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

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 “Awen” 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 (Lik) 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

Breathing Sincerity

This post will be a ramble of recent thoughts and reflections on certain practices of mine that have been deepening with time. To include such topics as Taoist Alchemy, Stadhagaldr, non-violence, meditation, and the power of the Breath…I apologize ahead of time for any possible incoherence along the way.

I am a practitioner of Stadhagaldr and that’s where this begins.  After having practiced this form of Rune wisdom for several years now I’ve come to realize that it is not merely a mnemonic device for learning Runes.  It has become a central part of my Pagan practice out of which everything else arises.  In my head, I see it as a form of western QiGong, that branch of eastern Taoist metaphysics that brings energy into the body through movement and stances.  SG accomplishes many of the same benefits for the practitioner, but also some unique ones;

  • Rune memorization
  • Rune activation in the outer world
  • Rune activation in the inner world
  • Focus
  • Body awareness
  • Breath awareness
  • Manipulation of self time

The True Man breathes through the heels, the common man breathes through the throat. (Tao Te Ching 61)

One of the main lessons of SG is that of breath and True Breathing.  Breathing is a way to peace and stillness, to rejuvenation and insight, to calm and active intent. In Celtic lore we have the idea of the Cauldrons of Poesy, points of inspiration and power born into every individual; The Cauldron of Warming, of Motion, and Wisdom.  These points are easily accessible and fill-able through manipulation of the breath, just as in the practice of chakra enhancement or balancing. In Taoist Alchemical texts we also see the Three Treasures of Essence, Breath, and Spirit, specifically Taoism links the activation of these three treasure in the human with the cultivation of Spirit, breath being the sole tool of development.  The Rune Row also has it’s three’s, the entirety of all it’s mystery is found in the order and chaos of three’s..The Aett system is born out of both the physical nature of the world and also the lessons of the multiverse and it’s esoteric components. Breathing becomes a way to activate the body  and it’s points of well-ness that inherently reside within.  It’s not important to realize these three points, but only to understand that breathing moves and passes through the body and invigorates the self in a progressive manner.

With this in mind, I have found that SG is most powerfully integrated into the self when the breath is not constrained.  This means that one should not be focused on deep breathing, or on rhythmic breathing patterns such as 4 seconds in, hold for 2, then out for another 4.  It means allowing the breath and body to determine the need of breathing.  SG then becomes a way for you to train yourself to be conscious of your breathing and not to hold it or force it, but instead to allow it to move through your body with cause when necessary or with unnoticed ease.

The gentle outlasts the strong.

The obscure outlasts the obvious.

The soft overcomes the hard.

The slow overcomes the fast.

Let your workings remain a mystery.

Just allow people to see the results. (Tao te Ching 36)

A lesson gained from this comes also from a previous post of mine on a dream insight I was given.  ” With no enemies, we know peace.” or simply, “No Enemies Know Peace”.  If we begin to cultivate peace within ourselves, accepting for ourselves a non-violent attitude toward our own selves, we can begin to overcome outside violence with others and our environments.  This is predicate upon understanding that violence is not only physical.  We do violence to ourselves with our own thoughts, with what we eat, with our failure to exercise and meditate.  Once one begins to focus on the breath as the beginning of peace with ourselves, we begin to make peace with the world at large.  When we hold our breath and do not allow it to flow our hearts beat faster, stress invades the body, anxiousness escalates.  Learning to release the breath by allowing it to roll untethered is the harbinger of non-violence within and without.

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Cultivating Power and Peace with Stadhagaldar

My method of SD is to practice it outside whenever possible, the connection to the land can be a vital part of developing internal power and Rune resonance.

My SG practice:
Stand with arms at your side feet hip width apart. Move your awareness into your feet and breath in and out three times with easy steady breaths.  The breath should be thought of as entering the feet and rising into the belly, the exhale then moves up into the chest and out through the top of the head. We want to become the conduit between earth and sky and the breath is how we accomplish this task.
The point here is to become settled with the breath and body, take as long as you need here, evaluate your steadiness and your bodies state of calm.
A single Rune for me has two parts to it’s activation and mingling with the body.  The In breath and the Out breath.  When we form a Rune we become the lesson prevalent in it’s physical appearance, we are literally bringing that Rune into existence, giving it a tangible appearance and feeling in the world and energizing our selves as well.
Fehu for instance, for me, begins with arms outstretched just as it usually appears. My In breath comes both from the feet and from the lower of the two arms – the In breath meets where the staff of the Rune and the lower arm meet – the Out breath leaves the body through the upper arm and the remaining staff out through the head.
Uruz In breath through the feet and the Out breath through the arms back to the earth.
Thurisaz formed by clasping hand before the chest to create the “O”.
In breath through the feet and to the upper arm, halfway down the turn.  The Out breath moves through the rest of the turn and down to the staff, then up and out through the head.  For Runes that bare links and “O” shapes, I feel and envision a magnification of energy in the space.
Ansuz In breath is much like Fehu, in through the feet and the lower of the arms.  Out breath travels the rest of the staff to the head and out through the upper arm back to the earth.
Raidho form has one foot extended before the other and hands clasped at the crown of the head, elbows bent in front of face.  In breath is through both feet.  Out breath is energized by the “O” and visualized as being kept within the torso and head.
I’m not going to go through them all, but you get the picture.  Once you begin to realize that breathing = intention, and the less you try to force it the calmer and steadier, yet more energetic you’ll be you can move on to a more fluid movement with the Runes.  Just remember not to hold the breath, ever, but to allow it to calmly move within the body as needed.

