One of my peeves upon meeting new people in pagan circles is having to hear their pedigree. This generally includes them listing off their rank and title in a coven, with adding they are also ordained. It is as if they need to validate themselves to me. (or somehow I’m supposed to be impressed by this)
For starters, whatever degree you earned in your coven doesn’t mean squat outside of your circle. No one but your coven understands what you’ve learned and earned for that title. All a degree tells me is that you’ve taken some effort in your religious education, but tells me nothing of what that education entails.
But I think the real point here is why does anyone need the titles and degrees to prove themselves as a pagan or witch? Isn’t religion the relationship between yourself and the Divine? Does titles and degrees imply you’re something more than someone else? Does a certificate indicate you’re a valid witch/pagan/priest/ess?
I’ve met plenty of full fledged priestesses that had no idea what they were doing or how to deal with a group of pagans. They claim to have been ‘on the path’ for years, yet have to read a typed/written script when casting circle. Worse yet, is when they cannot get along with others, that they obviously tangle with an inflated ego.
A priest or priestess is not someone powerful, but someone empowered. Their role is that of teacher, guide, and parent, not to control or tell you how to conduct yourself. The role also involves the gentle nudge or kind word to help you find your own way. They also are acknowledged by their coven, or taken upon themselves to walk a path of service to the pagan community.
Does a priest or priestess need ordination to gain that role? Not necessarily a formal ordination. Even if they did feel this is required, getting ordained takes all of five minutes online.
“A witch makes a witch” is a philosophy some covens uphold. I don’t agree. Who made the first witch? Is it religion if you need someone else to bring you into the fold? Such philosophy hints more a cult than one of faith. For me, its between you and gods and that is all. Self dedication can often be as valid if not more valid than a coven initiation depending on the circumstances. What lies in the heart of the dedicate/initiate is the true test of sincerity.
In conclusion, I find that its more important how you conduct yourself in life than what you’ve earned in titles.