Pagan Pastoral Care Resources

This list of resources for pagan pastoral care grew out of a request on the OBOD East Coast Gathering Facebook group, where a member was looking for Pagan information that could be provided for use in a hospital pastoral care department’s website. I thought this was something that others could use, and expanded the scope to include sections on death and dying, training, etc. The list includes information provided in that original discussion, from the Wild Hunt, from my own searches, and from resources I already knew about.

I’m hoping this list will engender more resources for pagans and their pastoral needs. If you have more resources to add, please contact me.

About Paganism

BBC Religions – Paganism page

The Pagan Federation International – What is Paganism?

Circle Sanctuary Guide to Nature Spirituality Terms

What is Contemporary Paganism?, Cherry Hill Seminary (pamphlet in PDF format)


Prayers

Celtic Devotional: Daily Prayers and Blessings by Caitlin Matthews (1998). Drawing on the influence of early Celtic times, this text combines traditional blessings with specially written prayers and meditations.

A Pagan Testament: The Literary Heritage of the World’s Oldest New Religion by Brendan Myers (2008).

A Book of Pagan Prayer by Ceisiwr Serith (2002). A Book of Pagan Prayer provides the pagan community a comprehensive and thoughtful selection of prayers – and shows readers how they too can create their own.

Pagan Ritual Prayer Book, A by Ceisiwr Serith (2011). The author (an organizer of an ADF Druid grove) provides a work that is suitable for all pagans: Druids, Wiccans, solitaries, Greek & Norse Reconstructionists, Mystery Cult Reconstructionists, and more, offering petitions or invocations to invoke, embrace, and honor the major events that make up our lives.


Death and dying

The Journey Into Spirit: A Pagan’s Perspective on Death, Dying & Bereavement by Kristoffer Hughes (2014). Druid Kristoffer Hughes explores the three realms of existence—the realm of necessity, the realm of spirit, and the realm of infinity—and illuminates the essence of grief, mourning, and spiritual continuation.

Druid Coffee Talk podcast- Special Samhain edition recorded from the 2014 OBOD East Coast Gathering featuring Kristoffer Hughes on his new book “The Journey Into Spirit: A Pagan’s Perspective on Death, Dying & Bereavement“. (Mr. Hughes is head of the Anglesey Druid Order.)

The Pagan Book of Living and Dying: Practical Rituals, Prayers, Blessings, and Meditations on Crossing Over by Starhawk and M. Macha NightMare (1997). This book is a spiritual resource for assisting and comforting the dying, those grieving, and advice on facing one’s own passage.

Celtic Book of Dying: Watching with the Dying, Travelling with the Dead by Phyllida Anam-Aire, Findhorn Press (2005).

List of Death Deities– Wikipedia. Certainly not comprehensive (where is the Morrigan, for instance), but it is a place to start if one wants to research them.

The Polytheist Death Guild – they are working to create resources for death preparedness, funeral planning, and funerary and mourning rituals for various traditions of polytheism.


Finding local clergy or celebrants

Search for clergy on Witchvox (you can search for your state in the left column, and then for clergy).

You can contact local Pagan groups and see if they have anyone with these skills. Pagan orders or organizations can be contacted, but they might not give out or have information on members that serve as clergy. Below are some public lists of  clergy and celebrants. (Note: there are varying degrees of training, or training within that order, for these individuals.)

Druid

ADF clergy list, OBOD celebrants list (all countries, scroll to find US, etc).

Pagan

Circle Sanctuary public ministers roster (US).

 


Pastoral or other counseling for Pagans

The Pagan Clergy’s Guide for Counseling, Crisis Intervention and Otherworld Transitions by Kevin Gardner (2012). The book deals primarily with pastoral counseling techniques in situations most commonly encountered by Ministers, Priests and Priestesses of the Pagan paths. Mr. Gardner also has written “A Handbook for Wiccan Clergy” and “The Wiccan Minister’s Manual”.

Spiritual Guidance Across Religions: A Sourcebook for Spiritual Directors and Other Professionals Providing Counsel to People of Differing Faith Traditions by John R. Mabry (2014). Contains a chapter on Neo-Paganism.

Spiritual Mentoring: A Pagan Guide by Judy Harrow (2002). This guide shows the Pagan community how to use spiritual mentoring to assist others in deepening and sustaining their contact with the holy.

Paganism & Hospitals training slide show for hospital chaplains, by Michael Reeder (2004).

Emergency Resources (for students) from Cherry Hill Seminary (a Pagan and Nature-Based spiritualities seminary). Includes resources for – Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence, Child and Elder Abuse and Neglect, Mental Health, Trauma and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Suicide, Substance abuse, and Managing Sex Offenders in the Community.

