- Explain why public, inclusive ritual is important to ADF. (200 words min.)
From the start, inclusive public ritual was part of ADF’s core ideals. When reviewing some of the early writings of Isaac Bonewits, one can come to the opinion that this was something that he wanted as a way of making the religion stronger and bigger. In his article The Vision of ADF, Isaac make a comparison to the mainstream churches that one of the reason they have grown is because they provide open worship. He also is ties being public with doing public service and some common movements that Neo-Pagans tend to be involved with such as environmental and endangered species causes (Bonewits, Vision).
In my own experience, I think that Isaac’s idea of being a public group has done much to advance ADF, and Neo-Paganism in general. By having open public ritual, we can easily dispel any myths about what we do. Doing public rituals at festivals as recommended by Pete Gold (Gold) also is an excellent way of recruiting people to ADF. I have also found in my own experience that by doing open rituals, the free flow of ideas between various groups happens. I’ve seen this especially with our idea of participants actually participating. I’ve heard many times over that people enjoy having a chance to actually give praise offerings instead of doing the normal Wiccan type ritual.
In the end, open rituals are a great way of growing our church. This past summer, by doing two open rituals at a festival, two different people have joined ADF. This is proof that it works. On the other side, of dispelling rumors, Raven’s Cry Grove in LA has an excellent example of this when Kirk Cameron, an evangelical Christian, came to a ritual to expose them as evil, he had very little to say other than they were just misguided by not following Jesus (Cameron).
- Describe the duties and function of clergy in ADF. (100 words min.)
The duties and function of clergy have not been clearly defined in any writings that one can find on the ADF website. The closest I can find is in Anthony Thompson’s ADF Organizational Structure article where he states:
Having ordained clergy is important to any religion because such clergy members gain the ability to be officially recognized as clergy by their congregations, and where it matters, to their states also. There is also a benefit to the ADF membership and possibly Neopaganism in general when there are more officially recognized priests available to perform clerical rites and duties. Many people have contacted ADF over the years asking for a priest in their area who could help with marriage, house blessing/warding, with memorial rites, etc. and this is a need we are striving to fulfill (Thompson).
So, what is it that clergy is supposed to do? Well, the obvious answer is to lead rituals both locally and at festivals. There are other responsibilities that clergy have though. A major one is the ability to marry people, which is a privilege given to clergy by the state. We also have the duty to help with the burial of people too. There are also, as Anthony mentions, many smaller tasks that clergy can be called on to do such blessings and rites of passage.
Something else that is commonly expected of clergy though is to be a pastoral counselor. This can really be a big part of the job. Being there to at least listen and lend a sympathetic ear to someone that just needs to talk. I have found to date that is what I have had to do the most. While yes, it is the duty of clergy to run the rites, and make sure things are done properly, just being a sympathetic ear I feel is the most important duty one would have to do.
- Explain why ADF has an Indo-European focus, and why we use the term "Druid" in our name. (200 words min.)
From the beginnings, ADF was set up to be an Indo-European focused organization. This was done by Isaac because he realized that there is just not enough good information on the Irish culture for one to truly know what they did and believed in ancient times. His study of comparative mythology the theories of Dumizel, and the concept of the Indo-European language tree though supported the idea that one could look at related cultures to and come up with something that comes closer to the old ways than just by studying one culture. As he said in his original announcement, “Paradoxically, this would resemble the original Paleopagan Druidism far more than any efforts of the last thousand years” (Bonewits, beginnings).
As Isaac was Celtic focused, he set the organization up with a Celtic focus. That is why we are named in Gaelic, and also why we call ourselves Druid. We can also trace the name Druid back to the Reformed Druids of North America which is where much of our early ritual style comes from, and of which Isaac was a priest in. Since those early days though, membership has expanded from the original Celtic focus, and now include members that are focusing on many other cultures that are covered by the Indo-European languages. ADF has made strides in recent years in removing Gaelic from our official documents as we are not a Celtic focused group. The term Druid is likely not going to be removed as it has become part of our identity, just like the Gaelic of our name.
- Describe the Guilds, SIGS, and Kins of ADF in general, their function within the organization, and the goal of the Guild, SIG, and Kin systems. (150 words min. for each type of subgroup)
Guilds, SIGs and Kins are all defined in the Subgroup Charter Manual (ADF, Subgroup), and that along with personal experience, will be the basis of the following.
The Guild subgroups are set up to explore a specific focus area. Historically, these areas have been based on professions or skills. They are set up complete with their own set of bylaws that define what their focus is, what their membership is, and how they run. As they are set up to explore a specific focus, and the majority of them strive to have some kind of official study program. These programs are run internally, but they are approved by the Council of Lore.
