Pagan Paths

Witchcraft Philosophies, Action, Leadership, Humor, Outrage, Awkward Mishaps, Lovable Lessons, and a search for Grace with a clumsy Witch.

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A Letter to the Good People of the World who Tell me to "Delegate."

Dear Friends,

Effective immediately, please stop telling me to delegate.

Thanks so much.



P.s., You probably want to know why. It's not because I think I have to do everything in the community or that I think I can do things better. It's because by the time you told me to "Just delegate!," I'd already spent two weeks begging people to help with Mabon planning and received few responses. In fact, when you all said I should "Just delegate!" you probably recall that I then said, "How about you guys pick up the gourds, someone else get the incense, and if one of you could send me a text to remind me about the park permit--that would really help. One of you had to work, the other person said you're not good with picking out incense, and I figured the third person would forget to text (and I was right...) so I set my alarm and did it, anyway. So, it's not that you're WRONG about my need to delegate. It's just the fact that I already tried.

P.P.S. Okay, I think you meant the Climate March. Yes, it sucked to be sick the whole weekend, but telling me that I "should have delegated more" didn't get me to stop coughing, but it DID increase my risk of throwing myself down a sewer and leaving 100+ Pagans to corral themselves in the 400,000 person crowd. REMEMBER: Science has not linked delegation with the prevention of chest colds. Also, please keep in mind that I organize for a living. Big projects are my thing! I can go through the motions of coordinating without thinking about it PLUS I'm on every friggin' activist list in the Tri-State area so am packed with info. Sometimes, when you're the Grand Central Station of The Current Happening, it just makes it easier on everyone if you do the work, yourself.

Plus, PEC-NYC resources were completely maxed out. Please see below:


Yup. Random PEC-NYC member when I asked for "One more thing..."

P.P.P.S. If you're talking about the last class series I led, here's why I didn't ask for help. The last time I tried to delegate tasks for my class, here's an email I got:

"Yes, I can get the oil supplies. Please let me know exactly what we need, exactly where to find it, subway directions to get there, how much each thing will cost, and if you hear of the subway changing that weekend, please text me that morning. I need to arrange childcare and it would be helpful if I could know exactly how much time to spend. And money. Will I get reimbursed for this? If so, when?" 

When delegating the thing creates more work than doing the thing, guess what? I do the thing.

P.P.P.P.S. I totally agree with you about giving other people the opportunity to hone their skills. I like to delegate ritual leadership for this reason. I get a break, someone else gets a chance, etc. It's awesome. Here's the problem: If it's their first time leading, who gets the phone calls when they get nervous? Who do they want to "sit down with for two hours briefly" to get my opinions on every invocation, evocation, call, and release? Delegating leadership is rarely delegating work. Creating a teaching opportunity is a task in itself. A blessed and rewarding one, but one that creates more work. I delegate things like this when I want to see someone grow and thrive...but not when I'm trying to get work off my plate because that's not going to happen in that instance. 

P.P.P.P.P.S. Okay, the truth is that delegating is just a lot of work. If the job is important enough to be done, the delegator needs to be sure that the delegatee does it. Otherwise, the onus is on the delegator who chose the delegatee in the first place. You can roll the ball up the hill, but you either have to be the one to catch it or be the one who says, "It's okay if this one doesn't get caught." It's good practice to share the load, but in truth, delegation doesn't make things easier for the Delegatee. It simply replaces one task with another.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. I LIKE doing the things! If I didn't like doing the things, I wouldn't do the things. Sure, I may seem stressed sometimes...but it's often focused excitement. Sometimes, the things don't get done--and that's okay. Sometimes, I watch things fall through the cracks and shrug. As a leader and organizer, it's my role to figure out which balls are rubber and which are glass. Some can balls can drop and we all survive. Some balls may drop and the whole thing will fall apart. Trust me in that I know my limits. If I can't do it, I say so. If I'm doing it, it's because I know I can and want to do it.


P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. I just want to make sure you know that I really, really appreciate your concern. But going forward, instead of saying, "DELEGATE!" say, "Can I help?" or "I'm right over here if you need something" or "THIS IS THE MOST INSATIABLY STUPENDOUS EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE! YOUR HARD WORK WAS SUCH A GIFT TO OUR COMMUNITY!!!!!" or just, "Thank you!" but OMG PLEASE DON'T SAY, "YOU SEEM BUSY. YOU SHOULD DELEGATE MORE" AND THEN WALK THE F*CK AWAY.


P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Thanks so much for reading! But please--don't tell me (or any other leader) to "just delegate."Please know that someone in leadership is very much aware of the powers of--and problems with--delegation. Chances are quite good that if something hasn't been delegated, there's a good reason for it. Shouting at a leader to "Just delegate!" is about as effective as shouting at dirty dishes: "Just get clean!" You want clean dishes? Do the dishes. You want a leader to delegate? Step up and offer to help. But if you do, remember the following:

1.) If you offer to help, do the work. Don't hand it back to the leader. Make sure you are truly available for the work before you take it on.

2.) Ask questions only when you're thoroughly stuck. It's not helpful to give away a task only to answer 1,000 questions about how to do it. Often, a leader doesn't know how their own tasks will be completed, they just act based on experience and solid guessing. If they gave you a task, they trust you will be able to figure it out. Go back to them with questions only when all of your own resources are exhausted.

That's the bottom line, caring friends! Sometimes, the leader will say, "I can't delegate this. I'm the one that needs to do it" and they mean it. Otherwise, it might be a reason listed above. Know that your intention is well-received, but Magick practitioners know that intention is not enough. A spell may have a pure intention but without the proper energy, it won't manifest. Your wishes for your leader to delegate are probably just as pure, but your energetic contribution (aka stepping up to help) is better. 

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Seriously, though. Thanks for reading!

Last modified on
Courtney Weber is a Priestess, writer, Tarot Advisor, performer and activist originally from Portland, OR living in New York City. Her writings on Witchcraft have been published in numerous publications, including Spiral Nature and the Huffington Post. She is the author of "Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess" and "Tarot for One: The Art of Reading For Yourself", both through Weiser Books. She is the producer and designer of "Tarot of the Boroughs" a contemporary Tarot deck composed of original photography set in NYC. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and cats.


  • Molly
    Molly Saturday, 10 January 2015

    I am intimately familiar with many of these points! Thanks!

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