Pagan Paths

Witchcraft Philosophies, Action, Leadership, Humor, Outrage, Awkward Mishaps, Lovable Lessons, and a search for Grace with a clumsy Witch.

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When it's time to step aside....

b2ap3_thumbnail_Glinda-wait.jpgI have a big announcement. 

I am stepping down as High Priestess of my Coven.

It’s happening out of love. It’s happening with love.

It may be a surprise to a number of people in my community and maybe even readers of this blog, but here is the dramatic reason:

I’m tired.

 For the last nine years, the Coven has been one of my top priorities. When I say top, I mean TIP-TOP. Running my Coven was holding a firm place up there with my family and relationship. I was more concerned about the future of my Coven than that of my own career. I was certainly more concerned with it that I was with my own health, personal pursuits, etc. 

These have been nine years well spent.

b2ap3_thumbnail_happy-witch.gifI loved every minute of it—even when I cried and wondered why I started this thing in the first place. I heard a phrase recently which makes a lot of sense to me: Retroactive Fun: Something that is difficult or crappy in the moment brings you much joy in retrospect. Hauling dozens of pounds of ritual supplies on the subway, sending out hundreds of carefully detailed emails, pouring over Occult books and consulting Elders for the right way to teach the best kind of was hard and frustrating while I was in it. But I look back now as some of the best times of my adult life. 

I adored the Magick my Coven created, the discoveries we made, the rituals we provided for the community, the road trips we took, the struggles we worked through, the care we gave to one another and to the people of our beautifully complex Tri-State community.


For years, all I needed was this love. It drove me. Before I even got home from one Sabbat or Coven meeting, my mental and spiritual engine was churning out plans and ideas for the next one.

 Others warned me. My internal voice even warned me. I was overextending myself and I was getting worn out.

b2ap3_thumbnail_WonderWoman.jpgWhen you first reach burnout, you deny it. At least, I did. Maybe I denied it because I still loved the work. Maybe I didn’t want to admit that I had personal limits. So much of what I was known for was the sheer amount of work I was able to do within the community. Even more terrifying, who would I be without my High Priestess role? Was there any Courtney left without the crown?  

But like a leak in the ceiling, it can be ignored for only so long before it comes crashing down. It was in a simple Coven meeting, one of our smaller gatherings, and I was trying to set up a computer for distant Covener to Skype-in. The internet was weak and we struggled to connect. I got unusually frustrated and stepped away. I focused on setting up the space, carrying an old chair in for another seat. The cushion slipped and landed on the hosts’ cat, who cried out and ran away, which made the rest of the Coven cry out. The cat wasn’t harmed, but I unraveled. I left the chair where it was and locked myself in the bathroom, crying as I sat on the toilet lid. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_melting.jpg“I can’t do this anymore,” I caught myself saying aloud.

Such a simple comedy of errors would have made me laugh even six months before. But at that moment, I realized I’d solved every problem that it was possible for me to solve. I felt no Magick. I felt no love for my role. I loved the people waiting for me, absolutely, but I wanted to simply be with them. I didn’t want to lead.

I shared my feelings with my Coven. They kindly understood. A few took on some of my roles. But I didn’t even have the energy to hold a modified version of my previous role. I was simply burned out.

Telling them I was leaving was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. We cried. We laughed. They thanked me. I thanked them. One of my greatest fears was that I was letting them down. They told me that I wasn't. They let me know it was okay to do what I needed to do, for me.


I have a whole list of things I know I did wrong in my leadership. I also know there are a number of things I did right.

That’s enough for another whole blog, which I’ll certainly write. In the meantime, I’m focusing on transition my Coven into their new iteration, whatever that may be.   

If there is anything I can share that I’ve learned from this, it’s that it’s not only okay to say, “I’m done,” it’s necessary. My Coveners deserve a leader who can focus, with their whole heart, on creating Magickal space for them to practice and develop. I owed it to them to recognize when that person was no longer me.


Onward to the next chapter…

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Courtney Weber is a Priestess, writer, Tarot Advisor, performer and activist originally from Portland, OR living in New York City. Her writings on Witchcraft have been published in numerous publications, including Spiral Nature and the Huffington Post. She is the author of "Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess" and "Tarot for One: The Art of Reading For Yourself", both through Weiser Books. She is the producer and designer of "Tarot of the Boroughs" a contemporary Tarot deck composed of original photography set in NYC. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and cats.


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