The Guilds are also there to support ADF, and if possible, provide any services that may come out of their study area to ADF. Part of this is through the development of a study program to train people in the skills that the Guild is focusing on. As a result of these study programs, we now have trained people that can offer those skills to ADF. Using the Bardic Guild as an example, they train people in the basic skills of being an ADF Bard, and then these people are expected to produce bardic works for ADF to use.
SIGs, or Special Interest Groups are often thought of as similar to Guilds. According to the Subgroup Charter Manual, a SIG exists to cover topics that are not covered by any other subgroup. Historically SIGs can be divided into two general groups.
The first group is what can be called the “pre-guild” group. These are SIGs that focus on a skill that one can be trained in. There isn’t support or a following enough yet for the founders of the SIG to feel comfortable with it becoming a Guild and creating a study program. An example of this would be the current Brewers Guild. They were a SIG for many years until there was enough interest in turning it into a Guild and create a study program.
The other group that SIGs normally encompass is the non-skill based focus group. These tend to be things that people cannot necessarily be trained in. They can be a support or discussion group, such as the Parenting SIG or Military SIG. Another example is a focus on a specific deity and discussions and study with regards to that deity. This is also a place where we can find some culture focused discussion as one would find with Kins, but where there was not enough interest to be able to form a Kin.
Overall, SIGs are very diverse, and often used as a starting place for a subgroup until they feel they are ready to become a Guild or Kin.
Kins are cultural focused groups that are committed to the study and discussion of specific cultures. The specificity of the culture can vary from a wide focus such as the Germanic cultures of the Kin of Fire and Ice, or more specific like the Red Dragon Kin (Welsh Kin). These Kins are required to have at minimum seven members at all times, per the Subgroup Charter Manual.
The main function of the Kins is to explore and study the specific culture that they are focused on. Through the study of the culture, they have discussions and produce research. They also often discuss variations, experiences, experiments, etc. that they have done with regards to ritual in that culture. They also are there to help support the various Guilds in their educational function. A good example of this is coming up with liturgical phrases in the language of the culture. This is a help to the Liturgists Guild in adding cultural flavor to their liturgies. It also is a help to the Bardic Guild as language is part of their study program too. Also, it helps those that are going through the GSP/CTP work and the Indo-European Language course.
Ultimately though, Kins are a resource for anything that one would want to know about a culture.
In the end, all three subgroups provide more flavors to ADF, and make us more of a culture than just a religion. It allows us to study and discuss our various interests in an ADF context.
- Describe ADF's official ceremonial calendar, and discuss why it was designed in this way. (200 words min.)
The official ceremonial calendar is defined in the ADF Constitution:
- Cross-Quarter = November 1st
- Solstice = December 21st
- Cross-Quarter = February 1st
- Equinox = March 21st
- Cross-Quarter = May 1st
- Solstice = June 21st
- Cross-Quarter = August 1st
- Equinox = September 21st
When one looks at this calendar, you can see that it is based on a solar calendar with holidays on the four solar events, equinoxes and solstices, and holidays half way between each. This was not done to revive any specific tradition, but instead to be in line with the modern Neo-Pagan practices and make it easier for us to integrate with the rest of the community (Corrigan, Intentions).
In some groups certain high days, either the solar events (solstices and equinoxes) or the non-solar events hold a higher importance in the yearly calendar. In ADF though, we tend to not give higher importance to any one ritual over another with the possible exceptions of Samhain which is considered the start of our year, and Beltane which would mark the center of our year and both being traditional big festivals with the Celts.
We are also not limited to celebrating only these holidays. It is allowed, if not encouraged, to celebrate other holidays as are culturally appropriate (Corrigan, Intentions). Some groups have started celebrating lunar events such as the “Druid’s Moon”. Others have started doing weekly blessing rituals. And yet others are celebrating secular holidays with an American Pantheon. We are required though to provide ritual for these eight days.
- Compare Isaac's original "Law, Policy, Tradition, and Customs in ADF" article with how you see ADF today. Describe what is still true and what is no longer accurate in that document. (300 words min.)
Isaac’s article Law, Policy, Tradition, and Customs in ADF, while written in 1994, is still very relevant to ADF today. He started the article talking about the general abhorrence to order that the general Neo-Pagan community has. Even today, 14 years later, there is still a great resistance to having some kind of organized religion. I agree with his perception that this is a backlash from how the majority of us were raised. Needless to say though, for an organization to survive and grow, there has to be order and rules, and that is what we have.
