I’m Back

2 01 2017

Hey everyone,

After a long hiatus due to traveling, I am back and settled once again in the UK. This means I can start progressing with my ADF Druid studies once again. At the moment my plan is to look at doing the Generalist Study Path, and the guild studies for the Magicians, Seers, Naturalists and Brewers Guilds, which I will join in due course. I am also considering moving on to study the clergy program in time but I need to make sure that is really my calling first.

I’m hoping to get started on the first part of the GSP by the end of January so keep a look out.

Matty (ForestWolf)

Officially an ADF Dedicant

3 04 2014

Just a quick update to say I had some good news today. I have passed the ADF Dedicant Path course :). I would highly recommend it to any person interested in pagan spirituality. The course has really allowed me to explore Druidry and Paganism in a much deeper way than I could have otherwise. Now I need to think about where I take my studies next. I am seriously considering the Generalist Study Program next although I need a few months off to finish some other courses I am doing. I will again use this blog to keep track of everything I’m doing on this path.

Final Oath Essay

25 03 2014

I performed my dedicant oath during my Ostara ritual in March 2014 at the moment of the Vernal Equinox. It was the final high day of my Dedicant Path year. I did the rite in private at home as I do not live near to a grove. As with all my rituals, I followed the ADF format of ritual using the Solitary Druid Fellowship’s text with a few changes.

I really liked the wording of the Oath text in the ADF manual and so I primarily used that with a few adaptations. My oath was to follow the path of Druidry for as long as I feel it to be the right path for me. This phrasing was deliberate because, while I am confident that this is the path I want to follow, I didn’t want to make an oath which stopped me changing it in future if I no longer felt it to be the right way. I also included wording in the oath that stated my intention to seek to live in harmony with the Earth, to keep the eight holy days of Druidry, to continue to research more about my ancestors beliefs and cultures and to try and live by the ADF virtues. As I made the oath, I held a hammer in honour of Thunor, the Anglo Saxon god of oaths. I finished it with the traditional ending of invoking the three worlds against me if I break it.

The whole ritual went well and the oath part went well too. I didn’t have any issues as I had prepared it all before and had everything written out, however I would have liked to have bought a special ring for it which I didn’t manage to do. I didn’t really feel much in the rite except that it felt like the right thing to do. I did have a sense that this was a very important decision I was making which made it more solemn.

After finishing my oath, I gave a sacrifice of honey to all the Kindreds as I felt this needed an extra special offering to mark the occassion. I also took an omen specific to the oath asking the Kindreds what blessings they offered in return for the Oath and sacrifice. The omen was Iodhadh (Yew) from the gods which is illusion in the ADF dedicant path book, Luis (Rowan) from the ancestors which is protection and Uillean (Honeysuckle) from the nature spirits which is attraction. I am not sure how to interpret the omen, especially from the gods, but overall it seems positive. Looking at the Wheel of the Year Manual, the Iodhadh could be interpreted as memory/ ancestors and Uillean as sweetness and drawing together which again would be positive.

Looking forward I want to develop in ADF Druidry by pursuing the Generalist Study Program and joining a few of the guilds such as the Naturalist guild. I also want to further develop my devotional practices and look for more ways to live in harmony with nature. Overall, I am feel this year has really helped me to discover Druidry as the spiritual path I want to pursue in my life and has prepared me to be able to take the oath to do so.

High Day Recap – Ostara

25 03 2014

I did my Ostara ritual at the moment of the vernal equinox on 20th March. It went well and I had a surprisingly good Two Powers visualisation (perhaps because I was standing up this time and so it felt more real.) As usual I used the Solitary Druid Fellowships basic ritual format with my own additions and changes. I honoured Eostre and Njord as the patrons of this ritual as Eostre is the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, while this is also the beginning of much of our fishing season so Njord seemed appropriate. I honoured Heimdall as my gatekeeper and Hertha as the Earth Mother. I gave oats to the Earth Mother as an offering, silver to the well, oil to the fire and shining ones, an apple to Heimdall, seeds to the nature spirits, cider to the ancestors, oil to Njord and Eostre and bread as a final offering. I also did my Oath at this rite, giving Honey as an offering to all the kindreds.

I took two omens during the ritual. My normal Ostara one using my homemade Ogham set was Luis – protection from the gods, Hawthorn – consequences from the Ancestors and Hazel – creativity from the Nature spirits. I’m not sure what to make of the omen as it’s got both positive and negative elements. I wonder whether the Ancestors want more from me. I will have to meditate on this and seek guidance.

