I’m not all the way through Our Druidry as yet, but I’ll admit to skipping around a bit. (Today is day 6 of an 8 day work week; I’m cutting myself so much slack, everyone, it’s amazing.) I’m already having a ton of thoughts, and some are inspiring crankiness, and I want to write about these things in a place where I can revisit them as I go. Obviously, I’m not going to be sharing their members-only material, but I will be sharing my thoughts and commentary on it. I find myself wishing to print it out simply so I can write in the margins, which is so not like me, but I may end up doing it. Who knows? I don’t know if I’ll keep those posts public or possibly password protected, and possibly just private.
An example: reading through I’ve come across a thing I really, really like, a thing that bothered me deeply on Others behalf, and a thing that I just hadn’t realized and maybe if I had would have stopped me from joining.
The thing I really like? At one point, the manual stresses that the cosmology ADF uses ‘was created for us–the people of today. We have not attempted to re-create ancient religions because we are not ancient peoples.’ This is a hook that is sure to get me in. I respect that, at least as far as the manual goes (and as far as my experience goes with people in ADF) research is valued and important, but so is experience, and not one placed above the other. I am not a reconstructionist. I do not want to build a bridge to the societies of the past that worshiped the gods I worship in an effort to bring them forward — the societies that worshiped my Beloved would relegate me to a subhuman due to my gender. Reaaaaally not interested in bringing that back, thanks. I want to take where we are now as far as civil rights go. I want to make our would better regarding those civil rights (make them, you know, something that isn’t just on paper), and I want to bring the gods (or the possibility of the gods) back into human consciousness at large. I want to see a polytheism (or, polytheisms) is our world as our world is now. I don’t want to erase our history that has created the culture we now live in, because that’s an impossible task, and I’d rather deal with where we are now, and deal with going forward. So, this appealed to me.
One of the first suggested ritual is a basic one to confirm one’s intention upon the path, and to ask for a blessing from the Powers. Now, I like the triad of worlds representations — despite feeling at home in the Scandinavian cosmology of nine worlds, the triad of Ancestors, Gods, and Nature Spirits really sums up the division of beings that we deal with — even if I think those divisions are more for us than anything else. I like that. But, the text of the ritual made me cranky, and they lost me at the very beginning, whereupon they suggest that you place a piece of silver into the bowl of water (for the Well) to represent the bounty of the Deep.
The bounty of the Deep is the Deep itself, as far as I’m concerned, and not the shiny thing that it might offer that we decide to value. There is, at least to my mind, an implicit ‘this is what it gives us and thus it is important because of what it gives us,’ in this sort of symbolism that gets my hackles up. The worth of something because of what it can do for us — this is animal, it is base, and to a point it is unavoidable, but it needs to be balanced if we’re going to pretend that we are not ruled by our instincts, if we are going to continue to pretend that we are creatures who can grow beyond that. So maybe the silver is a symbol for the knowledge that we can glean by going deep, and maybe those symbols are necessary for some, and maybe they are not for others, but the Deep is valuable, is a treasure, by Its very existence, not because of what It may give to us, but because of how wretched we would be without It, period. We are the center of our world; we are not the center of the everything, and the implicit entitlement that is part of that way of thinking catches me up and leaves a sour taste in my mouth. So there’s that.
The bit that I didn’t realize is the IE focus that ADF has. Now, at a glance, that’s not a problem — my main Powers fall under the IE umbrella. But I dealt with Poseidon’s exclusion in community worship enough to know that the idea of excluding based on arbitrary lines bothers the fuck out of me, so we’ll see how that goes.
In other news: I’m really enjoying this series of articles over at Humanist Pagan. Michele Briere writes about non-theistic paganism, so far in three parts. Now, I’m clearly a theistic pagan, so why do I like these? Because, damn it, I find hospitality to be important, because we have a huge fight ahead of us, we minority religions within the US, and because we cannot really afford to fight it alone. Because interfaith discussion is valuable, because coming across ideas that we don’t necessarily agree with makes us more empathetic, or at least more exposed to other ways of thinking. Primarily, I am not threatened by other ways of thinking, and people are fascinating.