I’ve been having a slightly frustrating on-again-off-again relationship with the OBOD Bardic Course, and so I’ve decided to take a bit of a break again and try something completely different.
Isaac Bonewits, founder of Ar n’Draiocht Fein (ADF), suggested that everyone interested in Druidry should investigate several different Druid groups in order to get a sense of the diversity within the Druid community. With that in mind, I have recently joined ADF!
ADF (Ar n’Draiocht Fein: Our Own Druidry) have always intrigued me with their very different take on Druidry. ADF are explicitly Neopagan and place a great deal of emphasis on up-to-date scholarship in order to reconstruct (as much as possible) the practices and ideas of pre-Christian Pagans. Unlike many modern Druid groups ADF do not take their influence from the fraternal Druid Revival literature of the 18th century, since much of it has been shown to be historically inaccurate and/or Christianised. The ‘ancient manuscripts’ forged by Iolo Morganwg, for instance, are right out!
The Dedicant Path course is the first year training programme of ADF, and seems weighted to the academic, with homework assignments, essays, book reports etc. As I work for a university, and have a strong background in academic research myself, this is music to my ears! I know lots of people who have criticised ADF for being too scholarly in its focus, but I really like this emphasis. I am planning on getting started on the Dedicant Path as soon as the main textbook arrives in the post from America, and I will be working through it with Michael J. Dangler’s Dedicant Path Through the Wheel of the Year, which has weekly homework assignments.
ADF does not restrict communication about its course materials to members-only as it does not operate on the ‘initiatory mystery school’ format that a lot of other Pagan groups do, so I will be able to blog my assignments as I go. If I have any ADF readers, then I certainly appreciate any feedback and advice on my DP work as I go!
ADF is an American group, and as far as I know there is only one grove in the UK which is about four hours away from me, so I will probably be doing most of the work as a solitary. As a massive introvert, that is fine by me, and I can also make use of the brilliant work of the Solitary Druid Fellowship, an ADF extension, as well.
I don’t know how this change in direction will go, or how it will affect my existing work with OBOD, of which I am still a member, but I am excited to see where ADF can take me for now at least. If nothing else, it will help me understand a different ‘take’ on Druidry and perhaps deepen my personal Druid path. Watch this space for updates!