have widespread practices and cultural beliefs that are loosely translated into English as "witchcraft", although the English translation masks a great diversity in their forms, magical beliefs and place in their societies.
During the Age of Colonialism, many cultures across the globe were exposed to the modern Western world via colonialism accompanied and preceded by intensive Christian missionary activity. Beliefs related to witchcraft and magic in these cultures were at times influenced by the prevailing Western concepts. Witch hunts and killing or shunning of suspected witches still occurs in the modern era, with killings both of victims for their magical body parts, of suspected witchcraft practitioners. Suspicion of modern medicine due to beliefs about illness being due to witchcraft continues in many countries to this day, with tragic healthcare consequences. HIV/AIDS and Ebola virus disease are two examples of often-lethal infectious disease epidemics whose medical care and containment has been hampered by regional beliefs in witchcraft. Other severe medical conditions whose treatment is hampered in this way include tuberculosis, leprosy and the common severe bacterial Buruli ulcer. Public healthcare requires considerable education work related to epidemology and modern health knowledge in many parts of the world where belief in witchcraft prevails, to encourage effective preventive health measures and treatments, to reduce victim blaming and stigmatization, to prevent the killing of people and endangering of animal species for body parts believed to convey magical abilities.
The word witch is of uncertain origin. There are numerous etymologies. One popular belief is that it is "related to the English words wit, wisdom," so "craft of the wise." Another is from the Old English wiccecræft, a compound of "wicce" and "cræft". In anthropological terminology, witches differ from sorcerers in that they don't use physical tools or actions to curse; this definition was pioneered in a study of central African magical beliefs by E. E. Evans-Pritchard, who cautioned that it might not correspond with normal English usage. Historians of European witchcraft have found the anthropological definition difficult to apply to European witchcraft, where witches could use physical techniques, as well as some who had attempted to cause harm by thought alone. European witchcraft is seen by historians and anthropologists as an ideology for explaining misfortune; the witchcraft label has been applied to practices people believe influence the mind, body, or property of others against their will—or practices that the person doing the labeling believes undermine social or religious order.
Some modern commentators believe. The concept of a magic-worker influencing another person's body or property against their will was present in many cultures, as traditions in both folk magic and religious magic have the purpose of countering malicious magic or identifying malicious magic users. Many examples appear in early texts, such as those from ancient Babylonia. Malicious magic users can become a credible cause for disease, sickness in animals, bad luck, sudden death, impo
Satanism and Witchcraft (book)
Satanism and Witchcraft is a book by Jules Michelet on the history of witchcraft, published in French in 1862. The first English translation was published in London in 1863. According to Michelet, medieval witchcraft was an act of popular rebellion against the oppression of feudalism and the Roman Catholic Church; this rebellion took the form of a secret religion inspired by paganism and fairy beliefs, organized by a woman who became its leader. The participants in the secret religion met at the witches' sabbath and the Black Mass. Michelet's account is sympathetic to the sufferings of peasants and women in the Middle Ages. According to Michelet, in a note added to the end of the book: The object of my book was purely to give, not a history of Sorcery, but a simple and impressive formula of the Sorceress's way of life, which my learned predecessors darken by the elaboration of their scientific methods and the excess of detail. My strong point is to start, not from the devil, from an empty conception, but from a living reality, the Sorceress, a warm, breathing reality, rich in results and possibilities.
The first part of the book is an imaginative reconstruction of the experience of a series of witches who led the religion from its original form of social protest into decadence. The second part is a series of episodes in the European witch trials. Today the book is regarded as being inaccurate, but still notable for being one of the first sympathetic histories of witchcraft, as such it may have had an indirect influence on Wicca. In the early 1970s, La Sorcière became the basis for the anime film Kanashimi no Belladonna, by Mushi Production. Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches Dianic Wicca Margaret Murray The full French text The full French text, with internal links and pictures Full text of "La Sorcière: The Witch in the Middle Ages" Same text Illustrations by Martin van Maële from 1911 edition English translation: Satanism and Witchcraft: A Study in Medieval Superstition. Transl. A. R. Allinson. Lyle Stuart/Citadel Press, 1939. La Sorcière de Jules Michelet: l'envers de l'histoire, ed. Paule Petitier.
