Service has been part of a priestess or priest’s job description as far back as we know. In one sense “one who serves” is the very definition of a priestess or priest; it is certainly true of the word “minister.” To minister is to serve. Generally, that service goes two ways: to the Divine and to the greater circle of worshippers.
For people in mainstream religions that have very prescribed ways to serve, things are—in at least this way—easier. For example, if you are a Catholic priest (you can’t be a Catholic priestess), you would have a very clear idea of what it meant in your particular religion to “serve God.” You would have gone through specific training meant to teach you precisely this.
In an alternative form of spirituality such as we are practicing, things are less clear. This means that this path, if truly and deeply followed, is, in some ways, more difficult than more mainstream religions because one has to blaze their own path. It also requires a significant degree of perseverence and self-honesty to be able to make the important decisions that one has to make when blazing a personal path.
To take this alternative path, we need perseverence because we will not always know which branch of the path to take…or it will be dark…or it will even be boring. We need self-honesty because we often walk this path alone. And walking alone, with no one to consult, we can sometimes take a wrong turn. We can delude ourselves into not seeing things about ourselves that we should be seeing.
On the other hand, this path can be extremely rewarding precisely because it is difficult. Whereas there tend to be established answers to the great questions that have been formulated in mainstream religions, we must find our own answers—fresh and new every time. What happens after death? What does it mean to serve Isis? Why is there evil in the world? What is the nature of reality? What is the nature of humanity? What is the nature of the Divine?
All these are important questions that spiritual people have tried to answer from the beginning of time, and for which we still seek answers today. It is worth our time, as lovers of Isis, to seek our own answers to these Big Questions.
Now, some will say that service means to do the Goddess’ will on Earth. And that’s a valuable insight. But how do you know if you’re doing Her will? Is it as simple as listening to your inner voice? Perhaps. But how do you know you’re hearing correctly and not coloring it with your own personal psychology? I can tell you for a fact, it will ALWAYS be colored by your own personal psychology. Which brings us back to that self-honesty thing.
How do you get around yourself? Discovering how to do that is part of the work a priestess or priest of Isis. For some, it may be the key part. So I’m going to come back and talk about this some more when I come to the topic of personal spiritual development.
What about the other kind of service—service to the greater circle of worshippers?
You’ll find a wide variety of priest/essly expressions in this area. Some priestesses are always available to help those in their circle, whether with spiritual or personal problems. Some take the responsibility of organizing a circle and keeping it running as their service, but don’t expect to be called on the solve personal problems. Some teach. Some don’t.
Again, it is a personal decision as to how a priestess or priest of Isis intends to serve. Yet I do think that a priestess or priest of Isis should do some service of this type. By serving other people in these ways, we acknowledge the value of other people. We acknowledge their worth. By serving people, you learn this in an intimate, personal way.
The same is true of service to others who are NOT a part of your circle; humanity as a whole. Many religions—most religions, actually—place value on helping those in need. Feeding the hungry. Clothing the cold. Sheltering those without shelter.
This sort of service is appropriate for the priestess or priest of Isis as well. Caring in this way makes one aware of other people and their needs and problems. It encourages our compassion and discourages our ego-centeredness. At the very least a priestess or priest of Isis should give money to charity—anonymously, if possible. Do other good deeds. Help people. And be aware of doing whatever it is you are doing in the spirit of service—with an open, compassionate heart. In this, we do our best to imitate the compassion of Isis Herself when She healed the child stung by the scorpions or withdrew the spear from Set even as He threatened Horus.
Ultimately, serving others makes this world a better place. Acts of kindness make things better one person at a time. Spread kindness and you will serve Isis.