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Fifth Edition
Fifth Edition

ADF Membership Guide


Introduction to ADF……………………………………………… 2 A Vision for Ár nDraíocht Féin…………………………………… 5 ADF’s Organizational Structure…………………………………… 6

Law, Policy, Tradition, and Custom in ADF………………………. 11 Getting Help from the Members’ Advocate……………………… 15 The ADF Standard Liturgical Outline……………………………. 16 The Intentions of Druidic Ritual………………………………… 17

An Explanation of the ADF Liturgy……………………………


... The Worlds and Kindreds………………………………………… 23

Choosing a Pantheon……………………………………………


... Sometimes We Don’t Solve Everything…………………………… 25

Where to Go from Here…………………………………………. 26

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide Contents Introduction to ADF……………………………………………… 2 A Vision for Ár nDraíocht Féin……………………………………

Editor: Heather ‘Vedis’ Koerner Proofreader: Michael J Dangler, Francesca Hedrick,

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ADF Membership Guide

Introduction to ADF

by Isaac Bonewits

What’s Going On Here?

The full name of our association is “Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc.” The first half of it, pronounced “arn ree-ocht fane,” is Modern Irish for “Our Own Dru- idism,” (also “Our Own Magic”) and that’s what ADF is— an independent tradition/denomination of Neopagan Druidism. Neopagan Druids, like our sisters and brothers in the other Neopagan movements, are polytheistic Nature worshipers, attempting to revive the best aspects of the Paleopagan faiths of our ancestors and predecessors within a modern scientific, artistic, ecological, and holistic context. Like our namesakes the original Druids, we’re people who believe in excellence—physically, intellectually, artistically, and spiritually. We don’t make any false claims about an unbroken line going back to the Stone Age, nor insist that we’re the only “real” Neopagan Druids—just (we think) the best.

Organizationally, ADF provides a flexible, organic structure for a Neopagan Druidic religion based on the beliefs and practices of the ancient Indo-Europeans, adapted to the needs and sensibilities of modern people. It’s a nonprofit religious, scientific, educational, artistic, and charitable corporation whose members practice the full range of activities practiced by most religious organizations.

Spiritually, Neopagan Druidism (as we define it) is a polytheistic, non-dualist, non-sexist, non-racist, scientific, holistic, and ecologically-oriented faith. We are dedicated to the preservation of our Holy Mother Earth, the full achievement of human potential, the revival of the worship of the Old Goddesses and Gods in a modern context, and the creation of a world of peace, freedom, health, and prosperity for all intelligent beings.

To accomplish these goals, ADF advocates and practices many different sciences, arts, and disciplines, both main- stream and alternative, within a non-dogmatic, pluralistic context, in order to change ourselves, each other, and the world around us.

What Do ADF Members Actually Do?

The original Indo-European Druids fulfilled many roles and functions within their tribes. They were the magical and religious leaders, the intellectuals, the artists, the healers, the diviners, the counselors, mediators, and judges. I n keeping with these ancient roles, ADF advocates and practices, as an

integral part of our faith:

Scientific and scholarly research and debate about the ancient Druids, the Indo-Europeans, comparative reli- gion, folklore, ethno-musicology, and other relevant fields of human knowledge;

A variety of auditory, graphic, dramatic, movement, li- turgical, and other arts and crafts;

The investigation, dissemination, and performance of a wide variety of healing arts and technologies, both main- stream and alternative, including herbal, nutritional, mental, magical, and spiritual methods;

The use of the divinatory arts and sciences as tools for spiritual counseling and liturgical guidance; and

A variety of counseling arts and methods, both main- stream and alternative, as well as techniques for mediating disputes and judging conflicts between organizations and/ or individuals in the Neopagan community.

All of these, of course, are activities that other mainstream religions engage in. Catholic Universities sponsor scientific research, Protestant churches run hospitals and counseling centers, Spiritualist ministries offer advice from the Beyond, Christian Science congregations practice faith healing, and almost every religion has choirs and religious artists in various media.

We are also very involved in one area where most other religious groups have been slow to act, primarily for theo- logical reasons. In keeping with our reverence for and wor- ship of the Earth Mother, Neopagan Druids advocate and practice ecological and environmental research, education, and activism (although, as a tax-exempt organization, ADF cannot invest our resources in supporting or opposing particular political candidates).

As part of our efforts to achieve these varied goals, members of ADF are designing and performing competent magical and religious ceremonies to change ourselves and the world we live in, including regular public worship of the Old Gods and Goddesses, as well as rites of passage. We’re adapting the polytheologies and customs of both the ancient Indo- European Paleopagans and the Neopagan traditions that have been created over the last fifty years. We’re researching and expanding sound modern scholarship (instead of romantic fantasies or racist nonsense) about the ancient Celts, Norse, Slavs, Balts, Greeks, Romans, Vedics, and other Indo-

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ADF Membership Guide

European peoples, in order to reconstruct what the Old Religions really were. We’re working on the development of genuine composition and presentation skills in the musical, dramatic, graphic, textile, and other arts. We’re creating a nonsexist, non-racist, organic, flexible, and publicly accessible religion to practice as a way of life, and to hand on to our grandchildren. We’re integrating ecological awareness, alternate healing arts, and psychic development into our daily activities. We’re holding regional festivals to help our members meet, study, pray, and play together with other like- minded folks. We’re actively preparing for the day when Neopagan religions will be part of the mainstream culture, with large congregations meeting at temples and sacred groves throughout the Western world.

What are We Not Doing?

We’re not basing our internal hierarchy on seniority, nepo- tism, or the ability to tell a good story (except for the bards?). Instead, like most mainstream religions, we’ve set up college-level training for our clergy and other leaders. We’re establishing academic, psychological, performance, and spiritual standards of excellence for anyone who wants to call him or herself an ADF Druid.

Although we’re interested in friendly communication with other minority and mainstream faiths, we refuse to white- wash the beliefs and practices of our predecessors. The Paleopagan Druids were not monotheists and we don’t present them that way. They were, and we are, polythe- ists —just as billions of Hindus, Taoists, Shintoists, Native Americans, and members of many other world religions have been and are. Unlike other Druidic organizations, founded in times and places with no real religious freedoms, we see Druidism as more than just a “philosophy applicable to any religion.”

We’re not wasting our time with romantic or ideological pseudo-scholarship by such “authorities” as Lewis Spence, Robert Graves, H.P. Blavatsky, Iolo Morganwg, Barbara Walker, Merlin Stone, or D. J. Conway. I n stead, we rely on the work of serious mainstream scholars such as Georges Dumezil, Stuart Piggott, Mircea Eliade, Patricia Monaghan, A. & B. Rees, Anne Ross, C.S. Littleton, Miranda Green, Ronald Hutton, etc.

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide European peoples, in order to reconstruct what the Old Religions really

We don’t do human or animal sacrifices, despite the fact that the Paleopagan Druids, like the clergy of almost every other religion in human history (including the monotheistic ones) did. Instead we offer the Goddesses and Gods flowers, fruits, wine, music, song, drama, prayer, and—most important of all—our love. The deities seem to find it more than sufficient.

We aren’t sexist either. Despite the stereotypes of the ancient Druids as having been long-bearded patriarchs, you didn’t have to be a man to be a Druid back then (it’s hard to have a hereditary caste without both genders!) and you don’t need to be one now. Half of the membership of ADF is female and women hold half of the positions of power in the organization. We have deliberately chosen to make gender and sexual orientation irrelevant to participation in ADF. As worshippers of the Earth Mother, we can do no less.

Although our primary focus is on the beliefs and practices of the ancient Indo- Europeans, and on how these can be adapted to modern circumstances, we do not tolerate racism or nonsense about “Aryan blood” or “genetic memory.” The Indo-Europeans were a motley assortment of tribes speaking related languages—not a gene pool. American Neopagans, like most Americans, come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. We see this genetic mixing as a sign of hybrid vigor, rather than something to be upset about. So our members come from a wide variety of ancestries, including European, Native American, and African.

We’re not “Celtic chauvinists.” Despite the Irish name for our organization and the use of the Celtic term for clergy (“druids”), we’re Pan-Indo-European in all our interests. Unlike some Druidic organizations, in ADF you don’t have to be exclusively interested in Irish or other Celtic deities and cultures in order to participate in our activities. Our officers, members, and SIGs (“Special Interest Groups”) include folks fascinated by the Paleopagan Germans, Norse, Anglo-Saxons, Slavs, Balts, Vedics, and even the pre-Classical Greeks and Romans. I f you’re sincerely interested in any of the old Indo-European cultures and its deities, arts, and customs, then you’re welcome in our ranks.

We aren’t “politically correct” except, perhaps, by the stan- dards of mainstream liberal religions. We won’t let ex- tremists of any flavor take over our organization and use it to support their agendas. We insist on asking questions and offering solutions that people both inside and outside of the Neopagan community find uncomfortable. We think that’s healthy.

Lastly, we’re not in a rush. While our official motto is, “Why not excellence?” our unofficial one is, “As fast as a speeding oak tree!” We know that starting anything meant to have major effects on the world and to last for centuries is going to take us a few decades. So far, the first twenty years have gone about as expected.

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ADF Membership Guide

What’s ADF’s Relationship to Other Druid Groups?

What Can I Do As a Member or ADF?

As a member of ADF, you’ll be able to communicate with hundreds of others interested in Druidism, organize or join local congregations (known as “groves”), attend regional gatherings, and enroll (if you wish) in the toughest Neopagan clergy training program in existence. I f you have children, you’ll be provided the opportunity and obligation to help your local grove create appropriate educational materials and experiences to teach them Neopaganism. Communicating with other members who have similar arts, skills, and interests as you is also important. Such “horizontal communication” with other members or ADF across the organization, as distinct from the necessary “vertical communication” with ADF’s leadership, is vital to the health and growth of both Druidism and Neopaganism in general.

Where Does Our Money Go?

We’re in friendly communication with several other Druid organizations, both Mesopagan and Neopagan, including the British Council of Druid Orders. While we are inde- pendent from all of them, we have published articles by and about them in Oak Leaves and are sharing research and training materials with several. We routinely list their names and addresses in our publications, so that our members may have access to them. Unfortunately, a handful of pseudo- Druid groups exist whom we consider genuinely harmful, and we have been quick to warn our members about them.

ADF members are, of course, free to belong to other Druid organizations and to study the teachings of other Druid leaders, provided that those other groups have not been declared “inimical to Neopagan Druidism” by the Mother Grove (a status normally reserved only for fundamentalists, demonists, racialists, etc.). Membership in such an inimical group could be grounds for exclusion from ADF activities and leadership roles, simply out of our concern for the welfare of other members.

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide What’s ADF’s Relationship to Other Druid Groups? What Can I Do

Non-earmarked donations go into the General Fund. Each Year the Mother Grove votes on a budget to pay for publication costs, postage, phone bills, office equipment and supplies, research costs, charitable works, travel expenses, etc. A special Land Fund is saving money to eventually purchase land and buildings for the ADF College of Druidism. Money for subscriptions to Oak Leaves goes directly into the Publishing Fund. We also have a Compassionate Membership Fund which helps financially-disabled members join our Fellowship. There is also a Nemeton Fund that is used for projects at the Nemeton at Brushwood. You can, of course, send us an earmarked donation for any particular one of our activities you would like to give extra support to. Financial reports are published annually and any member may request a copy of our financial records through the main ADF Office.

