‘ADF Structure, Customs and Policies’ Posts
Bonewits, Philip Emmons Isaac. “Chapter 7, Ár NDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship.”Bonewit’s Essential Guide to Druidism. New York, NY: Kensington Pub., 2006. 108-09. Print.
Dangler, Michael J. “Where’s the Belief? Piety in the DP.” Ár NDraíocht Féin. Ár NDraíocht Féin, n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2012. <http://www.adf.org/members/training/dp/articles/wheres-the-belief.html>.
Dangler, Michael J. “Nine Central Tenets of Druidic Ritual.” Ár NDraíocht Féin. Ár NDraíocht Féin, n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2012. <http://www.adf.org/articles/cosmology/nine-tenets.html>.
Dear Rev. Crystal Groves (Crystal Groves),
Congratulations! Your ADF Structure, Customs and Policy submission passes.
Figured this one wouldn’t be too hard for ya
Rev. Michael Dangler
Describe why we make Praise Offerings, how they are made, when they are made, and who they are made to. Be sure to describe this in both solitary practice and in two or more Groves’ practices. (300 words min.)
In ADF, we make Praise Offerings for a couple different reasons. The first and foremost is to offer a gift to the Gods in order to develop a reciprocal relationship with them. We also give offerings as a bribe to outsiders to encourage them to leave our work in peace. We give offerings to also encourage blessings from the Shining Ones and as a symbol of peace and respect to our fellow Nature Spirits, and as a remembrance to our Ancestors. These types of offerings are usually made in some sort of ritual, whether during a High Day or in our personal devotions, or even in passing when thankful for something on the go. In our High Day Rites, we give offerings after we have invited our deities and opened the gates between the worlds. Afterwards we see if these offerings have been accepted through an omen, and if so, we take in any blessings the begins have to offering through the Waters of Life.
The being of intent differs depending on the type of ritual, whether it is a High Day or personal devotion, or whether you are giving to the primary deities or to something like the Earth Mother. Personally in my morning devotions I offer to Athena always in order to keep the thread of our relationship strong, and usually my offerings are meat, olive oil, or service in her name. An example of this type of service would be writing hymns to her and also donating to an Owl Sanctuary in her honor. During High Rites at my Grove, I will offer to the Deities of the Occasion out of respect, despite always keeping Athena in the front of my spiritual practice.
Praise Offerings are a way of offering a sacrifice. To make something sacred and offer it to another being in order to develop a positive *ghosti- relationship with them. They are most important when the offering is something significant to us that is meaningful to let go of, but more simple offerings are acceptable as well such as incense or oil.
In CedarLight, our Praise Offering portion of ritual is mitigated by the Chief Liturgist, where anyone is allowed to come up and offer praise. We discourage oaths being given, since we strongly believe the energy of oaths are tied into the participants of the ritual and should not be sprung on us unknowingly. But offerings to the Deities of the Occasion are always accepted, as they are between the individual and the Gods, not to us.
At Trillium 2012, I got to witness how Three Cranes organized their praise offering portion for that Rite. They asked that any spoken offerings be known ahead of them so they could acknowledge when they were to happen, but the main praise offering portions were done silently while the Chief Bard sang music. I liked this method for the most part because when you are in large circles, praise offerings can really run long-winded. This way the offerings stay at an acceptable level, but is still a personal interaction between the individual and the targeted receiver of the offering.
In the end though, offerings are a sacred gift with a purpose. Whether it is in thanks, or to receive a blessing, we give so that we may receive.
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Describe ADF’s utilization of Dumezil’s “tripartition” and its affect on ADF’s structure, study programs, and the religion of ADF members in general. (200 words min.)
ADF’s utilization of Dumezil’s “tripartition” to me is fairly insignificant. Clearly it was an inspiration for developing certain guilds and groups within ADF, but by no means do I see it being a concrete guideline for which ADF views importance of its members and subgroups. I have never heard of one Guild being more important than the other, though I’m sure some people will make that assumptions. ADF is more on a level playing field than was assumed in prehistoric Proto-Indo-European society.
