Clergy Program Vocational Essay

1. Why do you want to be a Priest, and what is your plan for making that goal happen?
I can’t say that Priesthood was something in my long line of goals like it is for most people. This is actually a fairly new interest for me.
The most recent influence in this decision was a friend of mine (and original mentor that first taught me anything about paganism when I was in highschool) was sentenced to 106 years in prison, with no possibility for parole for at least half of that. At 37 years old, that doesn’t exactly bode well for him in any manner.

I only recently connected with this person during the summer of 2007, and through exchanges in letters and collect calls, you become fairly familiar with the U.S. Corrections system. How little they are provided, how misguided and empty they feel. When I tell him about things like ADF and CedarLight Grove, and all of the things I have done since he and I last spoke (about 1999 or so), he constantly tells me how much I’ve grown and how I’ve surpassed any dreams he had for me as a student. He’s so very proud of me, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel somewhat obligated and sad for him, and want to be able to provide for him what he did for me so many years ago. Spiritual Guidance.

Obviously not just for him, but for others as well, including in my own Grove.

I’ve never been much into Psychology, but I’ve always been a strong involuntary Empath. I hear these stories from my old mentor, about him and others in his cellblock, and it’s like an entirely different world. In fact it is an entirely different world, one that we’re most often shut out from. He hasn’t seen a tree in three years, imagine not being able to go outside for a hike or a walk in nature? And though it’s hard for me to sympathize with guilty criminals, or to even tell the guilty from the non-guilty, I hope that a little spirituality can make them feel somewhat human again.

I want to be able to complete as many of the training programs as possible that ADF provides. I want to start getting involved in local Interfaith Organizations. I want to be able to be a resource for the people, a tool that they can use to help guide, to listen, and to help bring peace. I want to do this for various avenues, my Grove, Prison Ministries, and local Pagans out here in the sticks.

2. Why do you want to be an ADF Priest in particular?
You know, as much as I sometimes feel like an outsider in ADF because I’m not as intellectually worldly, ADF is like a second home to me. The Dedicant’s Program helped with the intellectual part in a big way, because it supplied me with a lot of basic tools that I didn’t have before. The Clergy Program, and ADF in particular, is a journey to me. It’s a path in which I follow for myself, to better myself, to learn about things that may not otherwise be available.

ADF is so open and so welcoming of people, all people, and all opinions (usually). You’re not going to come here and feel judged or like there is a lack of knowledge among the leadership. It’s inspiring, truly, how much of a family ADF feels like to me. Why wouldn’t I want to be a Priest of ADF?

3. What does being a Priest mean to you in the cultural context of your Hearth Culture?
Since my original Hearth Culture is not indo-european, and cannot be used for this purpose, I’ve found myself becoming more interested in another. Honestly I’d like to be fairly versed on various cultures to provide for many different people. That’s my ultimate goal anyway, but that’s going to span longer than the Clergy Program in its entirety.

Since my recent genealogical discoveries of severe Germanic heritage, I’ve decided to focus on this hearth culture for purposes of ADF training programs.

Many priests are considered healers, but I also see them as guides. Someone who is knowledgeable in the ways of their culture (and has common sense in general) that people feel they can go to in a time of need. In the Norse culture, they are called Godhi’s, or “speakers of the Gods” (or Gythja, respectively) I feel that since my recent election as Senior Druid, I’ve been put in a position where I can be a leader and guide for the people. As a Priest I want to be a good representation of CedarLight Grove, and act as one of the spiritual connections between the Grove and the Shining Ones. And I wish to continue to learn and provide for my Grove and the neo-pagan community in general.

(Word Count: 821)

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