From its beginnings, ADF has defined itself in relation to Indo-European pagan traditions. What relevance do you think historical and reconstructed IE traditions from the past have in constructing or reconstructing a Pagan spirituality for the present and future? (minimum 600 words)
What ADF is trying to create is a much needed thing in the modern neo-pagan community. The re-creation of a scholarly polytheistic faith based on Indo-European traditions and research, and is organized in a way that can cater to modern neo-pagans faith and community. The biggest selling point for me was the fact that it’s not a organization for Druids, because Heathens, Hellenes, and other such IE faiths can all worship under the same common umbrella. This is a very well-researched organization that puts great emphasis on legit scholarly research to discuss points on religion, the Gods, societies, and mythologies to help us all better understand where we came from and where we are going. There is wiggle room for UPG (Unverified Personal Gnosis), but not to the detriment of legit research. It’s the best of both worlds, really.
Personally, I am not a reconstructionist, but I love the idea of doing things closely to how my Ancestors did. It’s another way for us to connect with the Ancestors, and Ancestors are an important part of our worship. Why anyone would want to ignore most of what was historically done by their own ancestors, while still incorporating modern ideals and new traditions is a foreign concept to me. My research of my Germanic lineage led me to my Anglo-Saxon kindred, and I have found more spiritual significance, familiarity, and fulfillment there than I ever did in Irish Grove. Obviously there are certain aspects of ancient worship that are not appropriate for modern worship, such as animal sacrifice in public worship (private Blots are another story), be-headings like in Celtic lore, and other more violent actions no longer legal or accepted in our modern society. As a whole though, there are some wonderful traditions, mythologies, and religious practices that are wonderful for us to bring into our personal worship from IE cultures of all kinds.
To that point, it has always made me wonder why we put such emphasis on the term “Druid” in ADF. Yes, I understand it is part of the organization name, but names can change. Or at the very least the tagline and description could make it more clear that this organization involves more than just Celtic Druids. I think it would behoove us to open up our public relations to understand this point so that we could benefit from the growth in membership outside of those of Celtic influence. The IE focus replacing the idea of a Druid focus would be a great move for ADF in terms of member retention and growth. When people hear about ADF, they think of Irish Celtic Druids only. I’ve seen it, I’ve heard it, and each time I have to explain because that’s the impression we give them. Isn’t this what the entire concept of Indo-European Studies is about? Showing the similarities and cross-contamination of the various IE cultures and how they’ve influenced each other over centuries.
Aside from those differences on wording within ADF, I think using a foundation of accurate historical traditions to build up a comparative modern pagan tradition is the purpose and glory of ADF and what ADF can accomplish in the future. We can have Priests of varying traditions, Groves who worship a variety of pantheons, provide study programs through our Kins that enhance the IE cultural influence in our practice and provide a home for all IE pagans regardless of their pantheon so long as it is Indo-European. I look forward to seeing books and rituals published to the public that show what ADF is capable of when catering to all of the IE traditions and not just seen as an organization of druids.
(Word Count: 611)