The word kadeisha comes from the Hebrew root-word K-D-Sh, which means ‘sanctified, dedicated and holy’.
Some words derived from the root-word are ‘kiddish’, which is the blessing, often over wine or bread, used to sanctify a holy event or a meal on a holy occasion, ‘kiddushin’, which is the usual word for marriage, meaning a ‘sanctified and dedicate union’, ‘kaddish’, which are prayers offered when a sanctified gathering takes place and specifically offer prayers and thanks to God and ‘kadosh ha-kadoshin’, which means the ‘holy of holies’, the most sanctified part of the temple where the High Priest communicated directly with God.
The word ‘kadeisha’, as a noun, means a holy, sanctified or dedicated person. Like a Satsangi, Sanyassan, Bodhisattva, Yogi, Taoist, Tantrika and many other names, a ‘Kadeisha’ is one who has committed themselves to a particular path of Consciousness. This includes the identity with the path with which the name is connected and it includes the dedication, personal practice, discipline, service and responsibility associated with that path, to the best of the practitioners’ ability.
There is another meaning of the word ‘kadeisha’. This adds another dimension and depends on the viewing point and understanding of the person who uses this name. In addition to the usual meaning of the word, ‘kadeisha’ was also used in the Bible to designate a ‘sacred prostitute’, that is, in a derogatory sense referring to someone dedicated to serve in ways that were considered inappropriate for the dominant religious beliefs in ancient Israel.
Like followers of Dionysus in ancient Greece, Tantrikas in India, Taoists is China, Alchemists, witches and Wicca in Europe and Shamans everywhere, these people were feared, judged and slandered by the prevailing morality of those who ruled those societies and those who did their bidding. One thread common to all of these less conventional lifestyles is a connection with, and respect for, the chthonic, feminine and manifest aspects of Divinity. With this additional interpretation, we prefer to use the more appropriate description of ‘temple priests and priestesses’. But whichever definition is used, we nonetheless have enough humour to bear all the associations connected with our name.