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.

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