My ADF membership is up next month. I’m going on eight years of membership with the organization known as Ár nDraíocht Féin, but I’m not a joiner by nature and when confronted with the request to update my membership I pause and reflect.
Have I grown as a religious person because of membership?
The short answer is yes. I have been challenged by the organization and I think I may have challenged it along the way. My practice is more focused and deeper because of my stay with the ‘Druid’ organization. I am more pious, more devoted, and more fruitful in my practice.
Is ADF an organization that does good?
If I’m a member of something I damn well feel that the org should be good. And I mean that in every aspect…It must be good for the membership as a whole and it must be good for the person. More importantly it must be good for the religious community and not just the ‘Pagan’ one.
I have found ADF to be overall good. There are always those who rock the boat, who place self above the whole, and who may seek ambition in spite of the general good…but overall my experience with ADF has been positive, and I do believe that its members seek the highest good and progress for others.
Have I learned?
Yes. I completed the Dedicant Program a few years into my membership. In my mind the DP is one of the best learning programs in the ‘Pagan’ sphere of education. ADF does not seek to bolster it’s own hypothesis of what ‘Paganism” should be, instead it presents courses that require academic and scholarly brashness. Certainly there is a bit of ADF attitude involved in the programs – it’s liturgy is somewhat specialized, but it is also an example of the academic evolution one sees in the organization. The honesty of the training and the work involved in accomplishing ADF’s offered courses is stellar and comparable in my mind to college level research and course work.
My plan was and still is to continue my studies with ADF – moving toward clergy or initiate status when time permits.
ADF holds the ideal of openness in ritual and grove conduct. This allows for gatherings of friends and strangers alike. Like our ‘Pagan’ ancestors ritual is open and calls the people of a community to worship and renew bonds between people, the land, their gods, and ancestors. In this case ADF excels in bringing people together and also therefore in respecting the fellowship and differences that can be highlighted by such ventures.
The rites I first led were ADF inspired within a small grove, in fact some of the largest rites I’ve attended were ADF rites under a blue sky in the light of mid-day. I was proud to be a ‘Pagan’ in those rites, and I still am because of ADF’s need to serve the community in the open, not arrogantly displaying their faith but honorably devoted to ancient truths and wisdom once again explored and acknowledged.
Yes or No?
In the end I will rejoin. Though I don’t call myself a Druid, ADF is more about honestly looking toward the Indo-European mindset and practice. It is not beholden to it however, and the organization does allow for the wisdom that modernity has given to humanity. I think it does good, and I think there is more to learn within the organization that perhaps I would not learn outside of it.