So — ADF material? Also, a neat series.

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.

10 thoughts on “So — ADF material? Also, a neat series.

  1. Yeah, the IE focus is an issue I can understand. But it really applies the most to public ritual done under the ADF auspices. They don’t much care what you do on your own🙂.

  2. I was actually impressed that they included the Indo in there as it does seem more Celtic flavoured, well at least since they use ‘druid’.
    I totally get that frustration. I think they may want to make sure that the ritual practice makes sense for Who we are working with in relation to the cultures who knew Them? It’s an interesting thing trying to globalise things that we feel are so attached to specific ways and traditions.
    Baby steps maybe?

    • I respect the choice of people and groups to decide what is and is not included in their particular tradition and approach, I want to be clear on that. I just somehow either missed the emphasis, or didn’t realize it was going to bother me so much since, you know, both Poseidon and Odin fall under that umbrella. It has to be possible to stress research and a solid historical understanding without cutting off the nose to spite the face. That is, we are global now, and inclusion is important, and I have messy thoughts about finding our gods in our landscape (which I think is totally important to be able to do) while at the same time finding it problematic to, say, find Poseidon in the Willamette River and ignoring Those who may already be present and due worship. They don’t get to be Shining Ones simply because we don’t know about Their cultures/histories. Which for me goes back to the problem of treating Them and Their validity based on the past and based on literary knowledge and less on contemporary experience.

      I think if my foundation with Poseidon had been built upon cultural context and not based on o/Our relationship for years before historical, cultural influence entered the picture, this would be less of a sticking point with me.

      • Very well said. The whole thing is always a messy issue for me as well. I hear you on the finding of our Gods in the landscape when other entities have been there long before. I like to think of my Gods in my local area as walking with me through it, and Them finding spots that They really like more than any kind of claim or replacing of Whoever/Whatever is there, just like I have favourite spots on the trails or in the woods. It’s interesting because whenever I feel moved by one of my People in a certain place, offerings are always made to Them AND the spirit of place… I hadn’t really thought about that much till now.

        This is that transition we need to go from book thumping to relying on our own experiences whilst still gleaning insights from historical texts. We rely on text so much I think monotheism, to me at least, created such stagnation in since it made no room or exception for those who followed a different path.
        We just have a lot of rebuilding to do, but rebuilding up to modern code!

  3. Yep yep, I’ve already lamented my concerns about the IE focus here and there, but since i really just needed something, ~anything~ to give structure to my half-assed spiritual practice, ADF was the best I could find to get me going. Have you also found Danglers supplementary “Through the wheel of the year?” text. Probably not necessary for you to actually follow it, but there is a lot of insightful information in that text and suggestions for personalizing your path, links to useful resources on the ADF website and elsewhere sorted out according to the topic of the week. The silver thing is optional. I thought of it as an offering to the well in the same way we offer to the Earth mother – as a thanks to the primal forces for what they give to us. I Don’t use a disposable silver, though. I prefer to use the same silver piece of jewelry each time and think of it as a meaningful sacred piece that, although not out of my personal use, symbolizes my gratitude and promise to honor the Kindreds everyday.

    • I’ve already lamented my concerns about the IE focus here and there, but since i really just needed something, ~anything~ to give structure to my half-assed spiritual practice, ADF was the best I could find to get me going.

      I’m by no means knocking their approach; right now I’m happy to just sit with my disgruntlement and explore those feelings. External structure is something that can be extremely helpful. Part of what drew me (this time around, at least) to ADF was the encouragement to adapt the Feast days to one’s particular cultural focus. Beth and I are don’t practice together. We rarely worship together these days, her with her Odin-centric days and me with my Poseidon centric days, and this is a burst of fresh inspiration to get us out of our ruts and weaving these things back in together.

      I haven’t found the “Through the Wheel of the Year” bit — I’ll go looking for that.

      My issue with the silver bit is less about what is actually present and more about the how, I’m realizing. Much stress is placed upon the manual being a primer for those utterly new to paganism, and so the stress so quickly upon what the Powers can give to us or will give to us simply because we asked falling so early in the manual, without much discussion about the difference between reciprocity and treating the Powers as vending machines of blessings, etc., sticks in my craw. Which may be because I’m *not* new to paganism. I’ll grant that the Powers involved with us have a vested interest in us, and may be inclined toward our favor (otherwise I don’t know that we’d even *know* about Them), and I’ll grant that mutual exchange is the foundation of all relationships, period — but there is an inherent sense of entitlement and superiority of species that grates on my nerves in a way that goes beyond my ability to articulate.

      I prefer the idea of the silver as an offering, rather than representation of what the Deep may give to *us*. If only that was how it was presented in the manual. That doesn’t make my hackles raise; that seems only just an proper. And that’s part of my issue with that particular sample ritual. “Give me this, give me that, give me give me.”

      But I’m only a few chapters in, and it’s only been a week, and this is a great exercise in thinking about where I am with things, so I’m still not knocking it.

  4. There is a print edition of the manual available online, if you are eager for making marginalia. There are also some additional manuals for working through the wheel and journaling stuff, if you like. I can dig up my copies and let you know of the title, but they’re all on Amazon.

    • I’m likely going to add comments to the txt doc of the manual that I have, but Imay also print it out. I’m not sure yet. Thanks for the heads up.

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