Pagan Prisoners Advocate’s Guide by Dixie Deerman. This eBook details a Wiccan clergywoman’s two decades’ experience advocating for incarcerated & institutionalized Pagans.


Professional counseling

Pagan Therapy and Counseling for a Pagan World. Counseling Pagan clients, Pagan spiritual counseling techniques, and being a Pagan therapist.

When Goddess is God: Pagans recovery, and Alcoholics Anonymous by Selena Fox (1995), 60 page thesis. It is the first work to enter professional mental health treatment literature that focuses on Pagans mental health treatment considerations.

Pagans in Recovery Resource Packet by Selena Fox (1995). Includes a list of selected references, her suggestions for counselors and other professionals working with Pagans in recovery, her Pagan versions of the Twelve Steps, and a list of Pagan-oriented recovery resources.


Pastoral care educational & training programs

Master of Arts – Pastoral Counseling & Master of Divinity – Pastoral Counseling degrees from Cherry Hill Seminary (Columbia, SC), which provides education and training in Pagan and Nature-Based spiritualities.

Pagan pastoral counseling training at Circle Sanctuary. Training is offered each year during the Pagan Leadership Institute, held during Pagan Spirit Gathering, Circle Sanctuary’s week-long national/global Summer Solstice gathering held near Chicago, IL.


General Resources

 
Past religious trauma

Religious Trauma Syndrome- Journey Free, Recovery from Harmful Religion (Marlene Winell)- the condition experienced by people who are struggling with leaving an authoritarian, dogmatic religion and coping with the damage of indoctrination. It can be compared to a combination of PTSD and Complex PTSD . Includes links to a series of three articles which were published in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Today. They also provide an online support group and a list of resources for specific religions.

Leaving the Fold – A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving their Religion, by Marlene Winell (2006)


PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder– NIH

National Center for PTSD– US Department of Veterans Affairs, and their Understanding PTSD and PTSD Treatment guide (download link).


Crisis Information

If you know someone who has thoughts of suicide in the United States, these options are available:

  • Dial: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
  • Dial: 911
  • Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
  • Call your local crisis agency.
  • Tell someone who can help you find help immediately.
  • Stay away from things that might hurt you.

US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline– 1-800-273-8255, for deaf and hard of hearing- 1-800-799-4889, for Spanish – 1-888-628-9454. Includes specific information for youth, disaster survivors, loss survivors, attempt survivors, veterans, LGBTQ, and Native Americans. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

Canada- Suicide Prevention and Support– Crisis Services Canada. CALL TOLL FREE – 1.833.456.4566. Available 24/7. Text 45645, available daily 4pm-12am ET.

Mexico Suicide Hotline (from this source): 5255102550


Pastoral care books

The Practice of Pastoral Care: A Postmodern Approach
– February 16, 2006 by Carrie Doehring

An Introduction to Pastoral Care September 1, 1997 by Charles V. Gerkin

Professional Spiritual and Pastoral Care: A Practical Clergy and Chaplain’s Handbook – November 1, 2001 by Stephen B. Roberts

Pastoral Care in the Small Membership Church (Ministry in the Small Membership Church) – May 1, 2005 by James L. Jr. Killen

Pastoral Care Emergencies (Creative Pastoral Care and Counseling) – March 1, 2000, by David K. Switzer

Pastoral Care in Hospitals: Second Edition
October 1, 2005 by Neville A. Kirkwood

Publication Date & Revisions

Published on: Oct 23, 2014

Revisions:

October 24, 2014- added an education/training section, and other resources.
October 28, 2014- added podcast link, and death gods link.
October 29, 2014 – added non-Pagan pastoral care books.
Nov. 2, 2014 – added finding Pagan clergy section.
Nov. 14, 2014 – added book titles to counseling for Pagans section.
March 25, 2015- added Pagan prisoner eBook to Pastoral Counseling section.
September 24, 2019- added Past religious trauma, PTSD, and Crisis Information sections.

6 Comments

  1. You might also want to note that Cherry Hill Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, offers a program leading to a Masters of Divinity in Pagan Pastoral Counseling, mostly by distance learning.

  2. I have Kevin Gardner’s book, The Pagan Clergy’s Guide for Counseling, Crisis Intervention and Otherworld Transitions . It is a great resource to have on hand when dealing with those in crisis. I have used it. Kevin Gardner also has two other great resources for Pagan Clergy: “A Handbook for Wiccan Clergy” and “The Wiccan Minister’s Manual” that I also highly recommend as invaluable resources for ministry work.

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