Isaac divided the order of ADF into four general categories. I can see this division, and his definition of them still present, and the general way they work together, and what happens if someone breaks one, each still holds true to this day. What is in each grouping has changed though. In general, I think that we have started to add more policies as we age, and these are coming out of the traditions that Isaac lays out. This, to me, is a natural progression as we start to practice more of the same things, traditions become so fixed that it does increase to the level of a policy, and eventually shows up in the documentation as that.
The laws he lays out are still, in one form or another, in effect. Some of his policies are questionable on if they truly still exist. Specifically, the two with regards to animal sacrifice and self bleeding are questionable on where they stand. Since the Clergy Council has put into effect the Core Order of Ritual that included that blood sacrifice is not part of ADF ritual (ADF, COoR). While if one did some kind of blood sacrifice in private ritual, it’s highly unlikely that anything would be done, if it was done in public ritual, I would expect something would be done to the individual.
As I have stated, many of what he has laid out as main traditions have become policy. Examples of this are the “Standard Liturgical Outline” that is now known as the Core Order of Ritual and put into policy by the Clergy Council along with the statements on polytheism and not being monists or duo-theists. The study programs, specifically the DP and GSP works, have also become essentially policies as they are well established now, and they are not likely to change, or change much, even with much discussion and debate.
If anything, the list of traditions and customs has grown since then. As we get more and more people practicing, and more and more groves, more things will work their way to the national levels. Examples of this would be the outdwellers which have become a tradition, and turning your back to them when making the offering being a custom both being the first that come to my mind. Some customs have started to disappear, such as emphasis on white robes for rituals, and the use of the Druid Sigil both in ritual and on clothing. While some groves have these customs, they are by far not universal any more.
In the end though, the article is still as valid today as it was in 1994, even if some of the details have changed some.
- Describe ADF's utilization of Dumezil's "tripartition" and its affect on ADF's structure, study programs, and the religion of ADF members in general. (200 words min.)
From the early days of ADF, we have utilized Dumezil’s “tripartition” theory. This is evident by his mentions in Isaac’s The Origins of ADF article. He referenced him and his theories as a basis for why we can use comparative mythology and linguistics to piece together the religion of the Celts (Bonewits, Origins). Dumezil was also used to help us understand the roles of his three “classes”, most importantly to us as a religious group the clergy or priestly class (Bonewits, IE Clergy).
The use of comparative linguistics and comparative mythology has greatly shaped ADF. It is based off of them that we can give a valid argument for being Indo-European in focus instead of focusing on one specific ethnic group. It’s out of this that we can piece together all the cultures we encompass, and come out with a workable and consistent religion. That in itself has made a world of difference to us on an everyday basis.
It also has, whether consciously or not, had an impact on the structure of ADF and the study programs. We have divided ourselves off into the 3 classes that Dumezil talked about to one degree or another. The clergy training program separates out the clergy, the guilds separate out the “workers”, but includes the warriors class. All three classes are present. We can also look at our use of threes as at least being pointed out by his theories. Just about everything we do is set up in threes. We currently have three types of subgroups. All our study programs are three circles. Until recently most terms of office were three years. This may not have been a conscious decision on our part, but it is an Indo-European trait that we do have.
- Explain the difference between "orthopraxy" religions and "orthodoxy". Where do you feel ADF falls? (200 words min.)
orthodoxy - a way of believing things, as directed by some authority
orthopraxy - a way of doing things, as directed by some authority
The difference between orthodoxy and orthopraxy is a matter of belief versus doing.
An orthodoxic religion is one that is based on a set of common beliefs. In modern practice this is often a matter of believing in one set of teachings, or one book. There may also be a common set of practice, but the teachings and beliefs are the most important part of the religion. The big three religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam would be considered to be orthodoxic religions.
An orthopraxic religion on the other hand is one that is based on a common set of practices. There may also be a common set of beliefs within these religions, but what holds the group together is not the shared belief in a text, but instead a shared way of practicing the religion. In general, the Neo-Pagan religions fall into this category.
ADF is by far an orthopraxic religion. As we encompass so many different cultures, it will be impossible for us to come up with one set of teachings that we can use. Instead, what binds us together is how we practice our religion. We have a set order of ritual and that is what binds us together. How we do our religion and express our beliefs.
- Describe why we make Praise Offerings, how they are made, when they are made, and who they are made to. Be sure to describe this in both solitary practice and in two or more Groves' practices. (300 words min.)
