There are a lot of changes and additions to gear in patch 2.3. One of the largest changes is to the old-world rare/epic gear. Many of cloth pieces are having little-used stats removed (resistances, agility, etc.) and more useful stats added. However, a number of them are also having spirit reduced for the addition of spell dmg or spell crit.
- Embalmed Shroud (SM-Graveyard) losing 12 spirit for 14 dmg
- Illusionary Rod (SM-Library) losing 10 spirit for 10 spell crit
- Grimlok’s Tribal Vestments (Uldaman) losing 6 spirit for 15 dmg
- Glowing Eye of Mordresh (RFD) losing 11 spirit (and 5 intellect) for 11 spell crit and 6 dmg
- Embrace of the Wind Serpent (Sunken Temple) losing 18 spirit (and 12 nature resist) for 35 dmg
- Dragon’s Eye (Sunken Temple) losing 5 spirit for 12 dmg
- Featherskin Cape (Sunken Temple) losing 15 spirit for 18 dmg
- Gloves of the Atal’ai Prophet (Sunken Temple) losing 15 Spirit (and 5 strength) for 23 dmg
- Vestments of the Atal’ai Prophet (Sunken Temple) losing 11 spirit for 18 spell crit
- Kindling Staff (BRD) losing 3 spirit (and 10 fire resist) for 14 spell crit and 15 spell dmg
So the big question is, does the added spell damage (or spell crit) off-set the loss in spirit?
Simple answer: yes.
More damage -> less spell casts -> more efficient -> better longevity
And: More damage -> kill mobs quicker -> you level quicker
Keep in mind that many priests level as shadow, so they may not be picking up meditation until they are already in the Outlands. Spirit is not nearly as valuable to them as spell damage is, even given Spirit Tap. Also, with the changes in patch 2.3, those priests who do pick up Meditation while leveling will be getting TWICE the regen from it as before. It really is a matter of the bigger picture, here.
If you looking for some hefty spirit items, they are still out there. For instance, the spirit on Soulkeeper and Kilt of the Atal’ai Prophet (26 and 25 spirit respectively), is remaining intact. (It will still good to keep weapons with high +spirit around for when you are actively regening, have been innervated, etc).