Wow, another late night, with me not getting my Clergy Training program work done until after 10. But done it is, at least for a few months! Since I’ve been getting a few questions about what particular courses I’m doing as part of the CTP, I was hoping to find a page on the public portion of the ADF web site that would actually list the courses. No luck there, but Vice ArchDruid Kirk Thomas has it listed on his Web site (along with his own coursework), for those curious. Other than a rewrite on IE Language I, all I have left to do before getting my official First Circle status are: Magic I and General Bardic Studies I, due at the end of July; and Research and Composition, due at the end of September, per the schedule I gave to the Clergy Council.
Of course, not every pagan wants to be clergy, and given how stressful the role can be, I don’t blame anyone for not wanting that role if they don’t feel a calling to it. But still, many of our members want to engage in more serious studies of our ADF traditions, something a little more advanced than the Dedicant Path. As a result, Ian Corrigan put together a proposal for a new training program within ADF: the Initiate Path. At last weekend’s Wellspring, they held a ritual to officially initiate the Initiate Path. (Since I was stuck here at home because I can’t afford to go to festivals these days, I wasn’t there, so I can’t say much about the ritual itself. You can read about it here and here, assuming that Rod and Jamie have their journals set to public.) Its structure is similar to the Clergy Training Program, but with more trance work and less scholarly work. Some people have been wondering what an Initiate’s role will be within ADF, and for now, my answer is going to be, “I have no idea. Let’s let them work on that for a while and see what they suggest.” As with many parts of the Grand Experiment That Is ADF, I’m happy to let the motivated folks do the trailblazing and see what happens. There are certainly worse things that ADF could be doing than training its members in advanced meditation and magical techniques!
I’m also looking forward to seeing the development of Orders with ADF. These are a long way from being made official, but the plan is to allow subgroups within ADF to dedicate themselves to a particular deity or other spirit or group of spirits, and let them develop their own rites and customs around it. Early suggestions have included an Order of Brighid and an Order of the Dead. I personally would love to have an Order of Ana here in SLG, though I guess I could argue that we already have one, given how many specialized rites and customs we’ve developed around her over the years!
Speaking of local activities, while it was far from an official Grove event, I was very happy to officiate a Roman-style baby naming ceremony over the weekend. I don’t want to go into too much detail, since a naming ritual is by definition one of the most personal rituals anyone can take part in, and I do want to be sensitive to the privacy needs of others. I will say, though, that I personally loved being able to take part in such a ritual, and I really felt very strongly that we were all taking part in a renewal of the ancient ways there, a really meaningful way to honor the gods and rediscover the ways of our ancestors all at once. Like the realization coming to me that, for poor Roman families living in tenement housing, ritual probably did involve everyone cramming around a lararium in the corner and everyone bumping into each other as they took turns at the altar. That’s something I would never have picked up on just by watching movies and TV shows about rich Roman families living in large estates, although maybe once I finally finish all the reading I need to do for the CTP, I can get back to reading the Marcus Didius Falco mystery novels. I bet those have a scene like that in there somewhere.
I think I’ll leave it at that for now, given how late the hour has gotten here. See you next week!
Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF
ADF’s Training Programs: http://www.adf.org/training/index.html