Paris, Champion, 2004
Herodias was a princess of the Herodian dynasty of Judaea during the time of the Roman Empire. Daughter of Aristobulus IV and his wife Berenice. Full sister to Herod V, Herod Agrippa, Aristobulus Minor, Mariamne III. Herod the Great executed his sons and Aristobulus IV, in 7 B. C. and engaged Herodias to her half-uncle. The marriage was opposed by Antipater II, Herod the Great's eldest son, so Herod demoted Herod II to second in line to the throne. Antipater's execution in 4 B. C. for plotting to poison his father left Herod II as first in line, but his mother's knowledge of the poison plot, failure to stop it, led to his being dropped from this position in Herod I's will just days before he died. The Gospel of Mark states that Herodias was married to Philip, therefore some scholars have argued his name was Herod Philip. Many scholars dispute this and believe it was an error, a theory supported by the fact that the Gospel of Luke drops the name Philip; because he was the grandson of the high priest Simon Boethus he is sometimes described as Herod Boethus, but there is no evidence he was called by that name.
There was one daughter from Salome. Herodias divorced Herod II, although it is unclear when they were divorced. According to the historian Josephus: Herodias took upon her to confound the laws of our country, divorced herself from her husband while he was alive, was married to Herod Antipas Herodias's second husband was Herod Antipas half-brother of Herod II, he is best known today for his role in events that led to the executions of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth. Antipas divorced his first wife Phasaelis, the daughter of King Aretas IV of Nabatea, in favor of Herodias. According to biblical scholars, the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke, it was this proposed marriage which John the Baptist publicly criticized. Besides provoking his conflict with the Baptist, the tetrarch's divorce added a personal grievance to previous disputes with Aretas over territory on the border of Perea and Nabatea; the result was a war. D.. In 39 A. D. Antipas was accused by his nephew Agrippa I of conspiracy against the new Roman emperor Caligula, who sent him into exile in Gaul.
Accompanied there by Herodias, he died at an unknown date. It is uncertain if Herodias had any children by Herod Antipas. In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, Herodias plays a major role in John the Baptist's execution, using her daughter's dance before Antipas and his party guests to ask for the head of the Baptist as a reward. According to the Gospel of Mark, Antipas did not want to put John the Baptist to death, for Antipas liked to listen to John the Baptist preach. Furthermore, Antipas may have feared that if John the Baptist were to be put to death, his followers would riot; the Gospel of Matthew amplifies the role of Herod by omitting these details. Some biblical scholars have questioned whether the Gospels give accurate accounts of John the Baptist's execution. According to the ancient historian Josephus, John the Baptist was put to death by Antipas because he feared the prophet's seditious influence; some exegetes believe that Antipas' struggle with John the Baptist as told in the Gospels was some kind of a remembrance of the political and religious fight opposing the Israelite monarchs Ahab and Jezebel to the prophet Elijah.
In medieval Europe a widespread belief held Herodias to be the supernatural leader of a supposed cult of witches, synonymous with Diana and Abundia. Together with Salome, Herodias was a frequent subject in images of the Power of Women topics in the medieval and Renaissance period; the most common moment shown including Herodias is the Feast of Herod, showing Salome presenting John's severed head on a platter as Herodias dines with her husband and others. Hérodias, story by Gustave Flaubert, one of the Three Tales, published in 1877. Hérodiade, opera by Jules Massenet, based on the story by Gustave Flaubert. Hérodiade, ballet by Paul Hindemith. Hérodiade, oil painting by Aimé Morot. Salomé, play by Oscar Wilde, translated into English by Lord Alfred Douglas, 1895. Salome, opera by Richard Strauss, based on a German translation of the play by Oscar Wilde. Salomé, an opera by French composer Antoine Mariotte, set to a French libretto based on Oscar Wilde's play. Salome: The Wandering Jewess. My First 2,000 Years of Love, by George Sylvester Viereck, 1930.