The rest of my celebrations included making a curried scrambled tofu dish as a vegan alternative to scrambled eggs and an attempt at naturally dyeing eggs which only really worked with tumeric. I also decorated my altar with daffodils.

Eighth High Day Essay – Ostara Explanation

17 03 2014

Also known as the Vernal Equinox, Eostre or Alban Eiler (Light of the Earth), this day marks a time of balance, when day and night are of equal length. Until now the nights have been longer than the days, but from here on the days are longer and warmer as we head towards summer. The vernal equinox is a day to celebrate the revival of life after a long cold winter. It is a time when birds are returning from their migrations, animals are giving birth to their young and all around us the world is turning green once again. It is a time when nature has officially woken up – the buds on trees are bursting, seeds are beginning to sprout up out of the ground, spring flowers such as daffodils are blossoming and there is a palpable sense of renewed life all around us. It is the feast of awakening.

Historian Ronald Hutton says that there isn’t “any reliable evidence for a pre-Christian festival in the British Isles during the time which became March and April.” However, it is important to note that Bede said that the name Easter came from the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre and the month was named after her. Eastre signifies both the festival and the season of spring. Hutton says that one could argue that “Eostre was a Germanic dawn-deity who was venerated, appropriately at this season of opening and new beginnings. It is equally valid, however, to suggest that the Anglo-Saxon ‘Estor-Monath’ simply meant ‘the month of opening’ or ‘the month of beginnings.'” He goes on to say that the practice of decorating eggs at this time does go back to at least the 1200’s but the chocolate version of the egg is a twentieth century invention. Eggs are a very apt symbol for this season as they represent new life. For agricultural societies, this is also the time when the extra light led to a big increase in egg production and was a welcome source of food.

ADF calls this the spring feast, the time to bless the seeds and prepare the land for new growth. In Norse and Anglo-Saxon hearth cultures, Eostre or Idunna are honoured. Neopagans celebrate this day as a time of beginnings and action, doing magical spells for the future and tending their ritual gardens.

It is traditional to celebrate this festival by giving chocolate eggs and sweets, painting eggs, planting new seeds and going for picnics and walks in nature. We can also decorate our altars with signs of spring – seeds, daffodils, eggs and symbols of baby animals like chicks, calves and rabbits. This year I will be doing an Ostara Ritual including my final Oath, having a party with friends and going for a walk in nature to search for signs of spring. I will also be planting my seeds for the year and maybe going out to hunt for wild food. w. I live near the sea and this time marks the beginning of the main sea fishing trips season here so I will be honouring Njord in my ritual. The 14th of March is also the beginning of river fish breeding season when no one is allowed to fish in rivers in the UK for two months so it also fits in quite well with that. As a vegan, I don’t eat eggs so I will instead be eating a meal of scrambled tofu (an alternative to scrambled eggs), pita bread and spring greens such as spinach, spring onions and parsley. I will also be making a rhubarb crumble because it is also coming into season now.

Hutton, Ronald. Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

ADF. Our Own Druidry: An Introduction to Ár nDraíocht Féin and the Druid Path. Tucson: ADF Publishing, 2009.

Albertsson, Alaric. Travels through Middle Earth: The Path of a Saxon Pagan. USA: Llewellyn Publications, 2009.

Cunnigham, Scott. Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, Minnestota: Llewellyn Publications, 2003.

Personal Religion

6 03 2014

I started off the Dedicant Path convinced that a Celtic hearth culture was the way forward for me, and specifically the Gaelic Irish one. However, over the course of the past year I have moved away from that view and towards a focus on a mixture of hearth cultures – Gaelic, Norse and Anglo-Saxon. Part of the reason for this was that there is limited information about the Celtic deities and worldview compared to the Norse/ Anglo-Saxon one which made it harder to connect with a Celtic hearth culture. The second reason was because it has been very difficult to work out whether my ancestors are Celtic or Anglo Saxon e.t.c and so I think it is best to look at a mix. It really made an impact on me when I read that regardless of ancestry, the culture I have grown up in (english) is culturally Anglo-Saxon. I like the way Brian Bates talks of the “Middle Earth” culture and I feel that best describes me now – a combination of aspects of each of the three hearth cultures. While I don’t have a Patron deity, I primarily honour Thor/ Thunor. I also honour a range of other deities based on which one seems to fit best with the season.

