The Geomantic Compass

 

Lately I’ve been experimenting again with Psychogeography.  If you’re not familiar with Psychogeography it has to do with experiencing the landscape in an abnormal way – an attempt is made to see the usual landscape in a different way.  Some people do this by walking their city-scape using the map of a different city, or by allowing queues experienced in the landscape to determine their destination, or using a tool or trigger to notice ignored things with a new eye. As a Pagan wanting to live more wholly, I see it also as a way to commune with the Genius Loci of where I live and to better understand the spirit of a particular place. As a Sociologist I also study and am aware of how structures controlled by State and Corporate actors can impose certain actions upon residents, groups, and people.  All these areas of the sacred and the profane are of interest to me and nothing is ignored when on a Psychogeographic adventure whether in an urban or natural setting.

I’ve done a bit of this in the past with pendulums,dowsing rods, and tarot – I am now using Geomancy when out for walks to determine where I walk and what to focus on.  It’s a bit like dowsing, but I am not a good dowser, and it is easier to use Geomancy cubes than to walk around with dowsing rods. I’ve crafted a Geomancy Compass from an old tin. I place my Geomancy cubes inside and give it a shake at crossroads to point me in the right (or wrong) direction or to point out things that may be of interest.

Geomancy is composed of 16 figures (see image below).  I won’t go over them here…but each figure has several Aspects to it as well as a main meaning. These Aspects, which I will discuss below, are what I used to construct my Geomancy Compass.

Brief overview of the 4 Aspects:

Each of the 16 geomancy figures has 4 Aspects; An Inner and Outer Aspect as well as a Mobile and Stable Aspect.  The Inner Aspect of each figure is assigned an Element (Earth,Air, Fire Water) – the Inner Element is the ruling Element of the figure. The Outer Aspect is also assigned an Element (Earth,Air,Fire,Water) – The Outer Element is how the figure relates to or exists in the world at large.

Each of the 16 figures also has either a Stable or Mobile assignment, this primarily has to do with the image of the figure itself.  When you put these 4 Aspects together, Inner – Outer – Stable – Mobile,  they help you interpret what the geomantic figure means in a general sense.

So what you’ve probably noticed is that being that there are 16 figures and 4 Elements, under each Element you’ll have 4 geomancy figures.

The Components of the Compass

4 Elemental Dice – in order to generate a figure – Red/Fire, Yellow/Air, Blue/Water, Green/Earth,  each line of a geomancy figure has a Fire, Air, Water, Earth line in that order, always.

Elemental Cheat Sheet – This, as you can see from the example, shows the Element symbol with each figure that belongs to its sphere either above or below it.  Being that this is a compass and therefore means that I am seeking a real Outer world conversation and effect on the physical plane this cheat sheet only includes the Outer Aspect Element assignments for the figures.  Yet, it does include both the Stable and Mobile Aspects – The Mobile is above the Element symbol and the Stable is below.

Also, for the purposes of using the figures as a Compass I have assigned directions to the 4 Elements. These are the common associations of Fire-South, Air-East, Water-West, Earth-North and for the purposes of using these as walking directives I have made Fire-South-go Behind, Air-East-go Right, Water-West-go Left, Earth-North-go Forward. The Stable figure which is below the Element tells me to only look in that direction and stay where I am, the Mobile figure which is above tells me to walk that way.

 

Using the Compass

The figures are always generated Top to Bottom in this order – Red die, Yellow die, Blue die, Green die – each line of a geomancy figure has a Fire, Air, Water, Earth line in that order, always.

Example: I put on my sunglasses, my shoes, and leave the house with my Geomancy Compass in hand.  I get to the end of my driveway and shake the compass.  I read the outcome of the dice  Red die, Yellow die, Blue die, Green die in that order. The result is Conjuctio an Earth sign; Conjuctio is a Mobile sign being above the Earth symbol so I walk forward crossing the street.  I walk about a block and reach the next street or crossroad or obstacle and shake the Compass again. The result is Albus an Air sign; Albus is a Stable sign being below the Air symbol so I look to the right and look for things of interest – maybe an odd sign, or a car, or anything else – In this case I take in the beautiful sunset and cloud cover over the mountains. I shake the Compass after a few minutes and get Via a Mobile Water sign; I continue my walk to the Left.