Sky, Sea, and Stone

Here’s a bit of personal Rune wisdom.  I look for relationships among the Runes; relationships of opposites, of like themes, relationships that detail a progression from one idea to the next.  If you’re path is Indo-European oriented and not just modern Occult or Wiccan influenced you’re probably not dealing in the paradigm that utilizes the four elements as it’s base.  Instead you’ve probably come to the conclusion that 3 is the magic number, the elemental standard and the idea of 4 was not so much an Indo-European idea but certainly was in use in the ancient middle east and greatly influenced the Hermetic traditions.

The Runes hold this wisdom.  Not just in the apparent setup of the Aetts, which literally means Clan, and displays the common social structure found in many Indo-european cultures; The Aett of Fehu = Farmer (workers, laborers, land-tenders), The Aett of Hagal = Warriors, and The Aett of Tyr = Wise Rulers (Kings, Lawyers, Priests).  If one understands the Runes well enough, they begin to reveal patterns among themselves, these patterns blossom from Aett to Aett, between and among Runes that at first seem to have little in common and are not in the same Aett.

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In my previous post A Rune Meditation I discussed one such relationship between Eiwhaz and Jera.  However, other important Rune combinations are found using Runes not in pairs that may contradict each either, such as the pair relationships that begin with Eiwhaz and Jera and working outward through the Rune row, threesome combinations also divulge a deeper knowledge and display a coherence among the Runes that invalidates any inklings of randomness to the order of the Futhark.

A very important threesome in my practice is the Raidho, Eiwhaz, and Laguz threesome.  These Runes are all fourth in their particular Aetts and afford a wealth of knowledge to the Runester.  The complex revealed here in a not so occult manner is the ancient concept of Sky, Sea, and Stone or Fire, Well, and Tree or Upper, Mid, and Under Worlds.

Raidho is the wheel and holds the mysteries of not only travel and change but also the esoteric relevance of Cosmic Movement and the Order of the heavens above, represented by the Cosmic Wheel of the Sun and Stars, order out of chaos.

Eiwhaz is the axis, that which unites below and above, chaos and reason, and all polarities.  It is Yggdrassil the great holder of Worlds, that which extends from the great wells of chaotic mystery and wisdom to the heights of Asgard and the realms of Reason.

Laguz is the water of the psychic current found within mankind and Esoterically represents the Wells of original unbridled and ancient wisdom.   That which is embodied by the Underworld and the water of chaos.

Meditation upon this threesome can be an eye opening experience.  I’d recommend laying out the entire Rune row vertically to begin understanding this threesome better.  A meditation with the three can begin by taking 3 breaths to develop awareness of the Well symbolized by Laguz beneath you, 3 breaths to realize the Tree symbolized by Eiwhaz within you, and 3 breaths to become aware of the turning of Raidho above you followed by 9 breaths to link them together. Breath in bringing up the powers of Laguz (the Well)  through Eiwhaz ( the Tree) to Raidho (the Fires of cosmic light and reason).   The out breath then begins with Raidho down through Eiwhaz and to Laguz.  So awareness of the world beneath, the body, and the head and beyond becomes a powerful tool for self awareness and balance.

A mystics attempt at demystifying and re-mystifying the Tarot

One of the challenges facing the new Tarot student is coming to a personal understanding of what Tarot is or is not.   Does it hold the answer for everything past and present, or is it just a collection of paper with pretty pictures?  That’s a large spectrum to begin with, but I think the extremity of those positions is fairly honest  in how both skeptics and enthusiasts see Tarot.

I’ve studied copious amounts of Tarot material, and the one thing I’ve taken away from it is this; Tarot, as modern readers and users know it, has very little in common with the card game (s) it was meant to be used for when it (or its very similar predecessor) was created in the 15th century.  All the thousands of books on the Tarot are merely guides on how everyone else perceives Tarot, and if you’re using Tarot in any way as a spiritual/mystical/life informing-affirming tool you’re relying on a very kabbalistic/hermetic creation of the 19th century. Yes, you can read the Golden Dawn material and derive all the meanings that modern practitioners use (most without even knowing themselves where much of that symbolism derives from), you can read the how-to books, and those on Tarosophy…But if you honestly look at and question the Tarot what will be your personal stance on the cards?

