Tuesday, December 21, 2021
Friday, July 30, 2021
Saturday, June 12, 2021
I am very pleased to announce the creation of Three Branch River Grove, ADF's Lending Library!
Thanks to a very generous donor who was divesting themselves of books they no longer needed and donations from my personal library, we now have the beginnings of a study library for our Grove members. Most of the books are directly related to the Dedicant Path studies, IndoEuropean studies, and Norse/Heathen studies. We have a few books on pagan parenting, picture books, and books of Greek and Norse mythology for children. We have books on consent culture, leadership training, and ritual facilitation.
I intend to make books from my personal library available soon as well.
In order to borrow from the library, one needs to be a member of the grove, request a library patron ID and password from me.
Linda Sager Kazalski, Senior Druid
Sunday, February 7, 2021
I received an email today with a lot of good questions - so good, in fact, that I'm posting them here, with changes made for the privacy of the questioner:
Please understand that my responses are pertaining to ADF druidry. I do not know enough about all the other groups to speak for them.
--What do druids believe?
Ask 10 druids what they believe and you will get at least 15 answers, possibly more, depending on the day. :)
A lot of what druids believe and think are incorporated in the pre-ritual briefing (copy to be posted) and in ritual itself. Mostly we believe in the Earth, in nature, and in the spirits within nature.
ADF druidry is Pan-Indo-European in scope. Most of the ancient pantheons and religions of Europe have significant similarities:
The three Hallows (Fire, Well, and Tree or Pillar).
The Three (or multiple thereof) Planes/Worlds of existence.
The Kindreds (Ancestors and Honored Dead, Nature Spirits, Shining Ones - Higher beings, Gods, Goddesses. Godden,)
--Is there a doctrine or dogma that Druids follow that other pagans don’t?
The only doctrine ADF has is the Doctrine of ArchDruidic Fallability also known as "Even the ArchDruid messes up". No one, not even the elected head of our organization, is perfect.
We all make errors and need to make them right.
We are an orthopraxic (right action) as opposed to orthodoxic (right belief) religion. We are much more concerned about doing the right things rather than individual beliefs.
--My ancestry is *X* European. Does that have an impact on someone learning about Druidry or becoming Druid?
Ancestry has no bearing on whether or not someone can learn about druidry or become a druid, at least not with ADF. There are folkish groups out there. I am not fond of them.
Having said that some people feel drawn to the religions and lore of their ancestors. We call our Grove post-Viking British Isles. We do Irish, Scottish, Anglo-Saxon, Gaulish, and Norse rituals.
There are other ADF druids and groves that follow Hellenic (Greek), Roman, Vedic, Balkan, and other Hearths and pantheons.
--Are there holy days of obligation or high days? If yes, why are those days considered holy or high?
Not precisely. They are not required, but they are high days. ADF is a neopagan religion and celebrates 8 high days. They consist of 4 solar holidays and 4 fire festivals or cross-quarter days. Different groves call them different things, depending on the grove's chosen Hearth or Pantheon for that celebration. They fall roughly 6 weeks apart throughout the year
Officially, they are named and celebrated as follows:
· The November Feast - Samhain (pronounced Sow-an) - The feast the the dead - Summer's End - Third Harvest
· The Winter Feast - Winter Solstice - Yule - Longest Night - Midwinter
· The February Feast - Imbolc or Oilmelc - Brighid's Day - Candlemas - Groundhog Day
· The Spring Feast - Vernal (Spring) Equinox - First planting - Days and nights are equal
· The May Feast - Bealtainne (Beltane), May Day, Hinge (or beginning) of Summer
· The Summer Feast - Summer Solstice - Longest Day - Midsummer –
· The August Feast - Lughnassadh - Lammas - Feast of Lugh - First Harvest
· The Autumn Feast - Autumnal Equinox - Second Harvest –
Some but not all groves also celebrate Druid Moons, these usually take place as close to 6 days after the new moon as possible, during the waxing moon. We usually call these Blessing Rites. They include a call for blessings and peace in the world.
--Is membership required in this community?
No, but if you go to rituals regularly and hold the beliefs of the group, wouldn't you want to be a member?
Membership gives you the right to vote in the running of the grove and the international organization.
I'd suggest checking out www.adf.org. If you become a member, that opens up about 2/3 of the website that is members-only.
Additionally, there are a lot of FaceBook groups that are members-only.
--If so, what does that entail?
$30 annual dues paid to the international organization.
An extra $20 will get you a subscription to the quarterly magazine of ADF.
Any financial or volunteer support you wish to give the local grove. Other groves have dues. We do not, at this time.
Our long-term goal is to be able to purchase a small parcel of land on which we can at least build a pavilion for a permanent place of worship.
--If I were to become a member am I expected to stay Druid the rest of this life?
Only if you want to. I've only officially been a member of ADF for 7 years, but I've felt the druidic spirit, if you will, most all my life.
--Is the year and a day program welcomed in the Druid community?
Not exactly, that's a Wiccan thing.
Our Dedicant Path study program (the introductory study program) can be completed in roughly a year, depending on how much time you can and wish to spend on it. I’ve been busy running a grove and have not finished it yet.
--What kind of divination or witchcraft practices do Druids participate in, if any?
Whatever works for them. Ogham is an Irish form of divination but many ADF members use tarot or runes depending on their personal preference and what draws them. There are people who practice reading tea leaves or fire or groups of birds.
Witchcraft is an outside matter. I am a kitchen witch - my craft works best through herbals and brews and cooking. That is not religious nor is it anything specifically to do with my druidry. If you are an ethical witch, we will not have any issues.
--How is someone held accountable in the community if something is wrongly done?