I t should be obvious with all our ambitious plans and varied activities, that membership donations can’t cover all our expenses. Postage, phone bills, and Internet fees can be astronomical, yet communication—with our members, other Neopagan organizations, the media, etc.—is vital to accomplishing our goals. We expect and hope that our members will make additional donations to ADF, just as they would for any other religious, environmental, or cul- tural organization they belonged to and “supported.” There are many ways you can do this: Making tax-deductible charitable donations to the funds described above and through the ADF membership renewal form at http://www., remembering us in your will, ordering Druid literature and regalia (at at regalia), etc. Weekly donations are not unherd of, and they

What’s ADF’s Relationship to Wicca?

The Wiccan or Neopagan Witchcraft movement includes the vast majority of the 100,000 to 250,000 people involved in Neopaganism. Most of the national officers and about three-quarters of our members are or have been followers of Wicca, including a sizable number of Wiccan priests and priestesses who are using our study program to improve their clergy skills. The primary differences between ADF and Wicca are these: ADF is polytheistic, large group oriented, and public. Wicca is generally duotheistic, small group oriented, and private. It’s clear to us that the two religions have far more in common than they have separating them. Wiccan covens, along with bardic, healing, ecological, divinatory, and other groups, can function as SIGs within larger ADF groves. Intra-grove SIGs, however, cannot be closed groups unless they include less than 50% of the total grove membership or are gender based (i.e., “women’s mysteries” or “men’s mysteries” groups). For more information on this topic see:


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are much appreciated in any amount. As Uncle Isaac used to say: “Skip a pizza and support your church!”

So How Successful Has ADF Been?

Many people have been attracted by our vision. We now have several groves providing public Druid worship and education for their local communities.

ADF has had a strong impact on the rest of the Neopagan movement as well, with groups branching off from us and others using our ideas to improve their own traditions. Our local grove organizers are increasingly seen as leaders in their communities. Our Study Program has inspired changes in those of several other Neopagan denominations. Our emphasis on excellence has spurred others to improve their own scholarly and liturgical efforts. We expect to continue for a long time, inspiring, amusing, and challenging members of the Neopagan community to do their best for the Earth Mother and each other.

A Vision for Ár nDraíocht Féin

by Ian Corrigan

I believe that Our Druidry has in it the seeds of a powerful relationship between mortal folk and the Inner Realms. Our Pagan movement has for several decades been calling out to the Gods and Goddesses and Spirits, and they are beginning to answer. We have nurtured the work in secret, working in tiny groups to grasp the skills of magic and the meanings of religion. I believe that ADF is one of the many answers that are being given, like the Waters of the Triple Cauldron, to the world.

Our Druidry is a blending of at least two distinct streams of Pagan current. On one hand we have attracted many teachers and initiates from various Wiccan and Craft traditions. From them we can gain important occult and magical skills, as well as knowledge of group dynamics and real Inner contacts. On the other hand much of our original structure was based on Ásatru ways. From the Norse traditions we can learn lessons of kinship

and sincerity, and


value of

ethics and simple tribal religion.

Magic and religion: The two primary divisions of our heritage.

From these grafted roots we have the potential to grow a fruitful tree. I t has begun already in our Groves. Our fires are becoming meeting places both for the Pagan folk of our communities and for the Kindreds of Spirits. I n order to continue this growth, we must cultivate both the roots of our tree.

find welcome, can stand in the presence of the Powers, and can find affirmation of our Ways. There we can find in one another good counsel, friendship and mutual support. Together we can work for the health, wealth and wisdom of each and all.

The Sacred Centers of our Nemetons, whether public or individual, can be places where ordinary people can come a little closer to the borders of the Otherworld, perhaps speak with the Spirits that are most in tune with their individual lives, and drink of the Waters of Life. I n this way we can bring a greater share of the blessing of the Spirits, and the power of magic, to many who might never learn the skills for themselves.

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide are much appreciated in any amount. As Uncle Isaac used to

My vision for ADF involves blending the earnest practice of magic and spirit-art with the heart-felt devotion and fellowship of religion. I see us as similar to those religions that encourage learning and the preservation of lore. I hope we also choose to be like those who instruct all of their members in meditation, energy attunement and ritual invocation. Paganism, and thus ADF, contains all of this in seminal form. From our roots we hope to harvest patterns of community that can carry our work from our generation forward, with strength and honor. We hope also to gain core techniques of mental and spiritual discipline that can allow us to interact with the Powers, and gain good for our folk and the world.

The Holy Places of our Way can become like the hearths of wise chieftains. There every kinsman and kinswoman can

May the Gods and Goddesses, the Wise Ancestors, and the Noble Spirits of all Kins aid us to make it so.

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ADF’s Organizational Structure

by Anthony Thompson

ADF at the Local Level

The local level is where most members experience ADF on a regular basis. For many members this means spiritual work in our local congregations (groves), but it also means private, solitary spiritual work. This level includes daily religious practices such as morning libations, daily offerings to patron deities, interactions with other local ADF members, etc. While ADF as an organization provides a larger framework for individual spiritual practice, the majority of our most important work occurs when individuals practice their devotion to the Kindreds at their own hearths and among their own folk, and there are as many ways for individuals to do that as there are members in ADF. In fact, one of the most fundamental functions of ADF as an organization is to give members a network to share their religious practices and experiences with other members.


While many people may find an emphasis on group- oriented spirituality in ADF, we are by no means an organization that serves only grove members. Our emphasis on public ritual does lead us to focus on grove activities, such as founding new groves, encouraging sharing of resources among existing groves, etc., but we recognize that a very significant portion of ADF's membership is solitary (approximately half, often by choice and sometimes by geography). Again, while group ritual is important, it is also relatively infrequent (eight times a year for many groves), and that the real work of Our Druidry occurs every day in our individual homes and hearths. One thing that ADF has always stressed is that even for members involved in a Grove, it is important for all of us to be involved in some sort of personal, solitary or family practice. For that reason we value our solitary members a great deal for continuing the work of Our Druidry in their lives and sharing their experiences with others. The most valuable resource we provide for solitary ADF members, then, is the networking between members that occurs at the international level.

Groves and Protogroves

Local spiritual practice is for many members synonymous with group worship in Groves and Protogroves. The formal definitions of Protogroves, Provisionally Charterd Groves, and Fully Chartered Groves are, from the The Council of Senior Druids (CoSD) Byalws, the following:

A Protogrove is an approved entity of ADF, consisting of at least one current ADF member with a minimum of six months membership, who has submitted a completed Grove Organizer's Survey to the attention of the Grove Organizing Committee, and received official notification of approval of Grove Organizer and Protogrove status from the Grove Organizing Committee Chairperson.

A Provisionally Chartered Grove consists of a minimum of three current ADF members, who are willing to serve as the organizational Grove Officers of Senior Druid, Grove Scribe, and Grove Pursewarden. They have received official notification from the GOC Chair of a Provisional Grove Charter being granted.

A Fully Chartered Grove meets all other requirements of a Provisionally Chartered Grove, but consists of a minimum of nine current ADF members, and has maintained that minimum membership for at least two consecutive years, and also has a minimum of one current Grove member who has been granted Lay or Ordained Clergy status by the Clergy Council of ADF, and has been issued official notification of the approval of that Charter status by the Chair of the Grove Organizing Committee.

For more information about founding a Grove or Protogrove, see the The ADF Grove Organizer.s Handbook < starting/GOH.pdf> or contact the main ADF Office at ADFOffice@ ADF.ORG or the paper address listed at the end of the Membership Guide.

Some Groves and Protogroves have sufficient numbers and interest that they have their own local sub-groups such as grove guilds and special interest groups. The Shining Lakes Grove Magicians' Guild, for example, is a sub-group within Shining Lakes Grove which focuses on magical issues. Often such groups have special meetings that are apart from the normal grove calendar of events, providing extra means for interested members to get involved.

ADF at the International Level

The “International” level of ADF is the level of ADF as an overarching organization providing services to individual members and groups like groves and protogroves. This is the level at which individual geographic origins are largely ignored as we work together to build the larger infrastructure and spirituality of Our Druidry. Often this is made possible by services such as the ADF electronic mailing lists and web site. These resources will be covered at the end of this section, after the different organizational

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structures of ADF at the international level are described.

made to the ADF Office.

All of the various organizational systems in ADF work together to maximize our total communication with each other. Unlike most mainstream religions, which have only “vertical” communication between people who are “higher” and “lower” on some kind of totem pole (and which inevitably run into blocks, censoring, and “screen- ing” of information in both directions), in ADF we en- courage everyone to talk to everyone!

Senior Druids talk to each other, their grove members, and the Mother Grove. Participants in the Study Program talk to each other and to members of the Council of Lore. Anyone can organize a guild, study circle, or other SIG, drawing members from across all Circles and around the world. Hierarchy has its uses, provided that it stays organic and flexible. I n ADF we are evolving new ways to empower all our members, while still staying structured enough to get some work done.

The Mother Grove

The Mother Grove is the legal equivalent of, and is re- ferred to in the ADF bylaws as, the ADF Board of Di- rectors. All members of the Mother Grove are Directors of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc. The com- position of the Mother Grove is described fully in the ADF bylaws, but will be summarized briefly here.

The Mother Grove is led by the Archdruid, who provides long-term spiritual guidance and leadership to ADF.

The Vice-Archdruid exercises the functions of the Archdruid in her or his absence and will replace the Archdruid in the event of her/his recall, death, retirement, or permanent incapacitation.

Bylaws and Policies

ADF is recognized as a 501(c)(3) non- profit Corporation by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. To comply with the legal requirements of such non-profit status, and for our own clarity and surety of operation, ADF operates under a set of “bylaws” which govern us as an organization. Bylaw changes are made with a 2/3 vote of the Mother Grove. The bylaws were established in 1990 when ADF was founded, and they are revised regularly by the members of the Mother Grove. Our full history is that ADF was started by Isaac Bonewits informally in 1984, then it became an Association in 1987, and it finally became a full Corporation in 1990.

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide structures of ADF at the international level are described. made to

The Treasurer keeps the books and reconciles all ADF accounts, following accepted accounting practices.

The Secretary keeps a record of all votes and minutes of the proceedings of all meetings of the Mother Grove, and periodically announces summaries of those meetings to the membership.

The Members’ Advocate is


a voting member of the board and functions as an ombudsperson, representing individual members of ADF at large, with special attention to the needs of minority factions not otherwise represented.

The ADF bylaws describe the operation of rather mun- dane aspects of ADF’s functioning, such as elections, the positions and requirements for Mother Grove and other Officers, how other sub-groups are founded and gov- erned, etc. They are available online at http://www.adf. org/members/org/bylaws/.

The Mother Grove has also found that there is a need to document methods of handling situations, which do not need to be in the bylaws because they are more likely to be revised with time. The Policies and Procedures Manual serves as a place to document these policies, and includes such things as our policy on mailing list moderation, the voting system of the Mother Grove, etc. As with all other governing documents in ADF, i f there is a conflict, the ADF bylaws have the final word. The Policies and Proce- dures Manual may be reviewed online at h t t p : / / www. or upon request

The Chief of the Council of Senior Druids is elected by the Council of Senior Druids to serve on the Mother Grove.

The Chief of the Council of Regional Druids is elected by the Council of Regional Druids to serve on the Mother Grove.

