One of the things I especially like about ADF and their approach to Paganism is the emphasis on learning and sound, up-to-date scholarship. Our Own Druidry states:
The Pagan revival has been troubled from the beginning by shoddy scholarship and indulgence in esoteric fantasy. When wishful thinking and poor science take the place of true knowledge, all of Paganism is harmed.
This is why it is important to learn about actual, historic Paganism and what we know of the Old Ways of Europe through modern archaeology, history and evidence. I’ve come across many books on Druidry and Paganism that make bold claims without a shred of evidence to back them up, or which are still working within an outdated and discredited 19th century paradigm. To this end, the Dedicant Path requires you to read, and write essays on, three books on different areas of Paganism: One on Indo-European history, one on modern Paganism and one on a “hearth culture” of your choice. To give a solid foundation of knowledge, the Dedicant Path tends to start with Indo-European history.
The book I’ve chosen to start with is A History of Pagan Europe by Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick (1995), which seems to be a good summary of what we do and don’t know about the pre-Christian Pagan cultures of Europe, from the Celts and Norse to the Romans and Greeks, with a chapter on the modern Pagan revival too.
I’ve read a bit around the subject, but I am looking forward to learning more and perhaps dispelling some of the common Neopagan myths out there.