A single walk can turn into many turns of looking and walking. Also I have experimented with, when walking in a certain direction, shaking the Compass in order to ask where I should be looking which has garnered some interesting things I’ve missed when walking down familiar streets.  Another thing you can do is assign minutes or seconds to the four elements – so when asked to look in a certain direction a shake of the Compass can tell you how long to sit or stand looking depending on the figure generated, or upon seeing ‘something’ of interest you could ask whether or not the ‘something’ is the thing that was meant for you to see, more single dots may mean ‘no’, more double dots ‘yes’.  There are many ways this system can be worked with intuitive sincerity – just make sure there is consistency.

As an extra bit of interest you may want to work out a relationship with the Genius Loci where you are walking.  I keep a large stone by the front door of my home which I pour offerings upon for the Genius Loci of my neighborhood and area in which I live. I have taken to also touching it before I go for a walk or pouring a dribble of water upon it before I leave.  Simple acts like this will help establish a relationship with the land and possibly improve the power of your Compass communications.

Sources:

Greer, John Michael (1999). Earth Divination, Earth Magic.St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 1-56718-312-3

Greer, John Michael (2009). The Art and Practice of Geomancy. San Francisco: Weiser Books. ISBN 978-1-57863-431-6

Pennick, Nigel (1995). The Oracle of Geomancy. Capal Bann Publishing. ISBN 1-898307-16-4.

Skinner, Stephen (1980). Terrestrial Astrology: Divination by Geomancy. London: Routeledge & Kegan Paul Ltd.

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Thinking through

I have been thinking about renewing my ADF membership.  This is not an easy decision for me – I have been hard on Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship in the past…but I think that ADF has attempted to address some of the concerns I had, the concerns of many other members. I do not confront this choice flippantly, but it is an honest one that I feel I must address.

From the ADF website, frontpage:

“Our vision is that the Gods and Spirits are served in the modern world through:

  • Public temple worship with a skilled priesthood
  • Accessible religious training for all
  • A spiritual relationship with the Earth
  • Sustainable Pagan institutions
  • A flourishing family and community Pagan culture

We value:

  • Commonality of ritual practice
  • Honoring the Earth Mother
  • Scholarship and research
  • Reciprocity with the Gods and Spirits
  • Respect for others through living our virtues
  • Service to the community, land, and the Gods and Spirits” (2018)

These are ADF’s core ideals as a Church.  As a Pagan, how do I feel about these?  Do I feel these fit into what I think Paganism is and should move toward? Yes and No.

Thinking about each of those statements…..

“Our vision is that the Gods and Spirits are served in the modern world through” I’m not too hip on the fact that ADF right out of the gate presents its sole purpose as serving the gods (which should be lower case btw) and spirits.  Service to the community, yes.  Service and commitment to improving the self and others through learning and empowerment, yes.  The gods quite frankly can take care of themselves – granted I worship the gods and give offerings to many of them on a weekly/daily basis and understand the reciprocity that takes place between god (thing) and worshipper, but its not my primary goal in life to serve the gods every minute of the day.  In fact our pagan gods tell us directly not to be overly dependent upon them.

