- not -
what it’s all about ?
The Rites of the Wheel and priorities
IMO, although it’s a critically important factor in the execution of our rituals and, to a degree, in our relationships with the gods and spirits, the *ghosti principle is not the only thing to be concerned with in the design and execution of our annual eight high day rites. It should not be the primary reason for doing the rites nor should it suffice as our motivation when we find ourselves having difficulty in creating one. It is my contention that there is more to Our Druidry than that.
Then, who are we and what are we here (in ADF) “for”? - - I have come to feel that although ADF was founded on a certain set of intentions, those that one would cull from a current survey of its membership would differ in point and degree significantly from the original.
Yes, for one, ADF was intended to be a “priest-making machine” and in this I would concede that the organization is now well along its way toward that goal.
Then, the perennial question: “Whom does the Grove serve?”
On the other hand, and more central to my concerns, is the matter of Isaac’s earnest desire for ADF groves to be an open and continuous service to their local communities. This means that our high-day rites were to be not only open to attendance by non members but one of the main reasons for these groves and these rites is to serve the spiritual needs of our greater Neopagan communities. The vision rendered to me in the early 1990’s when I was founding my own grove was simply that: we were here to serve others, not our own memberships. We were to find ourselves best serving the Gods, Spirits and Ancestors through our ability to facilitate the spirituality of our neighbors. Our membership was to consist of those who wanted to join us and lend a hand in carrying out that service, not to be inwardly-oriented groups primarily serving their groves’ own interests. Quite simply, a grove was to be a “team”, not a “club”.
Isaac saw Neopaganism as a great field for potential development, both in ADF’s basic service to these communities through providing free, reliable, and quality public services, and also to address the great need for public education and the promotion of a more scholarly foundation for the future of Neopaganism. With his classic ADF tag-line challenge to Neopaganism at large, “Why not Excellence?” I feel he was also setting up ADF as a standard for other Pagan groups to emulate or to even do better.
So, our mission is not to solely be an exclusive haven for priests training in “reconstructionist” study and ritual. It is to serve the Mother of All Life, the Gods and other Kindred Spirits by serving our local communities. And by “serving” I mean to provide for them an annual cycle of high quality open, inclusive and inspiring public liturgies to enrich and facilitate the growth of Neopaganism in our culture as a viable and respectable form of modern spiritual expression.
A Priesthood of the Seasonal Mysteries...
Earlier I said we should not allow the *ghosti principle to be the singular reason for doing the Rites of the Wheel, nor should it suffice as our motivation when we find ourselves having difficulty in creating one. There is much more we can be achieving with our annual cycle of rites, for, just as is so easily seen in the practice of other modern western religions, the seasonal/traditional factors often trump the role of the deities involved, and for good reason, for that is where many of the most important motivations in tribal religious societies become motivated. From my perspective, the spirit being venerated in our rites is as much or more structured in the seasonal traditions and the season itself as it is in the deities ascribed to the season’s expressions.
- Earrach, 2016
"MOG ROITH'S LAMENT"...
* Ghosti: building a reciprocal relationship with the gods and spirits by honoring them with appropriate offerings.