Non-Officer Director(s) may be elected by the ADF membership as a whole and do not have specific de- fined duties, but represent the membership at large. The number of Non-Officer Directors (NODs) may not increase the number of the Mother Grove beyond 12, so it is possible that there will be years in which no Non-Officer Directors are elected.

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The Archdruid is elected for a three-year term. The Members’ Advocate is elected yearly, and all other positions are elected every two years. Regional Druids are elected by the members within their corresponding regions, while all other Mother Grove positions are elected by the ADF membership as a whole.

For further information about specific Mother Grove po- sitions or election specifics, refer to the ADF bylaws.

Appointments to the Administrative Board are made by the Administrator. The Chronicler is responsible for overseeing all ADF publication efforts, the Pursewarden is responsible for reviewing our financial records to ensure that they comply with generally accepted accounting principles, and the Office Manager is responsible for the main ADF Office which handles new membership processing, membership renewals, and general information requests.

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are informal, freestanding groups that may be formed at any time by interested mem- bers, and are included in ADF’s full national group listing for networking purposes. Examples include the Children’s Education and Parenting SIG and the Solitaries SIG.

Kins are groups of ADF members supporting each other in practicing ADF Druidry in the context of a specific culture, such as the celtic or Norse cultural groups. Examples include Aus Dhwer (Eastern Gate Kin): Eastern I-E Traditions (Vedic, Iranian/Zoroastrian, Tocharian, Armenians, Anatolian); and Oi Asproi Koukouvayies (White Owls Kin) : Hellenic (a.k.a Ancient Greek) traditions.

The Annual Membership Meeting

ADF has a meeting of the membership annually, and mem- bers may cast their ballots for elections by mailing the ADF Office. The location of the annual membership meeting is determined by a vote of the membership. The policy on determining the location, from the Bylaws, is the following:

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide The Archdruid is elected for a three-year term. The Members’ Advocate

The time and location of the annual meeting of the voting members of ADF shall be determined by the membership prior to the close of the previous annual meeting. Nominations for events to host the annual meeting shall be collected by the same method as officer candidate nominations. The nominated events shall be evaluated for suitability and willingness to host the meeting by the Scribe. Candidate events must be held between May 1 and September 1, be sponsored by ADF member subgroups and have been held for at least one year unless no qualifying events exist. All nominations that meet these criteria shall be placed on the annual election ballot for a vote by the membership. The outcome of that election shall be determined by a plurality vote. Write-in votes are not permitted for annual meeting locations.

Other Committees, such as the Outreach Committee, may be created by a vote of the Mother Grove at any time, on a standing or ad hoc basis. Such committees will be chaired by a Director of the Mother Grove, will have a defined purpose, and must notify the Mother Grove of their activities periodically.

Guilds and the Council of Lore

Guilds are groups of ADF members who have organized together for mutual benefit, especially study and training. They are established by a vote of the Mother Grove and must have their own governing documents, systems of rank, election

Other Committees, Boards, and Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

The Council of Senior Druids is made up of all past and current Grove Organizers (GO’s) and Senior Druids (SD’s) and serves as a resource for helpful information and mutual support. The Council is also where the members of the Grove Organizing Committee are drawn from on a volunteer basis. The Grove Organizing Committee is the group which oversees the application process for new groves and protogroves, and more information about it can be found in The ADF Grove Organizer’s Handbook.

The Administrative Board is chaired by the ADF Admin- istrator, and has such positions as Chronicler, Pursewarden, Webmaster, Listmaster, Office Manager, and Regalia Manager.

methods, decision-making processes, etc. While Guilds do not exist solely to support the ADF Study Program, a major portion of their activities is the development and admin- istration of portions of the ADF Study Program. For ex- ample, the ADF Liturgists Guild has built their own Liturgists Guild Study Program, and other study programs (Guild and Generalist alike) draw from the Liturgists Guild Study Program for classes. As you complete each course in their study program, you are likely to find a parallel in a number of other study programs that will help you advance through several at once.

The ADF Guilds are grouped into the three primary func- tions of Indo-European society identified by the scholar Georges Dumezil. The first function is magical-religious, and contains the Bardic Guild, Liturgists Guild, Seers Guild, Magicians Guild, and Scholars Guild. The second function

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is martial and contains the Warriors Guild. The third function is the “producer” function and is associated with the natural world. I t contains the Artisans Guild, Natural- ists Guild, Brewers Guild, Dancers Guild and Healers Guild. Several Guilds have web pages located at http://

The Council of Lore (CoL) consists of the Chiefs and Preceptors of each Guild, and is led by the ADF Preceptor. The focus of the Council of Lore is to discuss and pass various Guild Study Programs submitted to the CoL for approval.

The Dedicant Program and Other Study Programs

Due to a restructuring of ADF's Study Programs that took place in early 2003, ADF now has several components of its training programs, consisting of the following four categories of study:

When a student begins work in a study program other than the Dedicant Program, that student must be a current ADF member, needs to notify the person in charge of that study program, and arrange to pay any fees assessed by the guild or responsible entity. The ADF Preceptor, Guild Preceptor or Clergy Council Preceptor is responsible for verifying the status of each student's membership and completion of the Dedicant Program.

It should also be mentioned that ranks in the Study Program and Guilds have no religious connotations-any member may lead rituals and no one is considered spiritually superior to anyone else due to her/his Study Program or Guild rank.






Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide is martial and contains the Warriors Guild. The third function is

There are currently two levels of clergy training in ADF, the Dedicant Priest and the Priest.

Dedicant Priest

1) The Dedicant Program is the foundational spiritual and intellectual first step in making "Our Own Druidry" one's personal path. Completion of the Dedicant Program is a prerequisite for entrance into any of the other ADF's Study Programs. You receive this program with your membership, and while there is no requirement that you go through this course to be an ADF member, we do encourage it if you wish to do any leadership work. We also require the DP for members of our clergy, and it is a prerequisite for finishing any other study program within ADF. For more information on the Dedicant Program, please see <>

2) The Generalist Study Program is designed to help deepen one's understanding of ADF Druidry. Generalist students will develop core intellectual skills and knowledge valuable to all individuals pursuing a druidic path, and everyone is encouraged to pursue all or most of these areas of study once they have completed the Dedicant Program.

A Dedicant Priest is someone who is in the process of getting their clergy credentials, but hasn't quite met them yet. There are a couple of ways that a person can become a Dedicant Priest, though both routes require study.

From the Clergy Counsel Bylaws 3(a)

From time to time, the Council may choose to designate a student as a "Dedicant Priest" (also referred to as 'Lay Clergy' in some ADF documents). This title carries all of the rights and obligations of an Ordained Priest, but is only valid for one year, after which the Dedicant Priest must apply to the Council for renewal. Qualifications for obtaining and renewing Dedicant Priest credentials are detailed in the Clergy Council Policy and Procedures Manual, but in short, they involve active on-going participation in the Clergy Council training program.

From the Clergy Council Policy and Procedures Manual - Dedicant Priests:

3) Guild study programs are designed by ADF Guilds to meet their members' special interests and needs. Currently there are several Guilds with approved study programs that are accepting students.

1. Eligible individuals may request Dedicant Priest credentials by written request to the Chief of the CC. (The term 'lay clergy' may appear in some other ADF

4) The Initiate's

Program is designed to bridge the gap

between the Dedicant Program and the Clergy Training


5) The Clergy Training Program is being designed and administered by the Clergy Council of ADF, with the goal of producing fully trained, ordainable ADF Clergy.

documents and is intended to mean 'Dedicant Priest'.)

the samething as

2. Eligible individuals are defined as those who have completed the ADF Dedicant Training Program as published in the New Member's Guide and who have at least two cumulative years of experience in the position of

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Senior Druid of an active ADF grove or groves. Their current grove should be composed of at least 9 ADF members at the time of their request, each of whom has been a member of ADF for a minimum of two years. Additionally, those who have completed the First Circle of the Clergy Training Program (CTP) and the course 'Law and the Church' in the Second Circle of the CTP are eligible to apply.

  • 3. Following the verification of the individual's

leadership experience the Officers will approve the request for credentials by a simple majority vote.

  • 4. The candidate's clergy credentials will be valid

immediately upon approval of the Officers. The Officers will make appropriate ceremonial arrangements and issue a Dedicant Priest Certificate at the next mutually convenient opportunity. The credentials shall be valid for a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 18 months, depending on when they were approved. If they were approved between November 1st and April 31st, they will expire on the Beltane (May 1st) which is at least one year later. If they were approved between May 1st and October 31st, they will expire on the Samhain (November 1st) which is at least one year later.

  • 5. In order to simplify record keeping, all Dedicant

Priest clergy credentials approved prior to November 1st, 2002 shall be valid until Samhain (November 1st) 2003 and all Dedicant Priest credentials approved between November 1st, 2002 and May 1st, 2003 shall be valid until Beltane (May 1st) 2004. Any and all extensions to these existing credentials shall be calculated from those dates.


Because the first

circle of

the CTP

was not

approved until May 2005, any Dedicant Priest as of that date may request one year extensions up until Samhain

2007, to last no longer than Samhain 2008.

  • 6. Individuals who have been granted Dedicant Priest

credentials may request extensions by contacting the Chief of the CC. In order for extensions to be granted the individual must demonstrate progress in the Clergy

Training Program (hereinafter referred to as the CTP). Upon verification of said progress the Officers may grant up to three one-year extensions to a Dedicant Priest whom has not yet attained first circle in the CTP.

  • 7. All extensions will be decided by a simple majority

vote of the Officers.

  • 8. Individuals who have acquired first circle in CTP

may be granted up to three additional one-year extensions.

  • 9. Individuals who have acquired second circle in CTP

may be granted up to three additional one-year extensions.

10. Individuals who feel that they have a justifiable reason to hold Dedicant Priest credentials, but who do not

meet the stated requirements outlined in this policy may request credentials directly from the Chief of the CC. Such exceptions shall be decided by a simple majority vote of the Officers.

  • 11. Dedicant Priest Credentials may be revoked for

sufficient cause, by a majority vote of the entire Clergy

Council membership.

  • 12. Decisions by the Officers to withhold credentials

or extensions or to revoke credentials may be appealed to the Mother Grove by written request to the Members' Advocate. The CC will abide by the decisions of the

Mother Grove.

Ordained Priest (aka Priest)

The explanation of this is the simplest. An Ordained Priest is someone who has completed all of the training and has essentially received the blessing of the ArchDruid. The rules are as follows:

From the Clergy Council Policy and Procedures Manual - Ordained Priests

  • 1. Only persons who

have obtained


circle or

higher in the CTP are eligible to apply for ordination.

  • 2. Eligible individuals may apply for ordination by

contacting the Archdruid.

  • 3. The Officers will conduct a detailed examination of

each candidate for ordination.

  • 4. Following the examination of the candidate, the

Officers will approve the ordination, by a simple majority vote.

  • 5. Candidates who are approved for ordination will be

ordained by the Archdruid.

  • 6. Anytime the Officers do not approve the ordination

the candidate will be given specific reasons for the denial

and given clear recommendations to address the Officer's concerns.

  • 7. Ordained individuals are expected to keep their

training current through continuing education and active

practice. The Officers retain the right to periodically reexamine said individuals and, if necessary, revoke their right to represent themselves as ADF clergy.