One of the good things about having an international organization is that we have practices in place to deal with wrong-doing. Grievances will be dealt with. First, grove leadership. If they are the problem or do not resolve the issue, then Regional Druid and Member Advocate. Situations can go all the way to the Mother Grove (Board of Directors consisting partially of clergy and partially not clergy - all of whom are elected).
If it is a legal matter, law enforcement will be involved unless the victim specifically requests law enforcement not be called in.
--Is there a concept of sin or confession?
Not really. We focus on the 9 Virtues:
· Wisdom (seeking good judgment, knowledge),
· Piety (observance of ritual and social traditions, making offerings),
· Vision (broadening one's perspective to see the big picture),
· Courage (doing the right thing, especially when it isn't expedient),
· Integrity (being true to oneself, being honorable, oathkeeping, honesty),
· Perseverance (doing what needs to be done even when it's hard, following through)
· Hospitality (acting as both a gracious host and guest, not only with humans and animals but with the Kindreds),
· Moderation (in all things), and
· Fertility (bounty of mind, body and spirit: nurturing creativity and industry in oneself and others)
Having said that, if you harm someone, in my personal opinion, that's wrong, but not necessarily a sin.
--To whom do Druids pray to, if anyone or anything?
Whomever they want. It depends on the druid.
In ADF rituals, we invite, offer to, and pray to the The Kindreds (Ancestors and Honored Dead, Nature Spirits, Shining Ones - Higher beings, Gods, Goddesses. Godden,) and special guests of the occasion.
In our personal practices, we can pray to all, some, or none. Officially, ADF is pantheistic, but not all of its members are.
--Are Druids welcoming of the LGBT community?
Absolutely. I've taken part in the last 3 (and helped with planning the last 2) local InterFaith Pride Celebrations.
ADF and our Grove have members and/or attendees who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, including me.
--Norse pagans who are members of TAC, or The Asatru Community?
I'm not all that familiar with TAC, but as long as they aren't racist, bigoted, and/or sexist, I don't have a problem with them. I am familiar and friendly with at least one local Kindred.
ADF doesn't require members to give up membership in other organizations. Membership in a racist organization would be a problem.
At the beginning of all our events our expectations are made clear (see the pre-ritual briefing).
All of our posted events are open to the public and family (child) friendly. Everyone in attendance is to be treated with courtesy and respect. No discrimination or bigotry in any form will be tolerated. Consent culture is both important and required. Any word or action counter to those expectations are then grounds for immediate expulsion.
All large ADF events and festivals require a signed statement more or less to that effect by each attendee that they understand and agree to abide by them. ADF festivals always have a consent culture workshop.
There are bunches of books. Several are written by former ArchDruids and Priests. The main book for the Dedicant Path program is available on Amazon. It’s called Our Own Druidry.
We hold zoom social/study meetings that are peer led most Sundays that are neither holidays or rituals. They are posted on our facebook page. There will be one today at 4:30.
I hope all of this has been helpful.
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Here is some general information about our rituals and ADF.
All of our rituals are family friendly and open to the public. No educational level required. Face masks and social distancing are necessary during the pandemic. Please bring a personal drinking vessel. Dress for the weather. We will be in an open air pavilion. There will be pamphlets with the ritual script available so you can follow along and join in. The ritual script will be posted in the grove group ahead of ritual (hopefully by the day before depending on how much overtime I have to put in). ADF is short for Àr nDraíocht Féin which means our own druidry in modern Irish. We are orthopraxic (right action) as opposed to orthodoxic (right belief). We do not tell people what to think or believe. If you'd like some more basics, you might want to check out www.adf.org We are an international organization with good educational and devotional programs. Are we perfect? No, but we strive for excellence. Pre-Ritual Briefing Welcome! Thank you for coming to our ritual! We are delighted to host you. Please silence your phones. ADF druids do not cast and close circles the way some other groups do. You are free to come and go as needed. We only ask that you are quiet and respectful as you do so. The primary purpose of this rite is to offer to the Kindreds: The Shining Ones (Godden, Gods, and Goddesses, and other higher beings), The Nature Spirits of Earth, Sea, and Sky, and The Ancestors and Honored Dead. In return, we hope they will offer blessings to us. We will purify ourselves and our space, make our offerings, take an omen, and then receive the blessings in waters of life.
We open the Gates between the worlds using the three Hallows: The Fire, The Well and The Tree. The Fire represents the upper realms and order. The Well represents the underworld and chaos. The Tree represents Middle Earth, the realm of mortals, and connects the worlds.
We do several songs and chants during our ritual. We invite you to join in. The words are in the printouts provided. Please let us know how many people came, by signing in at the table with your name (magical or secular) for counting purposes only. If you wish us to contact you, please leave your phone number or email. The reason we take attendance in this way is because we are required to report numbers to the international organization. If you can and wish to do so, please donate to An Dagda’s cauldron. Offerings are expensive. Our long-term goal is the purchase of land for a permanent Nemeton and meeting space. The cauldron will be passed around after the Blessings. PayPal is also available using our email address on the grove business cards. We welcome all seekers and insist that all be treated with respect and kindness. We do not tolerate any discrimination based on religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, or any other basis. If someone indicates a preferred pronoun, please use it.
Last, but not certainly not least, Three Branch River Grove values consent culture. Always ask respectfully before you hug or touch another person. Always feel free to politely decline any hug or touch.
Thursday, January 14, 2021
All of our grove rituals are public and family friendly. We are meeting in person, but masks, personal drinking vessels, and and social distancing are required for the safety of us all.
It's a hard time right now, please be safe and stay well.
Bright Blessings to all,