Tags: dedicant oath

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PSA: Priestess training!

For those of you who haven't already seen this on Twitter: this morning, I was officially accepted onto the First Spiral of the Priestess of Avalon training at the Glastonbury Goddess Temple. The application process involved filling in a detailed form about past experience, reasons for applying, medical conditions etc; a telephone interview with the first-year course tutor; and a final decision by the founder of the Goddess Temple and tutor on the final year of the course, Kathy Jones. I also attended a presentation about the training at the Goddess Conference that has just closed, which probably made the interview process easier than it might otherwise have been. Some of the other people who attended will no doubt be my "spiral sisters", as the temple dialect has it, so it was good to start to get to know them, too.

I am really looking forward to this. The training places a strong emphasis on connecting with the land by walking on it, which has been key for my own spirituality for some time now - and Glastonbury/Avalon is one of those places I connect to really easily. Over the course of the conference, I really fell in love with the Lady of Avalon; it will be an honour and a delight to spend more time with Her.

I am undecided whether I will continue my membership in ADF. I will always consider myself a Druid, and continue to try to live by my Dedicant Oath; but there are things about the culture of the organisation that don't feel right. On the other hand, there are also some wonderful people there. I guess I'll wait till the renewal emails come round and then sit with my Tarot deck for a while.
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Time for reflection

Decanoxtes Granni is coming up, the ten-day festival in which I have chosen to celebrate the fertility that comes with the returning sun and reflect on how I'm keeping my oath and developing the Nine Virtues. Even as it approaches, I find myself in a reflective mood.

My work on the CTP-Prelim courses has stalled somewhat. I completed the first three (ADF Structure, Customs & Policies; Law and the Church; Indo-European Studies 1) fairly quickly and then slowly, but steadily ploughed my way through the reading for Indo-European Myth 1. Then, when it came to time to write up the IE Myth submission, I ground to a halt. Yes, I've been really busy at work and there's been a lot of family stress going on, but I set aside time over the holidays to work on it and just... didn't. I couldn't get into the right headspace for it at all and found myself actively avoiding it, even while feeling stressed about the fact that I wasn't getting it done. Yesterday was set aside as one of my monthly retreat days (part of the discipline for CTP-Prelim students and beyond), so I took the opportunity to poke at why that was, and to ask the Kindreds for advice through the Tarot cards.

My own musings led me to conclude that I was feeling an imbalance between the rather academic nature of the CTP-Prelim courses and (a) my need for something more experiential to keep me from being in my own head too much; (b) my desire for a spirituality that is politically engaged. ADF does have the experiential stuff, e.g. on the Initiate Path (which I'm also signed up for) and some of the CTP-1 courses, as well as some of the Guild study programs. It doesn't really do politics, though; that's just not its focus, so if I want that, I'll have to supplement my ADF practice with something else.

Through the cards, the Kindreds gave me a similar message: "Take what you've learned so far and move on with gratitude. Balance the mind and the heart. Don't look for ADF to be something it's not."

So I guess I'm taking an indefinite break from CTP-Prelim while I reflect some more and experiment with other possibilities. I may work on some of the IP courses; I will definitely explore some of the additional options that might be open to me through British Reclaiming, the Glastonbury Goddess Temple, etc. Maybe I'll come back to CTP-Prelim later, maybe I won't. Meanwhile, I will continue my daily devotional practice and the monthly retreats, and look to the Kindreds to guide me in the right direction.
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Week 51: A Plan for Living Your Druidry

The homework this week is another set of questions for reflection after the Dedicant Oath:

Looking at all the things you've done, what was the hardest requirement to you? Was it one you expected? Do you feel that you fully understand the requirement, or is there room for improvement?

The virtues essays were much harder for me than I expected, especially the first four or five. After that, I started to get the hang of it. I think it was just an odd blend of personal and academic compared to the types of writing I’d done before. I can do personal, and I can do academic, but combining the two feels weird. The content itself was not a problem. I’m sure there’s always room for growth in our understanding of the virtues and ethics in general, but I think I have a good enough grasp of them for the moment. Collapse )
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Week 50, part 2: Dedicant Oath write-up

On Sunday, I took my Dedicant Oath, the last step required to complete my Dedicant Program in ADF. Now all I have to do is read over my work one more time, and then I'll be ready to submit! I made some changes to the wording I posted here previously, mainly to add some more hearth-specific references. This was the final version:

Ancestors, Senistres, I ask you to bear witness to my words.
Spirits of this place, Cucullati, I ask you to bear witness to my words.
Shining Ones, Devi, I ask you to bear witness to my words and receive my oath.