For more information on the Dedicant, Dedicant Priest or Ordained Priest (aka Priest) requirements, please



Membership and rank in ADF, attendance at public or

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semipublic activities, and participation in the Study Pro- gram may not be denied to anyone on the basis of race, ancestry, color, physical disability, age, gender, or affectional preference. However, they may be denied to individuals practicing creeds inimical to Neopagan Druidism, such as varieties of conservative monotheism, atheism, demonism, racialism, and other such belief systems as determined by the Mother Grove. This is in keeping with our policy that people who are disruptive, abusive or dangerous can be excluded from grove and other ADF activities in order to protect the other participants. Members who feel that they have been unjustly excluded may ask for help from the Members’ Advocate (see the section of that title later in this Guide).

We have only a few disabled members in ADF, but we are sure that there would be far more, both inside and outside of Neopagan Druidism, i f they were made welcome. Would-be leaders are encouraged to learn Ameslan or other systems of sign language. All organizers of public and semi-public ADF activities must make strenuous efforts to facilitate the participation of disabled individuals. Such indi viduals, however, must let their needs be known i f they expect them to be met.




site, please contact ADF-Office@ADF.ORG).

Our web site at has been established since the early days of the Web (1995) and has grown as ADF has grown and changed through the years. It currently serves as a repository for rituals, articles, songs and chants, and other information, and contains the archives for our electronic mailing lists ( archives.html). We also have an ADF Wiki, which any member can access and update on their own, and which contains things like Dedicant Journals; Signups to find Dedicant Buddies (who work with you on your DP); workspaces used by Groves, Guilds and other groups; and lists of deities, rituals and meditations. It can be found at I n the future, the web site will be more closely integrated with our mailing lists.

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide semipublic activities, and participation in the Study Pro- gram may not

The ADF Office

The main ADF Office, or “central office,” is the physical place where things like processing new memberships happen. I t is staffed with a part-time office worker and a complement of volunteers engaging in time-consuming, often thankless, and completely vital work for Our Druidry and who are thus deserving of our most sincere appreciation! We also have a number of “e-mail helpers or office elves” who answer e-mail sent to the ADF Office address, and who are also volunteers deserving of our thanks. I f you would like to contact the ADF Office for some reason, or would like to help reduce the e-mail load of our volunteers, please use the following contact information:

Ár nDraíocht Féin P.O. Box 17874 Tucson, AZ 85731-7874

Please note that e-mail






communication, as our e-mail helpers can often answer basic


while the Office staff are only available

periodically and








Lists and Web Site

As an international organization our members are geo- graphically dispersed across the world. As a result, the pri- mary mode of communication and networking between many ADF members is the Internet, often through our electronic mailing lists. At the time of this writing we have two public mailing lists, ADF-Announce and ADFDruidry, which serve as places where ADF members and potential members can receive announcements and discuss ADF in general, respectively. We also have a wide variety of members-only lists, including ADF-Celtic, ADFNorse, and ADF-Greek for cultural-specific interests, ADF-Dedicants for online Dedicant Program mentoring, ADF-Parents for Druid parenting discussion, and ADFSolitaries for active solitary networking. Each Guild also has its own mailing list, and there are therefore lists such as ADF-Liturgists for the Liturgists Guild, ADF-Seers for the Seers Guild, etc. Two of our most venerable lists, ADFReligion and ADF-Druidry, are for discussion of the spiritual aspects of our Druidry in particular, and general discussion respectively, though with the latter it should be mentioned that the ADF-Policy list exists for specifically policy-related discussion. To subscribe to any of these mailing lists, go to the page at http://www. (if you have trouble logging into the Members Only section of the web

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Law, Policy, Tradition, and Custom in ADF

by Isaac Bonewits

One of the things that has made ADF controversial from the start is our focus on order and structure, rather than the free-flowing chaos and anarchy so popular elsewhere in the community. The reasons for our preference on the Order/ Chaos scale are as follows:

other perceived choice, that of extreme tyranny and order.

Thus, while we in ADF may be inspired by the orderrooted beliefs and practices of our Indo-European predecessors, we must adapt them (as with everything else Paleopagan) to the needs of Neopagans, who require a great deal more personal freedom than any Paleopagan ever dreamed of.

From the start, ADF has avoided dualistic extremes by creating organizational, liturgical and behavioral structures that were ordered just enough to provide us a strong skeleton on which to grow our new/old faith. At the same time, we have striven to make those structures organic and flexible, just as real skeletons are. Yet we have often had to defend ourselves against accusations of being “too rigid” and “too structured.”

I’d like present some suggested terminology that may help us decide whether a given aspect of ADF (or any other group) contains appropriate amounts of order and structure. This will then provide us with reasonably clear boundaries that members or nonmembers may choose to honor or not, with logical consequences following.

The primary duties of the Paleopagan Druids were three- fold: 1) transmitting knowledge and wisdom from previous generations to following ones; 2) maintaining the cosmic order through the correct performance of the sacrifices—i. e., ensuring that humans and other spirits stayed in proper relationship to each other; and 3) guiding their tribes towards physical and spiritual wholeness. While those of us who choose to follow a Druidic path today may have very different definitions than the ancients had for the key words in the preceding sentence, I believe that most of us who have been attracted to Druidry have been in large part attracted to exactly these concepts and roles.

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I propose a value spectrum labeled “law” on one end and “custom” on the other, w i t h “ p o l i c y ” a n d “tradition” in between, thusly:

We can’t just imitate ancient Druidry’s attitudes towards order and chaos, however, for several reasons. First, the many varieties of Paleopagan Druidism existed within intact cultural matrices. Second, our ancient predecessors lived in a world of much simpler technology and limited communications. Third, most Paleopagan cultures had little awareness of the needs or rights of individuals (as distinct from or even opposed to those of the tribe, for example). Finally, sheer survival required most Paleopagans to cling to order and avoid chaos as much as possible.

By contrast 1) Neopaganism exists as one of the many overlapping and sometimes warring subcultures that com- pose the modern Western world; 2) we live in a world of high technology and multimedia communication; 3) the average Westerner is very concerned with the needs and rights of her/himself, and those of whatever special interest groups include him/her, but has little or no concern for those of other groups, let alone of the “society” as a whole; 4) All humans now live in a world of what often seems randomly distributed order and chaos. Since many Neopagans come from tyrannical religious backgrounds, and have learned to reason in dualistic ways, it’s easy to see why some prefer the extreme of anarchy and chaos to the only

Law * Policy * Tradition * Custom. Various pronouncements by myself, the Mother Grove, different Officers and heads of ADF’s many subgroupings, etc., that concern the behavior of our members and the expectations we have of each other can be placed at points along this spectrum, depending upon the degree of seriousness that we attach to any given issue.

The category of “law” is fairly dear. The Bylaws of the Corporation and other official statements about certain actions—such as human sacrifice—being forbidden to the membership (or with other issues, required of them) con- stitute the few items on this end of the spectrum.

“Policies” are official decisions that have been made and published in various ADF publications, primarily about how ADF groups and representatives interact with the rest of the organization and with the general public.

“Tradition” literally means something that is handed down from generation to generation. In the Neopagan commu- nity it also means “denomination,” or those things which we think characterize our religion as being distinct from

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other religions, both Neopagan and mainstream. I n terms of “rules,” items in this category deal with such matters as the official liturgical design for public worship rituals, the general cosmology in use, training requirements for Druid clergy, etc.

“Customs,” however, are merely the quirks, habits, and styles that various members (from the Archdruid on) have developed to enhance their enjoyment of ADF. Wearing white robes at rituals, or Sigil jewelry, etc., are examples of customs.


Any given law, policy, tradition, or custom can be considered major or minor, and the results of breaking one may accordingly be major or minor. We don’t want people violating major laws, nor do we want them fearing to change minor customs.

As I see it, in ADF i f members break a major law, they’ll be expelled from the organization. That’s why we should have as few major laws as possible. I f mem- bers violate a minor law or a policy, they might get put “on probation” for a while, at least as far as their participation in ADF is concerned, or be removed from office temporarily or permanently.

I f members change a major tradition, they’re expected to present some mighty convincing arguments to the Mother Grove. I f we agree with their reasoning and like the results they are getting, we’ll modify the major tradition. I f we disagree, we’ll ask them not to do it again, or at least not to call it “ADF.” I f they insist on doing it anyway, we’ll ask them to schism off and start their own denomination.

Only the Mother Grove can declare Druidic laws and poli- cies for the members of ADF as a whole. Local groves can evolve local policies, traditions and customs, in fact they almost always do—it’s part of the process of creating a group consciousness. But violation of a local tradition (let alone custom) cannot entail the same problems as would the violation of an ADF-wide tradition.

I want to make it clear that all this talk of rules is not meant to restrict anyone’s freedom. On the contrary, it’s to explain that there is a lot more freedom in our system than many folks seem to believe. As the rest of this essay will show, we have only a few rules that could be considered laws and policies. Everything else is tradition or custom, which the members are free to experiment with to their hearts’ content, within the overall organic structure of ADF.

I f some members really dislike any spe- cific law or tradition, they are always free to complain about it and try to get the Mother Grove to change it. Failing that, they can always vote with their feet by starting or switching to some other group with laws, policies, traditions, and customs they can agree with.

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide other religions, both Neopagan and mainstream. I n terms of “rules,”

Let me note for the inevitable outraged outside observers: Just as non-Wiccans cannot be bound by ‘Craft Law,’ nonmembers of ADF are not bound by ADF’s policies, traditions, or customs—nor do they have the right to pressure ADF to make changes—but they are bound by ADF’s laws when attending ADF events.

Here are some specific examples of the different categories, based on things we’ve already published and a few extra thoughts as I was typing this essay.

Laws of ADF

I f members change a minor tradition, we’ll want to know their reasoning and results. I f we like them, we’ll change the previous minor tradition or add a new minor tradition. I f we don’t we’ll grumble a lot and wait to see how their tradition evolves.

There can’t be any penalties for violating mere customs. How can it make any real difference to the Earth Mother, or to the future of ADF, i f a grove decides to wear triskels instead of Druid Sigils, or marks people’s foreheads with emblems of the Three Worlds instead of passing cups at the Triad Invocations in the liturgy. As some customs become older, they may eventually work their symbolism deeply into ADF’s polytheology and self-definitions, thus becoming traditions, but that’s likely to take a decade or two.

Human sacrifice is absolutely forbidden under all circum- stances. Period. The specific polytheological term for this is “homicide.” I f anyone (Macha forbid!) were to commit such a crime, he/she would be turned immediately over to the police, before being expelled (if a member).

The commission of other felony crimes-with-victims (mur- der, rape, arson, spouse abuse, torturing animals, etc.) is also forbidden and would reap appropriately similar con- sequences.

Prisoners who are incarcerated because of having been convicted of committing such crimes, and who want to be members of ADF, are required to renounce such behavior

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and are on lifetime probation as far as ADF is concerned.

Discrimination based upon race, color, national origin, lan- guage, gender, disability, sexual orientation or creed is for- bidden in all ADF activities (save ordinations, where mem- bership in an inimical creed may be taken to be grounds for refusal).

Swastikas or other symbols now associated with racist movements and organizations, regardless of their historical origins, may not be used in ADF activities, whether public or private. Members of ADF may not wear white robes with pointed hoods that completely hide their faces. Membership in any racial supremacist organization or movement will be grounds for expulsion.

