” But, blessed one, grant a good end for the Initiates work.” (The Orphic Hymns. JHU Press, 2013.)

I’ve been accepted into the Initiate Program within Ár nDraíocht Féin.  There are two prerequisites for this program of study; completion of the Dedicant Program (along with an additional review when applying for the Program) and a Letter of Intent to enter the Inititate Program.

The course outline for the Initiate Program is as follows:

  • Divination 1
  • Divination 2
  • General Bardic Studies 1
  • Indo-European Language 1
  • Indo-European Mythology 1
  • Indo-European Studies 1
  • Liturgy 1
  • Liturgy Practicum 1
  • Magic 1
  • Magic 2
  • Trance 1
  • Trance 2

The only piece I plan to post here is my Letter of Intention:

1. What draws you to the path of Initiation within ADF?

2.What does being an Initiate mean to you?

3.What services do you hope to provide to your community with this training?

1. I have been a member of ADF since 2005, and an on and off again member since 2012. I re-joined recently this year after coming to the realization, no longer ignoring the fact, that my religious practice is wholly informed by the wisdom of the Ár nDraíocht Féin current.  

The Initiate program is a chance to learn and relearn some of the ‘juice’ behind ADF’s precepts, virtues, and practices.  Even though I feel that the DP is a very good program and gives members of ADF a good footing in Indo-European religious concepts, I wish to develop my personal practice further and better understand the roots of Ár nDraíocht Féin as both an organization and as a modern neo-pagan religious expression.

2.  Being an Initiate is a chance to delve into what it means to practice in the ADF way.  I define this path as Indo-European, and the Initiate path for me will be an exploration of the components of which it is made. Also I feel being an Initiate means a comprehension and an appreciation for the inner nature of the outer practices that take place in ADF, a process that is defined in  reciprocity between the microcosm and the macrocosm. Establishing a rapport with the mysterious is within the role of the Initiate as well – honoring the fact that we as modern pagans sometimes need to move beyond the written word and establish a mystics eye for what can be difficult to put into words.  Though academic rigor is always essential, the Initiate embraces the mysterious and does not shy away from positive additions that may lead to beneficial relationships with the kindred and the people. “To me the essence of Druidism is combining the best of head and heart and hand. Combining the intellect, the emotions, and the artistic creativity and craft people have. It’s using that to worship the Gods and to help ourselves to understand our lives better and understand what we are doing and where we are going” (Bonewits, 1996, p.3).  The Initiate makes sure to include the head, the heart, and hand allowing for a balanced approach to spirituality and religious expression.

3.  I see the Initiate path as a necessary one within ADF.  While the role of Clergy within ADF is to guide a congregational form of neo-paganism the Initiate is a person who focuses on individual relationships with the kindred and worlds.  I see myself playing a role as someone trained to assist seekers in developing and maintaining beneficial relationships between themselves and the land, kindred, and gods. I feel deeply that neo-paganism is a faith of experience and innate indwelling sacredness and vital that our religion have persons of humility, knowledge, and compassion attempting to help foster these principles beyond and alongside acts of liturgy – I hope to be one of these within our community.

Bonewits, I. Interview by E. Hopman., & Bond, L. (1996). People of the earth: The new Pagans speak out. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books.