The Importance of the Priestly Class
Everything is overflowing with Gods.
Civilizations and human culture require curators (disciples, guardians) to keep tradition alive. Those who practice what we must call cultural husbandry, like a gardener caring for a unique plant, watering and providing light specific to its needs, or a librarian who dusts and airs his ancient leather-bound tomes, mindful of the past and the future. Those curators, keepers of the flame of a people, are the priestly class. It is they who provide a culture with its sense of greatness; they maintain the faith, and the ancestral hero-worship which guides the moral virtues over generations. These morals may evolve, in certain limited ways, as long as they do not let the flame flicker out. They tend it dearly through extremes of hardship: war, famine, plague, and even civilizational collapse, if fate permits.
This priesthood require the reverence and material support of the organic culture they represent, with a status second only to the monarchs. Even while their mysteries are guarded and little understood, even outwardly irrational. The rulers must maintain a special role for this class, as keepers of the sacred flame, guardians of the genealogical soul. They are more valuable than the highest city walls, or wealthiest economy.
Quite simply, without this protected class, the people themselves will falter and die, or be absorbed by a stronger flame. When they cease cultivating a reciprocal relationship with the hidden world, the hidden world forgets them in return. This mysterious relationship is the remit of the priests and their sacred rites, which interprets the metaphysical designs of this unseen world from ancient texts, and ancient prophets, and ancient philosophers. It is only they who can create from clay a race of mystics, heroes, philosophers, scientists, and artists, That clay is theirs to shape. The edicts and orders of the divine must be kept and interpreted by them, as the very source of the culture which bore them, and the will of the divine mystery upon the earth.
While the priests maintain upmost reverence for myth, they should paradoxically not be beholden to scriptural dogmatism, as the specifics of ancient mythology can embody only fragments of the truth. True wisdom of the gods is experiential. Thus true religion is action-based.
We are in desperate need of a return of a priestly class, which we ourselves have foolishly deemed to discard. With a return to religious rites, pilgrimages, fasting, prayers, poetry, dances, festivals. meditation, monasteries, temple & altar building, a structured re-sacralization of the world will become a reality. For those who take up this fire, their soul shall be reunited with the gods, and The One above all, and the eternal within. And the weakening and deadening forces upon this earth will not be able to demoralize or restrain them.
When the people ignite this fire, and grant authority to their new priestly class, they will become re-enchanted with the unseen forces. And the sickle of the golden harvest will rise over flaxen fields.