Illegal drugs may not be used in official ADF ceremonies. Alcohol, tobacco, and other dangerous drugs may not be distributed to minors. People under the influence of any mind-altering substance, who disrupt a ritual and/or endanger members at any public or private ADF event, may be removed from the scene forcibly and suspended or banned from future attendance.

Policies of ADF

An “official ADF ceremony” is one that is either public or semi-public, i.e., open to participation by well-behaved visitors.

Ordinations to the clergy may have private sections but must include one or more public or semipublic parts, in- cluding the ending, in order to be official ordinations. Ini- tiations into special interest groups (healing circles, bardic orders, lunar magical groups, etc.) may be limited to the members thereof but are not official ADF ceremonies.

Animal sacrifice is forbidden in all official ADF ceremonies. I f the members of a grove want to have a pig-roast, for example, they should thank the spirit of the animal before eating, but they may not make its slaughter (which must be quick, done by a professional, and as humane as possible) a part of an official ADF ceremony. This is just as well, since it is very difficult to get bloodstains out of white robes!

Individuals and special interest groups may do self-bleeding rites for healing purposes, establishing bloodsiblinghood, etc., provided that only symbolic drops are spilled, but may not do these as a part of an official ADF ceremony. AIDS testing is highly advised before doing any rituals where two or more people may come in contact with each other’s blood.

Nepotism is severely frowned upon. Erotic or financial favors may not be offered or requested in connection with

any official ADF activities, including the granting of any rank or position of leadership. Individual members of the Mother Grove may discuss, but not vote upon, leadership candidates with whom they may have a significant personal relationship.

The requirements for attaining and keeping official status as a chartered grove listed in The ADF Grove Organizers’ Handbook, including the Good Neighbor Policy, the ob- taining of a F.E.I.N. (tax identification number), etc., are all significant policies, since every chartered grove is legally and socially a “branch church” of our religious corporation. Malfeasance or nonfeasance by grove officers reflects badly on ADF as a whole, especially in the eyes of a hostile mainstream culture.

Main Traditions of ADF

The main traditions of ADF are the following:

Our Logo and the Druid Sigil


Our “Standard Liturgical Outline” and basic polytheology, as written in various ADF publications, without the addition of Wiccan, Christian, or other non- Druidic steps. Whilethis outline will continue to evolve as time goes by, sticking to it is critical to maintaining a common ceremonial “vocabulary,” which in turn enables members to move from town to town and still understand what’s happening in any ADF public ritual.

Our emphasis on ADF being polytheistic rather than duo or monotheistic, as well as being inclusionary, open and public.

Our overall system of Circles in The ADF Study Pro- gram and the handful of absolute requirements for ad- mission to the clergy (must be Pagan, must get rid of addictions, etc.).

Our commitment to making Neopaganism a part of the western religious and cultural mainstream.

Our commitment to focusing our attention on the Paleopagan Indo-European peoples and their deities, while still honoring others.

Our commitment to excellence in scholarship, art, liturgy, and personal spiritual growth.

Our commitment to balancing the exoteric obligations of public Druidism, including ecological, charitable, liturgical, and educational service to our communities and our planet, with the esoteric work of mystical development and spiritual growth through Druidry.





debate and artistic

competition, diversity in Druidic beliefs and practices, and mutual assistance with other legitimate Druidic organizations.

Our opposition to fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation on the part of writers, teachers, and other authority fig-

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ures in the Druidic, New Age, and Pagan communities.

Our willingness to use the

best that science and

technology have to offer us as tools to accomplish our

goals and as metaphors to expand our philosophical horizons.

Minor Traditions of ADF

The minor traditions of ADF are the following:

Specific details of the Druidic liturgy, such as passing cups, using whiskey as the waters-of-life, deities associated with specific High Days, the use of liturgical languages, etc.

Specific polytheological opinions about particular issues. These are slowly coalescing as the members think about and discuss them with each other.

Specific details of the ADF Study Program, such as requirements for each Circle, testing procedures, etc. These are also still in the process of being developed and will take several years to solidify.

Specific use of local nature spirits and local non-Indo- European deities as minor additions to ADF Liturgies. Specific decisions to be made by the members of different groves about their preferences in such areas as ethnic focus, public works projects, special interest groups within each grove, etc. Groves and SIGs having their own publications, which they distribute to other groves and SIGs. Groves collecting dues from local members, using part





to renew memberships

automatically every year, and using the rest for grove



Customs of ADF

The customs of ADF are the following:

The wearing of white clothing, especially during ritual.

The all night vigil as part of self-dedications and initia- tions.

The use of the Druid Sigil or ADF Logo in or on jewelry, T-shirts, banners, etc.

Regional ADF gatherings open to members of other Druidic and Druid-friendly groups.

Local groves “adopting” new protogroves nearby and helping them to grow to full grove status.


These are my thoughts so far. I would enjoy seeing reac- tions to this essay from members, preferably in the pages of Oak Leaves—and don’t forget the First Druidic Dogma! (The First Druidic Dogma, a.k.a. the Doctrine of Archdruidic Fallibility, is that no one in ADF, not even the Archdruid, has all the answers. We make no claims of handing down an “authentic” unbroken tradition from the past, and have very strong doubts about any other group that makes such claims.)

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide ures in the Druidic, New Age, and Pagan communities. • Our
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Getting Help from the Member’s Advocate

based on material originally written by Grey Cat for the NorthWind Members Guide (1991)

ADF is an international organization with nearly 1200 mem- bers and over 60 local groves and protogroves. To handle all of the members’ needs we have had to set up standard procedures—methods for serving the majority that can sometimes seem insensitive to individuals’ unique circumstances. The office of the Members’ Advocate was invented to help you when you are having difficulty with our “bureaucracy,” as well as to represent the membership at large to the rest of the Mother Grove.

The governance of ADF is pretty informal most of the time. Most decisions are made by consensus among the Officers or Directors involved in a given situation, and the opinions of the members are always given significant weight. But we can’t solve a problem i f we don’t know that it exists, whether it’s emotional or organizational.

I f you’re having serious difficulties with an Officer of ADF, a local grove organizer, or just the ADF “system” of doing things, the person to contact is the Members’ Advocate. To get the fastest and most effective help, here’s what you need to do when you contact him/her:

Tell your story clearly. Particularly include: When did the situation you are concerned about begin (at least this epi- sode)? Who else is involved in the problem? What did they do to you? What did you do to them?

Tell what you have done about it: Who else have you asked for help? What did they tell you? Did they suggest anything for you to do? Did you do it? What was the result?

Giving the Members’ Advocate all of this information will make it as easy as possible for her/him to actually help you. Be assured that we will listen to accusations of serious misconduct by ADF representatives or other members, but we will not take anyone’s “side” until we actually have some evidence in hand and/or a report by a genuinely neutral third party. We will take steps to protect people from possible harm in situations where dangerous or illegal behavior has been alleged, but we won’t necessarily believe an accusation simply because it has been made, no matter how controversial or politically (in) correct the topic of the accusation. Someday we may have our own Brehon Court using Neopagan Common Law to help us judge controversial situations, but for now we muddle through as best we can.

However, don’t feel that you can only contact the Mem- bers’ Advocate when a concern is this grave. Her/his job is to represent everyone to the Mother Grove, even on matters that might seem trivial. So feel free to share your opinions about ADF policies and procedures with her/ him. I f you had a bright idea at a grove meeting that was (you feel) unfairly quashed, pass it along to the Members’ Advocate. I f you think that ADF needs to be doing some- thing specific that it isn’t doing, tell the Members’ Advo- cate. I f you think the new ADF T-shirts should be printed in pink ink on chartreuse cloth, i f you think we need more materials for solitary Druids, or i f you want to know what the Mother Grove intends to do about the annual mistletoe harvest—tell the Members’ Advocate!

You may contact the Members’ Advocate at ADF-Mem- bers-Advocate@ADF.ORG or through the main ADF Office whose address is given elsewhere in this Guide.

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide Getting Help from the Member’s Advocate based on material originally written
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The ADF Standard Liturgical Outline

This is the standard outline we would like everyone to use for public or semi-public ADF ceremonies. Remember, an enormous amount of thought and effort has been spent making this pattern pleasing, historically plausible, magically powerful, and spiritually satisfying. Please don’t casually throw pieces of it away without determining how you’re going to get the same effects, or inject portions of non- Druidic rituals (such as “casting a circle,” “invoking the Watchtowers,” etc.) that make no sense in terms of this liturgy’s structure, esthetics, polytheology, or goals.

For more information about the ADF Standard Liturgical Outline, in particular how to use it practically and ef- fectively in ritual, see the articles by Archdruid Emeritus Isaac Bonewits located at The articles entitled “Preparing for a Druid Ritual,” “Step by Step through A Druid Worship Ceremony,” and “Basic Liturgical Design” are especially relevant and helpful for performing modern ADF rituals with excellence.

Preliminary Ritual Activity

Briefing Individual Meditations & Prayers Lighting the Sacred Fire(s) Pouring the Sacred Waters Optional: Consecrating the Sacred Pole Optional: Consecrating the Altar & Tools

1st Phase: Starting the Rite & Establishing the Groupmind

Clearcut Beginning: Consecration of Time Musical Signal Opening Prayer Consecration of Space & of Participants The Processional/Sigil Marking Purification(s) of Participants Optional: Purification(s) of Site Honoring the Earth Mother Centering, Grounding, & Merging The Grove Meditation Unity Chant/Song Specification of Ritual Purpose & Historical Precedent Naming Deity(ies) of the Occasion & Reasons for Choice

Helpful Beings by Province/Function or ... (Type and number wil vary according to ethnic cosmologies.) Settling and Focusing

3rd Phase: Major Sending of Power to Deity/ies of the Occasion

Descriptive Invocation of Deity(ies) of the Occasion Primary Power Raising Praise Offerings, Dance, Libations, etc. The Sacrifice Seeking the Omen of Return

4th Phase: Receiving and Using the Returned Power

Preparation for the Return Meditation upon Personal and Group Needs Induction of Receptivity Consecration Agreement Reception of Power from Deity(ies) of the Occasion Consecration and Sharing Acceptance of Individual Blessings Reinforcement of Group Bonding Optional: Spel Casting or Rite of Passage

2nd Phase: Recreating the Cosmos & Preliminary Power Raising

5th Phase: Unwinding and Ending the Ceremony

Creating the Vertical Axis Planting the Cosmic Tree/Honoring the Sacred Pole Evoking the Gate Keeper/Defining the Ritual Center Evoking the Fire & Water Deities & Linking to Center Gaining Assistance & Preventing Interferences Invoking the Bardic Deity(ies) or Spirit Acknowledgement of the Outsiders Filling Out the Cosmic Picture by Invoking… Nature Spirits, Ancestors, Deities in Three

Worlds or

... Realm or ...

Helpful Beings of each World/

Thanking of Entities Invited, in Reverse Order Thanking the Gatekeeper & Closing the Gates Affirmation of Past/Future Continuity and Success Unmerging, Regrounding & Recentering - Meditation Draining off Excess Power - The Restoration Clearcut Ending: Deconsecration of Time and Space Final Benediction Announcement of End Dissolving the Sigil Musical Signal

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide The ADF Standard Liturgical Outline This is the standard outline we
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The Intentions of Druidic Ritual

by Ian Corrigan

from the Inner through Art to the physical, and into the souls of the folk.

