Last October, a week before Samhain, I joined ADF, an international druid fellowship. I was looking to learn more about the neo-pagan community and hoping to meet some pagan folks in town. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I went forward with the thought that I wouldn’t know if I didn’t try. ADF has an academic path that you can follow if you want to get deeper into the classes of the organization referred to as the dedicant’s path. You don’t have to do the dedicant’s path, but it is laid out for any who like the challenge and want to pursue further study within the organization. I haven’t followed it like I originally intended.
I made a promise to Hekate to try out the druid way for a year. I have done some study, but I have not done all of the required writing to go along with it. At times, I seem to forget about it entirely until the next wheel of the year holiday. I have been able to attend a local ADF group that holds some of their holidays in my hometown. This has introduced me to a few other pagans and educated me more about the local pagan community. I am still so shy that venturing out of my little group seems like a stretch. Even going to the holiday rituals that my proto-grove holds the next city over (only 45 minutes away) has been too scary for me to attempt yet. I feel like an outsider, and yet I still feel a part of the rituals.
When I was younger, preserving the ecosystem was very important to me. Twenty years later, I feel so out-of-step with the young want-to-be-activist that I was. As a member of ADF, I could call myself a druid, but I have a hard time referring myself as such. I don’t recycle as much as I should or could. Going to some place new to do something that I haven’t done before seems overwhelming, whether it is dropping off cans at the recycling center or dropping clothes off at the local Goodwill. I recycle more than I did before I joined, but I am still working through my fears.
ADF is focused on Indo-European pantheons, so my Kemetic leanings make me feel out of place at times. When I joined ADF, I was much more focused on the Greek pantheon. Right now, I don’t have a specific Indo-European pantheon that I explicitly focus on for ADF. My proto-grove changes up which pantheon it focuses on for different holidays. I will probably stick to the Greeks or the Norse to include Hekate or Loki. I currently don’t feel comfortable performing a full ADF ritual solo, though I do like celebrating as a group. I could add less intense druid rituals to my practice. I don’t know if I will. I do plan on putting more time into researching the core ideas of ADF.
I”m going to the Midnight Flame Festival, a regional ADF festival put on in September by the Grove of the Midnight Sun. It will be my first big pagan gathering. I’m driving up to Michigan with some local ADF members. I am very excited. The pantheon being honored is the Norse pantheon, so I’m hoping it will bring me closer to Loki. Hekate has been very patient with my multiple interests. I do feel that she led me to the Netjeru. However, I still feel obligated to learn more about neo-druidry while I am a member of ADF and possibly see how it could fit in with Kemeticism.