Because I live a long way away from other ADF members, I have been solitary based and have regularly used the Solitary Druid Fellowships ritual structures. Since completing the Meditation requirement in December, I haven’t really maintained any kind of regular meditation but I have tried to do a weekly devotion to honour the three Kindreds and the Earth Mother as a way to continue and develop my mental discipline practice. I find this is much easier to be disciplined at. When it comes to the Virtues, I know I have a long way to go, but over the course of exploring them in the course, I have seen the sense of them all and have changed some of my ethical principles to fit these ideals. In particular, the importance of being remembered for our deeds, the concept of Wyrd and seeking to always be hospitable have been important to me this year.

When I first started this course, I wanted to develop more of a connection to nature, to feel more spiritually fulfilled and to develop a sense of purpose in my life. I have certainly achieved the first two of these and getting out into nature has been my favourite part of the Dedicant Path. I am optimistic that as I continue this path, I will develop purpose too. I also wanted to learn much more about how ancient people’s practiced their religions and this course has allowed me to learn so much about them through the books that I have read and to apply what I have learned to my own practices. I have made offerings my primary spiritual practice. I have celebrated all eight seasonal festivals. I use ADF’s core symbolism e.g the three realms and gates in my rituals and as representations on my altar. I honour the three kindreds. I also maintain an altar, honour my ancestors and use a homemade Ogham divination set.

I feel that I have kept my oath this year and I have grown spiritually in many ways. I have developed a more scholarly approach to my Paganism and respect the importance of historical research much more now. I have developed a closer connection to and understanding of nature and seek to live my life in a more environmentally friendly way. I have explored meditation, and while I didn’t find it as useful or productive as I had hoped, I did get to experience and explore many different techniques to see what worked best for me. Having a structured path has really helped me to explore my spirituality in a deeper and more systematic way, it has challenged me and made me work on areas of practice that I would probably never have done without it and for that I am grateful. In conclusion, I feel very strongly that Druidry is the religion for me and that ADF in particular is the place I will continue to develop my spiritual path.

The Two Powers

5 03 2014

The two powers are the key magical concept in ADF. They are two forces that mingle together to magically form the basis of all existence. The first power is the sky power. This is the power of the heavens, the power of light that emanates from the sun and moon and stars. This is the power that orders existence and provides the patterns and energy which turns potential into manifestation. This is the power of shaping. In the Anglo-Saxon/ Norse worldview, this is represented by fire and in ADF it is the sacred flame – one of the three hallows. The sky power is connected with the upper-world and with the gods, especially the sky-father.

The second power is the earth power. This is the power of the underworld, the fertile “chaos of potential.” This is the power flowing beneath the earth. It is connected with the ancestors, with memory and wisdom. It absorbs the nutrients of all that decays and allows them to be reused by the living beings of the middle world. The earth power is the dark, cool current that represents the Celtic primal mother Danu. In the Anglo-Saxon/ Norse worldview, it is represented by Ice and in ADF by the sacred well – another of the three hallows. Interestingly, quantum physics suggests that at its smallest most basic form, the universe is simply potential, so this is what I view as the earth power.

As we meditate on the two powers, drawing up the earth power through our roots and drawing down the sky power with our raised arms, they mingle inside us and become the “raw material for magic.” When considering the two powers, I find myself thinking about Taoism and the Yin/ Yang – the symbol that represents all existence as having two opposite aspects which are in constant tension with each other – night and day, light and dark, masculine and feminine. None can exist for long without the other and both are in constant movement and change. Cultivating these is called Internal Alchemy and I believe that when we meditate on the two powers, we are also doing internal alchemy – druid style.

I tried very hard to use this form of meditation but found it very difficult to do because visualisation is very difficult for me. There were a few times when I felt warmer or sensed things become more light than normal but on the whole I didn’t feel much going on when I tried this form of internal alchemy. It was suggested to me that I should try to imagine feeling the powers rather than visualising them in future and I will be trying that out. Of the two powers, I do seem to find a stronger connection with the earth power rather than the sky power. Despite the issues I have with trying to make it work, I do feel it is a very important practice to use the Two Powers meditation not only in preparing for magical activities but also especially in grounding and centering because it helps us to attune to the forces which Druidry teaches are at the very basis of the cosmos.

ADF. Our Own Druidry: An Introduction to Ár nDraíocht Féin and the Druid Path. Tucson: ADF Publishing, 2009.

Davidson, H. R Ellis, Gods and Myths of Northern Europe. London: Penguin Books, 1964.