What Dumezil wrote about the tripartition of ancient society, is that we were divided into three societal groups or “castes”. The first caste represented sovereignty and consisted of priests, magicians, and those in more of a guidance role. The second was the warriors and protectors who served as enforcers. And the third was a caste of producers who were the laborers and craftsman of society.
These groups still exist in a broad spectrum, even in modern society if you compare them to Government, Military, and Laborers. Within ADF they could be easily viewed as the Clergy, Healers, Scholars, and Councils for the first caste, the Warriors and Naturalists for the second, and the Artisans and Brewers Guilds acting as the third caste. But ADF does not function in a way that sees one Guild over the other in terms of importance. We act more as a conglomerate society, where everyone has an important purpose. I’ve seen a lot of emphasis put on Clergy as an important role in ADF, and I support that because those individuals have put a significant amount of work into their training, but overall we all try to stay on that same level playing field. If nothing else Dumezil helped provide structure, and we simply evolved beyond that.
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Compare Isaac’s original “Law, Policy, Tradition, and Customs in ADF” article with how you see ADF today. Describe what is still true and what is no longer accurate in that document. (300 words min.)
Reading over Isaac Bonewits original “Law, Policy, Tradition, and Customs within ADF”, I have to say that a lot of what he said back then is still fairly accurate to the present. In his article, he goes into specifics about various terminologies within ADF that help build up our structure, customs and policies with historical value and progressive evolution.
For example, while ADF started with bylaws as it’s original “law” structure, they have since evolved to a “constitution”, which is entirely more flexible for the organization. Some laws that continue concretely within ADF are those such as no human sacrifices at all, and no animal sacrifices in any ADF ritual. These types of laws are pretty straight-forward, however, which is why we continue on with Policy, Tradition, and Custom.
ADF also institutes policy, which mainly governs how things are run for the most part, such as ADF rites being pretty open to the public. These are the guidelines on how we interact together individually and as groups. This is still accurate to date in regards to ADF modern policy.
Traditions tend to be more flexible and changing. The COoR is not exact to what it once was, but the core of it remains the same, as do our high days and commitment to scholarly excellence.
Customs tend to be the most personal and flexible. I know within CedarLight Grove our sigil has been updated semi-slightly, and new traditions are born all the time such as our Mabon High Rites being more about Thanksgiving as a Grove than anything else. We do all-night vigils for Yule, we have beads for ritual attendance, etc.
The beauty of ADF is that new things are continually being developed, but our core focus to Isaac’s vision has remained significantly in tact. We’re developing ethical guidelines for Clergy, training more of our Initiates and Clergy, developing a large amount of Dedicants, and continuing with the vision that was originally set forth, but in a more organized and progressive fashion to support our ever growing membership.
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Describe ADF’s official ceremonial calendar, and discuss why it was designed in this way. (200 words min.)
ADF’s official ceremonial calendar was adopted to integrate well with the early Neo-Pagan movement combining several Indo-European observances. This particular calendar is distributed equally across the year, so it works well to keep a balance of observed High Days for various traditions. Even though some cultures may not have observed all of these particular holidays, when developing a system that works with many traditions it requires some understanding across those traditions.
In ADF, our eight High Days are as follows, including the feast name from the ADF Dedicant Manual:
Samhain or November Feast (November 1st): Samhain is the third harvest festival when farmers finish gathering what is left of their crops, animals are slaughtered so they do not have to be fed throughout the winter, wood is gathered, meat is smoked, and we begin to bed-down for the winter. It is also a time of year where the Celts celebrated this time of year as the beginning of the New Year, and when the veil between the spirit world is thinnest.
Yule/Winter Solstice or Winter Feast (December 21st): The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year where winter officially begins as the dark time of the year. Nature goes quiet and dormant, the animals hibernate, the folk break bread with families. This is traditionally a Norse holiday to celebrate or give offerings for the return of the Sun.
Imbolc or February Feast (February 1st): Imbolc is a Celtic fire festival in honor of Brigid’s flame as the first Spring festival. It’s a time of year to honor the return for the Sun and see whether Winter will continue or whether Spring is coming.