We begin our exposition of the ways of Druidry with the intentions of our rites. By this we mean both the limited and specific goals of any one rite, as well as the overarching meaning that is present in the Order of Ritual itself. Every rite performed in this Order partakes of three meta-pro- cesses of spiritual intent.

I. Spiritual Intentions of Druid Rites

When a Pagan successfully integrates these patterns, they act as a kind of realignment for the mind and heart. Even i f we assume that these patterns are inborn in us all, it is clear that the stresses of everyday life in our secular culture can leave us uncentered and distressed. Thoughtful, integral participation in ritual is one of the key answers to this modern alienation.

To Serve the Gods, Goddesses, and Spirits

I n contrast with much of Paganism, our Druidry tends to adopt a theology that views the million Powers described in tales and lore as independent, living entities. We reject, in general, theories that view the Powers as projections of our own minds, or as thought-forms created by human worship or as archetypes in the collective unconscious. In stead we prefer the traditional uniting of the nature of the Gods and Godesses, Spirits, and of humanity. We can describe this uniting as having three parts.

To Rectify and Empower the Souls of the Worshippers

The most consistent and personal result of sincere partici- pation in ritual is the creation or strengthening of the pat- terns of our spiritual cosmos in the souls of individual worshippers. We need not enter into a discussion of whether this pattern exists innately in all people or whether we must create it there through our work. I n either case the pattern will be strengthened and deepened by repeated meditation and ritual enactment.

The lore of Indo-European Paganism clearly assumes that the Inner Worlds, Otherworlds or Spirit Lands are the original models that predated our manifest world and from which it draws its reality. When we make our simple physical images of cosmic order, our Sacred Grove, we draw these Inner realities closer to the manifest world. When we in turn meditate on these symbols, recreating them in vision in ourselves, they become a kind of map that allows a clearer, more ordered understanding of the contents of our minds and hearts.

As in most of the Pagan revival, Druidry is not focused exclusively on the Light or the Heavens, nor do we value the Inner or Spiritual world more highly than the manifest world or the contents of our souls. We understand the Inner to be integral with the physical, and the physical to be as holy as the Inner. We use ritual to manifest the Powers of the Inner in our common world. By using our art, craft and skill we create physical and spiritual events that reflect and manifest Inner realities.

Once these Inner realities are manifested in this way, they can have effect on much larger groups and whole communities, in the process being graven in the souls of many more worshippers. Thus is the Pattern of the Worlds translated

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide The Intentions of Druidic Ritual by Ian Corrigan from the Inner

First, humankind are Powers in and of themselves. We have innate abilities to shape thoughts, words and things just as do the Powers, and are capable of magic even without their aid. The greatest of us can be the equal of nearly any being, and all of us are able to exercise a degree of spiritual acuity according to our talent and skill. Second, we know that while there are many Spirits that may be weaker than us, there are many that are vastly more powerful. Many of these Mighty Ones are connected with the very maintenance of the life and health of ourselves and our land. So, third, in order to live well we need the blessing of these great Powers. This is obtained through worship, sacrifice and Attunement. By thus bringing ourselves into contact with these beings we allow them to be reflected to some degree in our own souls, bringing their blessing into our lives.

All traditional Paganism says that it is proper to give gifts of our own skill, art and substance to the Powers. The ancients offered carefully crafted objects of precious metal and wood as well as fruits of labor, food and drink to those they worshipped, and it is proper for us to do the same today. We must assume that the Spirits want and need these gifts just as we need their blessings. So by our rites of worship we feed the Powers and acknowledge our mutual interdependence with them.

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This worshipful approach can help us to avoid the inflation of the personal ego that has been the besetting error of the Western magical Tradition. We do not teach that we are “God” or identical with God or the Universe. Rather we acknowledge that each of us is one element in the great dance of being. I f we are skilled and talented we may come to a very great spiritual power, perhaps even becoming a God or Goddess. Yet even the greatest of the Powers worships and sacrifices to the other Gods or Goddesses and Spirits. The web of mutual obligation never ends nor would we wish it to, for it is the thing that sustains all existence.

at the Blessing itself, when a portion of the Blessing may be poured on the Earth so that the land may share the results of the work.

II. Practical Considerations

Having discussed the theoretical bases of our work we may now examine some more practical connotations in choosing your intent and goal for a Druidic rite. We can consider these under two headings: Choosing a Pantheon and the Occasion of the Rite.

To Bless the Folk and the Land

Pantheon and Patrons

Our Druidry is neither meant to be humble, one-sided giving to the Powers nor vague, feel-good spirituality. Pagan religion hopes always to provide real benefit to the community it serves. I n traditional lore this is often expressed as three great goods—health, wealth and wisdom. Again, Paganism does not reject the things of this material world in favor of spiritual things. Every human life needs a balance of physical well-being, sufficient goods and mental and spiritual growth. We expect our religious rites to be practical aids toward these goals.

The primary outer purpose of most Druid ritual is to worship the Powers, the Deities and Spirits. I n much of the Pagan revival Powers from a variety of cultures and systems are often worshipped together.

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide This worshipful approach can help us to avoid the inflation of

While this happens in Druidry as well we encourage the choice of a single cultural pantheon for each individual rite. This gives focus to the rite, ensures

that the Powers are in harmony and en- courages the gaining of lore about ancient Pagan cultures. So the first step in designing a Druidic rite is to decide in which cultural complex the rite will be done.

Of course any system that chooses to call itself “Druidry” will have a strong interest in the ways of the Pagan Celts. We are no exception, and so we often focus on Celtic rites for the seasons and other intentions. However Ár nDraíocht Féin is open to all Indo-European cultures and we have work occurring in the Germanic, Hellenic, Slavic and Baltic communities.

Of course the strongest element in this choice will be your own interest and dedication to a particular pantheon. I f you are working alone you should simply use your own first choice of pantheon, but groups will need to reach a consensus. Rather than mingling the systems of several group members, we recommend doing separate rites, ex- perimenting with various cultures until the group’s prefer- ences become clear. Some of ADF’s Groves keep to a single culture through out the year while some vary from holiday to holiday and some even perform multiple rites, one for each of several cultures for each Holy day. Choosing a single cultural paradigm allows a group to deepen and strengthen its magical connection with those Powers, while experimentation broadens experience and entails research, so the choices are yours.

The Order of Ritual contains several intrinsic benefits for all who join in whole- heartedly. First, as mentioned, is the es- tablishment or strengthening of the Cos- mic Patterns in the soul making us more firmly grounded and more effectively centered. Second is the deepening of our contact with the Gods and Goddesses and Spirits. As Pagans we should be working to establish personal relationships with the Deities, members of the Faery Tribes and of course with our own Ancestors and the Elder Wise Ones. Whenever we participate in the offerings to the Three Kindreds we have the opportunity to call to our own allies among the Powers, thus strengthening our personal magic. The third source of blessing is, of course, the Blessing itself (the “return flow”). The worshipper should formulate carefully what she desires to receive from any rite, and everyone should expect real results, real life-changes from the blessing and drinking of the Blessing Cup.

As modern Pagans we have a special duty to heal and defend the land itself. Our Holy Earth has been deadened by centuries of loveless abuse, and it should be part of every Druid rite to appeal to, waken and honor the land that upholds our work. Our Order of Ritual gives us sev- eral opportunities. The first is at the Earth Mother Offer- ing, when the local Goddess of the land, and/or the Earth Mother of the chosen pantheon is honored. The second is at the Nature Spirits Offering, when the tribes of Spirits who enliven the area are worshipped, and the third could be

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Once you have determined the pantheon for your rite you must also choose the particular Powers to whom the central offerings and callings will be made. This will be based on the occasion and the magical intent of the rite as discussed below, and on the inclination of its group or individual sponsors. Almost always these Patron Powers are a pair of Deities, a Goddess and a God, though rites can also be offered to the Ancestors or the Spirits of the Land.

Those working alone or in a small group that shares a focus may find a desire to worship only one or two Deities from a single pantheon, that is personal Patron Deities. This is fine, but it is important to include the broader company of Powers from the pantheon from which these Patrons are drawn. Our Order of Ritual requires offerings to several categories of Deity in every case, reducing the problem of focusing on personal Deities alone, but you should be sure to thoroughly research the whole cultural pattern from which the Powers are drawn.

The Occasion of the Rite

A. Seasonal Rites

Ár nDraíocht Féin has formally adopted the modern NeoPagan calendar of eight seasonal holy days. These are, of course, the four astronomical days, the Solstices and Equinoxes combined with the Fire festivals of the Celts, Samhain, Imbolg, Beltainne and Lughnassadh. We have not established a specific set of symbols or mysteries for these occasions. The form and content of each is up to you, though we will provide scripts from which you may draw inspiration. Again your own research and meditation will be the best guide to the proper symbols for each feast.

ADF is not attempting to revive any of the ancient Pagan religions of the cultures we study. We base our work on authentic ancient lore and effective modern magical and religious technique, realizing that we are creating a new religion for ourselves as moderns. Thus we use the standard dates and core symbols of the modern Pagan calendar, fitting various ethnic traditions into this pattern. While a Grove may choose to perform rites based on a specific ethnic tradition on dates different from the core calendar, the eight core holidays must be offered to the community.

  • B. R i t es o f Passage

As in any religion, Pagans hallow the important occasions of our lives with ritual. Births, Child Blessings, Comings of Age, Religious Vocations, Weddings and Funerals can all be proper occasions for our rites. Scripts for several of these occasions are regularly published in ADF’s journal, Oak Leaves and on the website.

C .

P er s o n a l M a g i c a l W o r k

The ADF Order of Ritual has been evolved mainly for public worship with medium to large groups. Using the Order for small workings is quite possible, but may require some variation.

One approach to personal rites in a community context is similar to traditions in several world religions including Vedic and Yoruba ways. When a member of the commu- nity has a particular need or has had a particular stroke of good fortune they may ask their local priest/ess to perform a Rite of Offering to the Powers who will or have aided them. This sometimes be comes a community celebration or prayer and sometimes is quite private. It seems to me that this is a practice that we could profitably adopt.

So then, let’s conclude by recapping the central concerns for the intent of any rite:

Nature of the Work: Is it seasonal worship, a rite of passage or an individual goal? I f the rite combines one or more of these functions, which is the primary and which the secondary intention?

Pantheon and Patrons: I f you are devoted to a particular cultural pantheon then that choice is simple. Otherwise you will choose which complex to draw on. You will then choose which Deities are most proper to your intention. For seasonal work this may derive from customs and tra- ditions connected to the holy day; for other intents you will need to do research to determine which Powers most closely fit your need. When these concepts are clear in your mind you are ready to proceed to the actual construction of your Druidic rite.

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide Once you have determined the pantheon for your rite you must
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An Explanation of the ADF Liturgy

by Ian Corrigan

Any Druidic ritual has as a primary intention the re-weaving of the links between humankind, the natural world, and the Gods and Spirits who support both. For thousands of years human culture lived in more or less intimate communion with the unseen worlds. Over the centuries of European culture these ties have been weakened, until our modern materialism is endangering the very air and water that sustains our life. We work to reconnect with the powers of Land, Sea and Sky, honoring the spirit that is in them as well as their physical realities.

Divine. Druidry teaches that beautiful speech, poetry or music pleases and influences the Powers, and so we fill our rites with these things to the best of our ability.