Public Temple Worship with ‘skilled’ priesthood – This is good for the most part.  Just what is meant by ‘Skilled’ priesthood I’m not sure – I’ve had horrendous experiences with ADF’s clergy programs – so I’m not convinced of ADF’s program oversight or that who is conferred priesthood necessarily is deserving. Pagans should inherently be wary of organizations that create hierarchies as Neo-Paganism is so much about personal understanding and in my opinion should be a revolt against the emulation of systems that are built on segregating members into various groups and intelligenstia. (0)

Accessible Training – Of course I agree with this (2)

A Spiritual relationship with the Earth – Fundamental to Pagan thought and practice and especially any org using the ‘Druid’ moniker. (2)

Sustainable Pagan Institutions – Not too sure what this means, rather an obtuse statement.  (0)

Flourishing Pagan culture – As long as it is good and serves the community, great. (2)

The We Value section are all ‘I agree’s’ for sure.  However, the ritual liturgy found in ADF is dry.  Quite frankly it’s rather boring, and the participant can sometimes feel left out because much of the attention is placed outside of the self, away from ones awareness.  One of the large complaints of mine is the Order of Ritual found in ADF – it inadvertantly sets up robotic worship, a congregational mode of religiosity that forces some into a watcher mode.  Being a Watcher is not Pagansim – the immediacy of Paganism is its power; doing, working, existing with the gods, ancestors, spirits.

ADF’s constant look toward growing and bettering, making their religion more visible as a public Indo-European religion is sometimes a blinding goal.  I’ve had my share of experiences with ADF personages who are so hell-bent on its active tenets of building and growing that they forget or ignore the tenets of virtue and humility and sincerity that religious practice synthesizes within the self – but that’s neither here nor there, and generally pagans, in my experience, are boastful people and can be bold in their actions, this may be different overseas and I’m usually the quite one…so this may just be my thing.

So, I’m still thinking about this – I always felt ADF was a good fit with me.  I keep telling myself that a member can’t like everything about the organization he’s part of…but I’m not quite sure yet how much I’m able to ignore in order to count myself back in the fold.

Sphere of Protection

As a member of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA) you will eventually be exposed to one of its fundamental practices; the Sphere of Protection.  The SoP, as it’s usually referred to within the AODA, is a very Western Hermetic/Esoteric practice (nothing new if you’ve been exposed to Golden Dawn style ritual or readings) of enlivening the self and the psyche.  The main practice in the SoP is the formation of an Elemental Cross within the the practitioner that is then used to construct extending lines of Intent (light) into the Horizontal, Vertical, and Extra Dimensional spheres of existence that are meant to seal up (and enlarge) the individual within time and space.

“The intention of the Elemental Cross Ritual is to create a spiritual space where negative energies cannot exist and to enhance positive energies for the benefit of the ritualist. The ritual is composed of seven distinct steps” (aoda.org)

  1. Preparation
  2. Touch your forehead – Usually assoc. with Mature Male energies/Spirit Above
  3. Touch your lower abdomen – Usually assoc. with Young Male energies/Spirit Below
  4. Touch your right shoulder – Usually assoc. with Mature Female energies
  5. Touch your left shoulder – Usually assoc. with Young Female energies
  6. Form a standing cross
  7. Complete the ritual

I’ve incorporated similar practices in the past, but more from an Indo-european standpoint, so the importance was placed on three’s not on fours and not on a Western understanding of the Elements.  I’ve attempted to work with the SoP ever since joining the AODA (and prior) but the use of godforms for the practice – being that my godforms are more in line with attributions of threes – just was not going to work because the SoP calls for a godform to be associated with the Head, Abdomen, Right and Left shoulders.  The AODA is very open to finding attributions that work for the ritualist/member – some people use animals, elements, plants, trees, directions just to name a few.

For a long time now I’ve been utilizing a similar empowerment rite, gleaned from the symbol of the Awen that fits my Heathen IE sensibilities and my Druid philosophy.  However, now that I am becoming more focused on AODA as a philosophical adjunct and gateway by which to practice some of my more Western magikal leanings, I’ve been struggling to come up with an SoP that works with the AODA recommendation in order that I might continue through the grades of the Order sincerely.

