OK, I have been tossing around my exploration of ADF (Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship) for a couple months now, so high time I decided to begin my Dedicant Path studies, as that is where beginners along the path start.
I have been a Druid for a good number of years now, and while I the path have been following has its levels of fulfillment and satisfaction, there are two things I find missing that I see in ADF:
1. Shared ritual (there is a Core Order of Ritual that is adapted based on the local community or grove needs).
2. A shared approach to community (with shared beliefs that, once again, are adapted to individual needs).
I do not envision leaving behind the Druid workings or communities I am already a part of, as they offer other things that I have not yet seen in ADF. However, as we make our own path, we need to do what is right for ourselves as we best understand it.
The other Druid communities I belong to are very individualistic, and while I like that freedom (I hate being told what to do or believe), I like having some practices or statements of ethics that are shared.
With this stated, I am starting the Dedicant Path in earnest. I am using Michael Dangler’s The ADF Dedicant Path: Through the Wheel of the Year as a guide to help me work through the first year’s material.
With this said, let me begin with the questions we are invited to consider:
- Why have you chosen to take the first steps on the Dedicant Path?
I like the shared ritual and community, and the various members of ADF I have met all seem to committed, interested in ADF, enthusiastic for helping others, and overall a jolly bunch. Lots of good energy so far, and this has made the Dedicant Path appealing, as all those I have met have spoken highly about it. Likewise, if I want to be a member, I may as well understand and experience that about which I am now committing!
- Is this a step on your path, or will this become the Path itself?
Who knows? For now, it is a step. Nobody, especially not I, can predict what the future will bring. I will be open to wherever it leads.
- What do you expect to learn?
Again, I have no idea. However, in theory I expect to learn enough so that I have a shared sense of what it means to be a member of ADF, along with what values, visions, and practices are sufficient for a sense of an us.
- What would you like to get out of this journey?
I want to feel a part of something much larger than myself, and in the process better understand what I can contribute, in my own way, to make it better with my having been here.
- Do you know where this path will take you?
Further into a spiritual practice of Our Own Druidry as a religion.
- If you have just joined ADF, why have you chosen to work on this immediately?
I joined ADF a couple months ago, so while this is not exactly immediate, it is still relatively soon. Why would I not want to embark upon this study and experience? How else could I be an active member if I do not know more about the organization I have joined?
- If you have been with ADF for a long time , why are you starting only now?
This is not my issue at all!
- Does it look hard or easy?
It looks hard, though not because there are many steps (what doesn’t have many steps?!?!). It is hard because it is the first time I am becoming a part of an organized religion since leaving Catholicism many years ago, so adapting the vagarities of my private practice with the shared expectations, even the minimal ones, of a formalized group, can be hard. I am not sure at all if this will be the same for me at a future point, but I see this as a challenge.
- Which requirements appear to be difficult for you now, and which appear to be easy?
The most difficult one is the notion of Indo-European polytheism. I have been more of a Druid Animist for years now, and while I have a sense of Cernunnos, many of the other deities that are worshiped by ADF members are little more than names to me. I am not sure what to do with this, so I will leave it for making sense of another day. Which appear to be easy? Outside of the calling of the Earth Mother (which I was told could be referred to as the Earth Spirit; mother issues on my end) and a certain repetition I see in the Core Order of Ritual), there is little else I see as being anything but easy. Let’s hope I work through the former and embrace the latter!!
- Do you have doubts, questions, or concerns that you need to ask about?
Nothing that I have not mentioned above. Very eager to begin. Yet, I think I may benefit from a mentor. Will look into that . . .
OK, here we go. Onward and Upward!