Ostara/Spring Equinox or Spring Feast (March 21st): The Spring Equinox is the second Spring Festival to honor the return of Spring and the fertility of the land. The day and night are of equal length, and the days will now start getting longer to prepare for the upcoming planting season.
Beltane or May Feast (May 1st): Beltane is a Fire Festival and the last of the three fertility festivals (in my eyes). Traditionally Beltane marks the beginning of Summer, but modern traditions instead count Midsummer as the beginning of Summer. It is a time that the land and the animals are most fertile.
Midsummer/Summer Solstice or Summer Feast (June 21st): Midsummer is the longest day of the year marking the half of the year to remind us that Winter is coming. This is the time of year that we prepare for the upcoming harvest seasons and give offerings for a bountiful harvest.
Lughnasadh or August Feast (August 1st): Lughnasadh is the first of the harvest festivals, and is celebrated in honor of Tailtiue, Lugh’s Foster mother who sacrificed herself for her people. During this time we celebrate in honor of Tailtiue with games and festivities. We also begin canning our harvest from the summer to prepare for the onslaught of winter.
Mabon/Fall Equinox or Fall Feast (September 21st): Mabon is the second harvest festival when much of our fall harvest is in abundance. It is another time of year where the day and nights are of equal length, but has little history behind its origin other than its Equinox roots. The earth begins to burn with bright colors as the foliage starts to die off.
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Describe the Guilds, SIGS, and Kins of ADF in general, their function within the organization, and the goal of the Guild, SIG, and Kin systems. (150 words min. for each type of subgroup)
ADF has several functioning groups that serve several purposes and interests for its members. Guilds in particular are developed for sharing knowledge and teaching skills that are relative to the work we do within ADF. Many, in fact, have their own individual study programs to put focus on that Guilds skillset, which is a requirement to remain a Guild. They are also required to have a set of officers as determined by the Council of Lore. An example of this would be the Naturalists Guild, which is intended to help its members learn more about the land and spirits of the land that we walk in balance with on the Earth.
Additional guilds that provide, or are working to provide training in their specific interests are the Artisans Guild, which focuses on the creation and making of crafts and artwork. The Bardic Guild encourages the written, sung, and spoken word. The Brewers Guild focuses on the art of brewing in terms of religious purposes. A Dance Guild researches the use of dance and movement in the work of Our Druidry. The Healers Guild studies and teaches various healing methods. The Liturgists Guild focuses on complexities and art of liturgy in our organization. Our Scholars Guild practices the excellence of scholarly research. The Magicians Guild studies and teaches traditional magic. A Seers Guild trains each other on divining, and seership. And finally our Warriors Guild helps to train its members in spiritual, mental, and physical defense.
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Kins are another subgroup within ADF that have a concentration on specific hearth cultures so that members can collectively work with other members in their specific hearth, share ideas and theology, as well as develop liturgies, music, and other cultural distinct contributions. While ADF is specifically a “Druid” organization, it’s an organization that encompasses the Indo-European culture as a whole, so it encourages and flourishes within many of the different traditions and cultures that members might find favor in outside of Celtic. Like Guilds, Kins are required to have bylaws and a certain amount of members, but only required to have a leader in order to be considered active.
The current Kins within ADF are the Aus Dwher for the Eastern I-E traditions such as Vedic, Eldr ok Iss for our German and Northern Traditions, Oi Asproi Koukouvayies for the Hellenics, a Slavic Kin four or Slavic Hearths, Tylwyth Y Ddraig Goch to honor our Welsh, Clann na nGael focusing on the Gaelic cultures, a Roman Kin to cover our Roman history and heritage, and Pontos Proto IE Kin which focuses on a broad range of Proto-Indo-European cultures.