Praise offerings are the various offerings that are made during the ritual that are not directly done during the calling of the various beings, and are not the final prayer of sacrifice. Normally, although there are variations out there, this is done after the Deities of the Occasion are called in (Corrigan, Outline). Praise offerings are also in our rituals as a way to bring in some chaos to our otherwise ordered ritual, and as a result mitigate the cosmos. This is a way of bringing in some flexibility that one finds in the world, such as the rigid tree bending in the winds, into the ritual (Thomas).
In some rituals, this section can be very small. In others, this section can be longer than the rest of the ritual. It all depends on the number of people there, and the intention of the ritual. In my personal solitary rituals, normally this is a very small part of it. As I am doing the rituals normally just to give to my patrons, and ask for blessings in return, my praise offerings to them are combined with me calling them. In the event that I am doing some specific work that requires offerings outside of the initial offerings to my patrons or the deities of the ritual, I will make them to the appropriate place (oil/alcohol to fire, liquids to ground around fire, edible/degradable solids to the ground, burnables to the fire, etc. ) as I call to the specific being usually giving them thanks. This occurs after I have called in the deities of the ritual, and prior to me making the final sacrifice of the ritual and taking the final omen.
In groves, it can vary depending on the grove you are celebrating with. Most groves will allow you to make any kind of praise offering you want. Some, due to the size of the grove though, will require you to “register” your offering with a specific person prior to ritual so that this section goes quickly. Other groves, such as Sonoron Sunrise Grove will have everyone come up at once and make their offerings as a large group. There are other groves such as my own, that will break the praise offerings into two sections. One happens after all three Kindred are called in, and one specifically to the deities of the occasion after they are called in.
In the end though, they all serve the same purpose. To give the ritual participants a chance to give an offering to the various beings that we call and the ones that we hold special in our lives. This creates some chaos in the ritual, which is needed to mitigate the rigid order we produce.
- Describe ADF's administrative structure. (150 words min.)
The administrative structure of ADF is set up like an average corporation. There is a governing board of directors, or as we call it the Mother Grove. This board is comprised of the President (AD), Vice President (VAD), Secretary, Treasurer, Members Advocate, Chiefs of the CoSD and CoRD, and Non-Officer Directors. This group is the main governing body of ADF and is ultimately responsible for ADF.
Underneath the MG, we have various committees or councils. We have the Council of Senior Druids which includes all current and some past senior druids and grove organizers. The CoSD is responsible for promoting the health and growth of our various groves and protogroves. The Council of Regional Druids is comprised of all the regional druids who are the regional representatives between the MG and the membership.
We also have a Preceptor that is appointed by the MG. Their responsibility is to oversee the study programs of ADF. They also are responsible for the health and growth of the three subgroups we currently have, Guilds, Kins, and SIGs. There is also one council that falls exclusively underneath the AD, this is the Clergy Council, and they are responsible for the growth and health of the clergy. The council is also the place where decisions on how ADF religion is practiced are made, such as the core order of ritual. Also appointed by the MG we have the Administrator that is responsible for the various staff and teams we have: Listmaster, Regalia, Publications, Web, and Office (ADF, Chart) (ADF, Bylaws).
That is all on the national and regional level. Below all of that, we have the local groves and protogroves that have their own structures. We also have at least one extra group that is not officially recognized. This is the Chenille Canopy which is a group that promotes the fellowship between the women of ADF.
ADF. ADF Bylaws. 24 Oct 2008 <http://www.adf.org/about/bylaws.html>.
—. ADF Constitution. 20 Oct 2008 <http://www.adf.org/about/constitution.html>.
—. ADF Core Order of Ritual. 22 Oct 2008 <http://www.adf.org/rituals/explanations/core-order.html>.
—. ADF Subgroups Chart. 24 Oct 2008 <http://www.adf.org/members/org/subgroups.html>.
—. Subgroup Charter Manual. 19 Oct 2008 <http://www.adf.org/members/org/subgroup-charters.html>.
—. VocabularyWords. 23 Oct 2008 <http://www.adf.org/cgi-bin/adf/wiki/view/Main/VocabularyWords>.
Bonewits, Isaac. Indo-Europen Paleopaganism and Its Clergy. 1984. 23 Oct 2008 <http://www.adf.org/articles/identity/ieclergy.html>.
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—. The Vision of ADF. 19 Oct 2008 <http://www.adf.org/about/vision.html>.
Cameron, Kirk. Interview with Kirk Cameron. 19 Oct 2008 <http://tawodi.org/music/druids2.mp3>.
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