Salome, song by Irish rock band U2. In Parsifal, the opera by Richard Wagner, the lead female character of Kundry is revealed to be Herodias, in the second act. In the opera she was said to have laughed at Christ when she saw him being crucified and was cursed with immortality, she finds redemption through the actions of Parsifal. List of biblical figures identified in extra-biblical sources Florence Morgan. Herodias: At Home in the Fox's Den. Interfaces. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2003. Meier, John P. A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume Two: Mentor and Miracles. Anchor Bible Reference Library, New York: Doubleday, 1994. Theissen, Gerd; the Shadow of the Galilean: The Quest of the Historical J
Early Middle Ages
Historians regard the Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, as lasting from the 5th or 6th century to the 10th century CE. They marked the start of the Middle Ages of European history; the alternative term "Late Antiquity" emphasizes elements of continuity with the Roman Empire, while "Early Middle Ages" is used to emphasize developments characteristic of the earlier medieval period. As such the concept overlaps with Late Antiquity, following the decline of the Western Roman Empire, precedes the High Middle Ages; the period saw a continuation of trends evident since late classical antiquity, including population decline in urban centres, a decline of trade, a small rise in global warming and increased migration. In the 19th century the Early Middle Ages were labelled the "Dark Ages", a characterization based on the relative scarcity of literary and cultural output from this time. However, the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantine Empire, continued to survive, though in the 7th century the Rashidun Caliphate and the Umayyad Caliphate conquered swathes of Roman territory.
Many of the listed trends reversed in the period. In 800 the title of "Emperor" was revived in Western Europe with Charlemagne, whose Carolingian Empire affected European social structure and history. Europe experienced a return to systematic agriculture in the form of the feudal system, which adopted such innovations as three-field planting and the heavy plough. Barbarian migration stabilized in much of Europe, although the Viking expansion affected Northern Europe. Starting in the 2nd century, various indicators of Roman civilization began to decline, including urbanization, seaborne commerce, population. Archaeologists have identified only 40 per cent as many Mediterranean shipwrecks from the 3rd century as from the first. Estimates of the population of the Roman Empire during the period from 150 to 400 suggest a fall from 65 million to 50 million, a decline of more than 20 per cent; some scholars have connected this de-population to the Dark Ages Cold Period, when a decrease in global temperatures impaired agricultural yields.
Early in the 3rd century Germanic peoples migrated south from Scandinavia and reached the Black Sea, creating formidable confederations which opposed the local Sarmatians. In Dacia and on the steppes north of the Black Sea the Goths, a Germanic people, established at least two kingdoms: Therving and Greuthung; the arrival of the Huns in 372–375 ended the history of these kingdoms. The Huns, a confederation of central Asian tribes, founded an empire, they had mastered the difficult art of shooting composite recurve bows from horseback. The Goths sought refuge in Roman territory; however many bribed the Danube border-guards into allowing them to bring their weapons. The discipline and organization of a Roman legion made it a superb fighting unit; the Romans preferred infantry to cavalry because infantry could be trained to retain the formation in combat, while cavalry tended to scatter when faced with opposition. While a barbarian army could be raised and inspired by the promise of plunder, the legions required a central government and taxation to pay for salaries, constant training and food.
The decline in agricultural and economic activity reduced the empire's taxable income and thus its ability to maintain a professional army to defend itself from external threats. In the Gothic War, the Goths revolted and confronted the main Roman army in the Battle of Adrianople. By this time, the distinction in the Roman army between Roman regulars and barbarian auxiliaries had broken down, the Roman army comprised barbarians and soldiers recruited for a single campaign; the general decline in discipline led to the use of smaller shields and lighter weaponry. Not wanting to share the glory, Eastern Emperor Valens ordered an attack on the Therving infantry under Fritigern without waiting for Western Emperor Gratian, on the way with reinforcements. While the Romans were engaged, the Greuthung cavalry arrived. Only one-third of the Roman army managed to escape; this represented the most shattering defeat that the Romans had suffered since the Battle of Cannae, according to the Roman military writer Ammianus Marcellinus.
The core army of the Eastern Roman Empire was destroyed, Valens was killed, the Goths were freed to lay waste to the Balkans, including the armories along the Danube. As Edward Gibbon comments, "The Romans, who so coolly and so concisely mention the acts of justice which were exercised by the legions, reserve their compassion and their eloquence for their own sufferings, when the provinces were invaded and desolated by the arms of the successful Barbarians."The empire lacked the resources, the will, to reconstruct the professional mobile army destroyed at Adrianople, so it had to rely on barbarian armies to fight for it. The Eastern Roman Empire succeeded in buying off the Goths with tribute; the Western Roman Empire proved less fortunate. Stilicho, the western empire's half-Vandal military commander, stripped the Rhine frontier of troops to fend off invasions of Italy by the Visigoths in 402–03 and by other Goths in 406–07. Fleeing before the advance of the Huns, the Vandals and Alans launched an attack across the frozen Rhine near Mainz.