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Another subgroup within ADF is the SIGs or “Special Interest Groups”. These subgroups are intended to cover any significant interest in a particular topic, including those that may eventually develop into a Guild. SIGs do not have a study program like Guilds because the topics are not based on training or learning. They also do not have bylaws and only need an Organizer to run the regular operations of the particular SIG. The specific interests currently covered in the existing ADF SIGs are Solitaries for our members that do not have a Grove they are affiliated with. Foireann Mhorrigan for our members devoted to the Morrigan, People of the Purple Feather for our gay and lesbian members to network with each other. We have a Children’s/Parenting SIG for those who have children and how children may affect or interact with ADF. Our American SIG focuses on promoting the American culture as an Indo-European culture in ADF. Ancient Iberia SIG studies ancient pagan Iberia and the Ecstatic Trance SIG studies ecstatic trance as a way to connect with the Kindreds. Our Military Outreach SIG helps members not only support our military, but also help the military members connect with ADF and the membership or other ADF military. The Polyamory SIG is for our polyamorous members to network and also discuss the spiritual side of polyamory. And finally we have a Safe Haven SIG to help our members with disabilities.
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Explain the difference between “orthopraxy” religions and “orthodoxy”. Where do you feel ADF falls? (200 words min.)
The difference between “orthopraxy” and “orthodoxy” religion is that orthopraxy is the concept of correct action/activity, whereas orthodoxy is the concept of correct belief. The root of both words, “ortho-“, is from the Greek orthos, which means “true or correct”. The difference lies in the secondary portions, “-doxy” which in the Greek tongue means “praise” and “-praxis”, which in the Greek language means “practice” (note the similarity in tone). So Ortho-doxy is “true praise”, while Ortho-praxy is “true practice”.
Essentially orthopraxy emphasizes conduct in an ethical or liturgical sense, and orthodoxy focuses on blind faith. In more specific detail, orthopraxy is the method in which we as Druids assume or feel our practices work for us. We’re not told that these things have to be done exactly a certain way or that we absolutely have to belief in this or we’re wrong, which would be a method of orthodoxy. Instead what makes us function as a religion is what we do as an organization rather than our particular beliefs, which vary considerably, especially due to the various cultures in which ADF encompasses.
ADF itself is an orthopraxic religion in that we’re not told what to believe, which would be impossible anyway again due to the mass of cultural influences throughout the organization. Our spiritual core centers around our practices and the art of doing, not all of us having the exact same beliefs, as it is unnecessary.
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Explain why ADF has an Indo-European focus, and why we use the term “Druid” in our name. (200 words min.)
ADF has an Indo-European focus because back in the 1980’s when Isaac Bonewits originally tossed around the idea of forming ADF, the letter he sent out to colleagues to rally support for this new idea of a “real” Neopagan religion stated his desire to create a Pan-European form of Druidism (Bonewits’s Essential Guide to Druidism). He felt that encompassing the Indo-European culture and language would more closely resemble the Paleopagan Druids than any other combination thereof. Isaac’s vision for ADF was based off of excellence in scholarly knowledge. So his intention was to create an organization that was focused on this concept while also developing a solid spiritual foundation that would cater to many cultures that also work well together in accurate organizational and historical solidarity.
Additionally we use the term “Druid” as another historical portion of Isaac’s vision in that he saw “Druids” as the “artists and intellectuals, magicians and clergy, holders of the highest wisdom”, and that they could be this way again with the best scholarly research available . This coupled with his vision of how great ADF was to become in terms of solid scholarly knowledge and training helped consecrate the marriage between ADF developing into an Indo-European religion of Druids.
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Describe ADF’s administrative structure. (150 words min.)
ADF’s administrative structure consists of different boards and committees that offer very different functions from each other. The Board of Directors, also known as “The Mother Grove” consists of the Archdruid, the Vice Archdruid, the Secretary, the Treasurer, the Members Advocate, Chief of the Council of Seniro Druids, Chief of the Council of Regional Druids, and 3 Non-Officer Directors. The Mother Grove is the management of the organization that conducts the business and affairs, with the authority to overrule all other groups within ADF. Following the Mother Grove there are also Non-Director Officers which consist of the Administrator and Preceptor that oversee day-to-day operations within not only the corporation, but the administration of the ADF Study Programs. There are also several committees that operate within the administration of ADF, such as the Clergy Council, the Council of Lore, the Grove Coordinating Committeee, and the Grove Organizing Committee. On a more local level, there are also Region Druids that represent each of their appropriate regions, as well as individual Grove leaders that represent their local Groves. These committees all oversee the internal workings of their particular groups.
(Word Count: 186)