I’ve been sitting with my lack of knowledge a lot lately, inspired in part by conversations with Rev. William Ashton, ADF’s newest ordained priest (and someone I’m coming to call a friend, which is pretty neat). There’s just a lot I don’t know, and as someone who is obsessively academic (especially in school-type situations) this bothers me on a deep level. And yet, philosophically, I know that learning and discovery happen on the interface of what is known and what is unknown.
So I have been encouraged to really allow the discomfort of not knowing things to be present, in the hopes of becoming more comfortable with it. Because there’s just so much out there to know, and knowing what you don’t know is the first step towards learning.
In reality, I’ve been a practicing Druid just shy of two years, a practicing Pagan for close to ten. I have completed only the most rudimentary study program that ADF offers and am only just beginning the real coursework of the Initiate’s Path. The ancient Druids were the intelligentsia of their societies, and I’d like my own modern practice to follow in those footsteps (once I’ve done more of it, obviously), but I am still, essentially, a newbie, and there is a LOT that I don’t know. And yet I’m (co)leading a study group – something I think I’m singularly unqualified to do – and trying my best to steer these potential dedicants (and other assorted studiers of things Druidic) into productive and useful practices, and get them acquainted with as much knowledge as they are interested in pursuing.
And on top of that, just this last week, in a discussion about the priesthood and ADF’s clergy training program, one of my groupmates looked me square in the face and said “So are you planning on doing that?” I stammered out something incoherent, and Yngvi replied for me, “Eventually.” I can’t deny I have a calling to it in some form. I know what it means to be a minister (my grandfather is one), and yet I’ve still toyed with ministry (in various forms) in every spiritual pursuit I’ve ever undertaken, from contemplating Methodist seminary, to considering whether I had a Catholic vocation, to pursuing Wiccan initiation, and now to pursuing initiation and possibly clergy training under ADF’s model. In every spiritual path I’ve been part of, I have seriously considered ministry or priest(ess)hood in some form. (I take this to mean that my calling is to serve the folk, not to serve a particular God or set of gods, but that’s just my own interpretation.) Whether that calling will be satisfied with initiation or not, only time will tell. I just don’t know right now.
For some reason that bothers me. I like control, and planning ahead, and knowing where I’m going. I want cold, hard answers to things that just don’t have cold hard answers. The idea that the path will reveal itself as it is walked just makes me inherently uneasy. But the reality is? Two years ago I wouldn’t have ever guessed I’d be where I am (and neither would anyone else I knew, for that matter), so who knows where I’ll be in two years, let alone five or more. (At this rate, still working on the IP; I really need to get moving.)
Until then, though, I can add in the CTP retreat days to help strengthen my spiritual practice, do the coursework, keep my practice alive, and just see where things end up.
And when someone asks me something I don’t know the answer to? Well, that’s just more time to practice this virtue of not knowing.