Becoming a Priestess

The Role of the Priestess

A priestess is often the mediator between the divine and the human, offering guidance, healing, and wisdom to those in need. She embodies the divine feminine energy, nurturing and empowering those around her.

While the role of ‘priestess’ has evolved over time, the core functions remain the same. Priestesses are healers, who channel divine energy to heal the physical body. They’re guides, offering wisdom and counsel. They can be warriors, standing up for justice and protecting the vulnerable. They’re the ‘mothers’ of society, whether they have their own children, or no children at all.

The Ancient Priestesses

In ancient societies, priestesses played a crucial role in the social community fabric. These women were mediators between the people and the divine, and conducted rituals, initiations and ceremonies. 

One of the most famous is the Oracle of Delphi in ancient Greece. The priestess of Delphi, known as the Pythia, would enter a trance-like state and speak prophetic words inspired by the god Apollo. People from all over Greece come to the Pythia for matters of war, politics, or personal issues. She was highly influential, and could change the course of a nation.

In Mesopotamia,  Enheduanna (2285 to 2250 B.C.) was one of the most powerful priestesses in ancient Sumer and Akkad. As the High Priestess of the goddess Inanna, she’s also the first named author in human history! Enheduanna’s hymns and songs to the goddess Inanna set the structure and standard for the next two thousand years. Psalms, poetry and prayers are all modelled on her output. 

“Lady of all powers,

In whom light appears,

Radiant one

Beloved of Heaven and Earth,


Priestess of the Highest God,

My Lady, you are the guardian

Of all greatness.

Your hand holds the seven powers:

You lift the powers of being,

You have hung them over your finger,

You have gathered the many powers,

You have clasped them now

Like necklaces onto your breast.”

Excerpt from ‘The Hymn to Inanna’, by High Priestess Enheduanna

Translated by Jane Hirschfield

Priestesses named the ‘Wives of Amun’ held huge authority in ancient Egyptian societies. These women were considered the earthly wives of the god Amun, and performed sacred rituals and mysteries in his honour. The Wives of Amun had considerable influence and were seen as embodiments of divine power and wisdom. Additionally, the High Priestesses of Hathor (the cow goddess of love, music, motherhood, and fertility) were responsible for maintaining her cult and temples. Known for their musical and dancing abilities, they would channel the goddess and act as her intermediary.

The Wives of Amun performed sacred rituals and mysteries.
An ancient Egyptian stone carving of a priestess presenting wheat to the gods. Found in the interior of the Temple of Horus, at Edfu in Egypt.

In the Celtic landscape, the priestess of Brigid would tend to a sacred flame at Kildare in Ireland. It’s believed nineteen priestesses would keep the flame alight for nineteen days – one priestess responsible for one day – and on the twentieth day, they welcomed the goddess Brigid, who then tended the flame herself. These priestesses would heal communities, act as midwives or nurses, and ensure Brigid was being honoured in the right way. Brigid’s blessing meant the protection of herds, the harvest, women, and children.

The priestesses of ancient societies were essential for maintaining spiritual and social cohesion. Holding the connection between the mortal world and the divine realm, ensured safety and prosperity. 

Embodying the Priestess

Today, some people become priestesses through tiered systems (such as the Wiccan High Priestesses), while others can be directly initiated by the Goddess (like me, as a priestess of Isis!)

The core qualities of intuition, compassion, dedication, and wisdom can be nurtured in anyone. How you choose to use these qualities, and bring them to the world, is what really drives your priestess-hood.

Being of service: The notion of ‘serving the community’ is a fundamental part of humanity. Charities, support, protection of the young and elderly, healing, guidance, and mentorship – it all falls under service.

A priestess serves the Goddess, first and foremost. In a modern setting, they do this by understanding their ‘Great Work’ (that is, what the Goddess has shown they need to be doing) and then administering this work to those who need it. This could be in a civic setting (like local politics, activism, or volunteering), physical or mental healthcare (like midwifery, nursing, or counselling), or in the spiritual space (like psychic development or reading, or leading a group, coven, or circle).

As a Priestess, you can serve the divine by serving the community.

Showing up in your world: Cultivate a strong connection with nature and the elements. Spending time in nature, meditating under the moon, and honouring the cycles of the seasons can help you attune to divine and earthly rhythms.

Regularly grounding yourself in nature is the simplest way to tap into the ancient wisdom flowing through all living things.

Continuous learning & experiences: This is all about self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Explore your own inner landscape. Face your fears and shadows. Embrace your strengths and gifts. By understanding who you are (the ‘good’, the ‘bad’, the ‘ugly’!), you show up as a genuine vessel for healing and transformation.

Think of it this way – you can’t drive safely if your windscreen is cloudy or dirty, right? It’s the same with channelling the divine. You simply cannot authentically do so, if your own ‘stuff’ is in the way of the message. It will filter through your biases and trauma, and ultimately serve no one. Being proactive with your self-development (through therapy, shadow work, etc) is integral to being an effective dedicant to the Goddess.

By doing the inner work, you’ll serve as a true beacon of light.

And through that service, you’ll become a true Priestess.


Leela is the founder of High Priestess, a third-generation psychic, and a life-long student of goddesses and female divinity.