A central action of our rites is the giving of gifts to the Powers. This is commonly called sacrifice (Latin: to make sacred). We teach that the Gods and Spirits are strengthened by our offerings, and show their gratitude by blessing the givers. In Pagan ways humans are not mere dependents of even the greatest Deities. Rather they depend on our love and offerings as we depend on their blessing and aid.

While it is true that the ancients offered animal and even occasional human lives to the Powers, our modern Paganism rejects any offering that takes life or causes injury. We offer our Gods and Goddesses flowers, food, drink, incense and scented oil, precious metals and gems, poetry and song, but never blood.

The soul-skills that bind Pagan worship together are the techniques of meditation and trance. By concentrating our minds on the symbols and words of the rite, by relaxing our bodies and letting go of our internal dialogue and by strongly visualizing the rite’s energy flows and Deities we induce a state of mind that allows contact with Inner worlds.

I n every Druidic rite there will be a series of spoken in- structions intended to help induce this trance. Following these suggestions with an open mind will deepen your experience. Remember that all such guidance is just that; you are in control of your state of mind at all times. Yet it is through consenting to trance that you can know our Magic best.

These three principles—ritual, sacrifice and trance—combine to produce the magic of Druidic worship.

The Outline Of Druidic Rites

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide An Explanation of the ADF Liturgy by Ian Corrigan Any Druidic

As with any religious path we also seek blessings for ourselves, our families and communities. We open our hearts to the flow of divine blessing that comes from our Gods and Goddesses. We seek also to awaken that same divine spark in our own souls, so that we can bless the world in return.

Ár nDraíocht Féin is a small part of the Neopagan movement, one of the fastest- growing currents in modern religion. From our beginnings we have been committed to serving the whole Pagan community. Druidic worship is open and inclusive. We welcome Pagans of every tradition and path, as well as those who want to learn more about Druidry or pagan ways in general. We ask only that you respect our ways; you can expect the same from us.

Some Conventions Of Druidic Ritual

Our rites are open and inclusive. We do not close our circles, and all are free to come and go as they please during the rite. We ask only that everyone be respectfully quiet and attentive when within earshot of the ritual. I f you have a Praise Offering that you wish to perform, please see the Grove Bard before the rite. We ask that no one applaud the Praise Offerings, but rather that everyone give the energy of appreciation to the Patrons.

Principles Of Druidic Worship

The outer form of our worship, like all ceremony, is made up of spoken prayers, invocations and statements combined with traditional actions. While we have reclaimed some of these from pre-Christian Europe we do not grant them the status of revelation or scripture. All ritual speech is made by humans to help turn our minds more effectively toward the

Part 1 : Establishing The Grove

In ancient days Pagans gathered in places hallowed by tra- dition. Sometimes these were temple buildings. More often they were groves and glens in the deep forest, or high places. In our times we must usually recreate the holy atmosphere of the Sacred Groves by ritual and meditation.

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The Procession: In some cases the presiding priest or priestess will come out of the Grove and lead a procession of all the worshippers into the holy place. Usually this is ac- companied by song. At other times the worshippers are sent to meditate alone, and then are called to the Grove by horn, drum or song. When approaching the Grove one tradition is to circle the Center of the Grove three times in the sunwise direction.

Honoring the Mother: The priest or priestess usually gives a simple statement of beginning, followed by a prayer and offering to the Earth Mother who upholds our lives and rites. One common custom is to bend and kiss, or place a hand on, the earth to honor Her.

Opening Meditation: The priest or priestess or a Grove member will lead a basic grounding and centering. This attunement helps us to connect our individual souls with the Two Powers. The Earth Current or Underworld Power carries the dark, mixed elements from which all forms arise. The Sky Current, or Starry Power is the ordering pattern that crystallizes forms out of the Underworld potential. Together these powers manifest the Middle World in which we live.

that has charge of the Ways Between, in the pantheon of the rite. We offer to the Gatekeeper and ask his or her help in the work.

The symbols of the Sacred Center are then conjured to function as the Gates Between. Through these gates we send our love, worship and offerings to the powers and they, in turn, send blessing to us. As long as the Gates are open our thoughts and impulses can be heard clearly by the Gods and Spirits.

Part 2 : Offering To The Powers

Preliminary Offerings: There are two preliminary offerings usually made at this point.

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide The Procession: In some cases the presiding priest or priestess will

Bardic Inspiration: First the Bard of the rite invokes the power of poetic inspiration to indwell both the priest or priestess and worshippers. This may be either an offering to a specific Deity or a general attunement to sources of inspiration in the Self.

Outdwellers: Next we offer to the spirits commonly called the Outdwellers. These are the Powers that can be inimical to mortals or oppose our own Gods and Goddesses. We acknowledge their presence, asking them to leave our rites in peace. We also acknowledge the parts of ourselves that might, likewise, interfere with proper worship.

Statement of Purpose: Following the Grove meditation the priest or priestess gives a statement of the intention and purpose of the rite and its precedent in the Ways of the ancients.

Affirming the World Order: Druidic ritual is anchored in the Sacred Center of the Grove. The Center is conceived as a meeting-place of the common world with the Otherworlds of the Spirits. We use one or more of the universal symbols of the Center—the Fire, the Well and the World Tree. Fire connects us with the Sky, the Well with the Underworld and the Tree is the Boundary Between All Worlds, rooted deep and crowned high.

I n this phase of the ritual the Order of the Worlds is ac- knowledged, first the vertical axis of the Under- Midand Starry Worlds. The rite may then honor the three worlds of Land, Sea and Sky, or the Four Directions.

By affirming these symbols in our rite we acknowledge them in ourselves, making our own souls a temple in which the Gods and Goddesses may dwell.

Opening the Gates: Meditation on the World Order is a valuable spiritual tool all by itself. The next part of the rite transforms the simple symbols of the Center into true Magical gates. First the priest or priestess invokes the Deity

Three Kindred Offerings: I n each of our rites we invoke and offer to the Spirits in three categories. We call these the Kindreds to reflect their family relationship with one another and with us. The Nature Spirits are those who ensoul soil and stone, water and wind, bird and beast. The Dead are our ancestors, both those of actual blood or those of our heart and affection. The Gods and Goddesses are the eldest Children of the Mother, the Brightest, Wisest and Strongest. For each of these we speak an invocation and make a proper offering.

When these Triad Offerings are made the worshippers should meditate on and call to those Spirits that are closest to them. Our own Ancestors, Gods and Goddesses, and allies among the Nature Spirits are called to join us in honoring the Patron Powers of the rite.

Patron Offerings: Each of our rites is commonly dedicated to two or more of the Gods and Goddesses. These are usually chosen either for their connection with the seasonal holiday being celebrated, for their ability in the area of the work being done or their special relationship with the mortal focus of the rite.

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The Patrons of the rite are first invoked with expressive prose or poetry, sometimes accompanied by a visualized image of the Deities. A proper offering is made as the priest or priestess invokes.

Praise Offerings: After the formal offerings there is usually a time when members of the company can make personal offerings. Usually these are offerings of art (songs, poetry etc.), though they may simply be thanks to the Powers for blessings received.

Final Sacrifice: After the Praise Offerings the priest or priestess gives a final Prayer of Sacrifice and makes a large offering to the Fire. This is the moment when every worshipper sends her love and respect, her energy, through the Gates to the Patrons and Powers.

Omen: After the Sacrifice the priest or priestess seeks an omen, doing a simple divination to determine what sort of blessing the Powers offer in return for our gifts.

Part 3 : The Blessing

Opening to Blessing: The priest or priestess leads a medi- tation combining the presence of the powers with the content of the Omen. We also meditate on our own needs, those of our loved ones, and our community.

At this time there is usually a litany in which the assembled company pray to be given the Blessing, in the form of the Waters of Life. I n this moment your personal desires

should be strongly imagined, held in the mind and heart, with harm to none and for the good of all.

The Waters of Life: The Blessing of the Powers is com- monly given as a cup or horn of drink. There is always clear water or fruit juice and sometimes ale, wine or even whiskey (Gaelic: uisge na beatha, “weeshky nah bee-ah”, water of life). The priest or priestess invokes the Blessing as water drawn from the Well of Potentials and held in the light of the Fire of Transformation. We contemplate again our needs, and the Omen as we drink the Blessing. We often sing an anthem or listen quietly during this most reverent moment.

Works: I f there is any social or magical task to be accom- plished it is done at this time. Healings, announcements of weddings, child blessings, workings for community good may occasionally be part of the rites.

Part 4 : Thanks, And Closing:

After all is done we give proper thanks to all the Powers. The priest or priestess leads us in thanking the Patrons and the Kindreds. We thank the Gatekeeper and conjure the Gates to close. We renew our grounding, our connection with Earth and Sky, and center the energies of the rite in our souls. We allow any excess energy to flow away into the ground as we offer any remains of the rite to the Earth Mother.

The rite concludes with a blessing and we often sing a closing chant as we leave the Grove.

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide The Patrons of the rite are first invoked with expressive prose
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The Worlds and Kindreds

by Ian Corrigan

fall, may the Sea not burst its bounds, may the Land not open beneath me, so long as I keep my oath.”

There are Nine Ways of the Druidic Cosmos. The Fire, the Well and the Tree define the Sacred Center, the vertical axis of Underworld, Middle World and the Heavens. Around this axis turn the Three Realms of Land, Sea and Sky and the Otherworlds of each. Within these Realms the Three Kindreds follow their Fates.

In the midst of these Realms is found the Sacred Grove, the place of flowing Together. There the Sacred Fire burns, by the Well of Wisdom, beneath the World Tree.

The Otherworlds: Within and behind our common realms,

as near as the far side of a tree, as far as the misty deeps,


The Three Realms

the Otherworlds. The Otherworld lands are the home of the Spirits, the Tribes of the Noble Ones and the Shining Gods and Goddesses themselves.

The universal pattern of the four ‘elements’ is understood by Celtia differently from the broader magical movement. The classical system of the four arranged as a cross is replaced by the three realms of Land, Sea and Sky, with the Sacred Fire in the center. These are not abstract principles, but interacting homes of all the world’s teeming life, whether hu-

man, beast, plant, stone or spirit.

The Land: The home of our human kindreds and of our closest allies. The land is our common world where most of us live out our lives. When we look for our part in the great weaving of thing it is the patterns of the land that are our first teachers. Fresh water that wells up in the earth can also be part of the realm of the land.

The Otherworld is reached by strange pathways. I t may appear as trackless, misty pathways through forested glades, or as vast waters with Isles of Wonder in them, or as many wild places. It is always a place of challenges, of con- nection and of learning for the Seeker of the Way.

Within the misted borders of the Otherworlds are many places of wonder. The Land of Youth, where the Gods and Heroes feast; the Land of the Dead, where the blessed Ancestors have their rest and comfort; the Land Under the Hill, where the Noble Ones have their court. All of these can be reached with the skills of Magic.

The Otherworld is both cause and reflection of our common realms. Thus the Wise seek to know its ways, to better understand the flow of events in the world and to exert the subtle influences on life that are so much of Magic Art.

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide The Worlds and Kindreds by Ian Corrigan fall, may the Sea

The Kindreds

The Sea: The wild waste that lies outside our common land. The sea is the home of a vast and teeming life, dif- ferent from our own. It is also the place of the Otherworld Isles, the home of the Sidhe heroes and the Land of the young. Thus, the sea is connected with the Otherworld as a place of concealed potential.

