Thursday, December 26th, 2019
Blueberry Creek, BC
Week One – the Dedicant Path Through the Wheel of the Year
Well, here I am! Walking the Dedicant’s Path of Druidry. Those who know me might be surprised because I have always rejected the superstitious and non-scientific. However, those who truly know me also know that I deeply value spiritual practice in the form of contemplation, tradition, and silent awareness and meditation. Also, that I have come to realize I am innately deeply superstitious, or to put it another way, deeply connected to the world around me through silence and solitary contemplation.
There is only so much I can absorb at any one time, so I will pace myself with this Druidry thing. A little immersion at first. Then, consistency and routine. In exploring the ADF Dedicant training section of the website, I found the book The ADF Dedicant Path Through the Wheel of the Year, by Rev. Michael J. Dangler. Perfect! It has broken the path into weekly manageable chunks.
My homework this week is to answer these questions.
Why have you chosen to take the first steps on the Dedicant Path?
I’ve chosen to do this because it is a structured and meaningful way to learn and practice a personal religion and develop a spiritual practice, which I believe should be an integral part of everyday life.
Is this a step on your path, or will this become the path itself?
It’s too early to tell at this point. I hope it will become the path itself; however, as I learn more my path may change, and I accept this. I do not wish to be rigid and inflexible, for those are traits that cause suffering in my experience. For many years I rigidly clung to the Christian church, ignoring the harm and hurt caused by the church in the world and on a very personal level. Now in my forties, I finally feel ready to move away from those harmful and stifling aspects of the Christian religion and focus on cultivating a spiritual practise that nourishes my soul and spirit so that I may become a more complete person. In this way, I can focus on nurturing my family and keeping the hearth as a welcoming and loving place.
What do you expect to learn?
I expect to learn more about the hidden magical world surrounding us and how to align myself with it, and about meaningful ways to honour Nature and the Earth. I expect to learn ways to involve my family in celebrations and rituals that make sense to our lifestyle and values. I also expect to deepen my understanding of the historical context and mythologies that led to where we are in the present.
What would you like to get out of this journey?
I would like to emerge after 52 weeks of study as an improved person who has a refined sense of purpose and dedication to a defined spiritual path. I’d also like to document my experience in this journal in a multi-media fashion, including photography, poetry, writing, and art. I’d like to meet other like-minded people who treasure the earth and feel the magical presence of the spirits in the silence of the forest.
Do you know where this path will take you?
No! I have no idea. That’s part of the excitement and wonder – I am embarking on a journey, an adventure of the spirit.
Why have you chosen to work on this immediately?
It’s true I have just joined ADF. However, I have been reading and researching the Pagan ways over the past year, and writing a fictional story involving the spirits. After satisfying myself that ADF was not some crackpot organization and that it is inclusive in its membership, I recently decided to formalize my commitment to the Druid lifestyle by joining ADF, and also by joining the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids. (Why both? I will explore that question in future journal entries.) Part of my decision to follow this is simply that it’s in my nature to study and ponder – I have no wish to join something without understanding it. Curiosity is in my nature. I love to learn. That is part of what drew me to Druidry in the first place. It is a spirituality that values scholarship – a rarity in our age of superficial materialism. The second reason is to seek community with other Druids who may be on the same path. I am a Solitary with no local Grove for support. So, here on this blog, I am reaching out to others.
Does it look hard or easy? Which requirements appear to be difficult for you now, and which appear to be easy?
Honestly, both: easy because I’m deeply interested and drawn to this path, and hard, because I know it will take consistent, sustained work and practice to learn and absorb the rituals and un-learn the prejudices and blockages ingrained in me by my Christian upbringing.
It will be hard to attend High Day celebrations with other Druids because at present I don’t know of any others near me. Travel is a bit difficult because of my work and family responsibilities, and geographic isolation.
I love to read and write, so I think it will be easy to complete the book reviews, essays, and weekly journaling.
Meditations will be easy because I am by nature a quiet person who seeks solitude and meditation space.
Performing rituals will be difficult because I’m not accustomed to praying out loud or to “taking up space” in this way in my home. I am a bit shy. My husband is supportive but I wonder what he will think. I’ve already constructed a home shrine for our hearth as well, and a personal shrine in my music & writing room.
Do you have doubts, questions, or concerns you need to ask about?
I have so many questions! I will be reading as much as possible during these first weeks, orienting myself to the program, and to Druidry as a whole. In the future, I’d like to have a mentor and possibly a buddy to see me through the program, because while spirituality and religion are personal, they take on a deeper meaning when shared with others.
I’m also looking forward to receiving my first gwersi (a Welsh word for lessons) in audio format from OBOD, and plan to compare and contrast the programs. ADF being a reconstructionist method, and OBOD being revivalist, I am aware they are not the same and will at times contradict each other. This is part of my curiosity – I simply want to learn more and to connect with these fascinating people.
I look forward with anticipation to the year ahead. Leave me a comment if you are following this path or would like to connect.