1: What draws you to the path of Initiation within ADF?
When I stumbled upon ADF it was during a time that I felt I was in a sort of spiritual limbo. I knew that Paganism was the right place for me but the generality of the term was not enough. I had left Wicca due to academic dissatisfaction. After finding ADF, I thought about its message for several months before joining, and even then I waited several more before seriously starting the Dedicant Program. I didn't want to jump in – I wanted to wait and make sure that this was right for me. The more I meditated on it, the more I realized how right it felt. I recognized a calling from the ancestors and the Old Ones of Ireland. I began my journey through study and, even before I had finished the Dedicant Program, I knew that I would want more.
Once I completed that first step I took some time off from academics and essay writing to accomplish a few other things in life and to think about what I wanted next in my Druidic studies. I did not want to jump into anything I wasn't truly called to.
After a lot of deep thought I came to the conclusion that I should take a serious step towards greater involvement and greater knowledge of the Kindreds. Although I am a Dedicant I realize that there are many things left to learn. The Dedicant Program has helped me find a home within ADF and I am beginning to satisfy the academic side of spirituality I so craved. However that was only the beginning of my journey and I am aware of my weaknesses. I find myself desirous of improvement, especially in regards to the spiritual side of religion – the mysticism. I realized that, having dedicated myself to this religion, it is important for me to continue learning, growing, and improving myself. Druidism has become so important to my life that I want to show my elders and the Kindreds my commitment to its beauty. I feel that taking the path of initiation will help me to grow, learn, and give back to the Kindreds and my community.
2: What does being an Initiate mean to you?
Being an Initiate means that I am committed to Druidism and to the Kindreds. It means that I have a desire to learn more. It means that I seek inner improvement. As an Initiate, I would take the lessons I learned and, to the best of my capabilities, give back to others through ritual, teaching, and support. This brings me to community. Taking this step towards greater involvement means that I will grow in intimacy with my spiritual community, especially in fellowship with others who are working to develop a modern, Druidic "current."
3: What services do you hope to provide to your community with this training?
I am hopeful to provide for my community in many ways. I recently started to become more involved with ADF. I have submitted a few pieces to Tribeways and am now an editor for Oak Leaves. It is my hope to contribute more to these valuable publications and I have no doubt that my work in the Initiate Study Program will inspire me to produce essays fit for sharing with others.
In addition to producing more material for ADF, I am interested in taking on more responsibilities within my grove and providing more support for the senior Druid. When I first began attending Muin Mound I was very quiet. After awhile, I was invited to participate in ritual in small ways. When I completed my DP, Skip encouraged me to call to the Gods in ritual. I felt honored to be asked and, once I had done it, I found myself feeling closer to the Kindreds and to the grove. I would like to do more, and feel that further study would help me. Practice with trance and meditation would aid me in leading the Two Powers. Divinatory studies would give me confidence to take omens. Perhaps one day I will even lead a ritual for the grove.
Finally, I am opening up to the idea of teaching. Although I know that I will always be a student, I have found a confidence in myself and recognize that I do have knowledge and skills. As I am a teacher in a public school, teaching is part of my identity. I enjoy doing it and would be open to helping others complete their Dedicant Programs, and perhaps lead workshops at festivals. Perhaps one day I will even become clergy. Becoming an initiate would help me refine my studies and skills so that I would be better prepared to help others in these ways.