I, Eilidh Nic Sidheag, declared a year ago before you that I am a Pagan, a seeker of the Old Ways, a child of the Elder Gods and Goddesses. Today I come before you, my Patrons and all the Kindreds, to confirm my dedication to the Druid’s path, and to offer my oath as a sacrifice in your honour.

I vow that throughout my life, I will strive always to do right by my kin, my friends and my communities, and the stranger at the gate, cultivating the Nine Virtues to the best of my ability and working for a community of justice and freedom.

I vow that throughout my life, I will give ear to the Gods, Goddesses and spirits that call to me through my ancestors, my family and the land around me, seeking to honour them in my rites and respond in gratitude to their blessings, and always keeping a place in my heart and on my shrine for my patrons Lugos and Bodua, for my ancestors, for the Forest, and for the Mothers of the Trinovantes and Catavellauni, tribes of this place.

I vow that throughout my life, I will seek to deepen my understanding of the Druid Ways through study, music and other arts, filling my mind with the truths of the Ancient Paths and developing my skills that I may better serve my Patrons and all my Kindred.

These things I swear to the Shining Ones, and especially to my Patrons, with my ancestors and the spirits of this land as my witnesses. May my oath be known throughout the Three Worlds, and may I keep faith unless the sky fall and crush me, the earth open and swallow me, or the sea rise and overwhelm me. So may it be.


I won't post the rest of the rite, since it largely followed the text suggested in the Dedicant Manual.

We're also required to write an evaluation of how we conducted the rite. Mine is below the cut: Collapse )
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Week 48: Dedicant Oath

This is a draft of the oath I will take to complete my Dedicant Program in a few weeks' time. It's basically an expanded version of my First Oath:

I, Eilidh Nic Sidheag, declared a year ago before my ancestors, before the spirits of this land, and before the Shining Ones that I am a Pagan, a seeker of the Old Ways, a child of the Elder Gods and Goddesses. Today I come before my Patrons and all the Kindreds to confirm my dedication to the Druid’s path, and to offer my oath as a sacrifice in their honour.

I vow that throughout my life, I will strive always to do right by my kin, my friends and my communities, and the stranger at the gate, cultivating the Nine Virtues to the best of my ability.

I vow that throughout my life, I will give ear to the Gods, Goddesses and spirits that call to me through my ancestors, my family and the land around me, seeking to honour them in my rites and respond in gratitude to their blessings, and always keeping a place in my heart and on my shrine for my patrons, Lugos and Bodua, and for the Mothers of the Trinovantes and Catavellauni, tribes of this place.

I vow that throughout my life, I will seek to deepen my understanding of the Druid Ways through study, music and other arts, filling my mind with the truths of the Ancient Paths and developing my skills that I may better serve my Patrons and all my Kindred.

These things I swear to the Shining Ones, and especially to my Patrons, with my ancestors and the spirits of this land as my witnesses. May my oath be known throughout the Three Worlds, and may I keep faith unless the sky fall and crush me, the earth open and swallow me, or the sea rise and overwhelm me. So may it be.
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Week 47, part 1: Personal Religion

These are some preparatory questions that the Wheel of the Year study guide suggests we answer as groundwork for our Personal Religion essay.

Is your spirituality personal, or Grove-centered?

Definitely more personal, both by circumstance (the nearest Grove is a four-hour round trip away and not very active AFAICT) and by inclination. I do my best personal work alone, and I have specific things I want to do for the High Days and deities I want to honour. I do value the communal aspect of religion as well, and I enjoy participating in the online forums that are available via ADF and TDN. I would definitely consider being part of a Grove in future, but my personal practice would be my primary one. Collapse )
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Week 19: Dedicant Oath - First Thoughts

This week's assignment is to answer some questions that may be useful when we come to write our Dedicant Oaths later on in the program. Some of them cover points I've written about before, but I answered them again here anyway in order to have all the notes on this in one place. Collapse )