Archive for the ‘Dedicant Path’ Category

So I’ve been doing this ADF thing for a month, working my way through the Dedicant Path requirements, and I’m finding that there are some things about this process and this path that I really enjoy.

Obviously, the reverence for nature is a big one. I love that Nature – and the Nature Spirits – are a big part of practicing Druidry, and I’m encouraged by the focus on getting outside and being aware of nature in the place where you live. I’m a suburban druid, so there is definitely nature around, and it’s not too far for me to get to a large nature preserve. I’ve spent a few afternoons sitting by the bayou and just absorbing nature and watching the birds and lizards and fish. It’s nice to have that reverence for nature built into the Druid path as a critical part of spirituality. (This isn’t unique to Druidy, and many other Pagan paths also emphasize nature. I just really like this part!)

I also really like the flexibility of the Dedicant Path. Yes, I’m loosely following the Wheel of the Year book, but loosely is definitely the key word there. I’m taking the WOTY book as guidelines and a roadmap, but I’m forging my own path through, especially since I’ve already started or completed some requirements that I “shouldn’t have gotten to yet”. The requirements for the DP are very flexible, and I can see how each person who submits one for approval is going to submit something very personal and different. The questions are all geared to helping you identify “Your Own Druidry”, instead of having you regurgitate what’s in the manual or website information.

At the same time, I appreciate the emphasis on scholarship, at least so far as it can inform your worship of the Kindreds. I like mythology and learning about where and how these Gods and Goddesses were originally worshiped, and what kind of social structure they fit in. I’m not a reconstructionist though, I’m definitely a modern Pagan, looking for a spirituality that fits into my modern life. The balance between scholarship and modern application is one that I really appreciate, and something that I strive to find in my own spirituality.

That said, I’m a little confused about the role of some of the Gods and Goddesses in ritual, but I suspect that will clarify more as I learn more about Them and Their historic worship.

I talked before about my search for a magical system within ADF, and have subscribed to the Magician’s Guild email list. Obviously I’m not going to start working on their study program until I’ve completed the DP (too many projects all at once), but I’m hoping to find out more about how ADF handles magic. If it’s not something I like or think I can work with, I will just continue to work my traditional magic on my own, separate from my practice of Druidry.

I really like that it’s OK for me to do that; there is no law in ADF that says the ADF way is the only way to do things, or even that all members of ADF must do only ADF style rituals or magic. That’s the flexibility aspect again, and as someone who comes to ADF with some already formed preferences about magic and working with the Otherworld, I like that I don’t have to give up on things that I know will work for me. I’m definitely going to give the ADF style a try – that’s what this year on the Dedicant Path is for, after all – but I like that if it doesn’t suit my own way of doing things, I’m not locked into a practice I dont like. Even the Dedicant Path only requires that you follow the COoR for 4 of your 8 High Day rites!

I’m sure I’ll have other thoughts as I process my way through the Dedican’t Path. I’m about 1/4 through my second book (Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon), and finding that there were both a lot of things I knew and a lot of things I didn’t know about the modern Pagan movement. Reflections on this book should be interesting, given my background.

For now, though, I’m really enjoying this path of Druidry. It’s not immediately home, and there are some points that stick out at me, but on the whole, I think I’ll enjoy my year as a Druid. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up staying!

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It’s technically been 3 weeks since I started my first steps on the Dedicant Path, but since this is my first week with the Wheel of the Year program (and my first week blogging about it), here are the first week questions that are posed to the newly starting Dedicant.

Why have you chosen to take the first steps on the Dedicant Path?

Because I want to learn if Druidry is for me. I’ve recently left a British Traditional Wicca Coven where I was a student and apprentice for initiation. The reasons for leaving are complicated, but we parted ways on a mutually positive note. I don’t know if I will ever be able to seek the initiation that I so very much (still) want, but I know that path isn’t meant to be mine for now. Instead, I am going to do some real seeking, which requires doing work, to see if this path of Druidry will be where I am meant to be.

Is this a step on your path, or will it become the Path itself?

I don’t know yet. I’m not sure if the Druid path is the one that I will walk forever or just one that I will walk for awhile and then move on. I’m still feeling like the label “Witch” fits better than the label “Druid” (which I assume will change as I do more Druid things). I do know that I want to take this step, and that I think I will grow in my spirituality, regardless of my eventual outcome.

What do you expect to learn?

I expect to learn a little bit about a lot of things, and hopefully a lot about Druidry and a lot about myself and what I value and get out of a spiritual practice.

What would you like to get out of this journey?

Knowledge of Druidry, a deepened connection with the Kindreds (which I’ve always worshiped, but not under that name), and a better connection with myself as a spiritual being.

