My two main spiritual pursuits as of late have been ADF-style druidry and a smaller group of women I’m working with locally. The work I’m doing there, in concert with the work I did last year with the Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary (primarily traditional Wicca) and the work of my more distant past with Reclaiming, Diana’s Grove Mystery School (now defunct) and the Cassandra tradition, has really started to inform where I am spiritually, what I want from my spiritual work and how that might happen. I’m finding myself a bit surprised by what’s being revealed.
Basically, I’m looking for an experience of reciprocation with the gods. Worship, even, though that is a word in desperate need of reclaiming (yes, I see what I did there). I want to extend the magical feeling of connection I have in the wild. I want to deepen it, and connect it with the Beings I know are there. I want to have a relationship that isn’t about want, but instead about respect and guidance – and a relationship with an actual divine entity, rather than an inflated psychological concept (archetype/facet/etc). And I want that relationship to be polytheist, rather than duomonotheist (my word for the traditional Wiccan concept of the All) or monotheist (i.e. last year’s brief exploration of progressive Christianity). Traditional Wicca doesn’t really have this model, and the focus on spellwork and/or healing and energy work isn’t really where I am right now.
And I want solid scholarship and participatory, small group ritual. Ecstatic ritual. A strong, supported sense of hearth culture that is extended and fleshed out with personal experience and gnosis. None of these things are mutually exclusive. I want the closeknit support of the coven structure, and the idea of easing your way into these relationships, because for me, the true intimacy required to do deep work don’t happen in a day or even a week. I am not ready at this time (and perhaps never will be) to devote the time that is absolutely necessary to have a good public church of the kind modeled by the Aquarian Tabernacle Church or ADF. I am not interested at this time in the community model of Reclaiming, and even if I were, I’d still be missing that sense of cultural scholarship. And… there’s a sort of pervasive piece of Reclaiming that I can’t quite define, but I know is not where I want to be. I can say more if anyone is interested, but bottom line is, Reclaiming was my home for a time, but isn’t any longer.
ADF offers some of this, particularly the focus on relating with the gods and their culture, as well as solid scholarship. But their ritual model leaves me cold. And I don’t want to have to put on high days, nor do I want to be required to spend time (and ritual space/energy) with just anyone who shows up. Plus for whatever reason, there just don’t seem to be as many folk locally who want to focus on the Irish Celts. I can’t quite buy into the Pan Indo-European concept, in the sense of trying to cover all I-E cultures in a grove. That said, I’m going to stick with the training aspects of the program. I will remain a member. And I’ll keep posting here about that experience. I’m just not sure ADF is my home either. Could be my second home though. Heh!
My local group is fantastic and tiny. I don’t know what direction it’s taking. I find myself wanting to return to the Cassandra tradition I built with my first HPS, the same tradition that worked so well in Illinois and to a lesser extent, in Arizona. We meshed all these things I’ve mentioned wanting and it was really good. We had a training structure and group structure that was highly influenced both by traditional Wicca and ADF Druidry. The ritual style was more participatory and ecstatic, like Reclaiming/Diana’s Grove. The scholarship wasn’t just about hearth culture (though that was big), it was also about loving the earth, sustainability and environmental awareness. As I type that, I think… yeah. That’s STILL what I want. We put together a beautiful, powerful tradition. Perhaps it’s time to revisit that.
In the meantime, as I said, I want to continue my ADF work, and will document it here. I will occasionally attend ADF ritual, particularly when my gods are involved. Our local group will evolve and grow into… whatever serves us all. But the definition has been good. As with many other things in my life, being in my 40’s has brought definition and a strong, unapologetic sense of what I want and what I don’t want.
So it goes.
How are you?