Runes are the primary lens through which I view my Heathen practice, Tarot is the lens through which I see my Western Magikal practice and being that AODA is a revival Druid order much of its ritual and teachings fit with modern Tarot wisdom due to a shared history.  These are two very different ways in which to perceive the world – The Runic much more tribal, the Tarot much more Western/modern. I’ve also for some time been conducting a practice in the evenings that incorporates the four tools of Tarot (sword, staff, cup, disc) as devices of empowerment due to the fact that my Western Magikal practice uses Tarot  as a vehicle through which evocation and meditation is accomplished.

My Sphere of Protection

Being that I feel Druidry is a philosophy of the natural world and the immediate surroundings I came up with an SoP that reflects this that still has Elemental and Tarot significance.

  1. Preparation
  2. Forehead – “Sun” (Staff)
  3. Abdomen – “Earth” (Disc)
  4. Right Shoulder – “Star” (Sword)
  5. Left Shoulder – “Moon” (Cup)
  6. Cross – Arms up and out, hands down.  Imagine the light from above and below moving into infinity and the same for the horizontal. Say, ” I am Restored by the Cup of Sympathy, Strengthened by the Disc of Valor, Armed with the Sword of Reason, Supported with the Staff of Intuition.”  A third line of infinite light is imagined extending to the front and behind you.  These lines of radiant light begin to encompass you and create the Sphere of Protection spinning about and within you.
  7. Closing – Breath in the light, calmly enter your normal consciousness.  ” I walk by Moon, Earth, Star, and Sun – with Sympathy, Valor, Reason, and Intuition this day.”
  8. Finish “May all Beings know Peace, Truth, and Dignity.”

I don’t bother with the summoning/banishing of the elements in their appropriate directions as is called for by the full AODA SoP – this doesn’t sit well with me – proclaiming peace, trust, and dignity in all worlds to all beings is enough for me to feel like I’ve acknowledged all realities/allies and been acknowledged in return.

An Update 3/23/18

I’ve made a few changes to my SoP Practice that seem to be working a little better for me:

6. Cross – Instead of using the symbolism and the statement of the “Cup, Disc, Sword, and Staff” I am vocalizing “Light (to coincide with the Sun statement), Life ( Earth), Law (Star), Love (Moon)” – This was inspired by RJ Stewart’s The Way of Merlin (p.83) – as I envision the three dimensional lines extending out and into a sphere of light around me.

7. Closing – Hold hands palm together at chest (namaste pose) and dwell in the light and knowledgeof the sphere of protection created within and without.

8. Finish “May all Beings know Peace, Truth, and Dignity.”

If done in the morning this practice is done twice – Prior to my Stadhagaldr practice and then after.

 

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Cauldrons of Poesy, Inspiration, and the Self

