This week, the DP assignment was to make the First Oath. I admit to being pretty nervous about making a ‘binding oath’ at this early stage in the journey, especially since I have previous experience of starting a new spiritual commitment and it not quite working out for me. However, I was reassured to read that the oath is emphatically not an oath to ADF or a vow to finish the DP, but rather a sign of commitment and dedication to your own path.
The wording of the ‘standard’ oath in the DP manual, whilst very nice, was not quite what I wanted to say and since the DP encourages you to personalise your oath, I used it as the basis to write my own version.
The most significant change is that I describe myself as seeking the wisdom of the Gods, not as worshipping them. I am more of a pantheist/animist and archetypal or ‘mythological polytheist’, so I am not sure that I could describe my relationship with the Gods as one of worship, but I can certainly seek wisdom from the old myths in which they appear, and the powers and strengths that they symbolise. I also let myself have a ‘loophole’ written in that allows me to stop if I feel the DP is not for me at any point. All in all, I am very happy with the wording of my oath, which I have posted below the cut:
For ‘extra credit’ because I’ve always been one of those students (I know, I can’t help it!), my partner and I decided to do the first ritual suggested in Our Own Druidry, the DP handbook. This ritual is simply called ‘Your first Druidic working’ and is a very simple devotional that makes use of some of the key concepts in ADF Druidry such as the two powers of fire and water, and the three Kindreds of ancestors, nature-spirits and deities. Here’s our first attempt at a home shrine/altar set up:
Shrine. Credit: Crypticraven
We’ve got a version of the ADF triple hallows with the fire represented by three candles, the well being a lovely blue stoneware bowl with a seashell in it that my partner picked up on the beach on holiday (so the water is symbolically connected to the sea) and the world-tree being a houseplant that is growing far too big for his (yes I personify my houseplants) pot. When he gets re-potted and moved I’d like to have a Bonsai there. The skull is covered in Celtic knotwork and represents the ancestors. On the right is a fossil ammonite which serves as a reminder of our evolutionary origins and the deep age of the earth, and a small figure of a meditating wizard/druid that we picked up in a little shop in Cornwall.
The ritual itself was incredibly simple, and beautiful in its simplicity. There was no Wiccanate ‘faff’ with set-up, no casting circles, consecrations, or calling quarters, just lighting the candles and silvering the well. I drank a toast of beer to the ancestors, nature-spirits and deities and that was that more or less. It felt like something I could see myself doing as a daily devotional in the mornings and/or evenings. As a first experience with doing ritual in an ADF style, it was very positive.
So this weekend, I got round to starting the Dedicant Path with ADF, along with my lovely partner (so we’re acting as a small ‘grovelet’ or Family Hearth). I’m using Michael J. Dangler‘s Dedicant Path Through the Wheel of the Year as a guide, and I thought I’d blog my ‘homework’ assignments as I go.
I hope to be able to keep to the week-by-week format of Dangler’s book, but I’m sure that work/holidays/life will get in the way a few times, so I don’t necessarily expect to finish the DP in one year, but hopefully blogging might help keep me accountable, if even only for myself.
DP homework assignments will all be titled like above, and tagged with ‘DP homework’ so they are easy to find/avoid as you see fit. This week’s homework was some introductory reading laying out some of the core concepts of ADF, the nine virtues etc., and a bunch of questions to answer. My responses are below the cut, and my other half’s answers can be found HERE.
The gods of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. Image from Wikipedia.
So, true to my initial word when re-starting this blog, I’ve stayed out of the various poytheism vs. paganism debates and internet slanging matches that have predictably erupted again on the web (must be slow news season again).
However, it has made me think and when I think, I can’t help but write, especially since ADF seems to place an emphasis upon a certain type of polytheism. From what I understand, however, ADF is about orthopraxy, not orthodoxy, and members are not required to hold any particular belief. The polytheism of ADF ritual is a standardised rule for ritual, not a dogma to sign creedal assent to.
Long-term readers may have noticed a shift away from hard atheism in my thinking lately, and I do feel that I am opening up to the possibility of some sort of ‘spirituality’, but I am by no means a hard polytheist. My view, whilst still non-theistic in the narrowly literal sense tends more to the archetypal ‘Jungian polytheism‘ of John Halstead than the so-called hard ‘devotional polytheism‘ of John Beckett (both excellent bloggers, by the way, so check them out).
Look what arrived at last!
That’s a copy of ‘Our Own Druidry’ otherwise known as the Dedicant Path Manual, ‘The ADF Dedicant Path through the Wheel of the Year’ by Michael J. Dangler, and the latest issue of ‘Oak leaves’, the ADF journal. In the background is Bartholomew the houseplant.
Looks like I have everything I need to get started then! No excuses now…
Just a very quick post today (got some other things planned to talk about this week though) to introduce you to another Druid blogger who’s also starting out on the ADF Dedicant Path soon, and is also my lovely other half. We’ll be doing the course together, and both blogging as we go so expect a lot of overlap and linking!
The blog can be found at ‘Treading the Green Path‘, so why not drop by and say hello?