There soon followed the bands of the Alamanni. In the fit of anti-barbarian hysteria which followed, the Western Roman Emperor Honorius had Stilicho summarily beheaded. Stilicho submitted his neck, "with a firmness not unworthy of t
A priest or priestess is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They have the authority or power to administer religious rites, their office or position is the priesthood, a term which may apply to such persons collectively. According to the trifunctional hypothesis of prehistoric Proto-Indo-European society, priests have existed since the earliest of times and in the simplest societies, most as a result of agricultural surplus and consequent social stratification; the necessity to read sacred texts and keep temple or church records helped foster literacy in many early societies. Priests exist in many religions today, such as all or some branches of Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism, they are regarded as having privileged contact with the deity or deities of the religion to which they subscribe interpreting the meaning of events and performing the rituals of the religion. There is no common definition of the duties of priesthood between faiths.
These include blessing worshipers with prayers of joy at marriages, after a birth, at consecrations, teaching the wisdom and dogma of the faith at any regular worship service, mediating and easing the experience of grief and death at funerals – maintaining a spiritual connection to the afterlife in faiths where such a concept exists. Administering religious building grounds and office affairs and papers, including any religious library or collection of sacred texts, is commonly a responsibility – for example, the modern term for clerical duties in a secular office refers to the duties of a cleric; the question of which religions have a "priest" depends on how the titles of leaders are used or translated into English. In some cases, leaders are more like those that other believers will turn to for advice on spiritual matters, less of a "person authorized to perform the sacred rituals." For example, clergy in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are priests, but in Protestant Christianity they are minister and pastor.
The terms priest and priestess are sufficiently generic that they may be used in an anthropological sense to describe the religious mediators of an unknown or otherwise unspecified religion. In many religions, being a priest or priestess is a full-time position, ruling out any other career. Many Christian priests and pastors choose or are mandated to dedicate themselves to their churches and receive their living directly from their churches. In other cases it is a part-time role. For example, in the early history of Iceland the chieftains were titled goði, a word meaning "priest"; as seen in the saga of Hrafnkell Freysgoði, being a priest consisted of offering periodic sacrifices to the Norse gods and goddesses. In some religions, being a priest or priestess is by human election or human choice. In Judaism the priesthood is inherited in familial lines. In a theocracy, a society is governed by its priesthood; the word "priest", is derived from Greek via Latin presbyter, the term for "elder" elders of Jewish or Christian communities in late antiquity.
The Latin presbyter represents Greek πρεσβύτερος presbúteros, the regular Latin word for "priest" being sacerdos, corresponding to ἱερεύς hiereús. It is possible that the Latin word was loaned into Old English, only from Old English reached other Germanic languages via the Anglo-Saxon mission to the continent, giving Old Icelandic prestr, Old Swedish präster, Old High German priast. Old High German has the disyllabic priester, priestar derived from Latin independently via Old French presbtre. Αn alternative theory makes priest cognate with Old High German priast, from Vulgar Latin *prevost "one put over others", from Latin praepositus "person placed in charge". That English should have only the single term priest to translate presbyter and sacerdos came to be seen as a problem in English Bible translations; the presbyter is the minister who both presides and instructs a Christian congregation, while the sacerdos, offerer of sacrifices, or in a Christian context the eucharist, performs "mediatorial offices between God and man".
The feminine English noun, was coined in the 17th century, to refer to female priests of the pre-Christian religions of classical antiquity. In the 20th century, the word was used in controversies surrounding the women ordained in the Anglican communion, who are referred to as "priests", irrespective of gender, the term priestess is considered archaic in Christianity. In historical polytheism, a priest administers the sacrifice to a deity in elaborate ritual. In the Ancient Near East, the priesthood acted on behalf of the deities in managing their property. Priestesses in antiquity performed sacred prostitution, in Ancient Greece, some priestesses such as Pythia, priestess at Delphi, acted as oracles. Sumerian en were top-ranking priestesses who were distinguished with special ceremonial attire and held equal status to high priests, they owned property, transacted business, initiated the hieros gamos with priests and kings. Enheduanna was the first known holder of the title en. Nadītu served as priestesses in the temples of Inanna in the city of Uruk.
They were recruited from the highest families in the land and were supposed to remain childless, own