Cauldrons of Poesy, Inspiration, and the Self

The beginning of all experience is the body/self …
My experience is that the body and the human mind/spirit are the primary vehicles through which awareness is expanded and manipulated.  Gods,Entities, Spirits, Ancestors, or whatever you wish to call external archetypes/thought forms can help – but all of the tools necessary to develop ourselves internally and externally are part of the human experience.  Beyond religious dogma and mythology we have the inherent ability to extend our perception and exacerbate our own spiritual evolution.
In the spirit of that idea another personal meditative practice of mine incorporates the Cauldrons of Poesy.   The Cauldrons of Poesy hypothesis comes from the 7th century, probably earlier but that’s when it was written down; it’s a Celtic idea revealing that each person has three Cauldrons/Wells of inspiration that exist within.  These Cauldrons turn and overturn, fill-up and empty depending on the persons disposition and life challenges.  I would recommend reading the poem which documents their function, but to understand or practice this meditation it isn’t necessary.
The Practice
The goal with this meditation is to turn the Cauldrons upright.  The intent is to fill the Cauldrons one by one with light or with the water of inspiration and have them feed and flow into one another.   When this is accomplished you will feel an intense energetic fire originating from the internal location of the Cauldron.  This idea plays well with my Runic and Odian practices as Odin is the master of Inspiration and the Runes are a system through which Inspired wisdom is gained, Wells/vessels/cauldrons also play a large and important role in Norse cosmology.  The lore of Odroerir, poetic excitation and deep occult wisdom gained from Kvasir also come to mind.  The CoP idea is also, obviously, derived from Celtic sources and therefore, perhaps, historically may have been utilized by the Paleo-Pagan Celts, or at least understood in some fashion and sits well with the spirit of Druid Revivalism.
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The first Cauldron is the Cauldron of Warming (incubation) and is located in the area of the belly.  This Cauldron is fundamental to Health and Body Constitution, and in a healthy person is upright, in the sick it is turned and unable to refill or hold its contents properly.
The second Cauldron is the Cauldron of Motion (Doing or Vocation) and is located in the chest.  This Cauldron is said to be turned on its side in most people, but fills and moves upright as artistic mastery or creativity is achieved or sought.
The third Cauldron is the Cauldron of Wisdom and is located in the head.  This Cauldron is upside down in everyone, but turns as one learns and develops ones reasoning and gains knowledge. I understand this Cauldron as being filled when a person uses knowledge patiently, applying wisdom and experience gained from life lessons, wisdom that usually comes via introspection, reading, studying, or the challenges of personal development.
Being that I work within a Runic paradigm I associate Runes with each of the Cauldrons.  Laguz is associated with the Cauldron of Warming, Eiwhaz with Motion and Raidho with Warming.  Why do I associate these Runes with the Cauldrons?  These three represent the three worlds for me; Underworld, Midworld, and Upper World.  You could certainly associate Ogham or even Tarot symbolism with the Cauldrons, or simply use the cauldrons on their own.  I merely use Runes because they hold the lessons of the Cauldrons within them nicely, they are not meant to supersede the Cauldrons power but only to summarize it.  I visualize the Cauldron as either bearing the Rune on it’s side or reflecting the Rune in its waters or light once it’s filled.
The Meditation
+ Get into your usual mediation posture, whatever that may be.  Achieve a state of calm and relaxed breathing.  Your breathing should be seen as coming up from your feet or originating in the belly, filling the belly first then the lungs.  The out breath exits as normal through the head.
+ As you breath become aware that with each breath your groin relaxes, the lower muscles of the abdomen also relax the more you breath and you come to realize that the earth supports you.  You no longer need to hold your tension in this area, but you are allowed to relax it and the belly region. As you breath through the following steps the earth will supply some of the energy to fill the Cauldrons, but not all, you should utilize the earth to kickstart the process but not sustain it.
+ The Cauldron of Warming > You will begin to visualize the Cauldron in the belly, seeing it as upright but empty.  The more you relax the belly and abdomen region it will begin to fill with Light or with Inspiration, with each breath the volume increases.  This may be a slow process, but as you fill it and your breath becomes more pronounced in the belly region, you will begin to feel the Fires of Being ignite and intensify in the region.
+ Once the Cauldron of Warming is filled the light will spill over and up into the middle of the chest where you will begin to visualize the existence of the next Cauldron.
+ The Cauldron of Motion > You will begin to visualize the Cauldron in the chest. Your breathing now should begin in the belly and rise smoothly into the chest and out with very little effort.  As you breath you are still fueling the Cauldron of Warming, but now that it is full the Light/Inspiration spills upward to fill the Cauldron of Motion.  As the Cauldron of Motion becomes more concrete you should feel the Light or essence of Inspiration begin to coalesce within the vessel.  As with the Cauldron of Warming it should flower with radiance and the Fire of Being and be physically felt. Take your time filling it don’t rush, allow your breath to enliven the area with energy and life.  Stay at this step as long as it takes to feel the Cauldron come to life, or just to enjoy the energy.
+ The Cauldron of Wisdom > Begin to visualize the Cauldron in the head.  Your breathing should now be a steady stream, a rythm that should be steady and calm.  We still breath into the belly fueling the Cauldron of Warming, which spills upward into the Cauldron of Motion, and now overspills into Cauldron of Wisdom.  As it spills upward the Cauldron in our head takes shape and the energy begins to fill it as well.  Again, don’t rush allow the energy to spill from one Cauldron to the next, and enjoy the effervescent feeling that comes from sitting, breathing, and living.
+ Once you have enjoyed the cycle of filling the cauldrons and the Cauldron of Wisdom is filled the overspill will exit out the top of the head.  With each out breath the life essence/Inspiration will flow out of the head like a fountain of light.  You can either see it as showering over the body and covering the body with light and energy, or it can spill up into the cosmos marrying earth and sky which each breath.
+ Ending the meditation begins by no longer filling the Cauldrons.  No longer are you pulling energy from the earth or from your base, the Cauldrons are full and they no longer feed each other.  Stop the flow of energy from the head and see the energy as being retained internally.  I’d recommend to touch your forehead to the ground to actively ground the self and cutoff the expelling of energy, this is a very effective way to eliminate energy drain and keep your power/energy/Life essence internalized.
+ Take a few breaths once you open your eyes and think upon what you accomplished.  The Cauldrons should be remembered as being upright and filled with your Life essence/Inspiration.
Awen, Odin, and the Ravens