My stance has mostly always been that Tarot is nothing special.  I don’t charge my cards with crystals, I don’t assume they hold the keys to universal knowledge, and I don’t expect them to answer all the problems plaguing my sub-conscious.  More than not I lean toward the Tarot being a bunch of paper with pretty pictures.  Yet, I read Tarot and I work with Tarot nearly on a daily basis.  Odd you say.  Not really, I respond.  Things in my opinion don’t hold power – people do.

Tarot is a repository of wisdom, yes.  It is not wisdom in and of itself.  Tarot bares (or can bare) in it’s images generations of knowledge, a heritage of what it means to live in a Western society.  It conveys the psychological and sociological truths that we as modern individuals have been adapted to live within for hundreds of years at this point.  The multi-layered fabric of the Tarot is woven from the threads of that which we all share, it’s a mirror reflecting the great ‘Dreaming’ of Western culture – the truths of work, relationships, life challenges, our emotional well being, religion, etc.

Crowley, in his popular book The Book of Thoth expounded that the Tarot is a representation of the Cosmos, that each card is also a being, and that the deck is literally the composition and culmination of the Wisdom of Thoth.   I don’t think the Cosmos is written in the Tarot, I feel it’s wisdom is much more terrestrial and immediate to our lives – I don’t feel that each card is a unique entity but a mirror of our own existence – and Thoth had very little to do with the creation of a 15th century card game.   And to be blunt true/historical Tarot should have nothing to do with Kabbalistic wisdom.  Can it? Sure.  The beauty of Tarot is that, again, it’s a reflection of what the Reader brings to it…I tend to be pretty rational (in my opinion) when using tools like Tarot.  Some would say though that Tarot is a tool of the irrational..so there you go.

My tendency is toward seeing Tarot as a Reality Simulation device.  It’s a technology that functions as  a Simulation of events and life situations based in reality.   Jean Baudrillard, a French sociologist is a great place to start with such thinking.  He goes a bit further to say that perhaps most of our icons and the symbols of our society (which Tarot of course uses and probably IS) are mostly historical and even fictitious to the modern westerner, but I digress…There is a Tarot book by Emily Auger which discusses briefly these concepts, and even postulates that Tarot is a kind of Cyber Reality Simulation, which is an absolutely inspired way of looking at the Tarot.  Cyber here means artificial or a Technology that has been manufactured or created, just as the Tarot is a technology; an artificial representation of reality. This concept really influenced my image of the Tarot and what it means to be a Reader – and the mental image of a Cyberpunk Astralnaut jacked into a fanned out Tarot spread while he co-mingles fiction, fact, and history into a hazy surreal blend of human potential is an awesome ideal.

Tarot, to end it all, is about what makes sense to you in your world.  Just as the final Major is The World (or perhaps the Fool), it’s up to the journeyer to discover just what it will be.  Use the books, use the websites, and the tutorials but remember that the mirror of the tarot is for you to understand and should not be used as just another technology meant to box you in.

Reviving Spring

Once in a while I get to a purging point in my practice – a realization that certain avenues of study, experimentation, or work may not be productive, may be unnecessary, or even detrimental.  This usually happens to me over a period of weeks or days, and once in awhile I get hit while in the midst of a working that it is completely wrong and not where I want to travel.

This purging doesn’t only happen with practices but also with the accoutrements of practice.  I’m not a pagan that likes to get attached to objects and items.  Since I place very little importance on ritual items or altar pieces I know that when I begin to acquire too many “things” it’s time for a purge.  I tend to think of my practice as very subtle and simple – when it becomes overly complicated it is also time to reflect and modify.

I’m also incredibly aware of the synchronicities in my life.  I don’t ignore slight pushes toward certain practice that the cosmos (the gods or ancestors) wants me to explore.  I’ve been developing more of an internal practice these days, a push backward into my past – a past that was focused more on meditative reflection.  Books, media, studies, and my daily occurrences have been easing me back into this…not necessarily away from the robust and physical practices that I have been utilizing, but into a more intimate practice that regards silence and reflection as necessary components to my spiritual movements.

There is a tenuous balance between the internal experience of religion and the external one.   One can move too far in either direction and forget the importance of the other.  The purge is a step toward critically acknowledging what I have forgotten and maybe what I have chosen to ignore.

Spring is an excellent time to slough off the extraneous stuff that I have accumulated.  Most of the stuff is stuff, but some of it is technique or practices or mental obstructions that just don’t fit with where I’m headed.

 

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.