The Dedicant Path, while not required to be a practicing Druid nor a Druid in the ADF tradition, is certainly a useful tool for educating oneself on the history of Paganism, and Druidry and is a required step for those seeking to become clergy like myself. As I am incredibly rusty as a student and look to framework in order to ease my learning process I am looking to use Rev. Michael Dangler’s “The ADF Dedicant Path Through The Wheel Of The Year” which will provide reading assignments, homework, and guidance through writing the necessary documentation required for completing the program. It is my intent to use a portion of this Druidry weblog to document my weekly work and share my progress as I move along week by week, hoping to complete the course work required by the start of next year.
I have done some of this work last year and seek not to make excuses but instead renew my dedication to the program. With that we begin anew with Imbolc a mere week and days away, and I ask myself once more the questions laid out for week one of the DPWOTY guidebook:
Why have you chosen to take the first steps on the Dedicant Path?
My intent is to utilize the Dedicant Path as a loose guiding road to knowing the Mighty Kindreds more intimately, knowing better how to serve them and be served by them, learning more ways to work with the Earth as an urban Druid, and earning the knowledge and experience required to become ADF clergy. The road to becoming a Priest in the ADF tradition is a strong calling, brought on by my ancestors and the inspiration from those around me who have joined me on my spiritual path. I look to the DP program as stepping stones as I grow closer to realizing that calling.
Is this a step on your path, or will this become the Path itself?
I feel the answer to this question is both. I see the Dedicant Path as crucial to the overall journey of course, but I don’t see it as an obstacle or something to be passed over. I suppose the old “One step at a time” adage applies here. I have a goal in mind, for sure. The Dedicant Path is a path indeed towards that, but I must focus on the dirt beneath me now.
What do you expect to learn?
There is much I have yet to learn that so many of my peers know like the back of their hand. I am embarrassingly stunted when it comes to many matters of life and healthy sustainability with the Earth. That being said I’m expecting to learn the history of many Gods and Goddesses, the people’s relationships over the years with many aspects of religion, ways to better serve the Earth and Her people in matters that are natural to me and learn more ways that, too, will hopefully become natural in time. I seek to learn more mundane things such as gardening and cooking, that I might learn more about the plants and how they live in my place of residence and perhaps parlay some of that knowledge into a skill that can better feed myself, my home, and provide more intimate offerings for the powers I work with. I hope the Dedicant Path will provide more academic knowledge about the history, present, and future of the tradition and those that have touched it over the generations as well as broaden my personal ability to serve the Kindreds and those who live around me.
What would you like to get out of this journey?
I would like to have grown considerably in knowledge, in piety, and in skill. As mentioned in the previous question I certainly feel like I have a lot to learn and I am a cup who is eager to be filled. I hope as I travel this path I grow in power to where I can more consistently support and feed those who have nourished me through my journey. I wish to become able to give back for all that I have been given as I continue on this religious journey.
Do you know where this path will take you?
When I answered this last March the answer was no. This time it’s no with a chuckle. While I have confidence this path will be enlightening and emboldening and eventually end with me gaining newfound strength, the places it passes through on the way are such a mystery and I am glad for it. I tend to learn well through shock and surprise and if this path ends up sideways, underwater, or through searing flame I welcome it with… Perhaps a little apprehension.
If you have just joined/have been in ADF why are you starting this now?
This question is worded as separate questions in the book but I feel both are somewhat appropriate as, while I have been an ADF member for nearly a year now, I still feel like a tiny sprout. I did actually start this coursework eagerly last year but things got out of hand, weeks fell out of sync, and I just got caught up in a whirlwind of lack of confidence and turbulent, uneven growth. I feel like my roots are a tiny bit firmer this year and my spiritual experiences and the calling to clergy feel stronger than ever. It is with a year of ‘warm up’ behind me and the increased push from the spirits and people around me that I pursue this with vigor now.
Does it look hard or easy?
If I’m being honest it’s daunting. One of the obstacles on last year’s false start was that I have found studying to be pretty hard. I don’t know if I’m just rusty on reading or if my brain truly was scrambled from my accident years back but learning through reading has been a challenge for sure. I’ve grown quite a bit over the past year though so I don’t think all is lost. I will learn and prevail somehow, eventually, even if it means learning things in an unconventional manner.
Which requirements appear to be difficult to you now, and which appear to be easy?
The study and documentation feel a little overwhelming honestly. The documentation a little less so, though I feel my written voice wavers between awkward and unceremoniously casual. My trepidation regarding book study has already been spoken on but I have hope that perhaps if I ‘get back into’ reading with some regular daily book reading that maybe I can grease the wheels once more. As far as easy stuff? I feel that keeping a home altar and acting on intuition has gotten easier for me since I last visited the program. I’m no expert on divination and I certainly still have doubts regarding the line between my own interpretations and the insight of the Kindreds, but I certainly feel a little more comfortable about seeing signs, seeing messages, and interpreting patterns presented to me that have significant and powerful meaning. I’m certainly well aware of the ‘shivers’ that come with an intimate interaction with the Gods, Spirits, and Ancestors and I feel that is a great step in my growth already.
Do you have doubts, questions, or concerns that you need to ask about?
Yes. A great many. I’m working through them though. I have a kind and wise mentor whom has completed the Dedicant Path and has experience leading a group. I have met other experienced and generous Druids as well who have an interest in fertilizing my seed and growing alongside me. I’ll likely never be short on doubts, concerns, and questions but I am confident that I have amassed a circle of supporters that will be beside me as I explore all of them.
Let these questions now rest in this journal to be revisited at a later date when appropriate. Let this be, once more, a bright and shining step forward on this incredible journey.