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!