Awen, Odin, and the Ravens

In John Michael Greer’s The Celtic Golden Dawn, a simple ritual is presented utilizing the Awen as a replacement for the Cabbalistic Cross section of the LBRP.  The version presented in the book (page 31) is an inspired bit of Celtified occult wisdom that replaces the Golden Dawn/Hermetic ritual with Celtic names and phrases.  Even though I enjoyed Greer’s Celtic Golden Dawn creation I found it far too heavily inspired by the Hebrew Cabbala for my taste and stopped after working my way through the Ovate Grade.

However, being the Druish sort of fellow I am I still use the Awen attunement/empowerment ritual with a slight twist.  By substituting the Celtic words and phrases for more Odian ones I can marry my Runic religious work with my Druish eco-occult philosophy.

My Awen empowerment rite

Keep in mind that Greer’s Awen or ‘Rite of the Rays’ version of the Cabbalastic Cross is identical in spirit to the Golden Dawn version; the occultist is trying to empower herself and attune to the powers within and without. This practice can be done as a daily empowering yogic performance or as a beginning and/or end to ritual or meditation.

Stand facing North (or East).  Achieve a state of calm and begin to imagine yourself as large and towering into the sky.  Raise hands above your head and reach for the glowing essence of the sky.

  1.  Bring hands down to the crown of your head bringing between them the cosmic  power of the sun and sky, moon and stars.  Vocalize “Muninn” as the light falls into the crown of your head.
  2.  Bring hands down before your forehead, the light follows your movement filling your head, thumbs barely touch the skin. Vocalize “Lyke” as the light cascades down to your feet and into the ground.
  3. Extend your right arm down and slightly diagonal away from the body.  Vocalize “Odhr” as the light in your head flows down to your hand and beyond.
  4. Extend your left arm down and diagonal away from the body. Vocalize “Ond” as the light in your head flows down to your hand and beyond.
  5. Bring your arms up to cross your chest.  Vocalize “Huginn” as you marry the cosmic power within your arms and body igniting the internal self in radiance.
  6. Sweep the hands back down diagonally and end by Vocalizing “Odin” once, twice, or three times.
  7. Take some time to digest what you’ve done and experienced.  Three breaths usually is enough to end this practice with respect for yourself and the energies.

What does it mean? This practice brings you in touch with several Odian views and energies.

Muninn means Memory and is one of Odin’s ravens. To the Runester Muninn is a matrix of lore and mystery, ancient wisdom that bubbles with Rune knowledge.  Even though in this practice the wisdom is coming from above it should be perceived as coming from the multiverse and therefore all around us from all points of perception.

Lyke (Leek) is the body, the sacred vessel of existence, sometimes associated with a Ve or a sacred area.  This is one of the gifts given to man by Odin in his tripartite form as Vili-Ve-Odin or Lodhur- Hoenir – Odin.  Ve (Lodhur) gifted the physical body to man to understand and interact with the worlds.

