So, for the last year and some months, I have been a solitary Druid. At first, this really bugged me – I had a few pagan friends, and a few resources in ADF to help me through rough spots, but no real community. Still, I got through the Dedicant Path, submitted it with pride, and joined the rank of ADF Dedicants – and now the rank of Initiate Students.
I was fully prepared, even though there is a local protogrove, to complete my studies alone. The Initiate’s Path is one of inner work, after all.
Then, as it turns out, the grove organizer from my local protogrove found out that all her emails were getting diverted, so she’d never received any of the emails I’d sent (and I’m of the belief that you send one email asking a question, and if you get no response, you send one follow-up. After that, you assume the person doesn’t want to talk to you). On top of that, my friend Yngvi* joined ADF – and started talking about it at his work (where I used to work), and – with the help of the Druidry article in the New York Times, found two coworkers and their significant others who were interested in Druidry.
And so, just two months after starting the Initiates Path, I find myself leading an ADF study group of 5-7 people as regularly as our schedules match up.
This is, on one hand, very good! I am building a new community (and possibly getting to meet some other active Druids in my area). I am drawing on my DP experience, and helping cultivate new Druids!
On the other? I’m suddenly feeling very protective of my Druidry. I did two rituals for Hallows – one with Yngvi and his wife, and one on my own, because it didn’t feel like a High Day without having done my own ritual in my own house at my own altar. This whole process has been a personal and private one, and it’s weird to suddenly be very open about it with new people – especially new people who are essentially strangers (even if Yngvi knows them well, I haven’t worked with him for almost 2 years, so I had never met these people before our first meeting last week). I am not, and probably never will be, openly pagan – there’s too much risk with my family, so it’s really quite odd and more than a little uncomfortable to be talking about things.
We have another meeting this week, and then a Yule ritual next week. I’m co-leading both (and writing the rituals for both), which should be interesting. (I’m kind of in this by the seat of my pants really.) There aren’t really any resources for how to run an ADF study group – especially if you’re not doing the Dedicant Path, and doubly so if your group isn’t particularly self motivated.
I’d love it if people would have questions or things to talk about, but our first meeting was very much me talking and them listening, and then not responding much when I asked questions (even leading questions they couldn’t get out of like “What do you find most interesting?” or “What is your experience with X?”). This probably means I need to get better at asking/planning questions and activities. (The Two Powers meditation seemed to go over pretty well.) We’ll probably either start working through the virtues or working through the COoR, depending on what people think this week. They’re gonna HAVE to choose, because Yngvi likes virtues and I like rituals, so we’ll have to have some kind of way to decide where we’re going first.
So I guess we’ll see what happens. I am cautiously optimistic about our little group. I know statistically they won’t all stay, which is fine, but I hope we can have some good experiences and learn stuff together. They say the best way to really learn something is to teach it, right?
*Note: It’s a little bit weird that one of my best friends uses as his online name one of the names of the God that I work with and for most closely. So far it’s not been an issue (as I usually call my God Ing Frea) but it’s still a bit odd. Also possibly a cool coincidence.