The final piece of “homework” from The Dedicant Path Through the Wheel of the Year is a set of questions for reflection and inspiration to create a plan for living your own Druid path going forward. While I am not continuing within ADF, I am continuing with Druidry, and I thought it would be useful to consider these questions in light of my future Druid plans. The Q&A are a bit long, so are behind the cut:
1. Looking at all the things you’ve done, what was the hardest requirement to you? Was it one you expected? Do you feel that you fully understand the requirement or is there room for improvement?
The hardest part of the DP for me was without a doubt the Mental Discipline requirement which called for five continuous months of meditation or mental discipline practice. Going into the DP, I knew that this would be an area that I’d struggle with, as my previous attempts at meditation were always sporadic at best. I managed to complete it, but have not kept up regular meditation as well as I should have liked to after finishing. There is definitely plenty of room for improvement, and I hope that my upcoming OBOD studies will help me deepen my meditation practice as time goes on.
2. What was the easiest requirement for you? Do you feel that you learned something from it? Describe the value of the requirement in a way that has meaning to you.
The easiest requirement was probably the Nine Virtues essays, as each one was fairly short and straightforward to write. I definitely learned a lot from thinking about each Virtue in turn, and they challenged my ethical perceptions and made me think a lot more about what it means to live a virtuous and moral life.
3. Which requirement surprised you the most?
Probably the Eight High Days. I didn’t expect how much doing regular ritual at the High Days would effect me, and provide a really positive structure to my year. I found the practice of “turning the wheel of the year” as it were, to be very moving and something I will take forward throughout my life.
4. What things did you learn that you would most like to continue with?
Regular ritual for High Days, as I said above, but also Nature Awareness. Spending time in nature, becoming more aware of all the life around me, and deepening my connection to it, was a profound experience that has changed the way I see and relate to the world, and I feel that it is at the heart of Druidry.
5. Now that you have given your Dedicant Oath before your gods and your community, how do you see yourself living that Oath daily? What sort of things will you do to fulfil the Oath you took?
Well, I didn’t take the Dedicant Oath in the end as I decided that ADF isn’t the right fit for my own Druidry. However, I do intend to live a more “Druidic” life daily going forward, and will set aside time for meditation, nature awareness and study of both Druidry and ecology. I’ve already booked on to a Druid Camp here in the UK and will try to strengthen my relationship to the Druid community here.
6. Have you considered starting a Grove (or helping lead your current one)? Is there a leadership position in a Guild or SIG you’re interested in? Would you like to run for an office in ADF?
I am enjoying having a solitary Druid practice at the moment, although I think it would be nice to have a local Grove to work with in future, so maybe one day I might see myself as ready to help lead a Grove or other Druid group, who knows? I’m not remaining in ADF, so I won’t be running for office with them, but I am open to being more involved in supporting the Druid community elsewhere.
7. Where do you see the skills you learned as a Dedicant being the most useful? Will they be primarily useful to you, your community, to ADF or to other Dedicants?
I have certainly learned a lot of information and skills that will be useful to me and my Druid path for many years to come, and which will serve as a great foundation for wherever my future takes me. I would like to make my nature awareness more useful to my community, perhaps by volunteering for litter-picks and work at a local wildlife reserve, or by supporting wildlife charities and the Green Party. I will leave the Dedicant Path page on this blog up, which links to all of my DP assignments, in the hope that it may be useful to other Dedicants as they go through the course.
8. What are the next goals you wish to set for yourself, either personally, spiritually, or within ADF?
My immediate next goal is to re-start the OBOD Bardic course. I began this several years ago and got about halfway through before switching to ADF, and now that I have finished the DP, I would like to revisit and complete it. The DP has shown me that I can spend a year or more working through a course of Druid practice, so the idea of spending the same time on the Bardic course is not as intimidating as it was when I first started! After that, I would like to continue through Ovate and Druid training with OBOD and become a “qualified” Druid, and perhaps also train as a wedding and funeral celebrant.
I also want to take on a second MA, this time in Death, Religion and Culture, and find a way to combine my Druidry with my interest in Death-Positivity and the “Good Death” movement.
So that’s it! The ADF Dedicant Path is basically complete! Time to take a breath, and move on to the next thing.