Odhr is thought to be the force of inspiration, the fury of being.  This was given by Vili (Hoenir) to man and is the root of the name Odin.  Odin is the god of furious wisdom and inspiration – we too were given that power.

Ond is the divine spark of life the breath of existence.  This was given by Odin to man.

Huginn means mind (will) and is Odin’s other raven.  Very simply Huginn is the will of the occultist.  Muninn comes from above moving downward, Huginn comes from below and within moving upward.

This act is a powerful realization that the Runester embodies the nature of Odin and is not a subservient recipient of these life gifts but is instead a powerful ally and partner in the unfolding of the multiverse.  The Runester is not a worshiper of Odin per-say but through acts such as this is seeking to walk the same roads as Odin and establish her own Will by winning Rune wisdom.

If one wishes to take this Awen/Odian empowerment further the occultist can imbue the practice mentally with Runes as well.  The Lyke stage can be likened to the Aett of Fehu (Fehu-Wunjo); the Odhr stage to the Hagal Aett (Hagal-Sowilo); the Ond stage to the Tyr Aett (Tyr-Odal).  I see the Runes extending within my body into the respective area of attention > The body, the right arm, the left arm from top to bottom.

This form of body attunement can offer much in the way of meditation and ongoing speculation.  Try it for a few days and see how you like it.

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A scribble of the Odian Awen

Druish and those Druids

I’ve been doing tons of soul searching these days about this Druish (Druid) thing –   Is it important to have in my life? And why? And what does that mean?

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is important in my life and not in the way that it has been previously.  What does that mean?  Well, it means that for me Druidry is not a Religion in and of itself, at least not to someone like myself who practices a very Heathen/Norse Religion.  For me Druid/Druish goes beyond any kind of specific tenet or dogma or even mythology.  It carries with it a history of Nature, Truth, and Mysticism that has a definition hundreds of years long through many varied changes, organizations, and minds.  It’s difficult to say for me that any particular era in that long history is any more relevant than another…

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I’ve been trying on the operations and rituals of a few different Druid groups. Most have very Wiccan-esque, Golden Dawn inspired aspects that just don’t sit well with me.  I mainly stick with a Fire, Well, Tree composition as the basis for much of my religious work, which stems from studies of Indo-european mytho constructs.  I’m just not well suited to a Hermetically inspired religious framework I’m finding, so most of the revival era Druidisms are not cutting it.  More than anything I’m personally finding that Druidry is not a central focus of my practice but an addition.  My practice is not going to change drastically and if you’ve read my Morning Devotional posts you’re more or less familiar with it.  I am very happy with my Religious practice as it is and I’m not going to pepper it with components that don’t jive with it such as directional honorings or elemental correspondences or cabalistic craziness.  I’m still working on a personal definition of Druid –  but Nature, Truth, Mysticism (a definition that sat well with me some 10-15years ago) pretty much sums it up,  though one of Peace, Knowledge, and Power sounds good too. Those definitions don’t contain a ‘this is how Druids do ritual’ or this is what they believe slogan, it merely holds a philosophical outlook.

So where does that leave me.  I think it leaves me with RDNA, or it’s like; A non-hierarchical, non-dogmatic, and a very non-specific form of Druishishness that is not Revival based, but is Reformed and open.  The one thing I didn’t like about ADF is that it calls itself a Religion ” ADF will be a Neopagan religion..,” in the words of it’s founder, Isaac Bonewits.  I can respect that vision, but it’s not what Druid means to me.

I’m left wondering still if I need to belong to or support a Druid organization or if my current practice is enough.  Druidry does not modify my practice but energizes it, it is not a practice in and of itself but a mindset…in the end perhaps it really doesn’t matter one way or another.

 

Contemplation of Continuance

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.

Me (gray shirt)+ the Grove Organizer of EDPG @ ADF/Grove info booth PPD 2009

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.

Is ADF fun?Copy of adf-roots-enc

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.