Do you know where this path will take you?

I don’t, and that’s exciting and fun. I don’t know what the end result will be. Maybe I’ll be called to the clergy. Maybe I’ll go on and become an initiate of ADF. Maybe I’ll do the dedicant path and decide to go back to practicing solitary witchcraft. I don’t know, but I bet I’m in for a really interesting journey.

If you have just joined ADF, why have you chosen to work on this immediately?

I’ve lurked on the ADF page for about 6 months, reading a lot and trying things. If I’m honest, I joined ADF specifically to start the DP. I want to know if this will be the right path for me, and I figure the best way to know that is to do it for awhile.

Does it look hard or easy?

Deceptively both hard and easy. I think things that look hard often end up making sense after awhile, and things that look easy can surprise you. I’m trying to keep an open mind about this whole experience, and not worry about the things that will come later on.

Which requirements look difficult to you now, and which appear to be easy?

Writing about things is easy for me, as is reading and doing book reports. Keeping up a meditation practice may or may not be easy, as I’m already a semi-regular meditator, but I am used to having down times where I don’t meditate as much, and I’ll need to practice at least weekly for 5 months to get credit. Also, consistently writing down my thoughts about it isn’t my strongest point, which I’m hoping will be easier with this blog. I also am hoping that the blog, in combination with the WotY program, will help keep me from doing too much, too quickly and burning out (or losing interest when it becomes work). A little accountability is a good thing.

Do you have doubts, questions, or concerns that you need to ask about?

Having done my first rituals and wondered if the connection would be there, I am placing my trust in the idea that practice begets belief, and that rituals can become habits that are spiritually nourishing. I’m looking for a spirituality that will nourish and sustain me and the Earth on which I live. I’m also a little worried that it will be hard for me to put aside my Witch training and fully embrace Druidry. I’m trying very hard to evaluate it on its own merits, and not for how it compares to what I already know.

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Having gone through the online versions of the Dedicant Manual, I figured, given that I was on vacation, I’d just get started on this whole Dedicant Path thing, wherever I felt like it would work. Of course, given that I’ve been a member of ADF for two weeks, one of those weeks including a High Day, and one of those weeks where I was on vacation, it was a lot of flying by the seat of my pants. Very exciting, though possibly a little too high energy to be sustainable now that I’m back at work.

Of course, as soon as I get some things completed, I end up stumbling across people with Homework! Homework for the DP! This is exciting too, since that means there’s a study program somewhere. After a bit of digging around and some help from twitter, I’m now reading through the Wheel of the Year study program by Rev. Michael J. Dangler.

As expected, I did things ALL out of order. Oops.

Still, I think I can make it work. I’ll be putting up homework assignments for weeks 1-4 all in one clump over the next few days. I’ve already put together and done my first High Day rite (Samhain) where I honored Donn and the Cailleach, so I’ll have both the High Day essay and the Ritual Redux essay to put together. If I can get those done, I’ll do my first oath, and I’ll just say I did the first month out of order.

Also, I’m ahead on my book reading, since a week off meant a good excuse to plow through Puhvel’s Comparative Mythology. Which was, as mentioned, not an easy read. I’m doing an easier book next – Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon, which I’ve started in the past (and already own) but have never actually finished. Oops. Anyway, it’s nice to be reading something a little more approachable.

I’m already a meditator with a regular practice, so I’m ahead on that front as well. I’ll be posting (hopefully) weekly journal entries to that effect. For my first Druid Meditations I am starting to work with the Two Powers Meditation, which I like a lot. More on that later.

I also need to get myself set up with a mentor. I think in conversations – I’m a writer and blogger after all – and it’s always good for me to put my thoughts into words to someone else as a way to clarify what I actually think. That’s a big part of why this blog exists. Since it’s publishing to the entire internet, I need to use my words well and wisely, and that thought process really helps me clarify what I think and feel and believe. I’ll be emailing the DP Preceptor to start that process.

It feels like I’m going to have to pace myself on this, especially while everything is new and shiny. I hope the Wheel of the Year book will help me both stay on track and not burn myself out too quickly. Having a week off at the very beginning was nice, since I could take a pretty leisurely look at my first ritual and have lots of time to read a difficult book, but I’m also feeling a little bit like this breakneck pace is unsustainable. While I’m sure my current seat-of-pants style of learning Druidry would work out, having something a little more concrete will help (as will the Socratic style that the Wheel of the Year book is written in. I’m a big fan, at least when it’s not kicking my ass.)

I’ll have my first week’s questions up later today, along with my first week’s Meditation Journal.

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