The Sky: The source of Light and Shadow, the place of the Shining Ones. The Sky overarches the Land and Sea, as the sight of the Gods and Goddesses watches over all. The turning and waxing and waning of the Three Lights of Sun and Moon and Stars, and the wheeling of the stars around the Pole display the Order of the Deities and Their blessing to us.

Among these Realms, all common life is sustained be- tween the Chaos of Potential and the World Order. The ancient Celts made their oaths by saying: “May the Sky not

All beings are the Children of the Mother, descended through the lines of countless Mothers and Fathers. As well as the many mortal kindreds, there are the countless tribes of Otherworld beings. The Druid will deal with, and make offering to, many kinds of Spirits.

The Shining Ones: The eldest, mightiest and wisest of the beings in the Great Weaving. The First Mother and First Father, the Triple Kingship and the Goddesses of Sover- eignty, Inspiration and Bounty; the powers of Love,

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Artisanry and Healing; the Child of light and Shadow; all are reflected in the many cultural pantheons of the Celtic peoples.

The Mighty Ones: The Ancestors, those of our folk who are presently resting in the Land of the Dead. they watch over their descendants and lend their power to aid us. I t is proper for every Druidic worshipper to honor her immediate ancestors, her Grandmothers and Grandfathers, as well as the Heroes, those great women and men who are honored by her folk.

The Noble Ones: The Spirits of non-human evolutions,

both mortal and never-born. They are of a multitude of kinds. from small spirits of stone and herb and beast to the very Queen Under the Hill and Her Consort. Each has their own power and should be approached with respect, whether a simple herb-spirit or a mighty mountain.

Thus are the Three Kindreds. I t is well to remember that these are not hard and fast categories. The greatest spirits may be reckoned Gods and Goddesses, even though they come from other kins, while one folk’s Deity can be the Ancestor of another, etc. So let the Wise do honor to all the Spirits.

Choosing a Pantheon

by Ian Corrigan

From the beginning of ADF’s work we have sought to base our Neopagan work on the actual ways of Indo-European Pagan cultures. We know that the religions we are making are, and must be, modern. We are modern people in a modern world, and we will inevitably bring with us ideas shaped by our experience. However, like many Pagans, we seek to move beyond many of the common paradigms of our times. We see things in the modern world that we consider less than desirable, and we hope to relieve those ills, at least in our own lives, by looking to the ways and values of the Old Religions. The Old Ways are our inspiration, and their sages, magicians and priests are our spiritual mentors.

Pagan past can contribute to our understanding of it. Get- ting involved in the folk cultures and more modern history of the Irish, Welsh, Danes, or Greeks offers insights into the spirit of a people that cannot be gained from academic sources alone. So we encourage students to listen to the folk music of these cultures, learn their traditional dance, and especially to learn at least some of the native tongue of the Gods they wish to address.

On the most basic level, we strongly recommend that each ADF ceremony be focused on a single pantheon. That allows the rite to be unified in esthetics and cultural detail, and it ensures that the Powers called will be in harmony with one another. Even in early stages, when you are examining various traditions, it is best to keep each rite focused on a specific culture. Experiencing the gestalt of each culture in turn gives a clearer understanding of each.

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide Artisanry and Healing; the Child of light and Shadow; all are

I n accord with that philosophy, one of the core instructions of ADF’s work is to study the cultures of Pagan Europe with the intention of comprehending them as fully as possible. We work to learn the facts about Paganism, but also to understand the minds and hearts of the people who lived it. To do this we must comprehend not just the religious symbols and forms of the ancients, but their lives and work. We must know their art and artisanry, the structure of their families, tribes and nations. We must know what they ate, what they wore and, to the best of our ability, who they were. I f we do not seek a grasp of the essence of a people’s way of life, then we will fail to understand what their spiritual ways have to teach us. We risk doing no better than pounding the triangular peg of religious symbolism into the square hole of our modern pre- conceptions.

I n addition to study of archeology and ancient customs,

insight into the modern

cultures that descend from the

I n our Druidry we have learned to view the Deities as real persons—independent, freely acting individuals of great wisdom and mighty magic. We try to avoid viewing the Spirits as ‘archetypes’ in the ‘collective unconscious.’ We do not, in general, find that Deities with similar function are ‘aspects’ of one another, or of a greater whole. So we would consider Thor, Taranis and Zeus, despite the association of each with thunder, to be separate, individual Deities.

I t seems only right to address the Powers in the cultural idiom to which they are accustomed. When we invite the Gods ad Goddesses to our rites, we feel it is proper to treat them with honor. We feel it is best to use Greek customs for Greek Deities, Welsh for Welsh Gods and Goddeses. We see it as less proper to construct ritual out of bits and

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Fifth Edition

ADF Membership Guide

pieces of many cultures and try to ‘plug in’ whatever Powers one wishes to ‘use.’

On a more personal level, we recommend that each student choose one Indo-European culture to work as their ‘home’ culture. I f we wish, we might refer to this as one’s Hearth Culture, or Hearth Ways.

Ancient Paganism was certainly fairly open and inclusive. I t seems likely that neighboring cultures influenced one another’s ways, including their religions. But the people of those cultures would have begun life with a child’s immer- sion in the ways of their local religion, at their family’s hearth. If, when adult, they chose to include spirits or works from other cultures in their personal religion, they would do so with the particular worldview of a Celtic tribesman, or a woman of the Hellenic cities.

This is very different from a person whose native land is in the modern, industrial West who tries to absorb Pagan ways directly, without regard for the cultures in which they grew. Far from bringing the wisdom of the ancients into modern life, that approach may only superimpose the form of Paganism on the attitudes, beliefs and lifestyles of our materialist, Christian-influenced culture.

So you might think of yourself as a new human, freshly brought into the world of ancient Athens, Ireland, or Scandinavia. Or you might think of yourself as a voyager thrown up on the shores of a Pagan culture. As a newcomer among the people it is your duty to learn their ways and, in time, to be accepted as one of them. I t is by this kind of cultural immersion that a child or a castaway might experience

that you can truly move past modern upbringing toward more Pagan perspectives.

Please understand that we are not recommending an exclusivist or fundamentalist approach to this choice. The ancients seem to have had little of such attitudes. There is little evidence to show that they wished to preserve ‘purely’ Celtic or ‘exclusively’ Germanic ways. Every European Pagan culture was (and is) the result of thousands of years of intermingling and mutual influence, and the cultures of the Pagan Iron Age all drew freely on one another’s cultural and religious ideas.

So while you should work to understand your ‘hearth’ culture fully, you need not feel required to limit your personal work only to those forms. I f you have a relationship with a deity from another culture, you should certainly continue it. I f you have spiritual practices from various cultures that work for you, use them. Perhaps you will find yourself adapting your older patterns to fit your hearth culture, as you move more fully into its model. I n the end you should be able to find a balance between formal work in your ethnic tradition and a more personal eclecticism.

Respect for the cultures from which we seek to learn asks us to go beyond simple borrowing, or ‘cut-and-paste’ approaches. Wisdom suggests that to comprehend the Gods and Goddesses, the spirit and magic of the Old Religions we must comprehend the cultures in which they existed. Practice has shown that involvement primarily in a single culture leads to solid, practical results. Se we earnestly suggest that you take up a Hearth Culture for your work in Our Druidry.

Sometimes We Don’t Solve Everything

based on material originaly written by Grey Cat for the NorthWind Members Guide (1991)

Sometimes a member of ADF feels that we have failed him/her on a personal level. While we don’t dispute that every individual has a right to his/her feelings, our topic here is how and where ADF “fails” people emotionally.

I t is important to understand in each case what did and did not happen, and what ADF can and can’t do. ADF is a sort of family, but a family can’t make you happy and neither can ADF. All that either can do is try to help you arrange your own circumstances and inner perceptions so that you can make yourself happy.

Many of the individuals making up ADF have chosen to devote time, thought and effort to each other, whether we call it counseling, friendship or caring. We feel entirely safe

in promising that someone in ADF is available at any given minute to any particular member. We don’t promise though that you can count on getting your first or even second choice. Every one of us—Officer, Director, Se- nior Druid, grove member, solitary member or new- comer—has his/her own life with stresses, unhappinesses and moments when his/her own problems are quite enough to cope with. And, as in a family, each of us has our favorites and unfavorites in the group. ADF can prom- ise that when you ask, someone will respond, we just don’t promise who it will be.

There is a very important phrase in that last sentence: When you ask. None of us can help i f we don’t know that any- thing is wrong. “Druids are supposed to be all-wise. I f you were real Druids, you would know!” Well, maybe we’re not that good at being Druids. Maybe magic doesn’t work that way for us. Maybe it didn’t occur to any of us to do a

Fifth Edition
Fifth Edition

ADF Membership Guide

divination to ask i f there was anything bothering you. Maybe we just expected you to tell us i f you needed help.

Maybe someone did ask you i f things were OK and you answered that you were fine. Perhaps someone else, who had known you for years and/or was deeply emotionally involved with you, could have known that you weren’t really fine. But we just believed what you told us.

ADF doesn’t promise that, when you join, your personal life will miraculously straighten out (statistically the opposite is far more likely). ADF won’t get you a job or a new car or a boy/girl friend. ADF won’t keep your house clean, repair your roof or tell you the mystery of Stonehenge in 50 words or less. I f we knew the winning lottery number we’d use it ourselves and Publishers Clearing House wouldn’t send us letters anymore. We raise our kids with our fingers crossed like everyone else.

ADF does promise that, as individuals, we will be glad to talk things out with you, to try to see ways out for you and suggest them, to try to help you cope with what happens in your life—but only i f you want it. There’s an ethical limit which does not allow us to barge into your life uninvited no matter how good our intentions. While each of us might push at another we feel we know really well— “Are you sure you’re all right?”—when no help is asked, most of us feel that none can rightly be given.

ADF shouldn’t be your whole life. Your Senior Druid may in some senses be your father/mother but s/he won’t be your Mommy/Daddy—that’s not in the job description. ADF is not a dating service. We have very few unpaired members, too few for much real hope of match-ups. Individuals in ADF may be able to help get your old clunker going, patch your roof, talk to your children or give you a line on a better job. But there are no promises. Your life, good or bad, is still your life to deal with as you choose.

Fifth Edition ADF Membership Guide divination to ask i f there was anything bothering you. Maybe

Where to Go From Here

For further information on getting involved with ADF, we recommend the ADF web site at and especially ADF mailing lists such as ADF-Announce, ADF- Druidry, ADF-Discuss, and ADF-Religion. The first two are public lists and the latter is private to members only. You may subscribe at subscribe.html and we recommend at least ADF-Announce since it has low traffic and we periodically send important announcements through it.

We also recommend getting connected with ADF locally. You can search for nearby groves by contacting the ADF Office or visiting I f you are interested in starting a grove, see members/groves/starting/, and i f you just want to contact other ADF members in your area, mail us at ADF- Office@ADF.ORG or via paper mail at the following:

Ár nDraíocht Féin P.O. Box 17874 Tucson, AZ 85731-7874

Please let us know i f we can be of any assistance to you, and accept our hospitality as we welcome you to Our Druidry!

Welcome to our Fellowship, and may you be blessed by the Gods and Spirits always.

The AD F Mother Grove