This week I began working through Ár nDraíocht Féin
‘s Dedicant Path with members of Columbia Protogrove
. In addition to the materials provided via membership with ADF, we are using materials comprised by Rev. Michael J. Dangler to guide us through the process. Much of what I share here will be driven by his work, available via ADF’s website
Week 1: Personal Religion and an Introduction
Why have you chosen to take the first steps on the Dedicant Path?
This is far from the first time I’ve started down this path, but honestly the farthest I’ve gotten past buying books and reading. I’m working with Columbia Protogrove, and that is helpful. The bigger “why” is most related to where I am with my spiritual path. I don’t want to return to Reclaiming for various reasons. Working with the ATC was just unsatisfying and not a good fit. I missed having a stronger focus on worship and relationship with my gods and their culture, as well as the strong connection with the land.
Is this a step on your path, or will this become the Path itself?
I really don’t know yet. I think that if I can find ways to incorporate the ecstatic work I did (and really the only thing I miss about Reclaiming) and some personal magic work, I’ll be quite content. I’ve always appreciated the direction and structure that ADF provides. That said, I’m not going to make this decision right now.
What do you expect to learn?
I expect to get a stronger grasp of ADF liturgy and practice, as well as a stronger relationship with my gods. I expect to learn lessons I can’t even conceive yet about community, because that’s how community always seems to work for me.
What would you like to get out of this journey?
A solid sense of being on the right path with the right people, and barring that, a strong sense of what comes next. I want to have ADF ritual form come as naturally to me as Reclaiming/BTW form does. I’d like a stronger relationship with the land and my gods.
Do you know where this path will take you?
No, and I think I’ve kind of already said how I feel about this. I am not interested in taking a path to a particular place if it turns out there was another place where I was supposed to be all along. I suspect it will take me further on my spiritual journey. I expect to learn a lot. But the destination is still unseen.
If you have just joined ADF, why have you chosen to work on this immediately? If you have been in ADF for a long time, why are you starting only now?
I stepped away from pagan practice for a long time because of events in Arizona and the Reclaiming community. Last year I knew it was time to get more serious, so I went back to the beginning – to the place where my formal training started, which was BTW. I spent a year trying to make it fit, but ultimately, it just doesn’t. I’m starting now with this program (I’ve been an ADF member for some time) because I feel the time is right and that I finally have local company to help me through the discussions and thought-processes that good community brings.
Does it look hard or easy?
Neither and both. My biggest challenge will be time and energy. Sometimes that will be easier to deal with than others.
Which requirements appear to be difficult to you now, and which appear to be easy?
Making the high days and reworking devotion and practice into my daily life are the biggest challenges to me because this is where I’m most out of practice. Doing the academic thing will be easier because I’ve been a college student for the better part of the last 20 years, and I work in academics. Reading and writing is what I do well.
Do you have doubts, questions or concerns that you need to ask about?
No, I really don’t. I come in with open eyes, heart and hands. I’m excited to see where things go.
This week I mostly used guided breath meditations. While they were helpful for building focus and just getting back into the swing of regular meditation, I did some searching last night to find some apps that would help me do more focused breathwork. On top of that, I have the ADF Two Powers meditation downloaded from the website, so I’m going to start doing those nightly.